AFC East – Brady’s Dominance Has No End in Sight

Jake Benaquisto on Tom Brady’s continued dominance of the AFC East and NFL…

At the end of every football season, New York Jets fans such as myself wonder: Is this the year Tom Brady’s age shows and the New England Patriots regress? With Brady turning 40 in August, many could assume that his days as a great quarterback in the league are numbered. However, Super Bowl 51 was a clear indication that #12 will not be going away any time soon. Here is my recap from the Patriots’ performance in the Super Bowl and why it’s evidence that Brady will continue to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks…

Elite Coaching Support

No matter how good Tom Brady is, it helps having one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history. In the first half of the game, the team was playing their worst football in weeks. Between the two turnovers, multiple drops from wide receivers, and New England’s defense looking unable to contain the Falcons, the Patriots headed into halftime badly needing adjustments. Bill Bellicheck’s likely profanity-laced message was clearly sent to the Patriots, who came out in the second half looking like a new team. The defense started to pressure Matt Ryan, and the Patriots offense did not commit a single turnover for the remainder of the game. With Brady having the advantage of Bill Bellicheck and Josh McDaniels as his coaches, it’s fair to assume that he’ll continue to be put in the best situations to succeed.

A Young and Improving Offensive Line 

The formula for slowing down Brady has always been to put pressure on him. In past years, one of the Patriots’ biggest holes on their roster was the offensive line, however, this is no longer the case. According to ProFootballFocus.com, the Patriots top three graded players on offense in the Super Bowl were all linemen. These players were RT Marcus Cannon, C David Andrews, and LG Joe Thuney. This trio of linemen are young, ascending players, with each of them being under 28 years old. If the Patriots’ offensive line can continue to keep Brady upright, there’s no question that it will further extend his career.

An Underrated Core of Weapons

The Patriots entered the Super Bowl without one of the most talented players on their roster, Rob Gronkowski. Many thought that this could be the difference maker to win the championship, however, the rest of New England’s offense proved to be more than capable to make up for the loss of Gronk. The Pats’ leading receiver was their backup running back James White, who caught an incredible 14 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. They also received significant production from Julian Edelman, who silenced his critics that label him as a “Product of Tom Brady” with one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history. In addition to this, the Patriots’ 4th round rookie Malcolm Mitchell caught 6 balls for 70 yards. With Gronk returning from injury, Tom Brady will have a very talented group of receivers to work with next season.

Brady’s Absurd Determination To Win

Even at age 39, Tom Brady continues to prove that he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. After throwing a pick six in the first half and eventually being down by 25 points, Brady never lost focus and was able to lead his team to a historic comeback. His 466 passing yards against the Falcons, which broke the all time Super Bowl record, helped earn him his fifth Super Bowl ring and fourth Super Bowl MVP. Not only was this an impressive Super Bowl win, but it was following one of Brady’s best regular seasons in years. Being suspended for the first four games of the season clearly had no effect on Brady, as his completion percentage and quarterback rating were the highest since his historical 2007 season. As he has already done in the past, Tom Brady showed everyone in Super Bowl LI that he is one of the greatest competitors of all time. His continued obsession with winning and ability to perform in the clutch is an indicator that he isn’t done owning the AFC East and chasing titles.

Photo Credit: SI.com