In a wild and competitive opening weekend of the NFL playoffs, there was one dominant force: Father Time. He took away perhaps the last championship opportunities for 40-something quarterbacking gods Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

The list of impending Patriots free agents reads like the credits from a movie on the history of Super Bowl standouts, yet even on such a star-studded list, one name stands above the rest as the most important for the six-time Super Bowl champs to retain.