Vikings fans can take some solace in the fact that there are fans of 30 other teams that are as envious of the New England Patriots as we are. Ho hum, the Patriots won again. New England’s reign of terror under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has become almost comical…almost. In a game where the best online sportsbooks like Intertops were dealing the Pats as slight favorites and a total that was in the upper 50’s, the game in no way resembled those odds. Instead we received a game that was the anti-thesis of the regular season in that it was a defensive battle the likes of which we hadn’t seen since the Vikings were in the Super Bowl in a year that had tons of high scoring masterpieces that were partially responsible for the uptick in ratings the NFL had.
It was a defensive struggle from start to finish, with the punters doing all of the heavy lifting. To start the game, the Rams punter Johnny Hekker had punted more than he had in any game all season (capping off the first ten or so “drives”). Tom Brady and Jared Goff were supposed to be immersed in a contest of aerial heroics where the game would be decided in the waning moments. It didn’t play out like that as the defenses on both sides were stout, but the Patriots had a not so secret weapon named Julian Edelman whose stellar play essentially decided the outcome. When the dust settled the Patriots came out on top 13-3, and TB12 now has his sixth Super Bowl ring. It’s good to be a Pats’ fan, but fear not Vikings’ fans, our time will come… Or so I’ve heard.
Julian Edelman, who served a four-game suspension to begin the season, had this to say about the game and his Super Bowl MVP award:
“It was a crazy year,” he said when interviewed by Jim Nantz during the postgame interview.
“I was just trying to go out and have a good week of practice and do a good job.”
“It just matters that we won.”
Edelman is a dyed-in-the-wool disciple of Belichick who gives dry, canned answers to the press and disparages no one. However, he also happens to be one of the most prolific playoff pass catchers of all time, accumulating 1,412 receiving yards in the playoffs, trailing only the great Jerry Rice. Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards in Super Bowl 53, eight of which resulted in first downs. He was so open at points in the first half that color man Tony Romo couldn’t hide his amazement.
One item of interest was the overwhelming support the Patriots had in Atlanta. Anyone watching the game could hear that the Pats fans were far more vocal than the Rams backers. Edelman said as much when he noted, “It was like a home game here.” Something that isn’t supposed to happen with the neutral setting of the Super Bowl. However, the location is determined well before the teams win their way there, and fortunately for the Patriots Atlanta is a lot closer to New England than Los Angeles (not to mention there’s a lot of talk about just how popular the Rams are in Los Angeles).
Perhaps it is the Patriots Way that gets the results the rest of the league envies so much. When LA’s running back Todd Gurley meandered to the podium on media day, just days before the Super Bowl, he sported more ice around his neck than a skating rink. When Deion Sanders pointed out the glare reflecting off the not so subtle piece, Gurley responded, “I don’t rock nothing less than 100 ($100,000) around my neck.”
Now can you imagine any member of the Patriots being even remotely as cocky as Gurley, who by the way, had 10 carries for 35 yards? It’s almost laughable to think about yet it is exactly what defines New England as an entity built on team first, and personalities second, third or even last.
Now compare Gurley’s remarks with Tom Brady’s, who delivered the following when asked about the haters and those who have nothing but contempt for New England’s perennial playoff and Super Bowl appearances.
“What do we do about the haters? We love ‘em,” said Brady. “We love them back because we don’t hate back. We appreciate it, we love them, and we wish them the best in their life.”
It hurts, even more, when Belichick’s boys don’t counter with inflammatory remarks because it gives us very little to chew on. Villains are supposed to act like villains but when they don’t, it makes it even harder on the rest of us. Maybe next season our Vikings will show the rest of the league how it’s done but until then, the Patriots continue to reign supreme and will seemingly be the team to beat next season and until Brady decides to hang it up.