Tuck: Patriots' Brady, Belichick Playing For History
34 seconds. That is what separated Joe Montana and Bill Walsh from a Super Bowl XXIII win against the Bengals. Without that time, we may have viewed them differently today.
Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll certainly had their close shaves too. What if Jackie Smith hadn't dropped the ball and become the sickest man in America?
As we review history, we start with the BOLD print at the top. It simply reads champions and MVP's. That is where the best ever conversation begins and typically ends. We don't worry about what could have been, only what was. Not how it got to be, only how it ended up.
Expectations are always high in New England. Onlookers always give them a chance with a simple sentence: They still have Brady and Belichick.
The Pats have had their doubters this year, even within their own fan base. And why wouldn't they? They allowed nearly 5000 yards passing against them, which was more than any team in NFL history previous to this year (only Green Bay this season kept them from the worst mark of all-time). The franchise that won 3 titles in 4 years did it with Brady, Belichick, and defense. The last one has been missing in action for a few years. And so have the Super Bowl titles.
The Pats didn't beat a team with a winning record all season. The only playoff team they beat was 8-8 Denver. There are plenty of reasons for many to doubt them this year.
Yet, with the Packers and Saints eliminated, Vegas has crowned the Patriots the overwhelming favorite remaining. Through history many teams, in all sports, have won titles while not having the best team that season, but simply having the pieces fall into place for themselves and around them. This is what has happened for the Patriots. Flawed and questioned, but it's sitting right for them to take.
History will detail how it all happened, but we will simply reference the BOLD HEADLINE: BRADY AND BELICHICK WIN FOURTH TITLE.
Both are already in the conversation for the best ever at what they do. Winning it in a year where they weren't supposed to will ultimately only help their cause. I mean, it's not like their previous titles came easy, or in the case of the first one, were even expected.
This year would just considered Brady beating a great Ravens defense and then either overcoming another great one in San Francisco or avenging the loss to the Giants four years ago in the Super Bowl.
For Belichick it would be his creativity with his roster management. Figuring out the puzzle and plugging in Oakland practice squad players like CB Sterling Moore or playing wide receivers like Julian Edelman or Matthew Slater in the secondary.
It has been seven years since they last ruled the football universe together. Time and opportunities are running out. Brady and Belichick are playing for now, and for history.