All that’s left for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick now is one for the thumb.
And a place alone among the greats in NFL history.
No coach and quarterback tandem has won more than four Super Bowls. Together, the Steelers’ Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw won four in the 1970s — a record that went unmatched until Sunday night.
With the Patriots’ thrilling 28-24 victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, Belichick and Brady now have a fourth ring, too.
And the bad news for the league: They’re showing no signs of stopping.
“I love doing it so I don’t want it to end any time soon,” said Brady, appearing Monday at the day-after news conference that’s required by all Super Bowl MVPs.
There’s no reason to believe it will. Brady is maniacal in the offseason preparation of his body and mind, and it has paid off. He will turn 38 a month before the 2015 season begins, but at least for now, he has found the secret to outfoxing Father Time.
And there’s little reason to think Belichick is going anywhere anytime soon, either. Football has been his life for four decades, and he continues to be smarter than anyone else in the business.
And although he is 62, Belichick wasn’t even the oldest coach on the field last night. He is seven months younger than Pete Carroll.
“I worked this team hard,” Belichick said Monday. “I know from personal experiences they worked hard. When things didn’t go right, they just rolled up their sleeves and tried to fix it.”
With amazing results.
Sunday’s result should prove forever that what a team looks like in September is rarely ever what the team will be in December, January — and in the Patriots’ case — February.
The bandwagon was pretty empty after Week 4, when the Patriots were embarrassed by the Chiefs 41-14 on national TV. Some wondered if Brady was done after completing 14 of 23 passes for 159 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Now, people are wondering if he will ever retire.
Certainly, the NFL suits on Park Avenue don’t want this run to end. The Brady and Belichick era has been a gold mine. Love them or hate them, the Patriots attract eyeballs.
Sunday marked the highest-rated Super Bowl in history, with NBC pulling a ridiculous 49.7 rating and 72 share on the night. The network topped 50 in each hour from 8 p.m. on and peaked at 52.3/72.3 during the game’s scintillating finish between 10 to 10:15 p.m.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called it “one for the ages,” and it’s hard to argue with him. The game had it all — star players, iconic coaches, riveting back-and-forth action and a finish that will be discussed forever.
Carroll’s decision to throw from the 1-yard line, despite having the unstoppable Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, will be one of the most second-guessed decisions in NFL history. Malcolm Butler jumped the slant route and intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass — the ultimate backfire at the worst possible time.
And in doing so, he changed history. Instead of the Seahawks being back-to-back champs, the Patriots are now in the discussion for having the greatest run in NFL history.
One more title and the argument is probably over.
“Tom, a lot of things were said about him this morning,” a bleary-eyed Belichick said. “They’re all true. It’s been my great privilege to coach him the last 15 years. I can’t think of a more deserving player than Tom to be the recipient of the accolades he has this week. He’s our leader. He competes as well as any player I’ve ever coached. There’s no player I respect more than Tom. He’s been a great pillar of strength for our football team for the last decade and a half.”