Why the ‘Golden Boy’ won’t miss Pats’ golden opportunity

Larry Flynn

The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005.  It was their second straight championship after defeating the Panthers the previous year, and it looked as though a 27-year-old quarterback with three rings already under his belt would go down as one of the all-time greats.

We all know the story of Tom Brady.  Once selected as one of the final picks in the 2000 NFL draft, Brady gave Patriots fans years of entertaining playoff matchups against Peyton Manning and the Colts.  

Just as often, however, was the heartbreak that came twice at the hands of the younger brother of Brady’s top rival: Eli Manning.  In 2007, the Patriots were 18-0 heading into the Super Bowl, looking to make history with the second ever undefeated season in NFL history.  Against the Giants, who were only 10-6 in the regular season and snuck in as a Wild Card team, the national media declared this game as good as over.  

Despite a 14-10 New England lead in the waning minutes of the season, the Giants pulled off one of the most improbable victories in Super Bowl history.  On third and five, Manning made one the greatest Super Bowl plays of all time, nearly getting sacked before throwing a 32 yard bomb that was miraculously caught by the helmet of seldom used David Tyree.

After five years, the once vintage New England defense was no longer the terrorizing force it had been, and Randy Moss had become a ghost of previous successes.  The Patriots, instead, had moved to their lethal two tight end sets, and were one of the more prolific offensive teams in the NFL.  

They were up against a familiar opponent, the New York Giants, this season after a successful run to Super Bowl XLVI.  Yet again, the Patriots found themselves in a nearly identical situation.  

Up by two with just under four minutes to play, New England was against struck down by the ‘Football Gods’ with Mario Manningham’s spectacular tip-toe catch on the sideline to put New York in New England territory yet again.  

Over the next two years, the injury riddled Patriots lost to the Ravens and Broncos in consecutive years.  Now it’s 2015, 15 years after Bill Belichick believed in Tom Brady enough to draft him, and the Patriots have a chance to redeem themselves for past Super Bowl disappointments.  

But let’s all be honest – this ‘legacy’ isn’t about the New England franchise.  This Super Bowl is about a chance for Brady to cement himself as the greatest quarterback of all-time.  

We know Brady is clutch, has the ability to make his receivers better, and led his team to the “promised land” in the past.  But to win two Super Bowls, one 10 years after the other, would be a nearly unrivaled athletic accomplishment.

Think of it this way: you’ve got arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, who finally has a healthy receiving core (looking at you, Rob Gronkowski), an elite defense for the first time since Tedy Bruschi retired, and all the stars are aligned to bring another title to “Title Town.”

It’s nearly the same situation as last year’s NBA Finals.  The San Antonio Spurs weren’t going to lose to the Heat again after their heartbreak in 2013, it was as simple as that.  The X’s and O’s went out the window; it was about veteran leadership and destiny.

Call me a romantic, that’s fine.  But this year is the Patriots time to shine.  Talk about destiny?  

Could Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman’s injuries come at a more opportune time for New England?  

Doesn’t the storyline of Tom Brady defeating a team Peyton Manning could not beat just add to its all-time legacy?  

What about “deflate-gate” putting the spotlight on a quarterback who performs best with a chip on his shoulder?

The opportunity has finally come for the “Golden Boy” to bring a title back to Foxborough in the most golden opportunity of his storied career.  The Seahawks had their chance last season, but the Patriots’ time is now.


Score Prediction:

Patriots 21, Seahawks 17