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Brady, Belichick ready to make NFL history

Press Association logoPress Association 4/02/2017

New England duo Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are chasing history again at Super Bowl LI as they look to secure a record-breaking ring with the Patriots that would allow them to decorate each of their digits on one hand.

Quarterback Brady may already be considered the best to ever play the position, but a fifth Super Bowl title would give him one more than Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and surely settle any argument once and for all.

It is a similar situation for head coach Belichick, who won two Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator before guiding New England to four victories in the showpiece, the joint most of any chief along with ex-Pittsburgh Steelers boss Chuck Noll.

"To hopefully be in a position to win our fifth would be off the charts," Pats owner Robert Kraft said this week.

"We're just lucky to have had the confluence of situations where we wind up with the best head coach in the history of the game and the greatest quarterback in the history of the game. Keeping them together and keeping a great team around them, it's pretty special.

"To have the drive, they're very special people. Egos can get in the way and I'm very pleased with the way they and our whole organisation and team checks those egos at the front door.

"I remember when I came into the league originally and I learned that when you have division from within, that's the biggest enemy that gets in the way of winning. I can really say that these guys put the team first all the way."

In a game populated by brash personalities, Belichick is certainly devoid of an ego with a humdrum public persona that was again evident when he was quizzed about his legacy.

"I really don't think about any of that," Belichick said.

"I just try and think about how we can prepare, compete and perform our best Sunday night against the Falcons."

With Brady 39 and Belichick 64, the opportunity to become even more successful than their illustrious peers may not come around again.

In Brady's case, only a few quarterbacks have played into their 40s and though there is no evidence of decline yet, the drop off was swift for Peyton Manning when he bowed out a Super Bowl winner at 39 last February.

"To be an older player and have the mental experience and then to also feel great physically, I think it's a great benefit for me," Brady claimed.

"Hopefully I can keep going. I don't see any end in sight."

Perhaps nothing sums up Brady's success and longevity more than the statistic that he has played in six Super Bowls already, while the entirety of (Super Bowl opponent) Atlanta's active roster combined has been in just five.

"Tom has had a great career, he has been so consistent for so long and done such a great job," said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

"It's impressive, but it's about one game. This is about our team and their team and what we're going to do Sunday."

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