Here we are again. In the Super Bowl, for what feels like the trillionth time since 2001. It seems appropriate for it to feel that way since their 7 Super Bowl appearances in that time span is one less than the Steelers, Cowboys, and Broncos each have in their franchise's history. Yes it’s been a historic run for the Patriots, with the numbers ranging from Super Bowl appearances, to division titles, to NFL passing records for perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever throw a football. The Patriots have seemingly done it all since Belichick took the job, and Patriots fans have been spoiled with the fruits of their labor.
As the Patriots made their historic run though, there was something confusing me. I never really understood the campaign the Patriots came up with as their social media hashtag for the playoffs. #OneMore? One more what? “One more win” someone said. I don’t get that. We needed three more wins. It’ll work well as the hashtag now because we actually do need one more win at this point, but what did it actually mean. When I first saw it, I thought it meant one more championship. Which I didn’t get at all. One more? No, don’t ask for one more, win as many as you can. I want to win every single one. Are they saying one more for Brady? For Belichick? Is someone retiring and the team is trying to tell us through a mysterious Twitter hashtag? What’s happening? I don’t think anyone is actually retiring, but I am wondering what they we’re saying. I want and expect more than one more, I want to win again next year and the year after but, what if it end up being just one more? I’ll get back to that later.
Talking about Belichick and Brady’s legacy… it’s tough. There’s pretty much nothing to say that hasn’t been said. It doesn’t get any better than what they both have done. Belichick, who’s been working in football longer than the majority of people on earth have been alive, will be heaped with praise all week, along with his QB. Unlike the last Patriots’ Super Bowl appearance which was dominated by questions of deflated footballs, this one will be dominated by the media drooling all over the greatness of Belichick and Brady. You might not be able to change the channel without seeing a graphic across the bottom of whatever program you’re watching saying “Are Belichick and Brady the best coach-QB tandem of all time?” It will be roughly 312 straight hours of talking heads filling time with questions like that, you might even get sick of it, the Falcons fans will likely be expressing their nauseation all over Twitter, but Brady and Belichick, they’ve earned it. They’ve come a long way since being the underdog against the Rams in 2001. Or since being drafted 199th overall. Or since being fired by the Cleveland Browns of all teams.
It did start a little last night, when a reporter asked Bill for his thoughts on Tom and himself, this being their 7th Super Bowl appearance. Belichick's response? “The numbers are nice and all that, but it’s really about this team and this group of players.” That’s about the response you should expect to get from Belichick all week. Any question like that will get an answer about this team and this year, because as any winner will tell you, the most important title is the next one. We may never get the answer we want from Belichick who, despite working his whole life to be where he is right now, may never acknowledge the greatness of what he’s done. Brady didn’t take many questions. He got a DeflateGate/Goodell question, which we will also unfortunately get a lot of this week. (We’ll have to battle through those)
One more win, and they’ll have 5 Super Bowls together. FIVE! More than Montana, more than Bradshaw. For both Brady and Belichick, it’d mean having more Super Bowl wins than any coach or any quarterback in the history of the NFL, and for Belichick in particular, it’d mean tying the coach whose name is on the trophy in championships won. (Lombardi won 3 before the Super Bowl era and two after.) It’s a number that we’ll be hearing all week. Five.
More than all that it’s the consistency that you’ll never see again. It’s all about championships, and it’s not like we’ll get to experience that again either, but winning like they do every year has never been done before. After last week, we have the most consecutive conference championship game appearances in NFL history, and we also set the record for most consecutive division titles back in December of this season. You just don’t get that kind of constant winning as a fan in the NFL. That’s Bill Russell level consistency. I can’t stress this enough to Patriots fans: appreciate this! You will never see a run like this again! Never! We, as fans, are so lucky to be able to watch the Patriots now, and don’t wait until 30 years from now to look back and really appreciate the greatness the Patriots are displaying.
And it’s that hashtag that I go back to. #OneMore. I still don’t like it. I don’t think they wanted it to mean one more title but, it could. When you look at where we are in this run, we’re not at the beginning, and I don’t think we’re at the middle either. If you we’re writing a book, there’d probably only be a few chapters left. So what if? What if this is it? What if this is really #OneMore? One more chance to be cemented as the greatest. One more chance to add to their legacy. What if this is one more chance for us? To watch Brady and Belichick play in the Super Bowl? What if this is one more opportunity for Brady to lift that Lombardi trophy on the 50 yard line after winning the last game of the year? What if this is the last time? I’m not saying you should expect it to be, but I’d advise you to treat it like it will be. We shouldn’t take these things for granted. Atlanta is playing in their 2nd Super Bowl in 51 years, we’re playing in our 7th in 16. As Boston sports fans, we’ll never see a run like this again, and if that one more hashtag means more than we think, you might be disappointed that it went by without being able to take a moment to appreciate what you were watching. #OneMore?
Photo Credit: (The Lead Sports)