In 2003, the New England Patriots opened the season as poorly as possible, losing 31-0 to the Buffalo Bills. Tom Brady threw for 123 yards and four interceptions.
It was bad.
It also didn’t matter.
“We got crushed by Buffalo 31-0 and went on to win the Super Bowl,” former Patriot Dan Koppen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show.
In fact, an opening-season loss has worked wonders for Brady and Bill Belichick over the years.
“We threw out a stat last night: they lost openers in ’01, ’03, and ’14,” Koppen said, “and in all three seasons, they came back and won the Super Bowl.”
So forgive Pats fans if the sky isn’t falling after New England’s 42-27 loss to Kansas City on Thursday. In fact, it may even help the Patriots in the long run.
“Yeah, sure,” Koppen said. “They always say you probably learn more from a loss than a win. It’s the first game. I’ve been in games where we haven’t played so well, and we probably snuck out a few victories that we didn’t deserve. It’s a long season. Fifteen games to go. We’re just going to need more time to get this thing going. . . . The coaches will go back to work, the players will go back to work – they’ll figure it out.”
Belichick, though, will treat this loss differently than he treated the ’03 loss to the Bills – mainly because he has to.
“How he responded then, I don’t think he can really do it now because we pretty much went back to training camp,” said Koppen, who played for the Patriots from 2003-11. “With the rules that they have now and the number of practices they can have, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to get a lot of physical work out on the practice field now, but trust me, whatever he can do, he will take it to the max and those guys will be more physically ready to go next week and they’ll be in a better mental state.”
The Patriots play the Saints in New Orleans on Sept. 17. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.