By Mark Clark
For all of you who felt something else would happen, it did not. Why? Because he did it again. I cannot remember the number of times Tom Terrific pulled a rabbit out of his hat.
But, he did it one more time this past Sunday afternoon. And the hating ramped up.
Why are all of you such haters when it comes to Tom Brady? The guy is just a great player. There has never been a quarterback who can compare to what he has achieved. It’s all about the jewelry. Tom Brady has it. Your team does not.
Watching him play on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, you knew it was coming. No matter what the Jaguars did offensively, they could not put the game out of reach. When Tom Brady got on a roll, the Jaguars’ defense was nonexistent.
I will tell the truth here, I was cheering for both teams, but especially for Tom Brady. He is a dinosaur. He’s old. I like old. I am old, but he is way younger than me. He’s old in comparison to the “kids” he plays against. Tom Brady is older than his teammate James Harrison, who was cut by my once favorite team the Pittsburgh Steelers because he was too old. James Harrison took a selfie with Tom Brady and posted it on a social media site telling everyone he appreciated being on a team with a teammate who was older than he is. The difference is barely a year between the two New England Patriots players.
Tom Brady was ridiculous when the game began. He completed his first six passes for 57 yards. He drove the Patriots down the field on their first offensive possession for a 31-yard field goal by Rob Gostkowski for a 3-0 lead. The Patriots did nothing again until they were down 14-3 and as time was expiring in the first half. That is when Tom Brady guided the Patriots 85 yards in six plays in 1:07 for a 1-yard run for a touchdown by James White with 55 seconds to play in the first half. At halftime, the Patriots trailed 14-10.
In the third quarter, Jacksonville took a 17-10 advantage with a Josh Lambo field goal of 54 yards. The score remained there until Lambo added another field goal of 43 yards to give his team a 20-10 lead.
Then came the fourth quarter.
Tom Brady began the comeback. He took his team 85 yards in eight plays and threw the first of two fourth-quarter touchdowns to Danny Amendola. Amendola’s catch of a 9-yard touchdown to cap the drive cut the Jacksonville lead to 20-17. New England and Tom Brady got a gift and started their next offensive possession at their opponent’s 30-yard line. Five plays later, with 2:48 left to play, Tom Brady found the rabbit in his hat and pulled it out by its ears. Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Amendola in the back of the end zone. The pass was thrown high. Amendola was the only player on the field who could get to the football. He grabbed it out of the air before photographers behind the end zone could take this throw and begin playing a game of their own. The ball did not get past Amendola, who showed outstanding control of his body and the football. He caught the ball and got both feet down in bounds. New England led 24-20 with 2:48 to play. The comeback was complete. Tom Terrific had done it again.
Now the New England Patriots are headed to Super Bowl LII. It is the 10th trip to the NFL’s major party for the Patriots. It is the second trip to the Super Bowl in a row and third trip to the game in four years. The first trip was in 1986 when the Patriots lost 46-0 to the Chicago Bears. In 1997, New England lost to Green Bay 35-21. In 2002, the Patriots got their first Super Bowl victory, 20-17 over St. Louis. They won again in 2004, 32-29 over Carolina, and once more in 2005, 24-21 over Philadelphia – the team it will face in this year’s game. The Patriots lost 17-14 in 2008 and again in 2012, 21-17, to the New York Giants both times. In 2015, New England beat Seattle 28-24. And, last year, the Patriots overcame a 28-3 Atlanta lead to win 34-28.
Notice anything glaring about the trips to the Super Bowl by the New England Patriots? Well, eight of those trips came after Tom Brady was drafted with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. New England is 5-4 in its previous nine trips to the Super Bowl. They are 5-2 with Tom Brady on the team. He has five rings – one for each finger and a thumb on one hand. He is working on filling up the other hand now. He was the MVP in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX and LI – four in all. Nobody is close to his record number of MVP trophies.
So, in a little more than a week, 90 percent of the nation will be wearing teal and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles and only 10 percent will cheer on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Why? Pure jealousy. Everybody hates to see winners keep winning except the fans of those winners. People want to pull for the underdog. Well, you have an underdog this year in Philadelphia. The Eagles have been in the Super Bowl twice, 1981 and 2005, and they have lost both times.
But, if this game comes to the point it will need a miracle to determine the winner, I will take my chances with Tom Brady. He has proven time and time again that he has a bag of tricks ready to be used.
Mark Clark is a local sports writer for
The Citizen of East Alabama.