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Super Bowl XLIX: Each Team's Legacy, Win or Lose

Andrew Schultz |
January 25, 2015 | 12:28 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Super Bowl XLIX will pit the top-seeded teams in each conference,

How will Brady's career be viewed after "Deflate-gate," even if he gets a fourth Super Bowl win under his belt. (Flickr/Creative Commons
How will Brady's career be viewed after "Deflate-gate," even if he gets a fourth Super Bowl win under his belt. (Flickr/Creative Commons
as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will look for their second consecutive Super Bowl win, this time against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Both teams are exceptionally talented on both sides of the ball, have experience winning big postseason games and have proven themselves to be a cut above their opponents.

Unfortunately, the game has been slightly marred by news that the Patriots used underinflated balls during their 45-7 AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts. While it’s unlikely to have changed the result of the game, considering how much better New England was in all aspects, it doesn’t help the already negative reputation the Patriots have outside of New England.

It could also have implications on the Patriots going down the road. Should the Patriots be found guilty, they will likely be subject to a fine and possible draft picks. There are also talks, mostly by ESPN columnists, that Brady should be benched for the Super Bowl, and Belichick should be either suspended or fired for his part. While that would definitely be a way for the NFL to get their message across, it seems unlikely they’d want to cut into their ratings by having backup Jimmy Garoppolo make his first career start in the national championship.

On the other sideline, the Seahawks have a surprisingly low amount of pressure for the defending champions. With all the attention being focused on the Patriots, even a Seahawks loss will likely be attributed to something shady being done by New England. If anything, all this media attention on the chaos in New England is the best thing that could happen to the Seahawks before the game.

That being said, a win in the Super Bowl (or a loss) will have an impact on how these teams go down in history. We’ll take a look at both possible results, and see what could transpire after the clock hits zero this upcoming Sunday.

Patriots beat the Seahawks

At this point in his career, Brady has very little more to prove, especially in the postseason. He has a 20-8 record in the postseason (3-2 in the Super Bowl). Once he takes the field, he will be the first quarterback ever to make six starts in the Super Bowl. He leads all quarterbacks in playoff wins, career playoff passing yards (7,017), passing touchdowns (49), completions (646), attempts (1,035) and game-winning drives (eight), and is tied with Joe Montana for most playoff comebacks with five.

Belichick is in the same boat as Brady. Belichick has a playoff record of 21-9, giving him the most playoff wins among head coaches, and shares Brady’s 3-2 Super Bowl Record. He is now the second coach in NFL history to coach in six Super Bowls, the other being Don Shula, who had a record of 2-4 in such games.

A win over the Seahawks would give Brady and Belichick each their fourth Super Bowl win, tying Brady with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback, while Belichick would tie former Steelers coach Chuck Noll for most Super Bowl wins by a head coach.

However, in the eyes of many football fans, the Patriots’ success has been tainted by “Spygate” and the recently dubbed “Deflate-gate.” Brady and Belichick were 3-0 in the Super Bowl before Spygate and 0-2 after, which,

Where would Russell Wilson rank among current NFL quarterbacks after back-to-back Super Bowl wins? (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
Where would Russell Wilson rank among current NFL quarterbacks after back-to-back Super Bowl wins? (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

although it could be a complete coincidence, is more ammunition that can be used against them. Now that the NFL is taking additional steps to ensure no tampering with the balls during the Super Bowl, the Patriots have a chance to prove they don’t need to cheat to win big. But their past history essentially clouds the legacies of both Brady and Belichick, similar to how the MLB’s steroid era has made many question the careers of many players.

A win could also possibly convince cornerback Darrelle Revis to come back to the team for a reduced salary, allowing them to upgrade other positions and giving them a better chance to repeat next season.

The Seahawks have the Legion of Boom locked up, meaning they should remain a force in the NFC for the next few years. They will lose some respect with a loss, because of how poorly they played in the first half of the NFC Championship game and still came out on top, but will still likely enter next season as one of the top teams in the NFL.

Seahawks beat the Patriots

Despite being the defending Super Bowl champions and having the star power of the Legion of Boom, Seattle is under less pressure in the Super Bowl, thanks to the storylines surrounding the Patriots. A win would make Seattle the first team since the Patriots in 2005 to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and would establish themselves as the NFL’s current dynasty, with analysts likely immediately debating the chances of Seattle completing a three-peat, which has never happened in the Super Bowl era.

The attention for the Seahawks will then turn to the Russell Wilson situation, who will be entering the 2015-16 season in the final year of his rookie contract, and will likely be looking to sign an extension. Unlike Joe Flacco with the Ravens, who signed a 6-year, $120 million deal after winning the Super Bowl, Wilson and the Seahawks have a year to negotiate, meaning they can sort out the balance between making sure Wilson gets the money he deserves and having enough money to maintain depth at other positions.

Another Super Bowl win would also put Wilson in the conversation of elite quarterbacks (one analyst says he's looking better than Brady did early in his career), or at least close to it, as the 12th quarterback with multiple Super Bowl titles, while Carroll would be only the 13th coach to win multiple Super Bowls.

The Patriots, in this case, would likely continue to face public scrutiny after all the “Deflate-gate” stories, but they will continue to be known as one of the best teams of this generation. New England is 170-54 since the start of the 2001 season, has missed the postseason only twice since 2001, and has had only one season without double-digit wins in that span. Regardless of what the team has apparently done, their exceptional success can’t simply be written off.

Reach staff reporter Andrew Schultz here or follow him on Twitter.



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