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AP Photo/Elise Amendola
So, the Patriots are squaring off against the Colts in the AFC Championship. That will mark the 9th time they've made it this far in the playoffs in the last 14 years, and the 4th year in a row. They've been to 5 Super Bowls, winning 3 (2001, 2003, 2004), and they have a very good chance (in my very biased opinion) to make it 4 in 6. So, why have they been so dominant in the last 14-15 years? The simple answer? Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Let's start with Tom Brady. He's the best quarterback in history. Period. Especially in the playoffs. He has the most wins (19), most touchdown passes (46), and he's currently in a tug-of-war with Peyton Manning for the most passing yards. And after Sunday's dismal effort by Manning, Brady can take a decisive edge. And, let's face it - how much longer does Manning have? He's been playing hurt for a month, apparently. His time could be up soon, which means Brady would take full control of that record as well. He knows how to play when it matters most. It's not just his postseason resume, though. How about the fact that Brady is in the top 5 in both passing yards (53,258) and touchdowns all-time (392). And some of those years were with so-so weapons around him, last year for instance. He took the Pats to the AFC Championship with a group of rookies and missing Rob Gronkowski.

The other half of that combo is Bill Belichick, who is a mastermind of a coach (look no further than last game against the Ravens when he went with 4 offensive lineman to help get the Pats back into the game). He was also known as for the "Bend-Don't-Break" defense, which helped the Pats keep a lot of points off the board, thus giving his offense a chance to win the game. It also takes a special coach to keep your team so dominant for so long. It would've seemed easy to get complacent after winning 3 championships in 4 years, but that's not how Bill Belichick works. They've only missed the playoffs twice in his tenure, in 2002-03 and when Matt Cassel replaced Tom Brady for a season in 2008.

They've also won the AFC East 11 out of the last 12 years (the lone exception being the afore mentioned year that Brady was injured). Granted, not the best division in the league, but you always have to watch the other teams in your division because they're likely to give you their best shot.

Credit also has to go to the talented supporting cast that the Patriots have had down the years from Tedy Bruschi and Willie Mcginest and the great players from the Super Bowl teams, to the great 2007 team that nearly had a perfect 19-0 year, from players like Wes Welker, and Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski today, as well as Robert Kraft, the owner. Over the years, though, the constant has been the coach and the quarterback. They've been so consistently good because they have one of the greatest head coach/quarterback combinations in the history of the game. Hopefully, the run continues with red, white and blue confetti and the hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Glendale, Arizona.

Conor Frederick 1/13/2015 08:40:00 PM Edit
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