Last weekend’s New England Patriots victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, was described by their own TV station as “America’s worst nightmare”. The five time world champions had reached yet another world championship game this Sunday. Things were made worse by their victory only coming thanks to an overtime touchdown. They came so close to failing at the final hurdle.
So why are they hated?
In a sport that is based on parity, the Patriots have succeeded like no other team. They’ve made the Super Bowl ten times since 2000, winning it five times. The draft system in the NFL should make such dominance impossible. Unlike UK football, where anyone with a pot of cash can buy the best players and management, there is no guarantee of success.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the stars of this astonishing achievement. 41 year old Brady has been been with the Patriots since the sixth round draft in 2000, the year Belichick joined as Head Coach. This double whammy forms the base of their success. The very fact that Brady is still playing when most men of his age have long since retired, is testimony to his preparation and dedication.
Arguably more than any other team, the Patriots know how to win. They have a formula built over 20 years of success. Yes they have an outstanding Head Coach, but they’re not afraid to mix things up. Belichick was rumoured to have created 11 plays the night before their AFC playoff game, and given it to the players in their hotel the night before the game. They successfully used those very the next day, even though they hadn’t a chance to practice them on the field. That’s either incredibly lucky, or sheer brilliance.
So will the Patriots win Super Bowl LIII by beating the Los Angeles Rams? We’ll have to wait and see, but the Rams will have to play at their best to upset the odds.