I wanted to take a Super Bowl vacation from the Patriots. You wanted to take a vacation from the Patriots. (OK, OK. I know there are three, maybe even four, Patriots fans in The Gazette’s reading area.)
Oh, well. We’ll once again watch Bill Belichick scowling and Tom Brady throwing those pitty-pat short passes on the game’s ultimate stage. A dark dynasty marches on.
Death. Taxes. The Patriots in the Super Bowl.
It’s only going to get worse. Brace yourself: The Eagles have no chance. The Patriots will win the Super Bowl, and three or four area fans will celebrate. The rest of us will hope, against hope, for a Patriot-less 2019 Super Bowl.
The Jaguars and Patriots battled Sunday for the AFC title, and the NFL title. The NFL’s two best teams have already done battle in a scenario similar to two seasons ago when the Broncos edged the Patriots before annihilating the Panthers.
Jacksonville made a gallant effort. As the fourth quarter began, the Jaguars were jawing and dancing and dreaming. They were up 10, and a journey to the Super Bowl was right there, beckoning from close range to a franchise that won 17 of 80 games from 2012-2016.
Think of all the fresh Super Bowl storylines if the Jaguars win. Blake Bortles, the young quarterback, silences critics. Doug Marrone, one of football great grumps, brings a new style – slightly different than Bill Belichick – of frowning to the Super stage. Tom Coughlin, football’s grand old man, shows how stupid the Giants were to dump him. Calais Campbell, Denver South High grad, travels from homeless teen to the Super Bowl.
Instead, the same ancient song.
Tom Brady overcomes the most publicized hand injury in American history, erases that 10-point lead and overwhelms every sports observer in America with his precise, poised, courageous performance.
Well, every observer except one.
“I mean, look, Tom did a great job and he’s a tough guy,” Patriots coach/voice of doom Bill Belichick said in that disgusted whisper of his. “We all know that, alright? But, we’re not talking about open-heart surgery here.”
Listen, I admire excellence. Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, with apologies to Joe Montana, John Elway and Peyton Manning. Belichick ranks as the finest American team coach since Vince Lombardi.
Their partnership has led to reality-defying dominance. The Broncos have traveled to eight Super Bowls since the breakthrough Orange Crush season of 1977. The Brady-Belichick Patriots have earned eight Super Bowl journeys since 2002.
That’s frighteningly, and boringly, powerful.
Yes, there are a few reasons to hope for the legions who despise the Patriots. Brady turns 41 in August. He says he’ll play until he’s 45, but I have my doubts. I only see him making it to 43 or 44.
Here’s the good news for our future and the NFL’s future:
Most of us will outlive the Brady-Belichick football marriage, the most dominating in the game’s history.
Their reign won’t last forever. It will just feel like forever.