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Why losing Super Bowl 53 won’t negatively impact Tom Brady & Bill Belichick’s legacies

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady

This coming Sunday’s Super Bowl 53 showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots is being buoyed up by numerous narratives. Few are probably as captivating as the thought of how the outcome of that game could influence how history would view the legendary duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

While both have accomplished and achieved so much together in New England and, when they decide to call it quits, will leave an indelible mark of football greatness, a loss in the Super Bowl is jet fuel for their haters. The only way for the Patriots to shut their detractors up is by winning.

Belichick and Brady know that winning another Super Bowl would elevate their legacies to a higher place where it’s going to take a lot of personal hate for someone to still question their body of work in their respective football careers.

The tandem is going after much more than a Super Bowl win. They want their already formidable legacies to get further fortification. They want to make anyone who tries to diminish them look laughable akin to what Skip Bayless sounded like when he once argued that drinking water automatically makes LeBron James a lesser basketball player. It helps New England, story-wise, that it opened up as the underdog in its matchup with the Rams, though, the Patriots will enter Sunday’s game as the favorite – strong evidence of how much people still respect them.

But what if the Patriots lose to Los Angeles and go back to New England empty-handed from the Super Bowl for the second year in a row? They are still feeling residual effects on their image from their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by a backup quarterback in Super Bowl 52.

To say that a loss to the Rams won’t have a negative impact on the legacies of Belichick and Brady is naive, but that should only last for a while. Recency bias in the social media age can often blow anything out of proportion to the point where the line that separates a fair perception from a subjective and ill-intentioned agenda becomes blurred.

People are so smitten with the walk-off-as-a-winner idea, the mic drop moment a la Michael Jordan. Not many people think of Michael Jordan the Washington Wizard. He’s universally imagined wearing a Bulls uniform with his six fingers raised in the air or holding that iconic follow through in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals after draining a clutch bucket with seconds to go in regulation. Tiger Woods isn’t remotely as good today in golf as he was over a decade ago, but, just like with Jordan, people will associate him more with that playoff-forcing shot at Torrey Pines during the 2008 U.S. Open than when he fell short of winning at The Open in 2018.

All things considered, the success Belichick and Brady have had together with New England over the past two decades would outweigh any degree of failure the Patriots may experience this coming Sunday. Whatever happens, they have five Super Bowl rings and the last time we checked, five is greater than four.