The last two Super Bowls the Patriots played in, they had played their opponent earlier that season.
You don’t need any reminders about those two games went down.
This time, though, New England plays a Seahawks team that they haven’t seen in two full seasons.
Yes, the last time New England and Seattle faced off, Russell Wilson was just a rookie, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker caught touchdown passes, and Bill Belichick was on the grumpy side.
OK, not everything has changed since then – but a lot has.
Both teams will certainly study the film from that game, one that the Seahawks came back to win in the fourth quarter, 24-23.
Down 23-10 in the fourth quarter, Wilson threw two touchdown passes, including a 46-yard TD to Sidney Rice with 1:18 remaining in the game to shock the Patriots.
That game was Wilson’s coming out party.
“To go back to my rookie season, and to play the Patriots,” Wilson said, “I truly think that was one of the biggest games for me personally just to be able to come back against a great team and to take the lead throwing the ball to Sidney Rice . . . That was a huge comeback for us. I think that was kind of the momentum starter for the past three years really, to be honest with you.”
The loss was a shock to the Patriots, but it’s clear now that it wasn’t a fluke. The Seahawks were just getting started – and they haven’t slowed since.
It’s also where the infamous “You mad bro?” meeting between Richard Sherman and Tom Brady took place after the game. Sherman got up in Brady’s face after beating the Patriots, and didn’t back down from the superstar QB, who he felt disrespected his team.
This week, Sherman didn’t change his tune on Brady.
“Like I said before,” Sherman started, “I think people some time get a skewed view of Tom Brady—that he’s just a clean cut, does everything right, and never says a bad word to anyone, and we know him to be otherwise. But in that moment of him being himself, he said some things and we returned the favor. Unfortunately he apparently didn’t remember what he said, but I’m sure at those moments of yelling at the ref, I’m sure he was saying, ‘Good job, you’re doing a fantastic job, keep it up.’
There will be more trash talk leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, but for the first time since that game in Seattle, the Patriots will have the opportunity to respond in a meaningful way.
The Pats are credited for helping start the Seahawks’ momentum back in 2012. Perhaps they can put a halt to it in 2015.