Father time is undefeated. Sure, some of his matches take longer to finish but, in the end, he always wins. Tom Brady is finding this out right now. Brady put up one of the greatest fights we’ve ever seen though. For the past decade, the sports media and the fans of every other team but the Patriots have stated, one time or another, that the dynasty is over. Then Tom Brady ends up with another ring. Remember the “on to Cincinnati” comment? That was the quote from head coach Bill Belichick every time someone from the media would ask anything about the embarrassing 41-14 loss to the Chiefs in 2014. At 2-2, the Patriots were left for dead after that game. However, they came back with a seven-game winning streak and beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that same year. For two decades, the New England Patriots have always been the team that you can never count out. Until now.
This year’s early playoff loss against the 9-7 Titans may have shown all of us that this is the end for the Patriots. The way they lost was even worse: on a Tom Brady pick-six with fifteen seconds left on the clock. They started the season off strong, going 8-0, but when the competition became harder in the second half of the season, they went 4-4 the rest of the way. This also included a week 17 loss to the lowly Miami Dolphins which took the Patriots out of the 2-seed and eliminated a much needed first-round bye in the playoffs. Must win games are something that most of us aren’t used to seeing the Patriots lose. Quarterback play was a large reason for this downfall. Tom Brady had a 60.8 completion percentage (his lowest since 2013) and 88.0 passer rating (lowest since 2006). He is 42 and in the final year of his contract. Maybe he signs on for another year if Belichick can add some pieces around him. The loss of Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon certainly hurt Brady. Plus, the Patriots were relying on newly acquired wide receiver Antonio Brown. However, Brown proved to be a complete nutjob and was released from the team just 11 days after signing. Maybe Tom Brady goes somewhere else. Either way, at 42, all the signs are there of an aging quarterback. Now, as long as they are in the AFC East, they will always compete for the division, but the conference now belongs to someone else: Patrick Mahomes.
Whether or not the Kansas City Chiefs hoist the Lombardi trophy in Miami, the fact still remains that the AFC will be dominated by the Kansas City Chiefs. This is the second year in a row that the Championship game was in Kansas City. Mahomes, in his second season as a starter, has three playoff victories and has never played in a wild card game or been eliminated before the AFC championship game. He already has a league MVP and can potentially be a Super Bowl MVP in a couple of weeks. The league has seen nothing like him. And it’s not just Mahomes. The entire team has improved from last year’s squad that was 4 inches away from the Super Bowl. With the additions of Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark, the Chiefs’ defense has been making a name for itself as one of the best in the league. Think about this: Patrick Mahomes missed three games, Tyreek Hill missed four games, Sammy Watkins missed two games, Eric Fisher missed eight games, Frank Clark missed two games, and Chris Jones missed three games (plus the Divisional Playoff game), and they still won the division. They were still the 2-seed and they are still going to the Super Bowl. This team can overcome anything, and I think they will overcome anything for the next decade. And don’t give me the “What about the Ravens?” speech. Win a playoff game first, Baltimore. Beat Patrick Mahomes in the regular season first, Lamar. Sure, they’re fun to watch, but the Chiefs are just on another level.
Listen, Tom Brady has been amazing. He is the greatest quarterback to ever do it. He has been to nine Super Bowls and won six of them. He has shattered several passing records over his twenty-year career. Mahomes isn’t at the Brady level yet, but Brady won his first Super Bowl when he was 24 years old. Patrick Mahomes will get the shot to win his first Super Bowl next Sunday. He’s 24 years old. Dynasties have to start sometime. What better time than now?