This current Patriots team, thanks to quarterback Tom Brady’s continuous success game after game, have made some kind of history in some way, shape or form in just about all of their games this season. They like making history so much, they decided to go back in time and basically replicate a past Super Bowl-winning Patriots team. Not literally, but pretty much literally.
Last week, ESPN Stats and Info on Twitter posted a visual, comparing the 2003 New England team to this 2016 team side by side. It sounds fine and harmless, but check it out:
That’s pretty spooky, to say the least. The thing is, the similarities between the two teams don’t nearly end there. Things just get weirder and weirder as you dig deeper into the various resemblances. Let’s check out the seemingly endless equivalences, if you’re brave enough.
Leading off, referencing the Stats and Info tweet, the win-loss record that both of the teams were at heading into each respective Super Bowl. Both 16-2. Coincidental, but nothing too crazy. However, both Patriots teams suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Buffalo Bills by being shut out. To add on to that, both teams beat the New York Jets in Week 16, and then in Week 17, beat a divisional opponent. The teams ended the regular season with a record of 5-1 when facing AFC East teams. Both teams won the East with a 14-2 record. In 2003 and 2016, the Miami Dolphins finished the regular season with a 10-6 record. One last regular season similarity, the only times that the Patriots defense have finished first in points allowed in the league was in 2003 and 2016, of course.
That’s just the regular season basics. Things get even stranger when you look into the postseason facts. Heading into the 2003 Super Bowl, the Patriots hadn’t trailed in a single game since Week 12. Currently, the Patriots haven’t trailed in a game since Week 12, either. That’s astonishing. Throughout the entirety of the 2003 playoffs, Tom Brady threw a total of five touchdowns and two interceptions. Heading into the 2016 Super Bowl, Tom Brady has thrown a total of, you guessed it, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Both teams were the number one seed in the AFC, and they both avoided facing the number two seed Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. The 2003 Patriots beat the then Houston Oilers, an AFC South team, in the divisional round of the playoffs. This season, New England beat the Houston Texans to advance to the AFC title game. The 2003 squad faced an NFC South team in the Super Bowl (Carolina Panthers), while this 2016 Pats crew are facing the Atlanta Falcons, an NFC South team. Not to mention, Houston hosted Super Bowl 38 and are of course hosting it again this year. Last but certainly not least, both Patriots teams were each two years removed from beating an NFC West team in the world championship game.
Take a second to soak all of that in, if need be.
At the end of the day, this is all pretty much useless and pointless information and it will all easily be forgotten within about a week. We can all agree that Bill Belichick isn’t using all of that to hype his team up this week. Nonetheless, the above facts are just too obscure and wild not to point out. We all know the quote, “history repeats itself”, but this is taking it to a whole other, next-level stratosphere.
If there’s anything that we can take away from that absurd amount of varying similarities, it’s that if the football gods are really trying to tell us something with all of this, Super Bowl LI should be a great one. The 2003 Super Bowl against the Panthers was, at the time, arguably one of, or the, best and/or greatest Super Bowl of all time. Like most Patriots Super Bowls, the game was decided by a measly field goal. That’s (hopefully) foreshadowing yet another great Patriots championship dub.