Thu, Jan. 23

Super Bowl XXXIX<br><i>All signs point to repeat</i>

VVN/Jared Dort

TOM Brady has the chance to tie Joe Montana for most Super Bowl MVP awards at three.

What you did hear was talk about their depleted secondary, and how Payton Manning was going to tear them to pieces. That didn’t happen.

In the AFC Championship game, it was all about the ground attack of the Steelers, the rise of Big Ben and Pittsburgh’s 34-20 win in Week 8. We all know how that playoff game turned out.

Now that New England is making its third Super Bowl appearance in four years, everyone’s talking about the Patriots. People even want to throw in the word “Dynasty.”

In this day and age of free agents, salary caps and big money, we may never see another dynasty in sports — at least one that’s not bought. The 1960s Celtics, the 1990s Bulls, and as much as I hate to say it, the Yankees since baseball began, all fit the mold. A Dynasty is built over time, and three year’s just doesn’t cut it.

Then again, maybe it should.

Football is one of the hardest sports to win back-to-back titles in. The feat has happened seven times in the past 38 years. That’s nothing compared to the NBA, which has close to half that number in three-peats, not including the Celtics’ run from 1958-59 to 1965-66.

I remember the time that the word dynasty was in play when the Rams won their first title. They were by far one of the most exciting teams to watch during early the 2000s. New England ended that talk when Adam Vinatieri’s kick sailed through the uprights.

Denver was close to running the tables in the NFL in the late 1990s, but John Elway was on the way out. Dallas had its stint in 1993, '94 and '96, but the team didn’t stay together.

That’s the problem with the NFL today. It’s such a physical league that players just don’t last long enough to establish a dynasty. If they do, they get traded to cut corners or move on for more money. That’s what makes the Patriots such a unique team. Players stick around.

We got an idea of just how much the concept of “team” means to New England earlier this week when Eagles’ receiver Freddie Mitchell called out Rodney Harrison, the Patriots’ safety. In an interview with Harrison, he told Freddie that he's messing with the whole team, not just him.

Everyone on the club reiterated that sentiment to the media.

It’s certainly been a team effort to get this far. When cornerbacks Ty Law and Tyrone Poole went down earlier in the season, most of us thought that was the end of the season. Those are two of the best backs in the business. But wins against the Rams, once dubbed the “Greatest Show on Turf,” and the Colts proved the Pats weren’t going to miss a beat.

If you look at both Super Bowl wins in the past three years, the final scores have been close. It took a defensive stand, and offensive drive and a clutch kicker to win it — teamwork.

Sure, Tom Brady was named the MVP in both games, but that award could easily have gone to anyone. I’m sure if you ask Brady, he’d tell you the same thing.

Brady could win another MVP award this year, and that would put him in the same breath as Joe Montana, the only player to win it three times. What’s truly amazing is Brady is still young. Other MVP quarterbacks were doing it in their prime.

Winning three titles — which will happen this weekend — would be getting close to a dynasty, but that just might be the beginning. With this crew, New England could win four, maybe five championships before Brady calls it a career.

Then we can use the “D” word.

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