As the New England Patriots prepare to play the Atlanta Falcons, there are a lot of haters out there. But even a Giants fan like me can respect the greatness of the New England Patriots franchise. That’s why I’ve decided to count down the greatest moments from their many Super Bowl appearances:
Winning the Super Bowl 46 Coin Toss
Despite being heavily favored over the 9-7 Giants, the Patriots had every reason to worry about the franchise that had bested them in the Super Bowl only four seasons prior. Coming out strong and winning the opening coin toss – then deferring like a boss – showed what a bunch of cool customers these guys really were.
Ahmad Bradshaw Accidentally Scores a Touchdown
Bill Belichick is a master strategist, no matter what the score. With his team leading 17-15 late in Super Bowl 46 but with the driving Giants in the red zone, he instructed his defense to allow Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw to score. Bradshaw attempted to kneel on the one yard line in order to burn more clock, but fell into the end zone, giving the Patriots the time they needed to stage a last minute TD drive. Of course, they didn’t, but they did have more time to do it in if they had been able to do it.
Brady “Throws” A Safety
Early in Super Bowl 46, with his team backed up in their own end zone, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady evaded pressure by the Giants’ defense to throw a ball to no one in particular, forcing an unintentional grounding penalty. Any offensive penalties committed in a team’s own end zone results in a safety. While on the surface this is a bad way to start the game, I’d argue it’s quite the contrary. Brady was playing the field position game. What’s 2 points when you’re able to free kick it away near mid-field? Well played, Tommy. Always playing chess when the other guy is playing checkers.
Mario Manningham Makes an Incredible Catch
Another Super Bowl 46 moment. This was quite some game! Mario Manningham’s 38 yard catch with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter allowed the Patriots to witness a truly stunning display of athletic prowess. We should all be so lucky.
The Helmet Catch
While we’re on the subject of great catches, how about this one? Along with being another great athletic achievement for the team to witness, it also offered them valuable game film to show their team next year on rushing the quarterback and pass defense. These are two ways to not do either of those things.
Plaxico’s Game Winning TD
Near the end of Super Bowl 42, the Giants were able to hit Plaxico Burress on a wide open fade rout. While this wasn’t a great moment the Patriots as a football team per se, it was an oddly poetic play. It seemed to happen in slow motion, as Giants fans were able to realize its result seemingly before the play was done. That mixture of shock, doubt, and euphoria truly made for an emotional melange Giants fans would not soon forget. I can only assume Patriots fans also felt great joy at their fellow football fans good fortune, making this a great moment for them as well.
Brady Sacked by Jay Alford
Getting the ball back with very little time in Super Bowl 42, Tom Brady got stuffed for a massive, humiliating sack on first and ten. This would put the Patriots in horrible position to score, which they would go on to not do. This was in no way good for the New England Patriots, and by now you have probably guessed that this entire post was just to remind them of their franchise’s two greatest failures at the hands of a much less talented, but more capable, team.
Clock Ticks Zero on Their Undefeated Season
As the clock hit zero and the New York Giants celebrated winning Super Bowl 42 against all odds, the Patriots were able to take solace in the fact that no matter how many Super Bowls they won in the future, nothing the gnawing hole in their stomachs caused by the time they were unable to move from greatness to immortality.
Congratulations to the New England Patriots and good luck in their big game tomorrow!