Tom Brady entered Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles coming off one of the best seasons in his hall of fame career. Just seizing his third MVP trophy and on the verge of his sixth super bowl ring. Then on February 4th, 2018 the world came collapsing around Brady and the Patriots. Despite throwing for over five hundred yards Tom Brady saw his chance at another Super Bowl ring slip right through his fingers. As Nick Foles hoisted the Lombardy trophy controversy surrounded the Patriots following the benching of number one corner Malcolm Butler. During the legendary dynasty of the Patriots there have been devastating losses but none had eve felt like this one did, this loss cut deep.
The offseason only validated the divide inside of the walls of Gillete Stadium. Thirty one of thirty two quarterbacks showed up for voluntary passing camp and OTAS the only one who did not Tom Brady. The once brushed aside story of a crack in the foundation of the Patriots dynasty had become a reality. Belichick and Brady very much seemed at odds as Bill traded away Brandon Cooks, and let one of Brady’s most reliable targets in Danny Amendola walk away in free agency. As the season came along it was hard not to think that the dynasty was coming to a close.
Tom Brady was quoted saying that “this team needs a great quarterback”. The question however remained could the aging legend still be a great quarterback? For much of the regular season Brady looked like a 41 year old quarterback. He seemed slow on his reads, he was not stepping into his throws the way he use to, and was ducking out of throws to avoid contact even when it was not imminent. Brady finished the season with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on route to leading the Patriots to an 11-5 record. The team appeared to be mentally soft going 3-5 on the road. Losing to the dreads of the league in the Lions, Jaguars, and Dolphins. With a home divisional game against the 12-4 Chargers around the corner the Patriots appeared to be in danger of a first round exit.
As the Patriots walked out of the tunnels onto the turf of Gillete Stadium in front of a sold out crowd it was hard not to remember what Brady said about this team “it needs a great quarterback”. That statement remained true and despite an up and down season Brady came out of the tunnel with one goal. To be the best player on the field for the next sixty minutes. The Patriots went onto to embarrass the Chargers jumping out to a 35-7 halftime lead. They became the first team to score a touchdown on its first four offensive drives in a postseason game. After the Patriots 41-28 playoff win Brady stood on the field during a postgame interview with CBS letting the world know that the Patriots heard the noise. Brady embraced the underdog roll saying “I know everyone thinks we suck, and can’t win any games,”. What lied ahead was a trip to Arrowhead stadium to face the prolific Chiefs offense and rookie sensation Patrick Mahomes. a game that everyone expect the Patriots thought they would lose.
Following a season where the Patriots had proven they could not win on the road consistently. Winning a game in the most hostile environment in the NFL seemed all but impossible. Tom Brady showed everyone once again why picking against him is asking for trouble. Leading his less talented roster to an overtime victory and a chance at redemption. Converting three consecutive third down throws setting up Rex Burkhead’s eventual walk off touchdown. 364 days filled with drama and controversy. 364 days of thinking about the one title that got away.
The Patriots and Tom Brady will have a chance to play for the Lombardi trophy against the Rams exactly nineteen years after winning their first one. No one can predict what will happen on Sunday. But if the Rams are going to win this game they are going to have to give up their lives. Since Brady has giving up his already.