Remember when the Seattle Seahawks were standing at 3-3 and lots of fans and media were writing them off as yet another Super Bowl winner that wouldn’t sustain its success?
The New England Patriots went through something similar in September.
The Patriots started their season with a loss at Miami and stood at 2-2 after their first month. Naturally, New England shook not only with speculation that the team — and quarterback Tom Brady — had slipped over the hill.
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You don’t hear that much these days, as the Patriots prepare for the Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl 49 — their sixth under the combination of Brady and coach Bill Belichick.
“After we lost to Kansas City, I don’t think there were many people that believed in Tom as a quarterback,” defensive back Devin McCourty said. “It sounds crazy for me to say that right now, and during that week it sounded crazy for us to hear it.”
A lot of Patriots say they didn’t hear it.
“We can’t really pay attention to the media, and I guarantee Seattle didn’t pay attention to the media,” linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “You can’t worry about things you can’t control, you can’t worry about things people say. You just have to try to ignore the distractions off the field and be with your teammates, and just go out there and play.”
The Patriots did that, running off seven straight wins after the 41-14 Monday night loss at Kansas City that evened their record a month into the season.
“We went to work and really concentrated on the things that were going to make us better,” running back Shane Vereen said. “We didn’t feel like before Week 5 that we had been playing our best football. We knew we could play a lot better. From Week 5 on, that’s what we focused on and that’s why were able to accomplish so much. “
The Patriots ended the regular season 12-4, swept past Baltimore and Indianapolis in the playoffs, and on Sunday will play for their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce its 2015 inductees Saturday, and one first-year finalist is linebacker Junior Seau, who ended his 20-year career as a Patriot from 2006-2009.
“It’s obviously got to happen,” coach Bill Belichick said. “I can’t imagine having a Professional Football Hall of Fame without Junior Seau in it. … I loved coaching him, and he always expressed how much he enjoyed playing on the New England Patriots, and that meant a lot to me.”
Seau died in 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“He’s missed by all of his family and friends, and certainly by me and the guys that had a chance to be around him,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “He was a special person. I have no doubt he’ll be elected. If he can’t make it, nobody can. He’s truly one of a kind. It was a privilege playing with him.”
Before heading out to practice, Brady said his cold symptoms are milder although not yet fully gone. “I feel pretty good,” he said. “It felt good to run around.” Receiver Danny Amendola also said he felt under the weather. “Whatever is going around, they need to move my locker away from Tom and away from D.A. so I won’t be the next guy sick,” receiver Brandon LaFell said. … The Patriots practice report for Thursday showed limited participation by LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), DL Sealver Siliga (foot), Bryan Stork (knee) and LB Akeem Ayers (knee). … There was another report of fire alarms going off in the Patriots hotel about 4 p.m. Thursday, although that was news to a handful of interviewed players who said they must have slept through it.