The New England Patriots have been arguably* the best team of the new millennium, with 3 Super Bowl rings and 5 appearances. Much of their superiority has been driven by the crafty manner in which their personnel navigates the annual draft. But what does every major star need after over a decade of wins and highlights? A greatest hits compilation, of course. In honor of the draft on Thursday, I present to you the Patriots’ greatest draft choices of the millennium, as compared to one of the all time greatest hits albums, Madonna’s Immaculate Collection. Why Madonna? Well because for every Halloween costume cone-bra you’ll see this year (almost 30 years after she first created the look, mind you), you’ll also hear someone talk about how Madge can’t carry a tune and didn’t deserve to sell so many albums. What you won’t hear people debate is the number of albums she’s sold. Sound familiar?
- Track 1. Holiday – The first song on Madonna’s best of album is upbeat and light hearted yet was a monster of a hit, reaching the top 10 in multiple countries, multiple genres and multiple years. Kind of like 2004 1st round tackle Vince Wilfork, who, at 325 pounds likes to joke that he can throw the ball better than Tom Brady and somehow had two interceptions and a TD in 2011.
- Track 2. Lucky Star – Oh Rob Gronkowski (2nd round, 2010), I know you’re going to make everything all ri-i-ght. Just shine your heavenly body tonight.
- Track 3. Borderline – Not a true draft pick per se, but in 2007 New England traded a 4th round pick for Randy Moss. For the first few seasons it was a wonderful relationship but then Moss got needy and told reporters he didn’t “feel wanted” in New England, demanded a trade and then pushed our love for him over the you-know-what like the crazy chick in Madonna’s song.
- Track 4. Like a Virgin – Gosh darn it, why didn’t we draft Tebow?
- Tracks 5. Material Girl/6. Crazy for You/7. Into the Groove – Not every song can be Like A Prayer but each is a favorite to an individual fan. Deion Branch (2nd/2002), Asante Samuel (4th/2003), Julian Edelman (7th/2009), among the many other successful players over the years.
- Track 8. Live to Tell – Slow, kind of boring and not particularly memorable for a woman with so many hits. Sounds like 1st rounder Laurence Maroney from 2006.
- Track 9. Papa Don’t Preach – Only famous because Madonna sang it. Otherwise just a terrible song on its own. Could that be anyone other than 2005 7th round pick Matt Cassel?
- Track 10. Open Your Heart – Didn’t know this song was a #1 hit for Madonna? Neither did I. You may also be surprised that the Patriots used a 1st round draft pick for Daniel Graham in 2002.
- Track 11. La Isla Bonita – International flavor and a solid contributor that makes the whole album better. 2010 5th round punter Zoltan Mesko.
- Track 12. Like A Prayer – The biggest and most obvious of Madonna’s hits can go only to 6th round pick, Tom Brady. Will be fondly remembered 20 to 100 years from now, and always likely to make college girls (and their mothers) jump up and squeal.
- Track 13. Express Yourself – Most expensive music video ever made back in 1989, but a great song and always fun for a dance party. 2005 1st rounder Logan Mankins, whose 2011 deal made him the highest paid guard at the time. With that big red beard also seems like the kind of guy you’d want at a party…or sailing your longship.
- Track 14. Cherish – Isn’t quite at the same level as the single that came before it, but a very good song for the album that would be greatly missed if it weren’t on the disk. Sounds like Stephen Gostkowski, the 118th pick in 2006. Will never replace Adam Vinatieri but definitely glad to have him on the team and not Billy Cundiff.
- Track 15. Vogue – Not as flashy as Like A Prayer but one of the best Madonna songs of all time. Album would never have sold as many copies without Vogue, nor would the Pats have won as many Super Bowls without 6-time Pro Bowler, defensive great Richard Seymour, a 2001 1st round pick.
- Track 16. Justify My Love – Controversial and banned by MTV for showing BDSM among other things. Only tenuously related to a draft pick, but could this go to anyone other than head-stomper Albert Haynesworth (traded for a 2013 5th rounder)?
- Track 17. Rescue Me – Goes to the guy that has protected Tom’s blind side for the past decade, Matt Light (2001, 2nd round) and his heir apparent, Nate Solder (2011, 1st round). Here’s hoping Soldier can live up to his predecessor and not become the 2012 Patriots’ “Give me all your luvin’.”
*those of us from Boston do not understand exactly what people are arguing about