It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Patriots amazed the world. When their quarterback is Tom Brady, nobody should. This football team just overcame the largest deficit in the craziest game on the biggest stage. Brady has cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game and he proved that his team should never be counted out when he and head coach, Bill Belichick, are at the helm.
This dynasty began with the best decision the Patriots organization had ever made in the 2000 NFL Draft. Brady was taken in the sixth round as the 199th overall draft pick, but not before six other quarterbacks were selected before him.
Chad Pennington (first round, 18th overall, New York Jets), Giovanni Carmazzi (third round, 65th overall, San Francisco 49ers), Chris Redman (third round, 75th overall, Baltimore Ravens), Tee Martin (fifth round, 163rd overall, Pittsburgh Steelers), Marc Bulger (sixth round, 168th overall, New Orleans Saints) and Spergon Wynn (sixth round, 183rd overall, Cleveland Browns), were all taken before the greatest quarterback of all time and that is main reason their names are still known today.
The pick only happened because Belichick had to absolutely use that pick, as it couldn’t be traded to another team even if he wanted to since it was a compensatory pick. Belichick thought that Brady, at the time, was the best option at quarterback still on the board. Even though Brady would sit on the bench for his rookie season the fourth quarterback on the depth chart, Belichick kept him on the team.
Fast-forward to the 2001 season, when former Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe took a blindside hit from New York Jet Mo Lewis, which forced him out of the game and inserted Brady. The Patriots would go all the way to AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in an ironic situation, Brady was hurt and Bledsoe saw his first game action since his life-threatening injury. Bledsoe took over, threw for an 11-yard touchdown to David Patten and led the Patriots to a 24-17 upset over the Steelers to punch a ticket to Super Bowl XXXVI.
The big game featured “The Greatest Show on Turf,” as the St. Louis Rams had presumably the best offense in the league, with Kurt Warner as quarterback, Marshall Faulk at running back and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce at wide receiver. The Patriots defense forced turnovers and Brady eventually led his team down the field for a game winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri, claiming his first Super Bowl ring.
Belichick’s supreme confidence in Brady during that last drive to get into field goal shows the trust that the two have cemented over the last 17 years and it only continues to grow. Two years later, Brady and Belichick would find themselves in a similar situation.
In Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Patriots looked to claim their second title against the Carolina Panthers. In an interesting matchup where neither team could score in the first and third quarters, they combined for a total of 868 yards and 61 points in the second and fourth quarters.
It went back and forth for the most part and it was up to Brady to lead the Patriots down the field again for a field goal attempt from Vinatieri. The kick went through the uprights, as the team rejoiced around their clutch kicker and was determined to make some noise the following season.
Brady and Belichick were aiming to do something that no one had ever done in the National Football League, which was win three Super Bowls in a span of four years. In Super Bowl XXXIX, the Patriots would get their chance against the Philadelphia Eagles.
During the third quarter in a surprising situation, Belichick used his magnificent mastermind to his advantage when he inserted linebacker Mike Vrabel to lineup as a tight end on the offensive side of the ball. Brady found Vrabel for a 2-yard touchdown, giving the Patriots the lead.
Later in the fourth quarter, Vinatieri came on for the first time in a non game-winning scenario, but it was kick to make it a two-possession game. The kick went through, giving the Patriots a 10-point lead, which was enough to come away with another Lombardi Trophy.
Brady and Belichick had established a dynasty and one that nobody thought would ever be repeated. It is true that they know the sourness of defeat, as they had a chance at a perfect 19-0 season in 2007 when they fell to the New York Giants 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. David Tyree’s improbable catch, where he pinned the football to the crown of his helmet helped pave the way for Eli Manning to march into the endzone.
Four years later, they had a chance for revenge against the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, but came up short once again. Up 17-15 with a minute remaining in the game, Belichick opted to let the Giants score an easy rushing touchdown by Ahmad Bradshaw to allow Brady enough time to work down the field and score himself.
The Patriots were unable to march to the other end zone and the Giants took them down again in the Super Bowl, still leaving Brady and Belichick seeking for their fourth championship.
On Feb. 1, 2015, the Patriots would find themselves in the biggest game against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, New England was down 24-14, in what was seen as impossible to come back from since no one had ever come back from double digits to win a Super Bowl.
Tom Brady changed the course of history, as he connected with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman for touchdowns to give his team the lead with 2:02 left in the game. It appeared that the Seahawks were going to win back-to-back titles, as they found themselves on the Patriots’ 1-yard line with the clock ticking under 30 seconds to play.
In a surprising play call that we still question today, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass targeted for Ricardo Lockette, but was undercut and intercepted by Malcolm Butler at the goal line. After a scrum that led to an ejection, Brady took the final knee for a 28-24 victory, claiming the fourth title that he and Belichick have gotten together.
There was talk about Brady being up there with his idol, 4-time Super Bowl champion and 49er quarterback Joe Montana, to be recognized as the greatest to ever play the position.
Brady underwent a series of investigations pertaining to the supposed use of deflated footballs, in which Roger Goodell eventually handed him a four-game suspension. This last season ending with Super Bowl LI would change everything, including an awkward moment that Goodell never wanted to be involved in.
The Patriots faced the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL’s 51st Super Bowl, with the number-one scoring defense facing off against the number-one scoring offense. The Falcons took a 28-3 lead in the third quarter and it all seemed over, but not before Brady reminded the audience of how good he truly is.
The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history was 10 points, where Brady accomplished the feat two Super Bowls prior. This one would be from 25 points down, just astonishing that it could even seem possible. Brady led his team down the field for a field goal, two touchdowns with a two-point conversion on each occasion, then brought the game into the first overtime in Super Bowl history.
The coin toss is the strength of the Patriots and since the team to get the ball first can drive down the field and score a touchdown to win the game, Brady and Belichick weren’t going to let this one slip out of their hands.
A pitch to James White for a 2-yard rush ended all the talk of whether Brady and Belichick were the GOATs (greatests of all time) and this victory solidified any questions that any haters would still have. The Patriots, led by the master mind of Bill Belichick and the greatness of Tom Brady, brought home their fifth Super Bowl title, the most by any coach-QB duo in league history.
As part of a generation that has been watching Brady since kindergarten, many of us have grown up watching the greatest quarterback of all time through our childhood all the way to our adulthood. Some of us will be college graduates and this guy is still playing. If we have ever asked to witness greatness, we just did.
Tom Brady. Bill Belichick. Don’t ever question the GOATs.