Why Buffalo Bills Fans Should Appreciate Tom Brady and the New England Patriots
During the Patriots’ 43-17 rout of the Bengals last Sunday, both Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth mentioned that Tom Brady was 37 years old. The mentioning of Brady’s age instantly sparks the question of how much longer does Brady have left to play?
While that question might surprise some, it’s only natural to wonder when a 37-year-old players career will end. Much like Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, John Elway and all the other golden boy quarterback’s before Brady, they can all defeat every opponent except time.
Sep 8, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Time is the only element that never fails to derail our favourite athletes careers. Their bodies slow down, the game catches up to them, and players like Brady slowly become a memory of yesterday’s glory. Sadly, time inevitably makes most of our favourite athletes transient figures.
But instead of being dejected by that fact, we can cherish the little time we have left to watch players like Tom Brady. We can cherish the moments when Brady evades pressure with his footwork, or enjoy the pre-snap reads he makes on 3rd-and-7 to hit a receiver for an open first down, or marvel at the way he stands in the pocket, scans his first read all the way to his fourth read, only to revert back to his first read, before delivering a strike down the field.
But it’s not just Brady that is worth appreciating. The New England Patriots decade of dominance is more than worth appreciating, it is simply remarkable.
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In an NFL era where the salary cap constricts rosters from keeping talent intact, the Patriots have constantly found a way to make it work. New England has been so good for so long now that it’s easy to take for granted just how remarkable they have been.
11 straight seasons of 10 or more wins, playoff appearances in 10 of the last 11 seasons, 7 AFC Conference Championship appearances in the last 11 years, 5 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Super Bowl titles in 13 years. That quick rundown of accomplishments is just a small scope of what the Patriots have been able to accomplish during their modern-day dynasty.
At the forefront of all this success has remained one constant though; Brady and Bill Belichick.
When it is all said and done, the duo of Brady and Belichick will rank right up there with the all-time greats like Walsh and Montana, Staubach and Landry, Levy and Kelly. Certainly high praise for any player-coach tandem, no matter what sport.
Dec 29, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
For Buffalo fans, regardless of the hate they have developed for Tom Brady and the Patriots over the years, they can undoubtedly sit back and appreciate what Brady and the Patriots have been able to accomplish. After all, the Patriots American mythology with Tom Brady was built-in a way that resembles the Bills good fortunes with Jim Kelly.
Even though Jim Kelly was picked much higher in the draft then Brady, both players share an unusual path to greatness. For Kelly, the Bills were fortunate enough to retain him after the USFL folded. From there, the Bills would start one of the great runs in NFL history, rattling off four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady’s infamous story started when the sixth-round pick out of Michigan got a chance to replace starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe following a Mo Lewis hit. From there, the Patriots would start this dynastic run, where we would all witness events like the tuck rule, or the underdog championship win over the St. Louis Rams, or the 16-0 season, or even the lost Super Bowl’s, we all remember it.
But much like the Bills’ Super Bowl runs of the early 90s, they don’t last forever. Eventually this Patriots dynasty will come to an end and we can all really look back on it and ruminate at what was. But for the time being, let’s savour the greatness that is, if not for the results they have generated, then for the consistency they have been able to able to establish in the craft of football.
But if history has taught us anything in today’s world of few absolutes, it is that this dynasty won’t last forever. So enjoy this Sunday when the Bills take on the Patriots, because who knows, this could be the last time the legendary Tom Brady lines up under centre at Ralph Wilson Stadium.