Boring. Predictable. Monotonous.
These are all words I would use to describe last year’s NFL playoffs, with the only sprinkle of intrigue being the massive controversy surrounding the blown call during the NFC championship game. If the most interesting thing about a playoff season is speculation of a referee error, then what has football come to?
However, I would describe this playoff season as fresh, exciting and improbable. While there are countless differences between this year and last, there was one deciding factor in regards to my attitude towards this postseason: The New England Patriots.
During Super Bowl LIII, we watched Tom Brady run the same play three straight times to put the Rams away and take home yet another Lombardi. Aside from the three straight Super Bowls, we’ve watched the Patriots through nine straight AFC Championship games and 15 straight divisional rounds.
I’m not the only one yawning. Super Bowl ratings hit a ten year low last year, according to deadline.com. Not only was it the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all time, but some say ratings were also suffering from “Patriots fatigue.”
Half of the fun in being a fan of the NFL for many is the stories behind the teams and behind the players. We know Tom Brady is a 42-year-old powerhouse of a quarterback that will dominate the NFL for as long as he possibly can. We’ve watched Bill Belichick maintain his serious demeanor through eight Super Bowls.
The story of the Patriots has gone flat like an abandoned can of La Croix.
Watching the Patriots march their way down the field and to the Super Bowl has been like watching the same movie over again knowing exactly how it ends. But this year we get a brand new movie, starring Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garapolo, the man who can throw a perfect spiral with his left hand and the man who smashed Tony Romo’s records at Eastern Illinois University.
The story for Brady and Belichick has become tiresome, but this refreshing change has reignited fans who were long awaiting something new.