The New England Patriots have only three players remaining on their current roster from the last time they won a Super Bowl. Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork will still be with the team next season, while Deion Branch is set to become a free agent. Yet, for some reason, there are still people who refer to the current team as a dynasty.
The Patriots team that won three Super Bowls in four years from 2002-2005 could be categorized as such. Another Super Bowl victory would certainly boost the legacies of Brady and Bill Belichick, but aside from a few story lines the current New England team has very little to do with the one that used to dominate the NFL. Linebacker Rob Ninkovich is here to remind us of that.
“That whole era is over with. It’s gone,” Ninkovich told WEEI.com on Monday. “So this is a whole new team. It’s a different bunch of guys. We all have to experience it and learn for ourselves what it’s like. Getting in the Super Bowl last year and losing left a bad taste in my mouth.
“I would have liked to get back this year, but that wasn’t the way it happened. You take all the lessons in life and learn from them, and put your best foot forward the next year.”
This team has established a new identity for itself. It’s a team that mows through the regular season and has won its fair share of significant games, but always seems to find a way to lose the last game of the season. Brady is the only player on the roster in search of his fourth ring. While the Patriots realize the window of opportunity is closing with Brady turning 36 next season, that opportunity for most is to simply win a Super Bowl — not add to their collection of hardware.