During a conference call for the Super Bowl, Al Michaels, who is calling his 10th Super Bowl, gave the best analysis of how super the New England Patriots dynasty is compared to the previous dynasties in sports.
He noted the New York Yankees dominated in the 1940s and 1950 when there were only 16 baseball teams and some of the earlier NFL dynasties also occurred when there were fewer teams or the situation was different.
"Now you’ve got a system that’s set up to mitigate against this type of thing happening because of the draft and where you (pick in) the draft," said Michaels. "The more success you have, the lower you go. The salary cap. So everything is designed to create – I don’t want to say parity -- but the league would prefer different teams winning every year… So for the Patriots to do this over a decade and a half is astonishing. Granted, you’ve got maybe the best coach of all time (Bill Belichick) maybe the best quarterback of all time (Tom Brady), just a solid franchise.
"I mean, the one time they didn’t make the playoffs in recent years was when Brady got hurt on opening day and Matt Cassel came in, and they still won 11 games and didn’t make the playoffs. They’re always in it. They always seem to be hosting a championship game. They won the division, what, now nine consecutive times, looking for a sixth Super Bowl. To me, it’s as impressive as anything I’ve seen in my lifetime."
Presumably, he was only speaking of sports in his lifetime.
Michaels isn't buying the idea that the Pats repeated success will lower interest in the game.
"I look at it as the two franchises, in all the years that I’ve covered sports that engender the most emotion are the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys," said Michaels. "They captivate you. People either love them or they love to hate them, but they make you pay attention. And the Patriots have now, I think, gotten into that category, too. A lot of people love them. A lot of people respect them. And a lot of people can’t stand them because, for whatever reason, they probably won too much in the minds of a lot of people. And a lot of things that have gone around that franchise for the past 17 years.
"For what it’s worth, you can’t tune away. You really can’t. So I don’t think anybody wakes up on Super Bowl morning and says, 'it’s the Patriots again. I’m going to go to the movies.' I don’t see that happening."
It is hard to disagree with that assessment. Besides, the best movies currently running are art house films, not mainstream ones.
As much as Bills fans hate the Pats, the games with them are among the highest-rated of the season. And their comeback win over Atlanta in the 2017 Super Bowl had a record live rating of 57.2 that became 57.5 after delayed viewing was added on Fox affiliate WUTV here. That will be tough to beat Sunday, despite the presence of so many ex-Bills.