Tom Brady will enter the AFC title game as an underdog. But this season and his career have proved that he and the Patriots are built for this.
The New England Patriots are playing in their eighth consecutive AFC Championship game this weekend. But this time around they are in unfamiliar territory.
Their matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs will mark the first time since 2014 that the Patriots will enter the game as the underdog. In that game, the Tom Brady-led Patriots would lose in a duel to the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers 26-21.
All this season, Brady and the Pats have been counted out as too old, depleted and worn down. Perhaps, the reason the Chiefs open up as three-point favorites is that they represent the opposite: young, healthy and vigorous.
But with Brady, his entire career has been fueled with the notion that he’s still the underdog. Infamously a sixth-round draft pick, Brady has parlayed his slight into five Super Bowl wins and three NFL MVP awards.
He currently sports a 3-3 record under in the playoffs as the underdog, in which their last win was in 2005 against the Denver Broncos, and their last game as underdogs was in 2013 in a loss to the same opponent. Still, Brady and the Pats have endured much this season that their status and record as underdogs is meaningless. Judging from their romp of the Los Angeles Chargers, the Patriots are primed and ready.
The Chiefs will be no easy task, as potential-MVP Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs offense in high gear. They may also come into the matchup with confidence that this meeting against the Patriots will be different from their regular season loss. But a driven, motivated Brady and Patriots team has always been a different animal. And the underdog label is more than just for the Chiefs, it’s been their Patriots identity.