Column: Patriots fans should still keep Super Bowl thoughts in the back of their minds

Tom Brady Broncos
Tom Brady will still be standing when the Patriots play in January. It’s why a Super Bowl trip cannot entirely be ruled out. Credit: Getty Images

In the back of most every Patriots fan’s mind, from minicamp to Christmas, year-in and year-out, is that game in February.

A berth in that game in February seemed like a longshot in Week 2, when the Patriots and Jets “battled” in the Foxboro rain, and it looked as though Kenbrell Thompkins would be Tom Brady’s security blanket going forward. That February game looked even less likely in Week 4 when Vince Wilfork limped off the Georgia Dome turf. And thoughts of that February game should have been wiped out entirely after Week 6, when it was learned that Jerod Mayo had a torn pec.

Then again, that February game seemed like a distinct possibility in Week 9 when Stevan Ridley rushed for 115 yards and the Pats hung 55 on the Steelers. It seemed as though “destiny” would be paying rent for a Route 1 apartment over the next few months in Week 12 when the Pats stunned the Broncos with a comeback for the ages. The prospects looked even better last week when the Patriots beat the Texans on the road, despite playing their worst game of the season, and a No. 2 seed in the AFC seemed like a lock.

In seven days, matters have been altered. Today, a berth in that February game seems next to impossible. The Patriots’ best player not-named-Tom-Brady, Rob Gronkowski, is done for the season and may never be the same player again. In some circles, because of this, the 10-3 Patriots, owners of the third best record in football currently, now have about the same chance of playing in New Jersey in 54 days as the Jets or Chargers or Dolphins. It’s certainly “possible.” But it’s also “possible” that Bill Belichick waxes poetic about Rebecca Black’s new single, “Saturday,” at his weekly press conference Wednesday.


Here’s the thing, ultimately: we all knew heading into this season that the 2013 Patriots would need to have 2001-like luck to be a Super Bowl contender. Through it all, that hasn’t changed.

We already know that the Patriots are extremely lucky to be in the AFC, a conference in which all 11 teams with chances at landing a playoff spot have major question marks and issues. We already know that this team has the “grit and balls,” as a great Boston athlete once said, to come through in the clutch. We already know that this team will have Brady and Belichick, playing and coaching, respectively, in a meaningful game next month.

Yes, playing in that game in February may seem next to impossible right now, but as we’ve learned nearly every week throughout this NFL season, expectations can and will change in an instant.

So keep that game in February in the back of your minds, Patriots fans. There are still 54 days left on the NFL calendar for matters to be altered.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…