I have seen the future, and it includes the most riveting Super Bowl in NFL history. It pits two of the truly iconic men at their profession – legends in the history of professional sports in this country – against one another with everything on the line. It is the ultimate grudge bowl. The ultimate revenge game.
Consider four quarters of football (or maybe even more if the Football Gods really lean into this scenario) to settle one of the longest-running bar debates of all-time. Brady v. Belichick. Coach v. QB. Who really needed whom the most? Who will out-shine the other into perpetuity? Which immortal is a little more immortal than the other?
Embrace the hate!
Okay, so yeah, I am being a little cheeky here. For starters, I can't see the future, even one week ahead, or else I would have a far better record with my Best Bets (though we did rally to go 3-0 last week!). No one has any idea what the heck is going to happen from week to week in this league, especially not this season.
And, furthermore, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick do not hate one another. They had the most productive run together in NFL history at New England, and, eventually, I suggest they will actually come to be at least fairly chummy, sort of like what Belichick and Bill Parcells are like now. Frienemies, at the very least.
But can you even try to envision what the week leading up to a Patriots-Bucs Super Bowl would be like? The awkward press conferences? The dredging up of old grudges in the media cycle for two weeks leading up to the game? I'm not even gonna lie, I am basically rooting for this outcome at this point. It would be bonkers.
Belichick, the evil genius, can tap into game plans and tendencies that he saw one of his former franchises, the Giants, use to defeat Brady in Super Bowl XLII. The fact that the teams actually played early this season – in just the second season with these two GOATS roaming apart after two decades together – would make a rematch with all at stake even more juicy. It's kinda ridiculous to even allow yourself to ponder.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, having a pristine season grooming Brady's long-time replacement, rookie Mac Jones, getting a chance to possibly have the youngster outplay the master as Brady attempts to win another Super Bowl at age 44? Come on, man! As Brady attempts to repeat as Lombardi Trophy winner for the first time since he and the Pats did it in 2004-2005. Oh yeah, with the California kid back in his home state no less.
And I haven't even mentioned the wondrous Rob Gronkowski yet. What a role he could play in this entire circus scenario. He missed the game at Foxborough this season, so this would be his first time facing New England since he left. For all of the angst two weeks spent talking about this game would create for Brady and Belichick, one suspects that Gronk might actually revel in it. Oh, the fun Gronk could have. (To say nothing of loosey-goosey, willing-to-say-whatever-he-thinks-in-the-media Cool Uncle Bruce Arians contrasted with the perpetually-uncomfortable Hoodie during two weeks of interactions with the media. Sign me up for that right now).
Oh, and Antonio Brown was in New England for a for a hot minute as well, if you recall, at Brady's behest. Didn't work out so well. In fact, it was a quick disaster with A.B. taking to social media to go after Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the way out. Yeah, all of that happened, and it would return to the fore in the run-up to this Super Bowl, should it go this way.
Just imagine Media Night! It'll be a hoot!
With the way these teams are playing, and how they're constructed, and with there being no apparent super teams in 2021, is this really that far-fetched of a notion? They are balanced between offense and defense, have championship-pedigree coaching staffs, strong offensive lines. Yeah, both have some warts as well – a rookie QB in the playoffs; issues with the Bucs age and secondary – and injuries could obviously throw things asunder, but the Bucs righted some things Monday night against the Giants and the Patriots are playing the best ball in the AFC right now, one could argue.
Can you even begin to consider what the night before this game would be like for Brady or Belichick? Knowing that you could lose the chalice to the other guy, still so soon after the divorce became final, would have to drive these two maniacally-competitive gentleman absolutely batty. Having to watch the other one hoist the very trophy they have dedicated their adult lives to chasing?
It's too delicious. Too surreal.
It can't happen. Right? Except that when it comes to these two, doing the impossible and rewriting history is all they do. Conspiring to make this the outcome while in opposite conferences wouldn't even be worth mentioning, except that we are talking Brady and Belichick here.
And you can't convince me that each of these men hasn't already allowed themselves to at least consider that Angry Bowl I is within reason. In private moments, preparing for the next opponent, the specter of possibly facing the other in the final game of the year has to have crossed their minds. They try to shake it, not allow it to consume them … but come January, if both teams are doing what they are capable of, I don't know how they'll be able to avoid it.
Hell, lately I've been consumed by the proposition, and I've got no dog in the fight.
But it could be real. And it would most definitely be magnificent, no matter how weird or unattractive the actual game was (thinking Rams/Patriots Super Bowl LIII, here; you know, 13-3). Even that would be bonkers knowing what would be at stake.
So, I hope you join me in praying to the Football Gods to make this happen. Put it on your holiday wish list. Let all the myriad ways this matchup could entertain us wash over you. Two weeks of pomp and circumstances leading up to this Super Bowl actually might not be enough. It is a dream scenario that would result in the ultimate nightmare for one all-time great.
Please join me in rooting for this.
Embrace the hate.