It’s been decade since the Patriots’ last Super Bowl win, the Belichick-Brady led squad is back in the big game for a third time since that 2004 season. While this latest run has been mired by the attention that #deflategate garnered over the last two weeks—the admittedly hilarious press conferences, condemnation for more Belichick cheating, and then scientific vindication from some physicists—the Pats seem as ready as ever. With a formidable opponent in the reigning Super Bowl champs the Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX is a well-earned matchup.
With all of that in mind, here’s a short survival fan for Patriots fans watching the game this Sunday:
Avoid The Conspiracy Theories, Watch The Game!
“The other Patriots conspiracy theory: LeGarrette Blount’s scheme to reunite with Bill Belichick?” That’s the latest headline from Yahoo! Sports’ coverage of the Patriots. #deflategate will still be much-talked about on Sunday, and there’s always something else too. Avoid it all and just watch the game!
Madden 2015 Predicts The Patriots Win By Four
A couple days ago EA Sports let loose its annual Super Bowl Madden simulation. The simulation has a strong prediction record at 8-3 and the latest one has the Pats winning 28-24 after trailing 24-14 in the third quarter.
Wear That Brady Jersey
This one seems obvious, but if you got it, wear it. Who knows how much longer Brady will be playing…as a Patriot. A recent New York Times profile paints the Patriots’ lone superstar as a bit of a bizarro health nut bent on playing well into his 40’s, but Belichick has been unceremonious about shipping off key players over the years.
It’s hard to imagine, but after his contract is up in 2017, Brady could end up elsewhere. And while the Pats can stay competitive through it all, Super Bowl appearances might not always come around so often. Enjoy Brady while he’s still at his best.
Pete Carrol Got The NFL To Help His Defense Against The Patriots
Let that sink in. Right before the biggest game of the season, the NFL has announced that, per Seattle’s request, it will implement a new signal to help the defense identify when an eligible receiver is lined up as ineligible.
Belichick’s shuffling of eligible and ineligible receivers by changing up the team’s offensive formations right before the snap made waves during a few recent games, most notably in the form of angry comments from Ravens coach John Harbaugh. (Harbaugh said some of the Patriots’ offensive plays were “deceptive.”)
Either way, the last-minute rule change is an obvious “gimmie” to Seahawks coach Pete Carrol’s request, but there’s nothing to be done about it now.
Who Just Scored That Touchdown?
The Patriots are known as a collectivist football team. Aside from Tom Brady and a handful of other stars the franchise draws attention as a team more so than as individuals. Every now and then, that means an unexpected touchdown from a relative unknown.
As a fan, there’s something gleeful about watching a guy like Nate Solder, a 6’8”, 320 lb. offensive lineman, catch a Brady TD in the AFC Championship. Hopefully someone like Solder gets a similar look on Sunday. Of course, maybe Julian Edelman will throw another touchdown as a part of a trick play.
Bet On Blount
Blount is back. After playing for the Pats briefly in 2013 the Steelers picked up the originally undrafted running back who came into the league in 2010. Blount came back to New England earlier this season and in the seven games that he’s been wearing #29 again he’s scored six touchdowns. In that AFC Championship blowout Blount had 30 carries for 148 yards and three TDs. Expect the Pats to try and get him going early.
The Pats Are A Fourth Quarter Team
Tom Brady has had 34 fourth-quarter comebacks and 45 game-winning drives in his NFL career. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that but it’s worth keeping in mind if that Patriots are trailing through the game.
Richard Sherman Might Not Play
The Patriots will have one of the league’s best cornerbacks staring down the offense…maybe. Richard Sherman and his girlfriend are apparently just days away from having their first baby. If the child is born on Sunday Sherman might have a big decision ahead of him. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Sherman said. “We’re not thinking about the possibility.”