Henry Kissinger once said, "Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem." Later, Bill Gates made a similar comment stating that, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose." These two extremely brilliant and successful men should be waiting in the locker rooms of the losers of the Super Bowl each year to explain the concepts of success.
In the eyes of many, the loser of each Super Bowl has had a very successful regular season. The losers of the Super Bowl make it farther than 30 other teams in the league. That alone can easily be deemed a success, but to the losers, it is still a looming failure. An argument can be made in favor of both Kissinger and Gates’ quotes as to what these losing teams go through.
Maybe because of their regular season and playoff success, they do obtain a "can’t lose" mentality, but even more important than the success of making it to the championship game is what happens the following season.
Although these "losers" were better than 30 other teams, they have now purchased the "admission ticket to a more difficult problem." Not only do they have to make it back to the Super Bowl, but, more importantly, they must win it.
Apparently this is much more difficult than I’m making it sound.
If we take a look back through NFL history beginning with the 1994 season, we can see that every single year there has been a Super Bowl slump. The Buffalo Bills began this "curse," which may be fitting seeing as how they made it to four consecutive Super Bowls (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII) and lost all four.
After their loss on January 30, 1994, the "curse" began.
None of the losing teams thereafter have made it back to the Super Bowl the following season.
But that will end this season. Remember that I said it here first. The "curse" will cease to exist for the 2009 season.
I can give several reasons as to why the New England Patriots will be the team to ignore the challenge of the Super Bowl slump, but I will only give you five reasons so that I am not still writing when the regular season begins.
5) Jerod Mayo—From the looks of things in training camp, Mayo appears to be learning quickly and could play a major role in the defense. The only major (and I use the term loosely) holes or problems that this team seems to have are with its linebackers and secondary.
Although the secondary still needs more work, Mayo could be the difference maker for the linebackers and possibly this team. Many have voiced their opinions about the decision of the Patriots to take Mayo in the first round, but the Patriots have a history of making unconventional picks; thus far it seems to be working.
Mayo has the speed, explosiveness, and intellect to be a dominant ILB. The linebackers are aging and Mayo may be able to revive them.
4) Motivation through failure—We have seen it before. When the Patriots seem to be down and out, they come back. They rebound from AFC Championship losses, spygate scandals, and they will rebound from a perfect season upset. It is what they are best at doing.
Think of individual games during last season. The Patriots became known as a second half team. They create opportunities and drive the ball down the field quickly when they must in order to win. They rise to pressure.
Tom Brady’s high ankle sprain combined with the offensive line not rising to the occasion played a role in their Super Bowl loss, but the Patriots have learned from it all. They may not be able to prevent a high ankle sprain, but they can prevent a defense from getting Brady’s uniform so dirty again.
They have learned and will prove it.
3) Schedule—It is ironic. It is almost comical. The one team that had a perfect regular season gets the easiest schedule this year. Their most challenging games will be against the Chargers in Week 6, the Colts in Week 9, and the Steelers in Week 13. The rest of their schedule should be a cakewalk.
2) Stacked offense—This is obvious. Their offense is primed and ready.
Tom Brady, well he is Tom Brady. Enough said about the QB position.
Running back Laurence Maroney finished the end of last season strong. In four of the last six games, Maroney had 100-plus yard gains. Kevin Faulk is no small matter and Sammy Morris is a competent back up.
Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Chad Jackson, and Kelley Washington will be the wide receivers that we expect from the Pats. Moss and Welker bring their undeniable skills back for round two this season. Gaffney and Jackson will compete for the No. 3 spot.
The offensive line is aging a tad, but still appears to be in good shape minus what happened during the Super Bowl. A major missing component during the Super Bowl was guard Stephen Neal. After injuring his knee, he played very little during the game. Neal will be ready to compete this season, which will be a major boost to the offensive line.
1) Bill Belichick—In Belichick, the Patriots not only have a coach, they have a mentor, motivator, and leader.
Belichick has taught the team to retain their one game at a time mentality. Yes, he is tough, but he is fair. Belichick deserves to go down in history as one of the greatest head coaches of all-time. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame on day.
Spygate was a minor blemish on his record. He is a genius when it comes to football. He treats football as if it were an intense game of chess against a grand master. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents and uses that to his advantage. He attempts to remain a few moves ahead at all times.
Belichick has been the key to this team. During his tenure the Pats have reached exceptional heights.
The Patriots will finally put an end to what is considered the Super Bowl slump. They are in a position to do it and they will prove it in Tampa, FL.
In the words of one of the world’s most popular athletes, Michael Jordan, "I have failed many times, and that’s why I am a success." If the Patriots clench their fourth Super Bowl title in eight years, Jordan’s words will truly resonate with the team.