"Patriots Dynasty Week" reigns supreme on the NFL Network airwaves this week -- suitably celebrating a franchise that has been on quite a run since Y2K.
The Boston-turned-New England Patriots will play their 55th season in 2014, but it wasn't until the modern modern era that the franchise really got hot. Bill Belichick's squad became just the second team ever -- joining the Cowboys -- to win three Super Bowls in four years. Not to mention, the Pats own 11 of the past 13 AFC East titles. Thus, NFL Media deemed this organization a dynasty, and I was assigned to pick an all-time team.
Now, let's get started with the greatest Patriot of them all ...
Quarterback: Tom Brady
Huge surprise. The three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time league MVP might be the greatest quarterback ever. I guess you could say Brady's stiffest competition for this spot would be fan favorite Steve Grogan. But yeah, not much of a competition.
Running back: Jim Nance
Nance was a hoss. I still remember the shock I experienced in reading the back of his football card and seeing that he ran for 1,458 yards in 1966. No one put up those kinds of numbers back then. Nance was the best RB in the AFL in '66 and '67.
Fullback: Mosi Tatupu
Tatupu played tailback and fullback and was a special teams stud for New England. He ran under punts and kicks and ran the football for 13 years with the Patriots, leading the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) in 1983.
Wide receiver: Wes Welker
Wide receiver: Stanley Morgan
"Stanley Steamer" is the best true wideout in Patriots history. While Welker has made his living in the slot, Morgan could stretch the field or play the possession game. His 10,352 yards and 67 receiving touchdowns remain franchise records to this day.
Tight end: Ben Coates
What a great football player Coates was for the Patriots. The two-time first-team All-Pro posted seasons of 96, 84, 62, 66 and 67 catches from 1994 to '98, the most among tight ends in that span.
Offensive tackle: Matt Light
Offensive tackle: Bruce Armstrong
Offensive guard: John Hannah
Offensive guard: Logan Mankins
Center: Jon Morris
Defensive end: Richard Seymour
Defensive end: Larry Eisenhauer
He is a forgotten Patriot. What a D-line the Pats had in the '60s with Eisenhauer, Houston Antwine, Jim Lee Hunt and Bob Dee. Eisenhauer beats out Julius Adams for this spot by virtue of being a regular first-team All-AFL honoree.
Nose tackle: Vince Wilfork
New England greatly missed Wilfork's services in 2013, as a torn Achilles tendon cost the five-time Pro Bowler most of the season. A 10-year vet, Wilfork is considered one of the best nose tackles ever.
Outside linebacker: Andre Tippett
In the 1980s, two outside linebackers truly struck fear in opponents' hearts: Lawrence Taylor and Andre Tippett. The latter posted 35 sacks over a two-year period (1984-85), and made the Pro Bowl five times.
Outside linebacker: Willie McGinest
Inside linebacker: Steve Nelson
Nelson was the ultimate New England Patriot, playing through some of the best and worst times in franchise history during his 14-year tenure -- earning three Pro Bowl nods in the process. The club has him credited with a ridiculous 1,776 tackles.
Inside linebacker: Nick Buoniconti
Known to many as a Miami Dolphin -- by virtue of his role as a leader on the undefeated 1972 team -- Buoniconti developed his game in Boston. Buoniconti's presence on the All-Time AFL Team is mostly due to his time with Pat Patriot.
Cornerback: Ty Law
Law was a master craftsman at his position, intercepting 36 balls in his 10 seasons with New England and generally establishing himself as one of the premier corners in the league. He led the NFL with nine picks in 1998.
Cornerback: Mike Haynes
Safety: Lawyer Milloy
Safety: Ron Hall
Perhaps the one guy on this team that even some diehard Patriots fans haven't heard of, Hall played the safety position at a very high level for the club in the 1960s. His 11 picks in 1964 are still a team record.
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri
Punter: Rich Camarillo
One of the most prolific punters of his era, Camarillo booted the ball all over the park in Foxborough from 1981 to 1987. During that time he averaged 42.6 yards per punt and made the Pro Bowl in 1983.
Returner: Troy Brown
Brown did everything in New England, from being a go-to wide receiver to playing defensive back to ... well ... returning kicks. He ranks 17th in NFL history in punt return yards and took one to the house in the 2001 AFC Championship Game.