Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Sports

Pats seek elusive title

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."

Comments
Lightning beats Predators in overtime

Lightning beats Predators in overtime

NASHVILLE — Steven Stamkos’ celebration said it all.The Lightning captain delivered an emphatic fist pump after his rocket one-timer clanked in off the crossbar, tying the score with just over two minutes left at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. T...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 23

Tuesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 55, Canterbury 53Girls basketballBoca Ciega 65, Largo 19
Updated: 4 hours ago

James joins exclusive group with 30K points

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — LeBron James became the youngest player ever with 30,000 career points, but LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 to lift the Spurs over the slumping Cavaliers 114-102 on Tuesday night. James had 28 while becoming the seventh member of the...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

NASHVILLE — Lightning rookie D Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch Tuesday for the first time this season.Coach Jon Cooper didn’t elaborate before a 4-3 overtime victory over the Predators, just labeling it a "coach’s decision."It was a bold deci...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Predators

Steven Stamkos is showing signs of snapping out of his slump. Stamkos, who Tuesday snapped a nine-game goal drought, had more jump (and four shots) Monday. On Tuesday, Stamkos had a slick setup on a 2-on-1 for Vladislav Namestnikov’s goal. Stamkos’ 3...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMarquette at Xavier6:30 p.m.FS1South Carolina at Florida7 p.m.SEC; 1250-AMGeorgia Tech at Florida State7 p.m.FSF; 1010-AMBoston College at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Joseph’s at St. Bonaventure7 p.m.CBSSNNebraska at Rutgers7 p.m.Bi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Two quick goals in second lift Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Dominik Simon and Jean-Sebastien Dea scored 76 seconds apart in the second period, fellow rookie Casey DeSmith made 34 saves and the Penguins beat the Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night. Jake Guentzel added a goal midway through the third a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — Byron Pringle understands how easily his life could have gone another way."I’ve been through a lot, but I’m very blessed," he said. "What happened in the past, it made me who I am today. It’s made me realize you have to value the thing...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Downcast Nadal hobbles out, unable to finish fifth set

Downcast Nadal hobbles out, unable to finish fifth set

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal limped off the court after quitting in pain early in the fifth set Tuesday to send Marin Cilic into the semifinals of the Australian Open, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 2-0.The top seed, who had been treated on his upp...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Senior Bowl journal: Washington State teammates playing with heavy hearts after QB’s suicide

Senior Bowl journal: Washington State teammates playing with heavy hearts after QB’s suicide

MOBILE, Ala. — Washington State QB Luke Falk and G Cole Madison began their practices at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday with heavy hearts, still reeling from last week’s news that Cougars QB Tyler Hilinski had committed suicide.They remembered their frie...
Updated: 6 hours ago