By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots' run from 2001-19 was so dominant that it really equaled two combined dynastic runs. As great as they were in the 2000s, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's reign of terror continued throughout the 2010s, too.
That objective reality is reflected in the NFL's official All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Eight former Patriots players made the team, along with Bill Belichick easily grabbing one of the two coach spots. Brady was one of eight unanimous selections.
To be clear, Antonio Brown counts as a former Patriot, so it's not all Patriot lifers. But seven of the selections played at least one season with the Pats and five of them played for four seasons or more.
Brady and Rob Gronkowski were the easiest choices out of New England. But there are some pleasant surprises in here, as well. It shouldn't shock Patriots fans that guard Logan Mankins was worthy of the list, but it's somewhat unexpected that the NFL actually gave him the recognition he deserved. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, whom the Patriots released last month, also made the list after 14 seasons as one of the league's best, most consistent kickers.
Other ex-Patriots on the All-Decade Team who had shorter runs in New England are edge rusher Chandler Jones, cornerback Darrelle Revis, and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. The full team is available at the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
The key word, though, is "former". So guys like Devin McCourty and Dont'a Hightower didn't make the team. And special teams was limited to kickers, punters, and returners, otherwise Matthew Slater probably would have earned a spot.
The All-Decade Team also underlines why Super Bowl XLIX may well be the game of the decade and arguably the greatest professional American football contest of all time. A whopping nine players, as well as both coaches, Belichick and Pete Carroll, made the cut.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].