A hostile stadium spewing venom at him, at his staff, by no means bothered Bill Belichick, and it didn’t matter which staff was ready in ambush for the Patriots over the course of 20 years.
But when Belichick walks into the bitter arctic chill Saturday evening at Highmark Stadium, into the stomach of a championship-starved beast that proudly calls itself the Bills Mafia, for the primary time in his legendary profession he will likely be strolling into the postseason with out Tom Brady.
So when Belichick, after a one-year absence from the playoffs, begins his determined quest for a seventh Super Bowl championship, for the primary time since nobody knew the younger Brady because the GOAT, he won’t have the higher quarterback alongside for the journey.
He has a rookie quarterback, Mac Jones.
The Bills have Josh Allen.
Brady will likely be in Tampa both learning the playbook for his wild-card sport in opposition to the Eagles or stealing glances at his outdated coach bundled up in his hoodie on tv … or each.
Jones mastered massive video games for Nick Saban at Alabama, he beat out Cam Newton for the Patriots’ beginning job, he was higher than Trevor Lawrence and each different quarterback in his draft class … he even beat the Bills in Week 13, finishing two passes in three makes an attempt for 19 yards on a windy Western New York evening, when the Patriots performed Bully Ball and rushed for 222 humiliating yards.
Mac Jones, Josh AllenGetty, USA TODAY Sports
The Bills, their manhood and delight challenged, intercepted Jones twice and returned the favor in Week 16 at New England.
Which units up The Thrilla in Orchard Park.
The heavyweight slugfest of the Super Wild Card Round.
Sixty minutes — or extra — of bone-crunching mayhem and take-no-prisoners brutality within the heart of the ring.
Now perceive what this implies to every facet:
Not solely did Belichick miss the playoffs final 12 months in his first season with out Brady, however then he needed to watch Brady beat him to a seventh Lombardi Trophy by successful the Super Bowl at house in Tampa with Bruce Arians.
So Belichick the final supervisor spent $159.6 million in assured cash on the whirlwind begin of free company to present Belichick the top coach sufficient to be harmful once more.
Now attempt to put your self within the sneakers of Bills followers:
When the Bills hosted a playoff sport for the primary time in 25 years final January, COVID-19 restrictions allowed not more than 6,722 within the stadium. That was a beloved Bills staff, keep in mind, that had damaged Belichick’s 11-year stranglehold on the AFC East title.
The Bills, with Marv Levy as head coach and Jim Kelly at quarterback, misplaced 4 consecutive Super Bowls from 1991-94. While Belichick and Brady had been fronting their six-ring dynasty, Bills followers might solely dream about successful their first.
Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have constructed an influence that was 60 minutes from Super Bowl LV and defends Highmark Stadium now as back-to-back AFC East champs.
Allen has a 60.8 completion share in 4 playoff video games with 5 touchdowns and one interception, and 237 dashing yards and one other TD. “He’s hard to defend,” Belichick mentioned.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers play the Eagles within the NFC Wild Card spherical. Getty Images
Allen is 2-2 within the postseason. Brady was 30-11 with Belichick.
Jones is 0-0. And he will likely be greeted by the NFL’s No. 1 protection.
“You have to realize that there’s not a lot of room for error,” Jones mentioned. “That’s kind of what makes it fun.”
The child is a cool buyer, poised past his years. The warmth’s on him to get Belichick again to the one place he coaches to be. Jones had higher present up with ice water in his veins, and hope it doesn’t freeze over. Because a cold-blooded staff and a cold-blooded city will likely be ready for him and his coach.