Think about how much the U.S. has changed since 2001.
The internet has taken over every aspect of our lives; people are walking around with super computers the size of an index card in their pocket that can play any song ever recorded AND can even access everything about a total stranger (if you're savvy enough). We've had a black AND an orange President. Gay people can get married. Weed is basically legal, and people are buying record players again. America and the world as a whole are completely different from life in 2001.
Really one of the only consistent thing that has happened over that time period is the New England Patriots success under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
In a league designed for long-term success to be unsustainable the Patriots have done the impossible. I've been reading different versions of that sentence for like 8 years. That's how long this ride has been going on. People were saying it was over in early 2010 after the Patriots lost their first home playoff game since 1978 to the Ravens.
Since week 3 of the 2001 season (with the exception of the 2008 season when Brady was hurt and the first 4 games in 2016) it's been Brady and Belichick leading the New England Patriots. They won Super Bowl 36 when I was in 4th grade. Now I'm 27 years old teaching my own students who weren't even alive when Vinatieri drilled a 48 yarder right down the middle to beat the greatest show on turf. In 2019 things have gone full circle. 17 years later to the day, the Patriots will be playing the Rams in the Super Bowl.
You could've gotten a DUI and killed someone the night of Super Bowl 36 and gotten out of jail already if you had good enough lawyers. That's how long this run has lasted. You could do a 15 year bid and still catch the end.
Or how about the Rams? They've had no less than 47 QBs and have literally uprooted and gone back to California.
Since 2001 the Pats have won 5 championships (with a chance for 6 on Sunday) and been to 9 Super Bowls. The next closest organizations are the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers; each has been to three Super Bowls in that same time frame. Quick math that's 1/3 as many. So many franchises have had championship "windows" open, and close during this time period while the Patriots have had two separate dynasties under Brady and Belichick.
As a Patriot fan I feel like because of the last five years we've sort of forgot the 10 previous.
From 2005 to 2013 the Patriots won zero Super Bowls. I know in the grand scheme of things that isn't that long and no fan base is gonna cry over the Patriots not winning, but I can vividly remember the days where I worried I got all my best football too early in life. Back when I didn't truly understand the importance and appreciate it. I mean I was a 4th grader just getting into football.
There's 12 teams who have never even won a single Super Bowl and fan bases looking for their first playoff win in decades. So I completely get crying about 10 years between Super Bowl wins may seem ridiculous, but then again I'm a Patriots fan and it's my birthright to win....
During those "lean" years the Patriots were still among the elites in the NFL. It wasn't like they sucked and weren't winning. Quite the opposite tbh. They were consistently in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy. They even made it back to the Super Bowl two more times, but were unable to seal the deal.
It really looked like there was a chance the Tom Brady Patriots would never win it all again. After the Kansas City game in 2014 I was crushed. I thought it was over. They had lost two straight AFC title games and couldn't protect Brady at all. I remember watching that game at Rhody Joe's just shocked that the run was really coming to an end. It felt like this team would never win a championship again. After getting so close, so many times it just seemed like the end was near. And I mean it would've made sense. Tom Brady was what 37 at the time? That's an age where it's ends. There's no shame in that.
Somehow we went from the end of the dynasty, to a completely new one. Since week 4 of the 2014 season the Patriots have been in 4 of the last 5 Super Bowls, with a chance to win a 3rd on Sunday. Think about that. The Pats have been in the last three Super Bowls. The Jets haven't been to a Super Bowl since a man walked on the moon.
I know there's gonna be people who said they never lost the faith, but I did and that's what makes these last five years so special. In a way they weren't supposed to happen. The dynasty could've ended that night in KC and nobody would've batted an eye. Now in five seasons since this been arguably the best five year run of the dynasty. The Patriots are a win away from being tied for the most Super Bowls win in the history of the NFL. Pretty impressive considering they started 0 for the first 35.
In short, I haven't written in a while and it shows. The Pats are back in the Super Bowl and have a great chance to win, I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm happy I've gotten to witness this run of success. It'll never happen again, at this point everything is just icing. Appreciate these next couple of days, because they for sure could be the end, and if they are, what a fucking run it's been.