Many analysts have seen fit to theorize that the legacy of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have taken a downward turn over the last decade or so. After all, the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years early in the 2000’s but haven’t won one since. They have lost two Super Bowls and two AFC Championships recently, the futility is staggering! But I would argue that this time period has enhanced the appreciation for the duo and the team in General.
While most teams in the NFL has had at least one year of re-build mode during the past decade, the Patriots continue to pile up double digit wins every season with only those two men as constants. They have moved from power running to an air it out offense and back again multiple times. They have also managed to become one of the most hated teams in pro sports behind the Yankees, meaning that must be doing something right. America loves winners, they just hate it when they keep on doing it. Add to that hate: cheaters and pretty quarterbacks with big houses and model wives.
When the Brady – Manning bowl rolled into Foxborough it seemed over hyped by the end of the first half. The Broncos came swinging and managed a 24-0 halftime lead on a Sunday night in November, the Patriots didn’t seem like they wanted to get out of their own way. The second half was a completely different story.
Brady and the rest of the offense stopped handing the ball over to the Broncos defense and Manning began to struggle moving the chains. Manning was held to 100 yards passing in the fourth quarter and in a stroke of irony, Wes Welker’s late “kill” signal on a punt in overtime doomed the Broncos and lifted the Patriots to their most meaningful win of the year.
A Manning Brady Bowl II for the 2013 season came via the AFC Championship where the Patriots where utterly outclassed. This sobering reminder brought glee to the Patriot haters and showed that even if Belichick continues doing a great coaching job with a limited roster, lack of talent will eventually catch up to us all.
Nope, it is not Shane Vereen. This is one of those MVP sections that will be a complete waste of time as we already know who it is. You know it will be Brady, your sister who hasn’t watched an ounce of football knows it’s Brady. Even though his numbers weren’t as spectacular as usual and the offense shifted to a more balance run first attack, all you have to do is watch their last second victory against the New orleans Saints to know Tommy Terrific is still terrific. Almost every other player on the Pat’s team is interchangeable in comparison.
The last few year brought us a simple answer to the Patriots woes: Defensive pass rushers. But now that Chandler Jones racked up 11.5 sacks the focus can go to other needs to fill. The one thing that has been missing from the Patroiots arsenal of late has been big play threats on offense. Amendola and Edelman are good at their respective roles but they still need a a big play threat down the field at receiver. A compliment to Gronk would be nice as the previous one has apparently murdered like 20 people.
Way Too Early Prediction
Even though Belichick’s moves have been hit or miss the last few seasons, I expect the Patriots to try and make a splash in the off-season on both sides of the ball. New England can go 11-5 in their sleep while the rest of the AFC East is no where near their caliber. Even with being the giant among the proverbial ants, I think they will just put together another 12-4 season and challenge for home field advantage in the AFC yet again.