Now that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIII, we can put all the talk about the plucky, underdog Patriots to bed, right?
Following the Pats’ 41-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round, Brady and his teammates took on an underdog mentality heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
It sounded ridiculous. After all, Brady and Belichick have won five Super Bowls and played in three more. The Patriots have been the NFL’s evil overlord for the last 17 seasons. Underdogs, they are not.
And yet, after defeating the Chiefs, 37-31, to claim a third straight AFC title, there was Brady, harping on all the obstacles the loveable underdogs had overcome.
“It was just, you know, the odds were stacked against us,” Brady said in his postgame press conference. “It hasn’t been that way for us for a while and it certainly was this year. You know, we started off so slow and like I said, the last four games have been our best games. We ran it great (against) Buffalo, we threw it pretty good (against) the Jets, we were really balanced, defense is playing well, played great against the Chargers last week, and then this game, you know, offensively we did a good job, we had a couple little screw-ups, but we played pretty good for the most part and then defensively they hung on and played their butts off and shut them out in the first half which was pretty spectacular.”
One reporter was thinking what the rest of were when Brady said the “odds were stacked” against the Patriots.
“Tom, you just said the odds were stacked against you,” one reporter said, “and last week you said, ‘Everyone thinks we suck.’ Do you really believe that? It’s the playoffs, you guys are the Patriots, you’re still Tom Brady. Or is that just something you guys just use as motivation?”
Toward the end of the question, Brady offered a sly smirk hinting at the answer he was about to give.
“I mean … yeah,” Brady said with a slight chuckling.
That’s what we thought.
Brady and the “nobody believes in us” Patriots will take their underdog mentality to Atlanta in two weeks where they’ll face the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
While Brady and the Patriots might not actually view themselves as underdogs, they certainly have heard all of their doubters discuss their weaknesses ad nauseam.
The 41-year-old quarterback had a message for them after the game, as well.
Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images