Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pats seek elusive title

Quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots last won a Super Bowl eight years ago.

Getty Images (2012)

Quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots last won a Super Bowl eight years ago.

There are only three.

It's natural to believe there would be more. This is the 10th time the Patriots have made the playoffs in 13 seasons under coach Bill Belichick.

They have won a lot of those playoff games, too. Tom Brady could surpass Joe Montana as the winningest playoff quarterback in history today against the Texans. But when it comes to the big prize, the Super Bowl …

"Winning one early in my career (as a rookie), you kind of get the sense that it happens like this all the time. But it doesn't," said defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who along with Brady and receiver Deion Branch are the only remaining players from all three Super Bowl title teams.

"It's very, very hard to win at this level — at any level."

The Patriots have come close since their last title. They went 18-0 in 2007 before losing 17-14 to the Giants in the Super Bowl. Last season they had the ball in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLVI, but Brady threw incomplete into the end zone to lose 21-17 to the Giants.

It has been so long since the Patriots won a Super Bowl that the quarterback they faced in that game — the Eagles' Donovan McNabb in Super Bowl XXXIX for the 2004 season — no longer is in the league. It was their third title in four seasons.

"That was some kid back then," Brady, 35, said of looking back on his first Super Bowl title, a 20-17 win over the Rams that wrapped up the 2001 season.

"You really don't quite understand what has happened or what has been accomplished until you try so many times and you don't get to accomplish those things. It's very hard to win that final game of the year."

Getting to this point is routine for New England. Since its last Super Bowl title, it has been to the playoffs in six of seven seasons and won at least one playoff game four times. But in many ways, it is as inexperienced at winning it all as the Texans, who had never been to the playoffs until last season.

The Patriots, though, believe they have the advantage of experience, even if it has not been all good.

"You have to understand what's at stake," Wilfork said. "I think that's the biggest thing for this team to understand, where we're at and what it's going to take to win. That's when you talk about how many times you've been in the postseason.

"But if you can't put it out and you can't execute, I don't care how many times you've been at this level or how many games you've played in the postseason, it won't matter. It will not matter."

Pats seek elusive title 01/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 12, 2013 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury


    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.