The Paw Print

Never bet against Brady: a look into a 15 year juggernaut

Jack Leach, Sports Editor

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All humans make mistakes, whether it’s opening up study guides the night before the final exam, or accidently locking your keys in the car with the engine on (I’ve done both).

But, one notorious mistake has consistently haunted my life: picking against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the NFL Playoffs.

It all began on Jan. 18, 2015. The Patriots barely made it out of the Divisional Round with a 35-31 win over Baltimore and now faced an Indianapolis Colts team who just beat the Peyton Manning-led Broncos 24-13, in the difficult weather conditions of Denver. Easy to predict that one, correct? False. The Pats won 45-7 over the Colts, and Brady picked apart the Colts defense for three touchdowns.

Now, move on to the Super Bowl that same year: Feb. 1, 2015. Many people remember this as the “Malcolm Butler Game,” where the rookie cornerback intercepted Seattle’s Russell Wilson on the 1-yard line to seal a Patriots 28-24 victory, with 26 seconds remaining. However, prior to the game, the decision was easy to make on who was going to win; it had to be the Seahawks coming off a convincing 43-8 Super Bowl win against Denver the year before. But yet again, I was wrong, as Brady delivered a 4th-quarter comeback, down 10, to take home his fourth Super Bowl title.

The following year on Jan. 16, 2016, in yet another Divisional Round matchup, the Patriots took on my beloved Kansas City Chiefs; I couldn’t pick against them. That day will forever leave a permanent mark in my memory, as I watched Brady absolutely torch the Chiefs’ secondary for 302 passing yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 win.

The fourth time that I picked against the Patriots simply left me in shock. On Feb. 5, 2017, the Patriots faced-off against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons’ first Super Bowl appearance since 1998, and a chance to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl, gave me reason to take a ride on the Falcons bandwagon. But, I think we all know how this game finished. Brady’s Patriots were down 28-3 with 2:12 left in the 3rd quarter, and ended up coming back to score 19 points in an extraordinary 4th quarter to send the game into overtime; the Patriots won 34-28. Brady finished the game with the most passing yards ever in a Super Bowl (466), the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, but most importantly, a NFL-record for the most Super Bowl wins (5).
After a win like that you’d think I learn by now? Not a chance.

The latest, and final, mistake that I’ve made occurred in this year’s AFC Championship. On Jan. 21, 2018, I chose the Jaguars from “Sacksonville” (Jacksonville) who carried the league’s best total defense, league’s best secondary, and league’s best defensive line, over those same-old Patriots. You’d believe the impenetrable Jags defense could stop a 40-year-old veteran. Nope. Brady, down 10 points with 12 minutes left in the game, orchestrated back-to-back touchdown scoring drives to seal a 24-20 victory, but most importantly, a ticket to Super Bowl LII (52).

I’ve managed to go 0-5 picking against Brady in my career, I’ve managed to spend tireless weeks finding ways to combat the “I told you so” remarks, and I’m tired of the everlasting errors that my underdog-favored mind produces. As long as Brady can play professional football, I will never again pick against the “GOAT”.

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Never bet against Brady: a look into a 15 year juggernaut