By Gage Nutter
I watched the Super Bowl in 2008 and 2012 on my couch with my Dad in the family living room in my suburban central Massachusetts home. It didn’t matter if you were from the heart of Boston, central Massachusetts, or the boonies of Montana. If you were a Patriots fan back then, everyone all hurt the same.
Fast forward to 2016 and I’m sitting on the end of my bed in my dorm room, doing my best surrender cobra and those same feelings come rushing back. It was a game that could’ve been turned if it weren’t for one play. It was a game that was lost in the trenches, and it was another game that was lost to a Manning, all over again.
The Patriots line allowed Brady to be hit 20 times in the AFC Championship. Well over the amount any other quarterback has been hit in a game all season . Via Pro Football Focus, 12 of the hits came in 39 pass plays with a four-man rush. This allowed the Broncos defense to practically throw a tarp over the entire secondary with seven players in coverage. This is the exact tactic that the Giants employed in their two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots in 2008 and 2012.
In the 2008 and 2012 Super Bowls combined, the Giants were able to sack Brady on average 3.5 times and only allowed on average 64 yards rushing between both games.
In the 2016 AFC Championship, the Broncos were able to sack Brady four times and allowed only 44 yards on the ground.
The fact that the Patriots were able to gain 44 yards on the ground with an offensive line that played like they were figuratively bought at Salvation Army against a Ralph Lauren type front seven almost seems like a positive to me.
Anyhow, the comparisons between those two Super Bowls and the AFC Championship continue beyond the stats.
What’s the first think you said to yourself right after the failed 2-point conversion during the AFC Championship?
“If only Gostkowski could kick an extra point.”
What’s the first thing you posted on Myspace after the 2008 Super Bowl?
“If only Rodney Harrison jumped a little bit higher,”
and your first Facebook status after the 2012 Super Bowl?
“If only Welker caught that pass.”
They all have one thing in common, one play.
One play in all of those games could have changed Patriots history, but it wasn’t meant to be.
I guess history does repeat itself. Then again, history is also written by the winners.