Bet on Brady-Belichick Super Bowls always being super close
We are preparing for the drama.
The New England Patriots are playing in yet another Super Bowl – actually an NFL record 10th – and as usual, there are all sorts of side stories.
We have Tom vs. Time as well as The Two Bills, two documentaries perfectly timed to annoy the Philadelphia Eagles. The Gronk Watch. The Chris Long Salary Giveback. LeGarrette Blount’s Revenge. And on it will go.
But you know where the real drama takes place when it comes to the New England Patriots and Super Bowls?
Try on the field.
Take away the incredible 46-10 mismatch against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX, and perhaps their 35-21 loss in Super Bowl XXXI, they’ve all been close. Even in that Packers loss it was 27-21 in the third quarter.
But all the others have basically kept you on the edge of your seat. The Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Patriots never win these games in a blowout. Their five wins have been by a combined total of 19 points and their two losses by a combined seven points. Games many think they should win by a lot, they don’t. And the first loss in Arizona, Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots were heavily favored, chasing unbeaten history.
It really is incredible. Brady and Belichick won their first two Super Bowls with last second Adam Vinatieri field goals. They were supposed to get blown out by the Greatest Show on Turf, the St. Louis Rams, and that never happened.
The Patriots in 2004 were loaded, and in that 2005 Super Bowl, even though they were pulling away in the fourth quarter, they still were tied at 14 with the Eagles entering the fourth quarter.
And of course you can’t top the drama of the Malcolm Butler interception vs. Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX or last year’s amazing comeback vs. the Falcons and win in the first overtime Super Bowl ever. That was proof positive Brady-Belichick Super Bowls never end up as blowouts, even when it looks like it (28-3).
How come? It’s hard to figure. Remember in the first, oh, 25-30 years of the Super Bowl, blowouts were the norm. Not with these Patriots.
Belichick bristled the other day at a question of the team not being able to score in the first quarter of any of their Super Bowls. “Yeah, all of the negative stuff in the Super Bowls we need to be aware of, too,” he said sarcastically.
Is it a lack of familiarity with the NFC opposition? Hard to imagine.
“There isn’t a team in the league that isn’t covered by the pro personnel department,” Belichick said, “because in a fairly short amoutn of time in a couple of months, we’ll be into free agency, and there will be players from every team in free agency. So you can’t neglect a team, their roster and their composition, which includes scheme and coaching staff…”
One wonders, though, if this is the time the Patriots take it to the opposition. Why? It’s the quarterback mismatch, Nick Foles vs. Brady. The Carson Wentz Eagles received a lot more respect.
But taking the Foles QB’d Eagles lightly would be a mistake.
“He won games in the league, was a Pro Bowler,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said of Foles. “Soe he is more than capable of leading this team to wins and victories and winning the Super Bowl.”
“They’ve been productive in every game,” Belichick said. “They move the ball and score points in every game.” Indeed, the Eagles weren’t supposed to make it here after Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury but they kept on keeping on.
“They’ve been wire to wire,” Belichick said. “They’ve been the top team in the league from opening week to heare we are down to the final competition. Give them a ton of credit.”
Right now, and for the next week, it will be the mutual admiration society. The Patriots Super Bowl presence, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said, speaks for itself.
“Obviously it’s a credit to what the Patriots have done, their careers, their history,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to win championships like that.”
Yeah, and the Patriots do it in dramatic fashion. Tom vs. Time? Over time, when it comes to Super Bowls, Tom vs. the Other Team is a harrowing, heart-stopping experience.
This one may be no different.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.