Just two years ago, the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX. Now, the team will return to football’s biggest stage to take on the Atlanta Falcons, who have not appeared in a Super Bowl since the days when Bill Clinton was President.
Consequently, in terms of experience, New England will have an advantage. However, when looking at the Patriots’ roster it is not as lopsided as one might have imagined. After all, of the 53 players on the team, only 21 have appeared in a Super Bowl before.
Let’s break down the team by their prior Super Bowl experience:
QB Tom Brady
Four Super Bowl wins. Three Super Bowl MVP awards. And now a chance to add even more to his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever grace the earth: Tom Brady will appear in his NFL record seventh Super Bowl next Sunday.
K Stephen Gostkowski
Brady and Gostkowski are the only two Patriots players to have appeared in more than two Super Bowls. New England’s kicker has lost his first two appearances before finally winning a ring in 2014.
WR Julian Edelman, WR Matthew Slater, OT Marcus Cannon, OT Nate Solder, DE Rob Ninkovich, SS Patrick Chung, FS Devin McCourty
Seven Patriots have played in two Super Bowls (both as members of the organization): The team’s loss in Super Bowl XLIV and its victory in Super Bowl XLIX.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RB LeGarrette Blount, RB Brandon Bolden, FB James Develin, WR Danny Amendola, DT Alan Branch, LB Dont’a Hightower, CB Malcolm Butler, SS Nate Ebner, CB Duron Harmon, CB Logan Ryan, P Ryan Allen
A large part of New England’s active roster has been active for one Super Bowl; the Patriots’ win over the Seahawks two years ago. Jimmy Garoppolo was on the game day roster but did not see any playing time, though. Alan Branch was a member of the 2008 NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals but was inactive for Super Bowl XLIII.
QB Jacoby Brissett, RB D.J. Foster, RB Dion Lewis, RB James White, WR Michael Floyd, WR Chris Hogan, WR Malcolm Mitchell, TE Martellus Bennett, TE Matt Lengel, OC David Andrews, OT Cameron Fleming, OG Ted Karras, OG Shaq Mason, OG Joe Thuney, OT LaAdrian Waddle, DT Malcolm Brown, DE Trey Flowers, DE Geneo Grissom, DE Chris Long, DE Jabaal Sheard, DT Vincent Valentine, LB Shea McClellin, LB Barkevious Mingo, LB Elandon Roberts, LB Kyle Van Noy, CB Justin Coleman, CB Cyrus Jones, CB Jonathan Jones, SS Brandon King, SS Jordan Richards, CB Eric Rowe, LS Joe Cardona
The vast majority of the Patriots’ roster has no experience when it comes to the Super Bowl. Of the 32 players listed above, two – James White and Jordan Richards – were on New England’s Super Bowl XLIX-winning squad but inactive for the big game.
While the Patriots do have an advantage in terms of experience at key positions, most players on their roster are new to the game’s biggest stage. Thus, they have the same amount of experience as all but four players on the Atlanta Falcons: Linebackers Dwight Freeney, Courtney Upshaw and Philip Wheeler as well as safety Dashon Golson have all appeared in a Super Bowl so far. Their 49 teammates have not.