So, where do Pa­tri­ots rank in sports dy­nas­ties?

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - SCHUYLER DIXON

HOUS­TON — The Pa­tri­ots have the big­gest come­back in Su­per Bowl his­tory. Cue the de­bate on whether it trans­lates into the great­est dy­nasty in the Na­tional Foot­ball League, and maybe where New Eng­land ranks among dom­i­nant pro sports fran­chises.

Per­haps the dis­cus­sion hinges on the record-set­ting duo of QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

There are some num­bers that aren’t de­bat­able, like most Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ances for a team (nine) and a quar­ter­back (seven). Brady’s five wins put him one ahead of Hall of Famers Terry Brad­shaw and Joe Mon­tana for the most by a quar­ter­back, and Belichick’s five are one bet­ter than Brad­shaw’s coach in Pitts­burgh, Chuck Noll.

Brad­shaw and Mon­tana never had a Su­per Bowl rally that even re­motely re­sem­bled the 25-point re­cov­ery en­gi­neered by Brady in a 3428 win over At­lanta on Sun­day night in the first Su­per Bowl to go to over­time.

“We’ve got the great­est quar­ter­back,” de­fen­sive line­man Trey Flow­ers said. “Calm, cool, col­lec­tive and just make plays. That’s what he’s been do­ing all his ca­reer.”

Green Bay won the first two Su­per Bowls with Bart Starr and has four ti­tles. Brad­shaw’s Steel­ers be­came the team of the 1970s, with Roger Staubach and the Dal­las Cow­boys not far be­hind. Mon­tana’s 49ers dom­i­nated the ’80s.

Troy Aik­man helped the Cow­boys be­come the first team to win three ti­tles in four sea­sons in the 1990s — and Brady matched him a decade later.

Starr, Brad­shaw, Staubach (they called him Cap­tain Come­back), Mon­tana, Aik­man.

Vince Lom­bardi, Noll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Jimmy John­son.

None of them have a claim to the sus­tained ex­cel­lence of Brady and Belichick, the only duo to go to seven Su­per Bowls and win five.

“He cast a wizard spell over us that changed ev­ery­thing,” tackle Nate Solder said of Belichick and the mes­sage at half­time, when the Pa­tri­ots trailed 21-3 be­fore go­ing down 28-3 in the third quar­ter.

Jok­ing aside, the Pa­tri­ots prob­a­bly never pan­icked be­cause they can lean on things such as 16 con­sec­u­tive win­ning sea­sons (Dal­las has the record with 20) and an NFL-best 34 play­off games and 25 post-sea­son wins for Brady.

“At half­time, I would say we weren’t down at all,” said Brady, who won his fourth Su­per Bowl MVP award by lead­ing two fourth-quar­ter touch­down drives that in­cluded two-point con­ver­sions to force over­time. “We were dis­ap­pointed in the way we played, and we knew that we could go out and do a lot bet­ter in the sec­ond half.”

Brady and Belichick fall short of the nine Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ti­tles that Bill Rus­sell and Red Auer­bach won to­gether in Bos­ton, or the six Michael Jordan and Phil Jack­son cel­e­brated in Chicago.

There will al­ways be ar­gu­ments for the mul­ti­ple dy­nas­ties of the New York Yan­kees, who have 27 World Se­ries baseball ti­tles. Short­stop Derek Jeter and man­ager Joe Torre won four to­gether in a span of five sea­sons from 1996 to 2000, not to men­tion Mickey Man­tle and Casey Sten­gle or Lou Gehrig and Joe McCarthy.

And don’t for­get about the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens, who won 16 Na­tional Hockey League ti­tles in 27 sea­sons from the 1950s to the ’70s.

Then again, leagues were smaller and ros­ters were thin­ner back then, and the con­ver­sa­tion was nearly about At­lanta end­ing its cham­pi­onship drought.

“To come back and just stall and just give Tom Brady a glimpse of a chance to come back, we did that,” Fal­cons re­ceiver Tay­lor Gabriel said. “It’s tough to lose like that in the Su­per Bowl.”

In­stead, the spot­light is firmly back on Brady, Belichick and the Pa­tri­ots, who might not even be done — they’re al­ready favoured to re­peat in 2018.

AJ MAST, NEW YORK TIMES

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots run­ning back James White scores the win­ning touch­down in over­time, cap­ping off a stun­ning, record-set­ting come­back.

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