Are Patriots and Crimson Tide Making Sports Boring?

On the heels of Alabama wrapping up their fifth national championship in the last nine seasons, the New England Patriots secured their eighth AFC championship in the last 17 seasons this past Sunday. Lord Belichick and Darth Brady will look to earn their sixth Super Bowl title since 2001, and move into a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most titles all-time.

TB12 and myself both hail from the pleasant San Francisco suburb of San Mateo, CA. While I have been a fan of Brady since the then-Michigan Wolverine visited my second grade class taught by his sister Julie, even I have grown tired of the Patriots proving over and over that they simply exist on a different level than the rest of the AFC. And for those NFL fans who still aren't convinced we are watching the greatest quarterback in league history, I'm really not sure what else there is to say. San Mateo is Niner country, and Tom will tell you as much. But the great San Francisco dynasty of the '80s and '90s was divided between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and three head coaches.

From 1981-1998, the 49ers went 207-72 (.742) in the regular season, capturing 13 division titles, 17 ten-win seasons, and went five for five in the Super Bowl. From 2001-2017, the Patriots are now 209-63 (.768), with 15 division titles, 16 ten-win seasons, and are looking to go six for eight in the Super Bowl. Sure, it's still pretty close, but the Patriots have done it with one coach and one quarterback. The consistency has become staggering, and for many it has become ho-hum.

For the first half of the AFC title game this past Sunday, fans of 31 of the 32 NFL teams watched giddily as the Jacksonville Jaguars, the franchise voted "Most Likely to Fold" over the last decade, took it to the evil empire. Sort of like the Georgia Bulldogs, seeking their first national title in 30+ years, took it to the Crimson Tide in the first half of the CFP championship game.

Then the second halves were played. And in both games, the outcome we knew was coming but didn't want to face unfolded.

The comparisons between Nick Saban and Bill Belichick are hard to ignore. Taciturn, reticent, insatiable. The personnel change, but the results stay the same. They just beat you, struggle as you may.

The Bulldogs smothered Jalen Hurts for two quarters. No matter, Saban simply reached into his bottomless roster and selected the next weapon in line, and Tua Tagovailoa took care of the rest.

The Jaguars put out a hit on WMD Rob Gronkowski, knocking him out of the game in the second quarter with one of the most clearly intentional head shots I've seen in a long time. No matter, with the rattle-proof Brady leading the way, Danny Amendola simply channeled the spirits of Welker and Edelman (anyone else notice they're all pretty much the same guy?) for two touchdowns, including a circus grab for the dagger. Game, set, match.

So while the NFC provided us with their ninth different champion in 10 seasons, the AFC remains the domain of New England, Pittsburgh, and anyone else who feels like playing a postseason game or two that year. But hey, the AFC South won three playoff games this season! Neat!

At least the NFL is happy they can snuggle up to the warm bosom of two major market Northeast teams, always their favey. Could you imagine the league's marketing committee trying to figure out what the hell they're going to do with a Case Keenum/Blake Bortles Super Bowl? It would have been hilarious, and I for one was rooting for it all the way. But alas, Cinderella went three-and-out down the block from the ball.

So dust off your McNabb jersey and raise a glass, it's time to party like it's 2004. We're going Super Bowling.

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