This past weekend, the New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl for what seems like the millionth time.
From the view of someone who doesn’t avidly follow the National Football League (NFL), the Patriots and Tom Brady seem to be the only team that matters and are nearly a shoo-in for the Super Bowl.
It was, however, pointed out to me that the Patriots are not the only team that matters, they are not a shoo-in for the Super Bowl and this may be the last year we see their dominance.
To see if any of these statements held water, I did a bit of digging.
Since 1966, the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl nine times (including this year). But they aren’t even first in that category — that would be the Pittsburgh Steelers with 10.
Of the nine times the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl, they have won it five times. But they aren’t even first in that category: the Steelers also have more Super Bowl wins with six.
The Patriots are tied with the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers.
They have neither attended nor won the Super Bowl the most.
Though they are at the top of the pack in both regards, they aren’t the most dominant team in NFL history.
Over the past 20 years, 11 different teams have won the Super Bowl, creating a genuine sense of variety and a feeling not knowing the who the year’s winners might be once the off-season begins.
Of course, you’ll have the big historically backed teams, but there is always the chance that the Eagles or the Buccaneers or the Saints will win — variety is there.
Unlike what I previously thought, there are other teams that matter in the NFL and ones that work to dethrone teams like the Patriots, Steelers and Cowboys.
Take this season for example. The New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs all dominated, each posting 10-plus win records.
In comparison, the Patriots struggled this season, losing five games — the most they have lost in the regular season since 2009.
Regardless of their past success, teams managed to crack the once unbreakable wall that was the Patriots and deliver blow after blow.
They lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would end the season 5–11.
To say that the Jaguars suck may be an understatement: they are positively horrendous, much like watching milk go bad.
Losing to them, the Lions, the Titans and the Dolphins is more than just an off season, it’s a sign of a new dawn approaching.
When the post-season rolled around, Brady delivered as he usually does.
He power-crunched some almonds, looked at a pile of kale and spinach and made it to the Super Bowl.
Now, all he has to do is beat the Los Angeles Rams — a team that boasts one of the best offenses in the game (the Patriots are the only team that has more total yards than them), one of the best defenses in the league and the undisputed best defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald (who is possibly the most valuable player in the league as well).
Now, this is Tom Brady we are talking about here.
He is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He has five Super Bowl rings. Five.
He is, however, turning 42 in August. Peyton Manning retired when he was 39. Time is no longer the ally of Tom, and he can’t keep drinking the elixir of life.
Sooner rather than later, he will step onto the hallowed grounds of Gillette Stadium for the last time.
This Super Bowl may be Tom’s last shot at getting a sixth ring (an astounding statement in and of itself).
Bill Belichick will soon be flying back to the cave with Nosferatu and Dracula, but for my money, this will be the end of the Patriots’ dominance, the last that the tyrants will rule over the postseason.
But who knows — it’s postseason Tom Brady, and the Super Bowl is going to be in Atlanta, Georgia, in the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The weather is predicted to be in the low 30s when they play. Tom Brady is 24–4 all-time in sub-30 temperatures and 5–1 in sub-20. I think the numbers speak for themselves.