New England Patriots

‘The Dynasty': Takeaways from Episodes 3 and 4 of Patriots doc

Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry, and Michael Holley react to the Apple TV+ series' third and fourth episodes.

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Episodes three and four of "The Dynasty", Apple TV+'s 10-part series chronicling the New England Patriots' unprecedented 20-year run of success, were released Friday.

Episode 3 focuses on the late stages of the Patriots' historic playoff run in 2001, specifically the AFC Championship Game win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Super Bowl XXXVI upset victory against the St. Louis Rams. Episode 4 mostly covers the historic 2007 season and how Spygate impacted the NFL, the Patriots franchise, and the players and coaches who were on that team.

We all know the story. The Patriots were caught breaking league rules by taping the New York Jets' signals during Week 1 of the regular season. Thus, the Spygate scandal was born. The Patriots used the controversy as motivation to finish the first 16-0 regular season in league history and ultimately earn a berth in Super Bowl XLII versus the New York Giants. Despite being heavy underdogs, the Giants pulled off a miracle win late in the fourth quarter to stun the Patriots and ruin their perfect season.

Our Michael Holley and Tom E. Curran covered the team at the time and were interviewed for the docuseries. Alongside fellow Patriots insider Phil Perry, they shared their takeaways from the third and fourth episodes and how the 2007 season impacted the team during NBC Sports Boston's "The Dynastic Post Show."

What did they think Spygate would do to head coach Bill Belichick's legacy at the time, and what do they think it's done to his legacy now, almost two decades later?

"So in 2007, in real time I said he'll be fine, they're the best team in football, they'll win," Holley said. "The tapes are destroyed and everyone will know they just won it. But they lose to the Giants, and then Tom Brady gets hurt in 2008, and in 2009 they lose to the Ravens. They didn't win in 2010 or 2011. Maybe that's going to be the (headline). Bill Belichick: Never won after Spygate. I thought that would happen.

"But the legacy is just how raw it is for people, even to this day, and how Eric Mangini never got back into the family, and how Bill started to push people away after Spygate because he didn't know who to trust. And how Steelers fans, and former Steelers players, still believe they were robbed of Super Bowls because of Spygate. There's still ripples from this 17 years later."

"The Dynasty" director Matthew Hamachek reveals what it was like to talk to Bill Belichick about Spygate

The on-field component to the story of the 2007 Patriots is pretty interesting, too. They didn't just win every game in the regular season, they absolutely destroyed teams. The Patriots scored 589 points that season, which was a record until the 2013 Denver Broncos scored 606. And in the footage and interviews with players during Episode 4, it's pretty clear this team embraced the role of being a villain and wanted to dominate everyone in their path.

But it all came crumbling down in the Super Bowl, where the Patriots scored just 14 points. And despite New England taking a late lead, the defense allowed Eli Manning and the Giants offense to march down the field and -- aided by David Tyree's improbable helmet catch -- score the game-winning touchdown.

"I found the aftermath and the reaction to it -- of course, how dominant they were was fun to watch -- some of the aftermath of the Super Bowl itself and just how hard that loss was on players and coaches," Perry said. "You had Jonathan Kraft talking about how players were crying and throwing up in the locker room, seemingly because they were that upset."

What was it like being around the 2007 team?

🔊 Patriots Talk: Dynastic postgame show: Takeaways from episodes 3 and 4 | Listen & Subscribe

"It was jarring. It was mourning," Curran said of the Super Bowl aftermath. "... It was as if everybody had just seen somebody die who was close to them. I remember during that week I went to dinner with Belichick, Keyshawn Johnson and a couple of Bill's friends from Nantucket who he had grown up with. We all went out to dinner and Bill was very relaxed. He was very relaxed. He looks at me and at one point says, 'So what do you think the big story is this week?' I'm like, 'People are wondering whether you're going to go undefeated, Bill.' It was really interesting to watch that unfold.

"And for Bill to say after the game, 'We let you guys down,' we did all see it coming, to a degree. The narrow breadth of their (late-season) wins. They were down 10 to the Giants (in Week 17). They barely got past the Baltimore Ravens. They barely got past AJ Feeley and the Eagles. They were not dominant in the AFC Championship Game. But you never expected -- the Giants were, in the Super Bowl, exactly like the 2001 Patriots were against the Rams. They beat the hell out of the Patriots."

The 2007 Patriots are probably the best team -- in the history of any sport -- that didn't win a championship. That in itself will always be fascinating. But it's everything else that happened around the team that season, particularly Spygate, that will make stories and content about that group of players and coaches so compelling forever.

You can watch the full breakdown of the third and fourth episodes of "The Dynasty" below, or on YouTube:

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