Following another game in which the New England Patriots nearly squandered a lead in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady finds himself wondering if the expectations among Patriots fans may be too high. Considering they entered the season with one of the easier schedules in the league, it is surprising that the Patriots needed a win over the Jets to crawl over .500. When asked about his team’s inability to close out games during an interview with WEEI on Monday, Brady gave the following response.
“I wish it were that easy,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said. “And maybe there were times when it has looked that easy. But I think you appreciate it when it does work. And you realize the preparation that you put into it, that it pays off. Maybe we’ve just spoiled some people in the meantime. Because it’s hard to win, man. It’s really hard to win.”
Brady makes a valid point. A win is a win, especially in the NFL. Any Andrew Luck can beat any Aaron Rodgers on any Sunday. However, the expectations in New England coming off another disappointing Super Bowl loss are obviously higher than your average place. The Patriots rarely ever lose at home, so their fans have come to expect easy wins. Is that spoiled or simply knowing your team’s potential?
It would be one thing if the Patriots were just an average team, but they’ve lost three games by a total of four points. They led in the fourth quarter of all three games. You could make the argument that New England outplayed its opponents for three-plus quarters in each of its three losses. The blown leads demonstrate a lack of toughness and are the biggest source of fan frustration. Perhaps the fans and media are spoiled by the Patriots’ success over the past decade, but that doesn’t excuse their inability to close out their opponents.
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