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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been around the block a time or two. There isn’t anything left for him to accomplish in the NFL that he hasn’t done already. He has been there, done that, and bought the souvenir t-shirt. Since he is grossly underpaid, many wonder why he continues to play.
Maybe, it's because he wants to end a curse or two before hanging up his cleat forever. Maybe he wants to do a few things no one has ever done (or at least not in a very long time).
With a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, he can do just that.
It may be hard to believe, but there has never been a quarterback that led the NFL in passing yards and won the Super Bowl in the same season. But that will change if Brady can get the job done on Sunday. He led the league in passing yards this season with 4,577 yards (beating out Phillip River by 62 yards).
The notion sounds a little crazy, right? With the way some guys have been throwing the ball in recent years, surely someone would have done it—right?
You would think—but no.
For the last three years, Drew Brees was the league leader (he’s done it seven times during his career). But his Saints finished 7-9 each year. The year he did win the Super Bowl (2009), Matt Schaub was the passing champ.
Peyton Manning had a shot to do it in 2013, but his Broncos were destroyed by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The two times he did win the Super Bowl (2006 and 2015) the passing title belonged to Brees.
Since 1966, the passing champ has made it to the Super Bowl five times and lost each one. Brady had a shot back in 2007, the last time he led the NFL in passing yards but lost to the New York Giants 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII.
But that isn’t the only curse that Brady can break with a win over the Eagles Sunday. There is a very strong chance that he’ll be named the league MVP this season. If he does win it and the Patriots beat the Eagles, he’ll become the first MVP since Marshall Faulk (2000) to win a Super Bowl in the same year.
Matt Ryan had a chance to break the curse last season and failed. Cam Newton had a shot the year before but couldn’t make it happen. During the 2013 season, Peyton Manning won the award and made it to the Super Bowl. But he couldn’t handle the Seattle Seahawks defense.
Since 2000, seven of 16 league MVPs have made it to the big game only to have their Super Bowl dreams dashed by the opposition. In each case, there was a common factor that led to the demise of each MVP’s season—they faced a defense they couldn’t beat.
Matt Ryan had to deal with the Patriots last season. The Denver Broncos defense Cam Newton faced was one of the all-time best. The Seattle Seahawks unit that dismantled Peyton Manning was called the Legion of Boom for a reason.
Okay—so the New Orleans Saints defense Peyton Manning faced in Super Bowl XLIV wasn’t legendary. There’s an exception to every rule.
But if Brady can win the MVP—and he should – he could end up taking down not one but two Super Bowl curses.
Should he do it, it would be interesting to see if Brady and his mojo could take down another one before he retires. But the opportunity is unlikely to present itself. No team has ever played in a Super Bowl that it was hosting. Minnesota came close to breaking that curse. But a disastrous performance in the NFC Championship brought that to an end.
But Brady is 40, and the location for the Super Bowl has been decided through 2022. So, for Brady to end this one, the NFL would have to award Super Bowl LVII to Gillette Stadium (not going to happen) and hope that Brady can last another five years.
Yeah—not going to happen. With his TB12 diet, Brady might last, but the NFL will never risk a Super Bowl having to be played in the snow.
For his encore, Brady may just have to settle for breaking multiple curses all at once. Maybe next season he can be on the Madden cover, a can of Chunky Soup, break a mirror, have a herd of black cat’s cross his path, fail to respond to a chain letter, and the Super Bowl can be played on Friday the 13th.