Plenty of storylines going in to the NFL postseason. And while there’s a lot of stories for the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, the one that catches mine are three specific teams: Patriots, 49ers, and the Buccaneers.
In 2016 things started to get interesting in New England: Tom Brady was reaching the 40 age mark which at the time made analytics skeptical of whether he can stay at the top of his game. The ‘cliff theory’ was in full effect from many people. Jimmy Garoppolo played a few games during Brady’s 4 game suspension and made an impact. And as for Bill Belichick, he wanted to move on from Brady and into the future with Jimmy G. Owner Robert Kraft didn’t like the idea and decided to keep Brady, resulting in Jimmy G going to San Francisco.
The friction between Brady and Belichick grew behind the scenes. The 49ers went to the Super Bowl in a losing effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. But the question kept growing: on who was more responsible for the Patriots legacy?
Nonetheless here we are. Brady has one more Super Bowl in Tampa Bay over Belichick. Partly due to the Buccaneers being a super team with so many stars. The Patriots on the other hand have been hindered due to injuries and COVID protocols keeping stars off the field. Jimmy G was on the west coast facing some hardships after the Super Bowl loss trying to find his stride. However, now all three of these teams are in the playoffs with a chance to win it all.
Who has the best chance to win? Well that’s a tough question. The Buccs have been hitting the headlines with releasing of Antonio Brown plus the season ending injury to Chris Godwin. The Patriots may be without their star cornerback Jalen Mills and have a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. And the 49ers struggled throughout the season but more teams are let into the playoffs this year despite being third in their division. All of these teams have major struggles.
As the Chiefs and Packers are set to be favorites while sitting at the top of their conference, these other three shouldn’t be overlooked. Each have some sort of experience on what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. And if any one of these squads win best believe it will make headlines.
If the 49ers win; Jimmy G proves he shouldn’t have been traded and perhaps Robert Kraft should’ve made more of an effort to keep him. If the Buccs win… again… than the classic argument of the Patriots legacy will widely be known for Brady’s efforts. If the Patriots win, this will be the most impressive coaching Job Belichick has ever done solidifying his already legendary career.