Patriots fans: Would you trade the 28-3 comeback win to erase the “Helmet Catch” Super Bowl loss?

Sterling and I have a mutual friend. We’ll call him “Rob.”Because that is his real name. He asked the following question last week on Facebook: “Patriots Fans: Would you be willing to swap Edelman’s miraculous catch and the 28-3 comeback Super Bowl win over the Falcons for Tyree dropping his miraculous catch in 2007 solidifying 19-0?”

He received a ton of response, so Sterling and I decided to debate the topic. See both of our arguments below.

28-3 is Greater Than 19-0
By Jeff Solari

It’s been more than eleven years since that awful f’ing Sunday night in early February, 2008. Time may in fact heal all wounds, but more than a decade later 18-1 remains infected and painful.

There’s a lot of Giants fans in Maine and I have the misfortune of being friends with a few of them. I also made the ill advised decision to watch Super Bowl XLII with one super Giants backer. I have to listen to him brag about that upset to this day and probably always will. Talk about salt in an open wound.

Every time I see a high light or hear about “the helmet catch” it’s like ripping stitches out with pliers time and time again.

But from pain comes pleasure.

Since the crash landing of the 2007-2008 season, the Pats have played in the AFC Championship game almost every year. They have been in five more Super Bowls and won three of them, including the miracle 28-3 comeback over the Falcons in 2017.

Most of the people at my Super Bowl party that night had long since gone home before the The Patriots’ mounted their 25-point comeback, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Who knows if these “fans” really saw the first NFL championship to be decided in overtime? I did. Every minute of it. And I’ve watched it a few times since.

Many regard it as the greatest Super Bowl ever played. And the Pats won it. Why would I trade that to avenge a loss a decade earlier?

The win over the Falcons is not just a game. 28-3 is an inspiration. It’s license plate worthy. It’s tattoo material. I’ve used the game as a positive message to my kids more than once hammering home a message about not quitting. It’s always on my mind when the going gets tough. The helmet catch is not.

I would not trade one of the greatest wins we have ever seen in any sport just to make up for one loss.

Yup, 18-1 hurts. Deal with it. Move on. And celebrate the success of 28-3 and eventually a 34-28 win.

19-0 Means More Than 28-3
By Sterling Pingree

What if the greatest pain of your life, could be taken away? Your greatest anguish. What if your greatest “what if this had happened instead”, could just be wiped away forever and in its place, the greatest moment of your life?

Instead of the homecoming queen breaking up with you the night before prom, she called to say her parents weren’t home, she ordered a pizza and invited you over to watch her try on bikinis? That is what it would be like if there was a “It’s a Wonderful Life” sort of deal, where you could trade 28-3 for 19-0.

28-3 was great, but was it even the Patriots greatest Super Bowl victory? Is it distinguishably better than the Silence of the Rams? According to NFL Network, which is counting down the top 100 everything this year and they listed 28-3 as the 9th greatest game all-time. Do you know what ranked 4 spots higher than the greatest comeback in NFL history? If you guessed the Super Bowl 42 debacle in the desert, you would be absolutely correct.

The Helmet Catch is my nightmare. It’s my Bay of Pigs. It’s the video from The Ring. It’s Michael Myers (not the reliever), Jason (not Varitek) and Freddie (not Mitchell) rolled into one blob of unspeakable evil.

18-1 is our Scarlett Letter, our badge of shame.

So if you are to offer me the chance, to trade 28-3, the middle child of “Bill and Tom’s 2nd Most Excellent Dynasty” for the greatest championship ever won in sport, I make that trade every day and twice that Sunday.

19-0. Nobody’s ever done it. Not the ’72 Dolphins. Not the ’85 Bears. Not the ’27 Yankees or the ’96 Bulls. This would be: THE 2007 PATRIOTS: The Gold Standard of sports. The answer to the eternal question of: “Who was the greatest team ever? Why it was the 2007 Patriots and there is no argument.”

It would be as if the Patriots owned the only Lombardi trophy made out of the world’s rarest platinum, while all of the others were made of chocolate, foil and had the Cadbury bunny engraved on them instead of the NFL shield.

Winning 6 Super Bowls is an embarrassment of riches and picking which one you like the best is the champagnest of champagne problems. But sports are about seeing who is the best and 19-0 would have been the best.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.