Wait, I thought the New England Patriots were done. That’s all I heard about them, anyway, early in the season. Right around week four, questions swirled when the Pats fell to 2-2 after a 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. The biggest doubts were about quarterback Tom Brady; was he done?
New England went on to win 10 of its final 12 games, including seven in a row after the Kansas City romp. They went on to take out the Ravens in the Divisional Round and the Colts in the AFC Championship Game last night, 45-7. No, the Patriots refuse to go away. I fully expected Brady to come out for the post-game press conference in an old school hockey goalie mask ala Jason from Friday the 13th fame.
Since I’m a PR sports nut by nature, some of the numbers and rankings that came as a result of the Pats winning the AFC (again) are impressive.
Sunday marked Brady’s 20th postseason win – more than 21 current franchises. Let that sink in for a second. He’s looking to become the third player to win four Super Bowls, joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. He’s already tied with Troy Aikman with three.
Brady will be the first quarterback to start his sixth Super Bowl, having been tied with John Elway with five. Overall, he will be the second NFL player to play in six Super Bowls (DT Mike Lodish also did it with Buffalo, 4, and Denver, 2). The Patriots will tie the Cowboys and Steelers with eight Super Bowl appearances.
Pats coach Bill Belichick also set a new record, earning his 21st post-season win, passing the great Tom Landry. Belichick also reaches his sixth Super Bowl, tying him with Don Shula. Sunday marked the ninth time in the last 14 years that Belichick’s Patriots were in the AFC Championship game. But Landry still has the ridiculous gold standard here, leading the Cowboys to 12 NFC Championship games in 17 seasons from 1966 to 1983 (still one of my favorite stats).
Meanwhile in Seattle, the Seahawks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring two touchdowns in a span of two minutes to force overtime and eventually put the Packers away in extra time.
Seattle is looking to become the first repeat champion since the 2004 Patriots (of course). Russell Wilson will be the first quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three seasons.
This Super Bowl will mark the first time that the top two seeds in each conference have faced each other in consecutive years. Both teams are well-balanced, but subjectively this might be the team playing the best offensively right now (New England) vs. the team that is playing the best defensively (Seattle).
New England was tops in the league in point differential this season at +155 while the Seahawks were No. 2 at +140. And the Patriots return to the scene of the crime (Glendale, Ariz.) where they lost their one and only game of the 2007 season to the Giants, failing to become the second team to go undefeated throughout the regular season and playoffs.
These are just a few of the early story lines surrounding this Super Bowl match-up between the Seahawks and Patriots. Now we get to wait two weeks to dissect more numbers and breakdown the match-up. And see what other horror movie characters I can compare Tom Brady to.