In recent years Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots have always started an NFL season as many peoples favourites following 3 Super Bowl triumphs in the Brady-Belichick era. With that being said the team haven’t lifted the Lombardi trophy since 2004 and have also fell at the final hurdle twice in 2007 and 2011. For most franchises going deep in to the postseason is still considered a successful campaign but for the Patriots it’s win the big one or bust.
This is at the forefront of New England’s mind especially heading in to a season where the GQ quarterback Tom Brady will be 37 come kick-off time on September 7th. You can certainly argue that the window is closing for the legendary although it has been said as well as mentioned often that Terrific Tom could play in to his 40s. Personally I would put him in a bracket along other sporting legends who’ve enjoyed success in their twilight years such as Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United.
So with that being said whilst looking at Brady’s career in recent years it is clear to see that he can still get it done and hasn’t deteriorated even with a receiving cast last year that including rookies along with no real superstars to throw to. A fourth Super Bowl ring would almost certainly cement Brady as the best quarterback of all-time; I mean who could argue with 4 Super Bowl wins and 6 appearances on the grandest stage of the all. If that happens this year retirement will naturally be thrown out there by the media but regardless of whether the Pats win it all this year I think Brady will play for at least another 3 seasons, including this one, as that would mean he would be 39 when the 2016 season starts and potentially could signal the end of his career.
Regardless of when Brady and Belichick leave New England one things for sure you have to say that with these two at the helm of the organisation as well as taking in to consideration that New England have added to a roster that made the AFC Championship game last year you’d definitely put the Patriots as one of the favourites to represent the AFC come Super Bowl 49 in Arizona just after the turn of the new year. They’ll have to contend with the likes of the Denver Broncos who they had an arms race with this past off-season during free-agency. A Brady vs Manning AFC Championship game is well on the cards again when you look at the rosters assembled by New England and Denver but don’t count out a young Indianapolis Colts team that is led but a superb young quarterback in Andrew Luck who just gets better and better as he prepares to enter his 3rd season in the NFL to shake things up for the old dogs in this conference.
The Pats last made the Super Bowl in 2011 and since then have also made the past 2 AFC Championship games so naturally any Patriots fan will have high hopes for New England to make it to the big game but after unfortunate injuries down the stretch in recent years and the fact that the Patriots in general have been spoilt for success over the past decade I personally am looking at the 2014 season through more objective eyes. New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.
Along with a revamped secondary the young Pats will have big roles to play in 2014
New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.
On offense the Patriots have added Brandon LaFell to the likes of Julian Edelman as well as second year players Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins with Dobson in particular being predicted for a breakout season. It is clear to see that this offense of the Patriots has potential with Rob Gronkowski being the key player to any success that the offense looks to have with his blocking for the running game as well as drawing double coverage in the passing game being key. That’s along with the fact that when he receives the ball he is one of the best players in the league especially at getting in to the end-zone and putting points on the board.
With that being said Gronk has struggled for injuries in recent years but if he can stay healthy, especially in the playoffs, then the Patriots have a real shot to go all the way in 2014. For now though I’m sure they’ll be honing their skills and getting back to basics whilst focusing on getting their passing game back to top notch for the 2014 season. If the offense can get it going this season along with a defence that has the potential and players to create a unit that will rival the legendary defensive units from the past 3 Super Bowl winning teams then you’d say that New England has one of the most well equipped rosters in the National Football League and has all the tools to make it to Phoenix Stadium in 2015 with the franchise having a shot at winning it’s 4th NFL Championship.
Does a healthy Gronk in the postseason equal a Super Bowl victory for New England?