The New England Patriots are one game from history. A victory in Super Bowl 51 will place the Patriots in elite company with the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys as the only franchise to win five Super Bowls. But, here is why I would place the Patriots over the rest.
The Pats have won their titles in a different era. Imagine what the Pats would have been like in the ’70-80’s. No free agency to speak of, meaning they could keep their core players together until they retired. The Steelers with Terry Bradshaw at the helm didn’t have to worry about those kinds of money disputes. The 49ers with Joe Montane and Steve Young were just getting accustomed to free agency, along with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and the Cowboys. But, the Patriots took free agency by the horns and rode it to four SB victories.
But, how does that place them above the Steelers and their six? It starts with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
I get that the Steelers no matter if the Pats win, will still have one more than them. But, think about what Brady and Belichick have accomplished, then think what they have done with so little. You have Brady but after him the players are interchangeable. Bradshaw had Lynn Swann and Franco Harris, while Brady had Corey Dillon one year and Antowain Smith the next. His receivers are not Hall of Fame guys but players like Troy Brown and David Givens did just enough to make Brady and Belichick look like geniuses.
Brady did have Randy Moss for a season but that went for nothing as they lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Talent is talent no matter where it comes from but to say that the Steelers, Cowboys or 49ers are better than the Pats is you not showing respect for the NFL and what this team has done. Brady alone with another SB win will have more than 27 of the NFL teams. That says a lot. More than Montana, and Bradshaw.
The Steelers can and will always brag that they have the most of any franchise but Brady and Belichick are not done. A victory against the Atlanta Falcons will place them one game behind the Yellow and Black with years left to add to that total. The Patriots didn’t start winning until the two-headed monster came along. While the Steelers, 49ers, and Cowboys stuck with their core of players, the Patriots won with a who’s who of talent. The other teams have HOF players at various positions while the Patriots have done it with just two. A coach and the QB.
One win away and the Patriots will rightfully be called the greatest franchise in NFL history.