BY NATASHA GEIGER
Even in the midst of the “Deflategate” controversy the New England Patriots triumphed to win Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 against the Seattle Seahawks. While the Lombardi Trophy makes its way back to the New England Patriots for the first time since 2004, two things that have been a constant are the dynamic duo of Belichick and Brady. This coach and quarterback tandem is beyond the best we have ever witnessed, and during this 15 year span they have become the winningest coach/quarterback duo ever.
Belichick and Brady have won 117 games and four Super Bowls. Some other coach/quarterback duos to reach this plateau are Don Shula and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dan Reeves and John Elway of the Denver Broncos. This stability of both a head coach and the most important position, quarterback, shows that the New England Patriots have set themselves apart from most NFL teams for 15 years.
If we were to compare the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns, we see completely different franchises in the past 15 years. The Browns have not had a playoff berth since 2002 and have not won a Super Bowl since 1964. While the past 15 years for the Patriots have been spectacular, the Browns have not had a solid quarterback in many years and certainly missed when they drafted Johnny Manziel. Not to mention they have not had a solid coach since Romeo Crennel from 2005-2008. By comparing the Patriots and the Browns we are able to see the difference between a legendary franchise versus an inconsistent team.
No doubt the Patriots still want to capitalize on the next draft even with the dynamic duo in full swing and as good as ever. The biggest need for the Patriots will be covering the offensive guard spot and there are four players that the Patriots have their eyes on; South Carolina’s A.J Cann, Duke’s Laken Tomlinson, Florida State’s Tre Jackson and Alabama’s Arie Kouandijo. What the Patriots need is versatility; players that can play both the guard position and also the tackle position. While all the above players are great possibilities for the Patriots, they are also looking at a combination player that can switch from guard and tackle without any difficulties. One such player is Alabama’s Austin Shepherd, coached by the best college coach, Nick Saban. After last year’s impressive draft picks to beef up their offensive line, they still hope to grab new offensive linemen sporadically during the draft. The Pats are also in need of some wide receivers; they have their eyes on Amari Cooper from Alabama and DeVante Parker from Louisville. They also need beefing up in the running back position; one of their top looks in the draft is Wisconsin’s very own, Melvin Gordon. While there is not much information on the Pats and who they seem to be looking at in the free agency market, you can bet that they are keeping their eyes peeled for any good prospects to add to their already successful franchise.
Whether you like the Patriots or not, it is important to recognize the history and talent that Belichick and his team of 15 years has built up and continue to build up. The future holds many options and prospects as the NFL Draft inches closer, and no doubt they will do great things in the draft and afterwards with trades and free agency. The New England Patriots are far beyond the football intelligence of most teams in the NFL and they use that to their benefit. With a solid dynamic duo there is no stopping the Pats. They are simply the best.