For the more dramatically minded of New England Patriots fans, the dynasty of the ‘immovable’ NFL powerhouse ended on Sunday, February 4 2018.
In going down 41-33 to Philadelphia Eagles, the immortality that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady once appeared to boast was shown for the finite entity it is in reality. By extension, the porous nature of the New England Patriots’ defence was a prime indication that the now-former champions are easier to read than ever. Also telling is the fact that the pressure rate on Brady at Superbowl LII was, according to Football Outsiders, more than double that which he experienced at the 2017 event. To add further fear into the heart of Patriots fans, Robert Kraft himself is 76, he too could have thoughts of stepping away from the spotlight, having been a part of the Patriots’ surge since its very genesis.
Can Brady and Belichick share a Superbowl again? This question was posed two days after the Patriots’ defeat to the Eagles.
Bookmakers’ confidence in Patriots unshaken
Back in 1999, long before the advent of sports betting via mobile phone, the New England Patriots had an 8-8 record, which meant they were tied for fourth place in the AFC East. The team had never won the Super Bowl, having made just two appearances in 1985 and 1998. Robert Kraft’s decision to hire Bill Belichick for the head coach position was the first of two major decisions that would get the Patriots to where they are today. The second was to make their 199th pick in the NFL draft a quarterback called Tom Brady. Their first year together was very much a learning process, and the team went 5-11. However, it would be the last time the team had a losing record, and when Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots became a force to be reckoned with.
Love them or hate them, this Patriots dynasty has been very special, and ESPN is one amongst many media outlets that still admires Brady. It may never be seen again in the NFL, and it continues despite the franchise’s defeat in Superbowl LII. This is illustrated in no uncertain terms by Betway, who (as of February 6, 2018), price the Patriots at just 5/1 to win Superbowl LIII exactly one year from now. Some teams have periods of success, but a golden era of nearly two decades is near-impossible, with shrewd drafts often proving to be game changers. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel though for everyone else, and especially everyone else in the AFC East.
The latest odds for Superbowl LIII in February 2019 reflect undying faith in Brady and the Patriots. Jacksonville Jaguars, the underdog upstarts of 2017/18 are also now 22/1 to win the next Superbowl, implying that the franchise’s own surge was just a flash in the pan.
The `B` Factor
Regardless of how good a coach Belichick is, the Patriots won’t be the same without Brady. Now widely regarded as the greatest of all time, the team are going to feel his loss when he goes. You’d still expect Belichick to be successful in his absence and it’ll be fascinating to see how much difference it makes. That noted, the only coach older than him in the NFL is the man that he replaced, Pete Carroll. While there is no reason to believe that he will retire anytime soon, he may only have a few years left before he calls it a day on his career, especially if he can’t find a good quarterback after Brady.
There will be a time where Robert Kraft isn’t the owner, Bill Belichick isn’t the head coach and Tom Brady isn’t the quarterback. The first of those to go will likely be Brady himself, and it will be at this point that knowing how to bet shrewdly becomes important. He can only hold off the effects of time for so long, and although he could yet experience an ‘Indian Summer’ his days as a pro are more ‘numbered’ than ever. Once it becomes clear that Brady no longer has a place, it will be a huge test of Belichick and Kraft’s collective nous to keep the franchise’s momentum going.
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