Atlanta has never won a Super Bowl, losing their only appearance back in 1998 to John Elway's Denver Broncos. After years of hovering around .500, it's great to see Atlanta put together a late-season run for a fan base that deserves a championship once and for all.
In my opinion, the Falcons will be facing the greatest dynasty in NFL history, and arguably in all of sports history. Some college basketball teams, like the UCLA men's teams of the 1960's or the UConn women's teams of the last two decades, have been spectacular, to be sure. USC football in the early 2000's, among others. However, these were all college programs. A great recruiter could get the best players to come to his team.
For the Patriots, they've built a dynasty that rivals the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers, the late 80's San Francisco 49ers. and the mid 90's Dallas Cowboys. What makes the Patriots run so much more impressive is that free agency either didn't exist or was in it's infancy when all of those teams made their runs. Keeping core players was much easier back then. What Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have accomplished together is simply amazing.
Belichick went 5-11 in his first season as Patriots head coach, way back in 2000. Since then, he's compiled an insane 196-71 record, which is a winning percentage north of .730. That's the equivalent of about 12 wins a season for 16 straight seasons. The Patriots have won 10 games every year but one since 2000, and they won 9 that year. Belichick consistently trades down in the draft, refuses to pay top dollar for aging veterans, and often trades declining players for draft picks before other teams even know they've declined. He's always one or two steps ahead of everyone else.
Could you imagine being a Cleveland Browns fan? Not to pile on, since things are pretty bad for the Browns, but man, how do you fire Bill Belichick? His defensive coordinator when he got fired? Nick Saban. Now, I realize that Browns franchise actually moved to Baltimore, but still. Cleveland fired not only the greatest NFL coach of all-time, but also arguably the greatest college coach of all-time. Talk about a bad decision.
Now, on to Tom Brady. There's no doubt that as great of a coach and strategizer Bill Belichick is, there's no way New England is anywhere close to as good as they've been without Tom Brady. The man is a machine who just won't seem to slow down. He's thrown 3 touchdowns for every interception over his career (456 to 152) and he's never had a completion percentage below 60%. He is, by most accounts, the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Over his career, Brady has gone 183-52, good for a ridiculous .778 winning percentage. That's 12.5 wins a season over his entire career. Most starting quarterbacks won't win 12 games in a season ever. Brady has averaged that his entire career. Absolutely mind boggling.
Regardless of how New England does in Super Bowl 51, Belichick and Brady have helped establish the greatest dynasty in sports history, and as long as Tom Brady continues to be effective, New England will likely be playing in another one of these games in the near future.