Tom Brady and the Patriots man handled the Steelers on Sunday, and in doing so they will head to Houston for the Super Bowl for the seventh time on the last 16 years. Seven out of 16. That’s almost half in a league that is literally built for parity. What we are seeing in New England is the most impressive run in sports history, and it’s almost not close.
Since Tom Brady became the starting QB, the Patriots have won 14 division titles, 7 AFC Championship Games, and 4 Super Bowls. What other teams can compare to that?
The Celtics of the 50s and 60s? No. They had like 2 other consistently good teams in that era AND could keep teams together for their whole careers. Impressive to be sure, but not on the Pats level.
The Steelers of the 70s or the 49ers of the 80s? Nice try Chummy. Not a chance. First of all the Patriots have already won as many Super Bowls as either one of those teams during their runs (I’m talking Montana’s 49ers) in an era where it is much harder to sustain excellence. The Steelers and 49ers of these eras didn’t have to worry about a salary cap or free agency (Free agency started in 1993) which let them keep the band together for years on end.
How about Magic Johnson’s Lakers? This one is actually close. From 1980 through 1991, the Lakers appeared in nine NBA Finals and won 5 of them. That is quite a run, but is it as good as the run the Patriots are on? I don’t think so. Again, in that era, free agency wasn’t a thing (it started in 1988) so you could hold on to talent for as long as you wanted. Also the Lakers run lasted for 12 years, while the Patriots run is at 16 (and counting).
You can hate the Patriots if you want. That’s fine. You can hate Tom Brady if you want. That’s fine too. But make no mistake, Tom Brady is the best to ever do it. This Patriots run is the greatest run we’ve ever seen. So soak it in. We get to watch greatness right in front of our eyes every single week. And that’s special.