On Sunday, the New England Patriots faced off against the favored Kansas City Chiefs with a Super Bowl berth on the line. Despite entering the game as underdogs, the Patriots opened strong; quarterback Tom Brady led two scoring drives in the first half, capped off by touchdowns from running back Sony Michel and receiver Phillip Dorsett. In addition, the Pats defense held the Chiefs — the NFL’s highest-scoring offense —to a scoreless first half. Despite this astonishing feat, the fourth quarter and its questionable penalty calls overshadowed the beginning of the game. After a roughing-the-passer call against the Chiefs extended the Patriots’ drive with three minutes left, the Patriots went on to score a go-ahead touchdown, putting them up 24-21. Minutes later after regaining the lead, the Chiefs were called for an offsides penalty, negating an interception that would have won them the game.
It was not just penalties that favored the Patriots, but also the overtime coin toss. The Patriots received the ball to start the overtime period and mounted a 65-yard scoring drive to end the game and secure a victory. Of course, media personalities had a wide range of takeaways following the game. Mike Reiss, an ESPN sportswriter, praised the Patriots’ “pedigree” and posited that the Pats to be one of the longest dynasties in not only football, but in all of sports. On the other hand, Max Kellerman, also of ESPN, spoke more to Tom Brady’s luck and the poor officiating, whether it was a penalty that revoked an interception or the controversial Chris Hogan pass on the final Patriots drive of the fourth quarter which sent the game to overtime.
So the real question must be asked: were the Patriots truly lucky, or was their win Sunday night a show of dominance that has seemed to become a regularity over the past twenty years under head coach Bill Belichick and Brady? With a roster lacking star receivers Josh Gordon, who was dismissed on drug abuse violations, and Brandin Cooks, who was traded this offseason, the Patriots somehow made it back to the Super Bowl. While luck may have played its part in Sunday’s upset victory against the Chiefs, the consistency with which Brady and Belichick have won over the past few seasons cannot be understated.
Tom Brady now has nine Super Bowl appearances, more than any other team in NFL history. Brady’s super bowl track record is not a coincidence, but rather a show of excellence that has cemented this Patriots dynasty as one of the most dominant. Brady will compete for his sixth Super Bowl title against the Los Angeles Rams Feb. 3.