Bart Scott had the same thought most people did when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pulled out their underdog card prior to the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Come on. You’re the freakin’ Patriots.
After suffering back-to-back losses in December, many analysts and commentators started to bury Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots heading into the playoffs.
Of course, that got onto New England’s radar, and after the AFC Divisional Round win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Brady took a jab at the haters. After the Patriots vanquished the Chiefs to advance to Super Bowl LIII, Brady doubled down on the underdog label, saying the “odds had been stacked against” the Pats all season.
Scott, who played for the 2010 New York Jets — who upset the Patriots in the playoffs — knows the NFL’s evil dynasty has to find any way it can to get an edge.
“Underdogs?” Scott told Sports Illustrated. “At some point you make up people to be mad at. You make up people that hate you. As the top dog, you have to.”
It’s a strategy Belichick has been using going back to the dynasty’s infancy.
“Even when it wasn’t true, it worked. That was the strategy,” Deion Branch said. “I don’t think we ever felt like the favorite.”
So far, the Patriots’ underdog mentality has served them well in the playoffs. They’ll need to tap into it one more time to secure the sixth Lombardi Trophy of the Brady-Belichick era.
Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images