BOSTON — It is the time of year every show becomes “super.”
Store-fronts are decorated with team colors, athletes from other sports pick sides, and comedy shows have Super Bowl themed sketches. Saturday Night Live impersonated various celebrity Patriots and Flacons fans on “Celebrity Family Feud.” Jimmy Fallon’s annual Puppy Bowl had shelter dogs pick the winner.
But for the game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, it is about more than the scoreline for one Tom Brady.
Brady, a Patriots sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan in 2000, has started 235 games for the Patriots in his 17-year career. The 12-time Pro Bowler has won the league’s Most Valuable Player title twice, finishing second in voting to Matt Ryan of the Falcons this season.
The win would “secure him as the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] for sure,” said Joe of Concord, Massachusetts.
All-time, Brady sits fourth in touchdown passes with 456. Drew Brees, at 465 TD passes, is the only active quarterback ahead of Brady. The other two, Brett Favre (508) and Peyton Manning (539) are recently retired, with Favre going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
In six appearances in the Super Bowl, Brady is 4-2, with both losses coming against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. A fifth championship would give him the most wins by a quaterback in the title game, passing Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
“It is the greatest accomplishment any one player can have in this sport” said Kyle Floyd of Philadelphia. “It would make the on-paper argument a lot stronger,” he continued. Floyd thinks the Patriots will ultimately win against the Falcons.
This season’s Patriots had to play the opening four games of the season without their starting quarterback. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady four games for his role in the Deflategate controversy that loomed over the 2014 Super Bowl win against the Seattle Seahawks.
Initially, the suspension was for the first four games of the 2015 season. A lengthy court fight secured Brady the chance to play all of that season, but the 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the suspension in April of 2016. Brady opted not to appeal further, accepting the suspension.
Gavin of Abbington, Masscachusetts thinks his legacy is already cemented. “It would probably be about the same at this point, since they won one of their first Super Bowls.” New England’s first title came in the 2001-02 season with a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. The Rams were 14-point favorites in that game.
Backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garrapolo and Jacoby Brisset combined to go 3-1 in the games without Brady, only losing to the Buffalo Bills in week four.
Vibhav of Dover, New Hampshire thinks Montana — a four-time Super Bowl winner with the San Francisco 49ers — is better at this point in time, but a fifth title would give Brady the edge.