Analyst makes controversial pick as Patriots best team of Super Bowl era

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Now that the days of utter domination and tormenting the 31 other teams in the NFL are in the rearview mirror for the Patriots, reflecting upon all they accomplished during the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era has become commonplace.

Whether it's reminiscing about the six Super Bowl wins and the victory parades that ensued or the GOAT wreaking havoc on defenses across the league for two decades, there are enough memories during the dynasty to make up an entire history for any other team, which Patriots fans shouldn't take for granted.

It's partly what makes it challenging to decide what years or which rosters were their best, especially when directly comparing championship-winning teams. But that's what CBS Sports did recently, since it is the eerily quiet part of the offseason, as they looked back on every team's best roster in the Super Bowl era.

It couldn't have been easy to choose just one team for the Patriots, which is a fortunate problem to have as a Patriots fan. But Bryan DeArdo made his pick, and it's a bit more controversial than initially anticipated.

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports doesn't choose undefeated Patriots team as the best ever

When this topic comes up in any conversation, most would choose the undefeated Patriots team of the 2007 season as the best roster of the Super Bowl era. The Tom Brady-led offense that broke dozens of records, which included Kevin Faulk, Randy Moss, Benjamin Watson, and Wes Welker, was unstoppable.

Then you look at the defense with legendary names filling up the roster: Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, and Vince Wilfork. It was a stacked team all around who broke the souls of every team they lined up against.

It doesn't matter that they weren't able to take home the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year, even if it still pains fans 17 years later. The roster was an unstoppable force that could have and perhaps should have won multiple championships.

But that's not the team analyst Bryan DeArdo chose as the best ever. In fact, he chose the 2016 Patriots team as the superior roster, noting their 17-2 record which ended with a triumphant comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

"It came down to the Patriots' '07 and '16 squads as their best team. But the nod ultimately went to the group that overcame the largest deficit -- 28-3 -- in Super Bowl history

But the '16 Patriots should be remembered for more than just their epic comeback. This New England team finished third in the league in scoring and first in scoring defense. They went 3-1 without Tom Brady under center at the start of the season. And when Brady came back, New England lost just one more game while winning 11 games by double figures. They defeated the Texans and Steelers by a combined score of 70-33 before scoring 31 unanswered points against Atlanta in the Super Bowl.

Along with Brady, the Patriots' offense featured a 1,000-yard running back (LeGarrette Blount), a 1,000-yard receiver (Julian Edelman) and a lethal tight end combination in Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski, who combined to catch 80 passes for 1,241 yards and 10 touchdowns. On defense, the Patriots were led by Pro Bowlers Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty along with linebackers Jamie Collins and Rob Ninkovich and cornerback Malcolm Butler."

Maybe it's recency bias, or perhaps DeArdo makes some solid points.

It's possible that winning the Super Bowl to end the year puts this roster above the 2007 team, even if he didn't suggest it was a factor. It makes sense and for argument's sake, it might be the right decision.

The Patriots were highly scrutinized in the years leading up to the 2016 season, mainly because of the deflategate scandal, which ultimately led to Brady's suspension. It was a chaotic few seasons under Roger Goodell's watchful eye, which made it even sweeter to see Brady hoist the Lombardi Trophy and the MVP award to end the year.

That sweet revenge could certainly be what edges the 2016 team ahead of the 2007 roster.

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