Was Sunday’s win No. 1 in Patriots’ lore? It’s close
You can always count on the New England Patriots to provide one thing, both off the field but this time of year even more so on: drama.
They are Drama Kings in January and early February. But with all that drama, they usually rule the day or night. You can always count on the Patriots to provide plenty of conversation the next day.
That being said, where would Sunday night’s epic AFC Championship win in overtime rate over the Kansas City Chiefs?
Best all-time? Those who leap to say yes are basically living in the moment. It’s been debated on social media, etc., and we all know the thrills and chills this team has provided.
What about the first Patriots-Rams Super Bowl, the first Super Bowl victory the Patriots have ever had, the one that began this incredible run in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era? While it wasn’t completely back and forth, it had the ingredients of a last minute drive and an Adam Vinatieri championship-winning field goal.
Remember the reaction of Brady, pushing Drew Bledsoe as you could see him saying “We won!”. Contrast that with his incredibly joyous reaction on Sunday night, which was telling.
“That was as an emotional game as certainly I’ve been through I think in a long time,” Brady said Monday on his weekly paid WEEI radio appearance. “…What a great win from our team. We fought through a lot of adversity all year. … You play sports for a lot of reasons, but something like that, that happened (Sunday) night is a game we’ll always remember for the rest of our lives.”
Just like we remember the 28-3 Super Bowl comeback over Atlanta. That has to rate right up there. Just like we remember Malcolm Butler’s interception in the Super Bowl win over Seattle.
And what about the back-and-forth Super Bowl win over Carolina? That also was one by Vinatieri at the buzzer, so to speak.
It’s tough. What stands out lately is what you always remember. We’ll go 28-3 number one, followed by the first Brady Super Bowl, followed by Sunday night for a top three. Don’t think anything can eclipse the historic comeback over the Falcons that forced sports scribes to completely rewrite their stories.
But common denominator is Brady and his game-winning drives. It never ends. As Patriots safety Devin McCourty said of his thinking when the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, “I’ve seen this before. … I’m going to get comfortable.”
And watch more history.
“We’re always comfortable when we know we have to drive down the field,” Gronkowski said. “Yes, we never won every game when it came down to those situations, but you’re always comfortable with Tom going down on the drives.
“He’s always prepared, he’s always ready for these moments, and that’s why he’s the greatest quarterback hands down. … He always knows who to go to, who is going to be open.”
The feeling of returning to the Super Bowl and the reality of facing the Los Angeles Rams has settled in by now for these Patriots. But after one of the best games in franchise history, it was still a blur.
“We’re juiced, but we’re not super juiced,” Gronkowski said right after the game Sunday night. “We’ve still got to put the work in. It’s going to be another battle. … It’s the Super Bowl, it’s going to be awesome.”
Will it join the other top games of this Brady-Belichick run?
The way the Patriots love their on-field drama, don’t be shocked if it does.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.