The New England Patriots dynasty has been declared dead so many times over the last decade it's hard to keep count.
Lots of people have looked foolish for saying the Patriots' unprecedented run was over just six or seven years ago, and then New England won three more Super Bowl titles in a five-year span.
This season really does feel different, though. The Patriots are 2-5 and have lost four consecutive games for the first time since 2002 after Sunday's 24-21 defeat to the Buffalo Bills.
Rex Ryan, the former NFL head coach of the Jets and Bills who's currently an analyst for ESPN, emphatically stated that the Patriots' dynasty is finally over.
"It's over. It's flat out over," Ryan said Monday morning on ESPN Radio's "Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin." "They're four games behind Buffalo, really 4.5 games behind them because they lost the head-to-head battle. And they're not going to win a wild card (playoff berth). The playoff run is over, pass the torch to the Buffalo Bills. It'll be interesting, I think they're going to end up being behind Miami when it's all said and done. We'll see.
"This is what I thought was coming, and I told everybody that they had no weapons the last three years, but they had the greatest player in the history of our game in Tom Brady. You see how great he is -- he took this team to the playoffs and actually won a Super Bowl two years ago.
"So, to me, it just shows also that the greatest player in the game has a hell of a lot bigger impact than the greatest coach in the game."
The Patriots certainly have an uphill battle toward the playoffs, there's no denying that. Only seven teams since 1990 that have started a season 2-5 battled back to earn a postseason berth.
Still, the Patriots' schedule is not too difficult down the stretch, and they have what looks like an easy Monday night game in Week 9 versus the winless New York Jets that should instill some much-needed confidence in this team.
All good things eventually come to an end, and the Patriots' dynasty could in fact be done, but it's still a little too early to fully bury them.