That invincibility seems to be gone. The once untouchable Tom Brady has been brought back down to earth since his dynasty years at the beginning of his career. Brady and his Patriots, who were once 3-0 in Super Bowls with Brady under center, are now a disappointing 0-2 in their last two trips, leaving the question of will Tom terrific ever win another Super Bowl?
Its been eight seasons since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl, which feels like an eternity to Patriots fans today. After winning three Super Bowls in his first four seasons as a full-time starter, Brady and the Patriots haven’t held up the coveted Lombardi trophy in almost a decade.
Since that Super Bowl XXXIX win, Brady has been to the playoffs seven out of the last eight years, he missed the entire 2008 season after having surgery on his knee from an opening day injury, and hasn’t been able to capitalize and win that elusive fourth championship.
Over the course of his career, Brady has compiled a long list of impressive accomplishments year in and year out, but in New England, success is measured in championships, not individual awards. While Brady holds records like most TD passes in a season (50) most consecutive pass attempts without an interception (335) and most consecutive wins at home (28), it’s that fourth Super Bowl that Brady is searching for.
Brady’s playoff record since 2001 is an impressive 17-7, but when it’s broken down from when he won his first three Super Bowls to after the 2005 season, there is a big difference. Brady started his playoff career going an incredible 6-0, culminating in three Super Bowl’s in his first four years. After the 2004-05 season, the last season he won a Super Bowl, Brady is a mediocre 8-7 in the playoffs,with losses in each round of the playoffs and two losses in the Super Bowl, both to the New York Giants.
The late minute magic that Brady seemed to gush in his first four seasons doesn’t seem to show up as often as it use to. Brady needs help if he wants to win another Super Bowl and that help has to come in the form of better defensive play and a steady running attack.
There are two significant differences between the Super Bowl championship team that Brady was apart of in the early 2000’s and the team he has had the past few seasons, and that is a good defense and a solid run game. Offense for the Patriots has never been a problem, Brady has always had a plethora of weapons to throw to, but the team of the early 2000’s had a championship caliber defense filled with veterans, and a 1,000 yard rusher in Corey Dillon.
Football is a team sport and one man can’t do it all himself and as great as Tom Brady has been over his career, he needs help. They say defense wins championships, and the Patriots haven’t had a good enough defense to get them their fourth Super Bowl, but they are making progress.
Moving up in the 2012 Draft to select defensive players Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower has paid immediate dividends, but it has been the secondary that has been plagued with issues. The trade for corner Aqib Talib right before the trade deadline helped make the Patriots secondary much better than what it was last year when it was one of the worst units in football, but when Talib was injured and unable to play, the secondary continued to struggle.
That being said, in 2008 and 2012 the Patriots were still only a few plays away from winning two more Super Bowls, and Brady being a perfect 5-0 in Super Bowl appearances.
If the Patriots can keep establishing the run and their defense can continue to improve and provide more stops it might be the difference maker needed to help Brady get back to the pantheon of greatness and end his Super Bowl cold streak by lifting another world championship trophy before his career comes to an end.