I saw on the ProFootball Talk web cite where they had an article on the worst moments in Colts' history. Apparently, out of boredom no doubt spurred by the NFL labor mess, the PFT people were asking this question of every team...but had yet to get to the Patriots.
Here are my choices for worst moments in Patriots' history:
1.) 2008: 17-14 SB XLII loss to the N.Y. Giants:
There have been more lopsided defeats, and more embarrassing losses. But nothing knocked the wind out of New England, and Patriots' fans everywhere, like this loss. It prevented the 2007 Patriots from being hailed as the greatest team of all-time, prevented a perfect season, and prevented the Patriots from challenging the Steelers as the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Just a devastating defeat, that only long time Red Sox fans can truly understand;
2.) 1986: 46-10 SB XX loss to the Chicago Bears:
Raymond Berry's 1985 squad had adapted and overcame all season long. They beat both the Jets and Dolphins on the road to earn their spot in the Big Game. Unfortunately, they ran into one of the best teams of all-time, in the 1985 Chicago Bears. The humiliation was complete when William "The Refrigerator" Perry blasted his way into the end-zone for a frosting on the cake score. It was like watching a troop of boy-scouts take on the Huns;
3.) 2007: 38-34 AFC Championship Game loss to the Indianapolis Colts:
The Patriots led, 21-3, just before the half...when the referees took over the game. First, there was a ticky-tack, rarely called offensive PI call made against Troy Brown, which basically cost the Pats a TD. Then, in the second half, the Patriots' "D" wilted in the stifling heat of the RCA Dome, under the lazar-like throws of the hated Peyton Manning, and under the scrutiny of a biased officiating crew...whose phantom PI call against Ellis Hobbs for face-guarding (not a penalty), gave the Colts their margin of victory...and an ultimate SB championship against a very mediocre Bears team;
4.) 1976: 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Title Game:
The Patriots were robbed of a trip to the SB, and a World Championship, by referee Ben Dreith. Leading 21-17, with just over a minute to play, the Raiders were forced to go for a 4th and 8, from around the Patriots' 25 yard line. Raiders' QB Kenny Stabler went back to pass...was pressured by Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton, and threw an incompletion, as Hamilton knocked him to the ground. This game was over!!
Enter the villain, referee Ben Dreith. Seemingly several seconds after the play had concluding, Dreith chucked his infamous, and very late flag...citing Hamilton for roughing the passer. In those days, to get called for roughing, a defender had to body-slam and put the boots to a QB. But, unfortunately, Dreith was "ahead of his times" (trying to be nice about this...but it still steams me to this day!!!). The call handed the Raiders the game...and a trip to the SB;
5.) 2008: Tom Brady's Knee:
The Pats were starting up the 2008 season, after a devastating SB loss to the NY Giants...and after going through media hell with "spygate". Midway in the first quarter, Kansas City safety, Bernard Pollard, dove at Tom Brady's left knee, tearing it shreds, and finishing the Terrific One for the season. What a triple whammy...spygate, the SB loss, and now...this. A dark day indeed in Foxboro.
6.) 2007: Spygate:
What a mess after the NY media transformed a minor rule violation into the NFL's answer to Watergate. Fueled by such "heroes" as NFL Commissioner Roger "Jets" Goodell, ESPN, the NY media, Boston Herald Patriots' beat writer John Tomase, former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and a former Patriots' camera-man, and disgruntled ex-employee, John Walsh...they conspired to force BB's resignation, and tarnish the pristine reputation of the league's top franchise. The result was months of torment for BB and Patriots' fans...a king-sized media distraction on the eve of the biggest game in Patriots history...leading to a Patriots' team clearly off kilter in the SB, and playing by far their worst game of the season. What made the loss even more painful was the knowledge that the media had set out to derail the Pats...and, in the end, that they had succeeded;
7.) 1964: 51-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFL Title Game:
Ol' Babe Parilli remembers this well...as Chargers' RBs Keith Lincoln and Paul Lowe slashed and gashed the Patriots, as Lincoln himself acounts for 349 of total offense!!: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-uHdFoCnKw
8.) 1997: 35-21 loss to Green Bay in SB XXXI:
The Patriots let two of the most obnoxious players in the game, WR Andre Rison and KR Desmond Howard, crush their SB hopes. The game was shrouded in controversy, as then Patriots' coach and GM, Bill Parcells, had been negotiating his leave to join the not so hated, at that time, Jets. Tough loss to take because of what could have been. But, the Patriots certainly didn't embarrass themselves in defeat;
9.) 1996: 34-8 loss to the Denver Broncos in Divisional Play-offs:
The Broncos routed the Patriots 34–8 at Foxboro Stadium
. This was the game where Shannon Sharpe
infamously ranted on a sideline phone: "Mr. President, call in the National Guard! Send as many men as you can spare! Because we are killing the Patriots! They need emergency help!"
10.) 1964: 24-14 loss to Buffalo Bills in AFL "Play-in" Game: http://www.angelfire.com/nv/billsthunder/1964BILLS.html
In a game to decide the AFL's Eastern Conference representative in the AFL Title Game, the Buffalo Bills met the Patriots, in Boston. The game was played in a snow-storm, and the Jack Kemp led Bills (yes...Jack Kemp the former Republican politician) pretty much dominated throughout. The Bills would go on to defeat the Chargers in Buffalo, 20-7, to win the AFL Title. That's the same Chargers' team that had crushed the Patriots, 51-10, for the AFL title, just a year earlier;
11.) 2011: 28-21 loss to the N.Y. Jets in AFL Divisional Playoff:
A truly embarrassing, horrible loss to an arch rival. Just a few weeks earlier, the Patriots had embarrassed the Jets, 45-3. The Patriots had finished 14-2, the NFL's best record. The Pats had home field advantage throughout the play-offs...and seemingly had their tickets punched for another trip to the SB. But, shoddy execution, a rare, horrid interception thrown by MVP Tom Brady, and all too familiar breakdowns in their pass defense led to the Jets' upset win;
12.) 2010: 33-14 loss to the Ravens, in AFC Divisional Play-offs:
The Patriots were completely manhandled by the Ravens...who took out a decades' worth of frustration that day, on our boys in blue. The Ravens left the Pats black and blue. Despite rookie QB Joe Flacco completing just 4 passes in 10 attempts, Ravens RB Ray Rice rushed for 159 yards...including an 83 yard jaunt, in which he ran, untouched, to the end-zone, on the games' opening play from scrimmage! It was indeed a very, very long afternoon for Pats' fans.
Here are my "dirty dozen". Do you agree? Did I miss a couple? Or, did I place them in the wrong order?
Your thoughts are welcome.