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It's OK, Pats, fans, let it go and accept the likely reality: the Carolina Panthers will become the second team in NFL history to finish a regular season undefeated at 16-0.

Last night's game against the Giants was the last big hurdle for the Panthers in their quest for an undefeated regular season. The Giants made a blowout interesting by battling all the way back from a 35-7 deficit in the second half to tie things up at 35-all with under two minutes to go in the contest. And then Cam Newton, the odds-on favorite for league MVP, ran an 8-play, 49-yard drive to get his team into field goal position, with Graham Gano booting home the 43-yard field goal as time expired to push Carolina's record to 14-0.

With just two games remaining in Atlanta and home against the Buccaneers, there's a really good chance (virtual certainty?) the Black Cats will match New England's 2007 season and chisel out some space alongside the Pats in the annals of NFL history.

It's easy for Pats fans to hold onto 16-0, which is still an incredible accomplishment even if Mike Carey robbed them of 19-0 when he should've blown his whistle for a sack of Eli Manning on the David Tyree play even if New England couldn't hold on and close the deal in Glendale. When 16-0 happened, the country agreed that it would never been seen again in the NFL, a league designed for parity and where "Any Given Sunday" isn't a cliche but a way of life.

But, the 2015 Panthers are the real effing deal, and if they do finish the (regular) season undefeated, the Patriots will be the first to congratulate them on the accomplishment, because as team president Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 The Sports Hub yesterday, the Pats aren't the Miami Dolphins when it comes to celebrating other teams falling short of history.

"God bless [the Panthers]. We're not the Miami Dolphins popping corks," said Kraft. "It's about winning the Super Bowl...We love the Panthers. [Owner] Jerry Richardson is a close friend of our family's and if they can accomplish it it's an awesome feat. I think Cam Newton is great for the league...from everything I've read he's been really fun to watch this year and that's good for the NFL."

So yes, Pats fans, don't resent the Panthers and their success hoping that they slip up and fall short of making history. That's what those fossils down in Miami do each and every season as they hold on to the one aspect of their now miserable lives that give them any sense of living and purpose on this planet. We're better than that. If the Panthers can go 16-0, give them a golf clap and welcome them into the club...

...And then root for them to lose in the postseason because if the 2007 Patriots can't go 19-0 THEN NO ONE GETS TO GO 19-0 DAMMIT.

Photo credit: ABC 11

Mark Burke 12/21/2015 06:48:00 PM Edit
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