Here are the things you need to know about the New England Patriots prior to Sunday's Super Bowl.
With the Super Bowl just days away, let"s review what the Patriots have at stake on Sunday and what makes one of the most successful NFL franchises tick.
Bill Belichick: Best coach ever?
Patriots coach Bill Belichick may not be the most well-dressed or the most outspoken coach in NFL history, but there"s no denying his success.
If Belichick can grab his fourth Super Bowl victory, he'll tie Pittsburgh Steelers legend Chuck Noll with the most in NFL history. He already owns the most record for play-off wins (21) and is third in playoff games coached in (31) behind Tom Landry's and Don Shula's 36. Only two of Belichick"s play-off games came before he went to New England (1994 with the Cleveland Browns).
Tom Brady: Best quarterback ever?
You can"t talk Belichick"s legacy without talking about Tom Brady"s. The coach/QB combination will forever link the two Patriot icons.
Sunday will mark Brady"s sixth Super Bowl, making him the all-time leader in Super Bowl appearances, breaking a tie with John Elway. A win would be Brady"s fourth, tying him with Joe Montana, who is widely considered the greatest signal caller of all-time strictly because of his post-season success. Granted, Montana won all four of his appearances on football"s biggest stage, but Brady"s knack for getting there is uncanny.
Hey, what about us? Patriots defense
The Seahawks defense gets all the attention, which isn"t necessarily unfair. Seattle led the league in total defense in 2014, while the Patriots came in at No. 13. However, the Patriots defense has stepped up in the post-season and allowed just 318.5 total yards per game, nearly 30 yards less than its regular season average of 344.1, and almost 20 yards per game less than Seattle"s 334 yards per game this post-season.
The Patriots have playmakers on every level of their 4-3 defense. Vince Wilfork and former first-round pick Chandler Jones anchor the defensive line, while second-year linebacker led the team with 116 total tackles. And the secondary, which may not be quite what the Seahawks boast, isn"t too shabby. Cornerback Darrelle Revis" cover skills and former Seahawk Brandon Browner"s size form a tandem more than capable of locking down the outer portions of the field.
First-round picks? Who needs em?
Brady"s journey from sixth-round pick to NFL poster-boy as been well-documented, but the rest of the Patriots offense isn't much more glamorous.
Left tackle Nate Solder is the only first-round pick starting on the offensive side of the ball in New England, while Rob Gronkowski, a second-round pick, is the only early-round target for Brady. Brandon Lafell is a former third-round pick by the Panthers, Julian Edelman was a seventh-round choice and Danny Amendola went undrafted in 2008. As for running backs, the Patriots" top options out of the backfield, LaGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray, were both undrafted.