Why did we ever doubt the Patriots and Seahawks?
College Contributor Network
This Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks is fantastic for so many football reasons and there isn't a limit to the number of articles that could be written purely on what's going to happen on the field. Tom Brady versus the Seahawks defense, Darrelle Revis versus Richard Sherman, Bill Belichick versus his predecessor in New England, Pete Carroll.
Maybe the lesson that comes out the most though is that we learned, once again, that the season isn't decided in September.
It seems like a lifetime ago that the talking heads were thinking out loud if Brady was finally done and his greatness was lost to age and a poor offensive line. That was nearly four months ago, after the Patriots were taken to the woodshed by Kansas City on Monday Night Football.
Sports media ate up the notion of the mighty Patriots careening back to Earth. It was exciting! They thought were finally witnessing the end to one of the best runs in American sports history. Trent Dilfer said a few words he wishes he could take back and "rumors" surfaced that Brady was unhappy with the team and that a trade could possibly be in the works.
The Patriots have gone on to win 12 of their next 13 meaningful games (the Week 17 "Backup Bowl" doesn't count, sorry Bills fans) and after every win Patriots fans remind each other "hey, remember when Dilfer said we sucked after Week 4?" and then presumably start cackling like a Disney villain.
The Seahawks got this treatment as well. By mid-October, Seattle was 3-3 and had just lost to Austin Davis and the Rams. Some knuckleheads I won't mention wondered if the Seahawks were another classic example of the Super Bowl hangover. Their defense could be exploited, they didn't have enough weapons on offense, they weren't motivated enough.
Well, as it turns out, when there's still 10 weeks left in the regular season, a lot can change. The defense got progressively healthier as the season went on, and, along with the best running back and most dynamic quarterback in football, the Seahawks cruised to the postseason.
It was the same old Seahawks we got used to watching last year when they toyed with the Broncos in the Super Bowl. In the NFC Championship game, they took a 16-7 deficit heading into the fourth quarter with Wilson having the worst game of his career and Aaron Rodgers being the best quarterback on the planet and likely MVP.
What happened in the last half hour of that game will be remembered as a total collapse by the Green Bay Packers, which doesn't give enough credit to Seattle. Every team in the NFL likes to say they have the mental toughness to shake off a poor start, but not many of them actually do.
The Seahawks definitely do. Marshawn Lynch kept running hard and finished with 157 yards and a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Also in the fourth quarter, Wilson ran in for a score and made an amazing play on a two-point conversion after the Lynch touchdown to put Seattle up three with less than two minutes remaining.
Green Bay tied the game on a field goal, and Wilson responded by throwing an absolute gem of a pass to Jermaine Kearse. It was the cherry on top and classic Wilson, throwing to the guy he targeted on all four of his interceptions for the game winner. Mental fortitude this kid has, heaps of it in fact.
On New England's side of things, it's the same lesson we re-learn every year with this team. As crazy as it may sound, having potentially both the greatest quarterback and head coach of all-time is a recipe for success.
This is a franchise that went to deep playoff runs, including a Super Bowl appearance, with a below-average defense. This year you add in Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, a healthy Vince Wilfork and the emerging star of Jamie Collins and they were going to somehow be worse?
Rob Gronkowski being healthy also has a lot to do with the Patriots winning ways this season. It's no coincidence that when he started being a main part of the offense again after Week 4 the Patriots looked like the Patriots again.
The beginning of the NFL season makes us think crazy things. The Patriots and Seahawks were thought to be clear Super Bowl contenders at the start of the season, and by the end of Week 5 that was in question. In two weeks the two teams will take the field in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX. We should ask ourselves, should this result have been a shock to anyone at any point in the season?
So please, when your Super Bowl pick for next season gets off to a 2-3 start, don't curse the heavens. Remember the winner of this year's Super Bowl and that there was a time when it was written off.
Of course, that was a stupid thing to say. We will all have ridiculous overreactions next season, and I'll probably be sitting here writing this same article exactly one year from now.
Hunter Kossodo is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is a rabid supporter of Boston sports having lived there for most of his life. Follow him on Twitter: @HKossodo