SEVENTH HEAVEN? SEVEN-UP?
Let the talk begin. The Patriots will chase their record seventh Super Bowl title next season.
Too soon? It’s never too soon — especially when you’re talking about greatness and its effect on history. Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and whatever cast they’re working with will seek their 10th trip to the Super Bowl — and their seventh win, which would beak the newly created a tie with the Steelers.
But it says here the tie isn’t really a tie in terms of impressiveness. It’s not that we shouldn’t credit Pittsburgh for winning it six times. But when you consider the Pats have won six in THIS century, while the Steelers won in the games that ended the 1974, ’75, ’78, ’79, 2005 and ’08 seasons. Spread out.
And for much of that time, the Steelers didn’t have to navigate their way through the salary cap era. What Belichick has done — admittedly with Brady at his side — is truly special.
And as they ride the duck boats and ride their way into next season, two assistant coaches will be gone, players like Trey Flowers have to get paid — and signs are pointing to no Rob Gronkowski.
After Sunday night’s game, Gronkowski dodged questions about his future. He wanted to celebrate and not think about his immediate future. All signs are pointing to the ever-practical Belichick not giving the big fella the money he deserves for Gronk not to walk away. But with these guys, you just never know.
Gronk wasn’t the usual Gronkstar this season, but his blocking was huge and the catches were there at the end when they had to be. Before the game, it was revealed he battled through Achilles tendinitis during the season and he took a shot to the quad in the Super Bowl that was so bad he could “barely walk” after the game. He has been hurt way too much over his career and with his lovable character he has to know there would be work for him post career.
Stay tuned on this one.
After the game, Gronk said, “That was the biggest team win I’ve ever been a part of — throughout the whole season … We stuck together through the down times.”
The NFL Network’s Mike Giardi said before the game, “Publicly, Patriots players rave about (Jared Goff), say he can make all the throws. Privately, however, they want to put this game on Goff. One player telling me, ‘If we show them some of the looks we’ve seen so far to some of these other quarterbacks, something he hasn’t seen before, we believe he’ll bleep his pants.’ And all it takes is one or two of those moments according to this player.”
That’s exactly what happened.
But it didn’t happen just to Goff.
Coach Sean McVay admitted after the game he was “badly outcoached” by Belichick, and while coaches are always saying something like that when they lose — Belichick always says, “I’ve gotta do a better job coaching” — McVay and his staff (not counting defensive coordinator Wade Phillips) were overwhelmed.
And Goff looked like a second-year guy trying to beat a legend.
Make no mistake, Brady was not brilliant in this game. But when it came down to actually winning it, he was there with that tremendous drive. Brady played like he’d been there before. Goff played like he can’t wait to get back there again.
Kyle Van Noy, who had an outstanding game, said, “We don’t have any stars on our defense but we got elite football players.”
It seemed like the evening went downhill after Gladys Knight graced us with the national anthem. There was basically nothing memorable about the 53rd Super Bowl.
The game was dull. The commercials weren’t up to their standard. The halftime show had people wondering who Maroon 5 even was (I knew). Even Tony Romo, who turned into an instant star with his work on the AFC title game, didn’t have a great game and too often fumbled over himself. He didn’t have much to work with, but he was blah.
At one point during the game, social media was ablaze with the quote “Both teams are playing like they know whoever wins goes to the White House.” Funny.
There is no downplaying how great Julian Edelman was in this game. There is no downplaying what he did to bounce back from missing an entire season with knee surgery to become even more than his old self. He had 10 catches for 141 yards in the win.
If you checked social media after the game, it was pointed out by many that he WAS suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. Will that affect his Hall of Fame chances down the road? A la Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others?
Baseball writer Tyler Kepner of the New York Times brought THIS up after the game: “A reminder that in baseball, Julian Edelman would not have been eligible to play in this postseason because he served a PED suspension this season.”
