Super Bowl Preview: Destiny vs. Dynasty meets in Houston
The 2005 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles was dubbed as a showdown between the team of destiny and the team of dynasty. Fast forward 12 years and that same slogan applies to the 2017 Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
For 16 years, the Patriots have mirrored themselves as the football version of the San Antonio Spurs: droning excellence on the field and painfully boring in front of the mic. The partnership between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady mirrors that of Spurs head coach Greg Popovich and Tim Duncan as the lone constants of reign of dominance that has spanned a decade and a half.
Although when I see Belichick and Brady, Darth Sidious and Anakin Skywalker seem to be a more fitting comparison. Regardless of how powerful of a player Brady is, Belichick is more powerful and Brady never dares to break rank. He has remained subservient to the end and even serves as the chief enforcer of the football cultural empire that is “the Patriot way.”
Belichick lost Drew Bledsoe to injury like Sidious lost Count Doku in “Revenge of the Sith.” In that movie Sidious said, “His loss was a necessary one. Soon I will have a new apprentice, one far younger and more powerful.” That quote also applies to Belichick and Brady.
Hell, Belichick even wears a hood like the dark lord of the Sith. For a coach with as legendary of a resume as Belichick has, one would think he would wear something more dignified than a hoodie. But that has long been a symbolic icon of his success, covering up everything but his grumpy face but showing the Patriots logo and all its glory.
The Patriots are playing in their record ninth Super Bowl and a victory would give Brady more championships than any other quarterback in NFL history. That’s usually all it takes for fans of the other 31 teams to hate them. Spygate, Deflategate and New England have basically became a math equation, but a chance at witnessing history and the juicy moment of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handing the Lombardy Trophy to Brady after being able to suspend him for the Deflategate scandal that actually occurred two years ago may actually negate the hate.
The Falcons, appearing in only their second Super Bowl, stand in the way of history. 31-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan was drafted with the third overall pick in 2008 to be the franchise savior and is now one win away from the climatic moment of a quarterback’s career. Entering the big game with an NFL leading 117.1 passer rating in the regular season and a 7-0 touchdown to interception ratio in the postseason should be enough for Ryan to get the MVP award.
Both of the participating quarterbacks are not without their fair share of weapons. Devonta Freeman (1,079 yards, 11 touchdowns) of the Falcons and LeGarrette Blount of the Patriots (1,161 yards, 18 touchdowns) are two physical running backs that open up the passing game for their respective quarterbacks. The Falcons have the physical, athletic talents of Julio Jones (1,409 yards, 6 touchdowns) while the Patriots have the speedy, shifty Julian Edelman (1,106 yards, 3 touchdowns) with the methodical approach similar to Brady. The Patriots also have Chris Hogan (680 yards, 4 touchdowns) as the deep threat and Martellus Bennett (701 yards, 7 touchdowns) has stepped up nicely as the top tight end in Rob Gronkowski’s absence due to injury.
The success of the Falcons’ offense isn’t just in merely having Jones catching all the passes but having two other receivers in Mohamed Sanu (653 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Tyler Gabriel (579 yards, 6 touchdowns) also getting in on the action so that the defense can’t over-commit to one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The additions of those two receivers made the league’s top ranked offense complete.
However, the Falcons are taking on the league’s lowest scoring defense in the Patriots. The top ranked offense has faced the top ranked defense in the Super Bowl six times with the defense winning five of them.
My Prediction: Atlanta’s top ranked offense prevails and finally wins a championship.
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