Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

COMMENTARY: Patriots Establish Legacy With Super Bowl Victory

EPA  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned his fourth Super Bowl victory, a tie for the most Super Bowl wins by an NFL quarterback.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned his fourth Super Bowl victory, a tie for the most Super Bowl wins by an NFL quarterback.

The Super Bowl defines legacies. In the span of just four hours, anyone from a fifth-round draft pick who has barely played to a renowned legend can rewrite football history. Two teams, the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, stood on the precipice of greatness with only one game separating both teams from the Valhalla of football legends.

The Seahawks came up just short, forever altering the reputations of their most iconic players and even one of their less recognizable players — wide receiver Chris Matthews. Matthews entered the game with zero NFL receptions. The Seahawks found the 6-foot-5-inch former Canadian Football League player working at a Foot Locker in early 2014. His feel-good story had millions across the nation in awe as he caught four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, yet his name may wash away in the sands of history after the tragic ending for the NFC champions.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s blown pass with 26 seconds left in regulation effectively ended the game. Wilson played amazingly in certain moments and subpar in others. After observing the replay, it is clear that Malcom Butler made an incredible read to intercept the former Super Bowl champ. Still, that interception will cause media and fans alike to debate whether or not he is an elite quarterback.

Had it not been for Carroll’s questionable play call, maybe Wilson would have never made that throw. With the clock winding down, Belichick opted not to use his one remaining timeout — a gutsy decision that could have easily backfired. Carroll decided to pass the ball rather than run it with the Seahawks’ star running back Marshawn Lynch. Carroll has shown a propensity to make audacious calls, but this one crossed the line. The unfortunate outcome reflected the unnecessary risk of the decision to run a passing play. Even so, that is who Coach Carroll is. Just two weeks ago, he called a gutsy fake field goal, which, if it had failed, would have incited just as much confusion. For everyone else on the Seahawks, the same type of “what if” questions will arise. Had they won Sunday, Matthews would have lived on in NFL history, no one would have doubted Wilson’s abilities, Carroll would have received praise for his pluckiness and the Seahawks would have established a dynasty.

For the Patriots, the victory added to the extensive resumes of Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, yet the stigma from their controversial scandals will forever leave a blemish on this era of football.

Tom Brady’s fourth Super Bowl victory might catapult him past Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning for the title of greatest quarterback of all time. Brady may also become the most admired Boston athlete ever, which is no easy task given the long list of athletic superstars who have graced the city over the years. Despite New England’s large fan base all over the United States, his achievements will always arouse discussion of deflate-gate. This absurd scandal has left many questioning the legitimacy of the Patriots’ feats. The problem has been heavily discussed not only because of the zealous faction of fans who despise Brady’s team, but also because of the constant cries from Patriots fans about all the different news that they believe abdicates the organization. The media feeds on this topic because both sides are so fixated on their opinion that they are deaf to the other side’s claims.

While Belichick should be celebrating a great victory, he may be in a courthouse testifying in a murder trial involving his former player, Aaron Hernandez, later this week. Belichick may be one of the most brilliant minds football has ever seen, but his questionable tactics, links to multiple scandals and polarizing character make him an easy target for public resentment. In 2007, the spy-gate scandal sent fans and media in an uproar. No one will ever know the extent of the scandal itself, except that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell levied the maximum fine against Belichick while destroying all of the evidence. Some pundits have also noted that Belichick has illegally used players who are on injured reserve during practice.

It is a shame that this stigma surrounds the Patriots’ dynasty. Most sports fans, regardless of team affiliation, appreciate and respect greatness. Yet, there will always be those few people who debate the legitimacy of the Patriots’ success. In the end, though, all the arguments regarding the Patriots’ validity are moot. The Patriots won four Super Bowls behind the ingenuity of their coach and their quarterback. No individual or scandal can erase that fact or displace the memories of Brady and Belichick’s Patriots. For a few days, NFL fans can rejoice in the fact that they witnessed one of the best games of all time, and ignore all of the controversies that surrounded this incredibly entertaining 2014-2015 NFL season.

Nick Barton is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business.

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