By the way, Clemens, asked about HIS Hall of Fame plight, said, “I didn’t play baseball to make the Hall of Fame. I played baseball, the first couple of years, to make a fantastic living ... and after that it was about winning championships … Really, the Hall of Fame, it’s a self kind of deal, a beat-your-own-chest type of deal. You don’t get to have a career like I did, 24 years, without fantastic teammates, fantastic catchers back there paying attention to detail. I tell them thank you all the time ... that’s what means the most to me.”
…Sony Michel became the eighth player and the FIRST rookie in NFL history to rush for six touchdowns in the postseason.
…Jason McCourty, who went from 0-16 all the way to the title, told WBZ-TV: “They said it wasn’t fun here. They said it wasn’t fun here. This seems pretty fun to me.” His twin brother Devin said, “His career summed up this season.” While Devin has played down last week’s retirement talk, Jason is said to be ready to walk away if he has to change teams.
…Anyone know what happened to both Todd Gurley and James White in this game?
…Column pal Jon Couture tweeted: “WORLD SERIES-SUPER BOWL DOUBLES: Baltimore Orioles (Oct. 1970)/Colts (Jan. 1971); Pittsburgh Pirates (10/1979)/Steelers (1/80); N.Y. Mets (10/1986)/Giants (1/87); Oakland A’s (10/1989)/S.F. 49ers (1/90); RED SOX (10/2004)/PATS (2/05); RED SOX (10/2018)/PATS (2/19).” – The asterisk was for the ’89 double actually in the Bay Area.
…More than one tweet celebrated the Patriots ending Boston’s three-month “drought” without a title, the Red Sox tweeting “Ending that three-month Boston championship drought. Congrats Patriots.”
…Brady told Jim Gray before the game, “We came up short last year, and I think that stuck with me all year and I know how badly I want this one.”
…The Patriots lost five games this season, all against non-playoff teams. Remember that?
…Josh Gordon gets a Super Bowl ring, and will apparently be reinstated in time to start next season. Brady was clearly not thrilled when his time with Gordon was, in the end, wasted, but the club is behind Gordon. Will he be back?
…From ESPN Stats: “This is the 1st time the Rams have been shut out in the 1st half in 36 games under Sean McVay. The Rams are the 6th team with no 3rd-down conversions in the 1st half of a Super Bowl (previous 5 teams all lost).” Make it all six.
…The Rams were averaging 32.9 points per game coming in.
…From Rodney Harrison: “Congratulations to my boy Ty Law for his well-deserved gold jacket. Richard Seymour is next amen.”
…The idiot KC fan who flashed a laser at Brady has been banned from Arrowhead for life and could face charges.
…The Chargers, Chiefs and Rams combined to score seven points in the first half of their playoff games.
…Sunday’s game hit a 10-year Super Bowl TV rating low in early numbers.
…If you’re headed for the Pats parade, it is supposed to be WARM.
In other news
The Patriots capped a Boston hat trick Sunday night — after the Bruins ended their 14-game losing streak against the Caps and the Celtics then fought off the OKC Thunder.
Oh, and Mookie Betts won a celebrity bowling tournament, with PBA partner Tommy Jones, saying, “I finally got one (Heisman-style trophy). “Now I’m going to enjoy it and get ready for baseball.”
Tuukka Rask became the Bruins’ all-time winningest goalie, but more importantly improved his career record against Washington to 2-11-5. Caps counterpart Braden Holtby fell to 16-3 against Boston.
The Bruins, who host the surprising Islanders tonight, are 14-4-1-1 on Super Bowl Sunday.…The Celtics have won eight of their last nine as they visit the woeful Cavs. … The Celtics are 20-0 when leading a home game after three quarters. … From The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney: “The Lakers play in Boston on the night of the trade deadline (Thursday), which could wind up being the most brilliant piece of schedule work in league history.”
From Danny Ainge: “Red would love this team. I’m reminded of him every day as I pull into the Auerbach Center. He loved players who could play through adversity.”
Finally, big sports day in the Boston area Monday: The Patriots returned home, the Red Sox equipment truck left for Florida and the Beanpot was played at TD Garden.
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.