Daric Clemens is a senior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.
A lot NFL fans seem to have this unpleasant hate pointed toward the New England Patriots, besides devoted fans of the team, of course, which is understandable. They have somewhat dominated the league, winning six Super Bowls in the last 18 years, and it sucks seeing someone other than your favorite team win consistently.
I should be a part of the group that wishes of the Patriots' demise after I witnessed them snatch away a championship from my lifelong favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, in the final 12 minutes in 2017, but that’s not the case.
However, these people that do feel that way were able to rejoice Saturday night because the unimaginable happened. The Patriots fell to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round, 20-13. It was the first time the Patriots lost in the Wild-Card round since 2010.
The Patriots have found themselves in a somewhat similar predicament falling short of the Lombardi Trophy but never like this past one. This one is different. Even though their record doesn’t necessarily show a drop off, finishing the regular season with a 12-4 record, as an avid spectator, you could see the struggles the team was going through and their many weaknesses.
All through the season, their defense looked great at times, and that was, for the most part, the case in their Wild Card matchup. But their offense has had problems keeping up with their side of the bargain, and that was evident again Saturday.
That’s an unnatural thing to say, as one of the greatest NFL players of all time lines up under center for New England in Tom Brady, but the connection just wasn’t there for the group, and it came back to hurt them when it mattered most.
The consequences are going to be substantial, as the dynasty that has controlled the league for almost two decades is more than likely going to officially come to an end. The Patriots leader Tom Brady will no longer be under contract with New England at the season's end, and I believe he will finally part ways with the team that drafted him in 2000.
With the feeling the Patriots’ dominance is coming to an end, Brady’s window to find success in the league isn’t fully shut yet. He has the choice to ultimately go wherever he wants, of course, if they want him a part of their franchise.
Brady obviously isn’t the same as he was back in his prime or even just a few years ago. At times, his arm is not capable of doing what it once could, and that has resulted in some changes to his play style. Playing 20 years in the league and being 42 years old will do that to you.
Throughout his career, Brady hasn’t always had the best overall teams surrounding him, especially on the offensive end. However, Brady’s skill set allowed him to make the players around him better at certain times, and it led to some of these guys contributing high-level performances. But as he continues to get older, that ability has diminished to a certain extent, and now it’s a sudden turn of events, as he needs more playmakers around him so he can play at the highest level that he can in this stage of his career.
Brady’s drive as a competitor and the IQ he has possessed on the field being well experienced makes him a player that can still make a team a contender if he is put in the right situation. The league has seen other great quarterbacks do it at the end of their careers. For example, former Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning brought a championship to Denver at the tail end of his career after he decided to leave the Colts.
I’ve seen Brady find ways to get through adversity through his career as a football player, such as being picked in the sixth round of the draft and his crazy come-from-behind victories, so I have no doubt he can overcome one more challenge before he hangs his cleats up one last time. You never know, he might decide to bring his talents to Indiana if given the opportunity. That would be a hard one to swallow for some Indianapolis fans.
Father time is undeniable, even though it may take longer for other certain individuals. It will still come in due time, but Brady still has something left in the tank, and he still has the ability to get the job done when it matters most.