The New England Patriots are once again a top pick by NFL prognosticators to get to the Super Bowl. This has been a yearly occurrence for almost the past decade, and if you look at their statistics as a team in that span of time, it seems like it is for good reason. Is this year different? Deion Branch seems to think so.
"Each year is going to be something different. We’re a lot better than we were last year,” said Branch to Patriots Insider, Tom Curran.
Deion Branch is one of three players (Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork being the other two) left from any of the three Super Bowl wins in the previous decade, and he says that the Patriots want to make this team special. That means a lot coming from a former Super Bowl MVP. Branch has been cut and re-signed a couple times by the Patriots this year (his locker was never cleared out so his spot on the team was never in serious jeopardy) and he knows his time left as a Patriot and as an NFL wide receiver in general could be coming to a close, so Deion has all the motivation he needs.
Tom Brady started off his career in the playoffs 10-0, but has seen his postseason career even out as he has been 6-6 in the subsequent twelve games. He may not admit it to the press, but that statistic probably does not sit well with him. No losses ever sit well with Brady, and when those losses mean your season is over, it only makes it worse.
According to ESPNBoston, in an interview, Special Teams captain Matthew Slater recognized the “failures” in the postseason since he and many others have had since joining the Patriots since 2007, or more recently, last year.
“To be able to come as close as we did last year, and have past failures in my previous seasons here, it just drives you and motivates you more. We're a team that's very hungry. We don't feel like we've accomplished anything. We don't feel like we've arrived at all because it's all for naught unless you do something in the postseason. We're very driven, very motivated, very focused,” says Slater.
From the veterans like Brady who want to win and silence the critics of his most reason playoff performances, to Branch who sees his career coming to a close thus wanting another Super Bowl before it is too late, and finally to the rest of the guys who still have the bad taste of a Super Bowl loss in their mouths and are craving to get it out – this entire team is hungry.
With all of that said, I am fine with the Texans using Dan Shaughnessy and whoever else is doubting them to give them that temporary spark of motivation because that is all it will be – temporary. The Patriots have had something driving their hunger since that fateful Sunday night last February when they were branded second best team in the league, and that hunger has only one suitor to satisfy it: A Vince Lombardi Trophy.