Just to add some balance to the New England Patriots' 2011 season, not that it will help take the sting away from losing a Super Bowl they should have won; but the Patriots did overachieve and did so in a big way.
What else can you say about a team with the #31 defense in the league (around #16 if you look at points allowed)? This is a team with huge, gaping deficiencies on both sides of the ball. Defensively they had no pass rush to speak of, certainly no pass rusher who scared anyone; and isn't this the most anemic secondary you can remember playing in a Super Bowl? They didn't have anything remotely resembling a shutdown cornerback. And singling out these two most glaring weaknesses takes the spotlight off a linebacking corps that is average at best. Hey NFL fans of teams other than the Patriots, name a member of the Pats defense not named Vince Wilfork? I'll be surprised if you can even come up with Patrick Chung or Jerod Mayo.
Then let's look at the offense. This is arguably the best offense in the league when it comes to scoring points but who on that side of the ball would you drool over having on your team other than Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski? Everyone says Wes Welker is a system player but I won't blame if you want Wes or maybe Aaron Hernandez. But you have to admit it's amazing what the Patriots do considering they have no deep threat whatsoever and only have a marginal running game, which by the way makes it even more amazing how well the Patriots do with play action. Basically every defense knows the Patriots are going to throw inside a little box between the linebackers and safeties; and even when defenses over-compensate to try to take that away, the Patriots still manage to run up big yards and points.
So just imagine what the Patriots could do with just an above-average pass rusher and an above-average cover cornerback on defense and a wideout who could actually get behind coverage just once in a while.
Oh, lest I forget, the other way the Patriots overachieved was the play of the defense in this Super Bowl. Now it can be said they couldn't get Manning off the field at times and, other than a couple of sacks early, were unable to put any pressure on him. But if before the game was played you were told that defense was going to hold that Giant offense to 13 points until 4 minutes to go in the game, wouldn't you have run to your bookie to place an enormous amount of cash on the Patriots to win that Super Bowl?