Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Names 2007 Patriots Greatest Team of All-Time

We don't disagree.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

The 2007 New England Patriots were just one catch away from achieving immortality (and finally shutting up Don Shula and the ’79 Dolphins once and for all). After a 16-0 regular season, the Pats hoped Super Bowl XLII would de the capstone. But an improbable drive from Eli Manning and the New York Giants, propped up by a one-in-a-million catch by renowned bigot David Tyree, stole history from Tom Brady and company.

The loss still stings for many Patriots fans, and while a similar loss in Super Bowl XLVI four years later didn’t help matters, New England’s most recent championship has made it all a little bit easier to swallow.

As of Friday, there’s some new solace for Pats fans.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has named the 2007 Patriots the greatest NFL team of all-time, despite its glaring lack of hardware, topping a ranking based on Elo ratings. Take that, Shula.

What is Elo, you ask?

The Elo rating, as longtime FiveThirtyEight football readers will recall, is our pet metric for evaluating a team’s skill level at any given moment. Elo is hardly the only power rating in town, but we like it because it’s a relatively simple algorithm with an elegant, endlessly customizable design that makes the most of the information it receives.

The 2004 Patriots, meanwhile, came in second.

“Many readers will doubtless slap an asterisk on their accomplishments, what with Spygate, Deflategate, Radiogate and the like,” Neil Paine writes. “But in the sense of pure statistical dominance, Elo says the best Patriots teams have no historical equal.”