By Maximillian Burgos | Contributing Writer
For far too long Tom Brady has lit up defenses in the National Football League. Bill Belichick may be a good coach, Tom Brady can be a good — even great Quarterback — but is anyone as tired of the two of them as I am? The New England Patriots are like any other team on paper. They have players that do not fit anywhere else in the NFL, but have outlandish levels of success.
They have had a lot of success for years, almost too much success now that they have won their fifth Super Bowl with Brady at the helm. The Patriots have won the AFC East every year since 2003, with the expectation of 2006 and 2008. They have also won seven AFC Championships since Brady became the starter. The only quarterback to beat Brady in a Super Bowl twice is Eli Manning — and the New York Giants. Every team has their time in the sun, but the Patriots seem to be soaking up the sun from every other team in the AFC.
Yet again, the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl this year and somehow managed to win after falling to a deceit of 25-points. It is a joke that they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by nineteen points to get to the Super Bowl. The Steelers come in strong with an explosive offense and a veteran defense, yet did nothing to stop the Pats from steamrolling their way into the Super Bowl. The Patriots beat a team that matched up really well. They did not only beat them, but embarrassed them. The Steelers had seventeen points, but truthfully, seven of those points they scored were more mercy points.
Though, I am sick of hearing about how great Brady and the Patriots are, they do seem to make something out of nothing. It is almost awe-inspiring how they take receivers and other players that would be mediocre at best somewhere else and turn them into genuinely good assets for the team.
This past year, we saw Chris Hogan, a virtual nobody in the NFL, be a threatening receiver on the Patriots. He had an amazing year despite not be selected in the 2011 NFL Draft and pretty much being a bench player everywhere else he played. He was on the San Francisco 49ers for a few months in 2011. Then was signed to Giants practice squad in the same year for all of a day.
Then in December of the same year, the Dolphins signed him, only to cut him after their offseason training camp. After a few lackluster years on the Bills, he shines on the Patriots this past year.
Hogan is an actual example of a player that had no success other than on the Patriots. He did not have a thousand-yard season or any crazy stats, but he did; however, gain 180 yards in the playoff game against the Steelers, helping them seal a playoff victory. It seems like the Patriots just have a nose for possible success stories.
Another example of the Patriots doing something with a player that was questionable at best is Patriot fan favorite, Julian Edelman. In his fist four years in the NFL, he was a nobody. Then, in 2013 he had a breakout year that shocked most football fans. After being nothing more than a return man and bench receiver, he had his first thousand-yard season in 2013. Since then, when Edelman is healthy, defenses make sure to keep him bottled up, to contain his threat of speed.
Even the Patriots go-to running back this past year, LeGarrette Blount shined. He had not had a thousand-yard season since 2010, battling injuries, and having some mediocre performances. His rookie year, he showed a glimmer of promise, taking six-years before he showed it again, rushing for more than 1,100 yards this past season.
Blount scored 18 touchdowns, making him a critical part of the Patriots success. Anywhere else, Blount may still have been a story of what could have been, but now he will be remembered a crucial part of a Patriots Super Bowl winning team.
Any team with the tools that the Pats have could be good, but not great. For some reason, the Patriots are consistently a force to be reckon with. Some great defenses, like the Broncos and Seattle defenses, have shut the Patriots down. For the first time this year, in a long time, they were shut out completely in a game, as they lost 16-0 in Week 4 to the Buffalo Bills.
Granted they were shut out without Brady — who was serving the final game of his four-game suspension — but that cannot be the only reason. Maybe that is a sign for things to come. Brady is getting old [39-years-old] and so is Belichick [64-years-old}]. Without a reliable backup or rookie quarterback that the Patriots can groom into a good starter, this might be the Patriots last hurrah.
Maybe they can finally leave some space for other teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders to shine. Maybe the other teams in their division can finally step up and do something for once. The Patriots were 5-1 against the AFC East this season with the only loss to the Bills on Oct. 2, 2016.
In the end, though I am tired of the Patriots and the legacy that they have created in recent years, I must give it to them — five Super Bowl rings in sixteen-years is impressive. Maybe it can all be chalked up to superb coaching. After all, Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick that was almost passed up by the entire NFL.
Now he lives forever among the greats. Some may argue that he is the best that ever lived, but in all fairness, he has almost always had a good supporting cast. If the Patriots did not have the underrated defenses they had or the players around Brady that could catch the ball, where would his legacy be today?
Brady is on record as saying that he wants continue playing the game for a while longer, but he is 39 years old now. And he even turned down advances from his wife Gisele Bündchen to retire following Super Bowl LI in Houston on Sunday. How much longer can he really play? In recent memory, we have seen how fast Quarterbacks can fall apart at the end of their careers, I’m looking at you Peyton Manning.
Now that Brady has won his fifth, though it is unlikely, can he just ride into the sunset with his supermodel wife and leave the AFC alone? It would be nice to see another team in the AFC East to be successful in the same way. Maybe the Bills with all their talent can make a miracle happen and end the seemingly endless playoff drought. Maybe the Dolphins can r-create this past season’s success and keep Ryan Tannehill healthy. The Jets, well, they are just a story for another day.