I only began to forget how good it felt to win it all. It was a storybook ending to hoist the Lombardi trophy once again at the venue where Tyree’s helmet catch took away our perfect season. It wouldn’t be the Patriot way to be America’s darling en route to our 4th title in the Tom Brady/ Bill Belichick era. New England loves to be hated, and we surely have plenty more coming our way.
Looking back on this season, the New England Patriots played the villain role to the ‘T’, except, you know, actually coming out on top. Deflategate? Cheaters! LaGarrette Blount quitting on the Steelers to be picked up by his former team? Collusion! Tom Brady? Whiner! And gets all the calls for it!
There will always be haters. America gets sick of greatness over a duration of time. The Patriots began their reign over the NFL as David who slayed Goliath (played by The Greatest Show on Turf), and 13 years later find themselves as the most hated franchise in sports. The perception that this consistent dominance is tainted by cheating is merely weak whimpers by envious fans across the globe.
Is this franchise clean? No. Was Spygate a big deal? Absolutely. But to take away credit for what these Patriots teams did over this span of time is nonsense.
Here is a couple of links to other NFL teams currently going through investigations of ‘cheating’:
This isn’t to say the Patriots should be forgiven for the things they have done. This is simply to point out that teams are going to find any way to gain an advantage come game day. The Patriots aren’t alone when it comes to breaking rules, but they are alone when it comes to consistent dominance in the NFL.
Jermaine Kearse put that all too familiar taste in my mouth. How can a franchise be dealt this scenario three times in a row?
At the elderly age of 37, Tom Brady won his 4th Super Bowl, becoming the 4th oldest quarterback to win it all (technically the 3rd oldest as John Elway won two at an older age). In 3 postseason games, he average 307 passing yards, completed 68.9% of his throws, threw for 10 TDs, posted a 100.3 passer rating and 78.9 QBR. It was statistically his best performance that led to a Super Bowl title. His physical ability unquestionably has decline a little with age, but his ability to dissect opposing defenses clearly hasn’t diminished.
Bill Belichick once again proved that he is a genius and arguably the greatest head coach in the history of the NFL. His ability to completely flip a game plan week-to-week to take advantage of his opposition was solidified as he schemed short passing plays to nullify great pass rushers, then put together run-heavy drives to break down weak run stoppers. He is the polar opposite of the Pete Carroll Seahawks, who couldn’t give a damn of what their opponent does, and sticks to what they do best.
As much credit Brady and Belichick are given for this historic run, we can’t take for granted what it means to have talent on defense. Between Super Bowl victories, the Patriots went through a phase of mediocre and poor defensive personnel. Finally, Belichick went into last year’s offseason looking for key defensive players. Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Patrick Chung were essential to clogging the huge leak that was the Patriots secondary, and the emergence of Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Chandler Jones gave the defense some form of pass rush and athleticism on the front 7.
This wasn’t a team full of high end talent. Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and Danny Amendola don’t exactly bring the physical tools that will leave you shaking in your boots. Their running backs proved to be interchangeable. Remember Jonas Gray? Remember how our offensive line couldn’t create a pocket? Good times.
This years Patriots were a team predicated on great coaching and effective scheming. When you add a quarterback that will ultimately go down as one of the greatest to play in the sport, you have a recipe for success.
And boy does it taste good!