Sunday was a pretty big day for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
They outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, winning 37-31 in overtime, to win what may have been the greatest AFC Championship Game of all time. If not that, it was certainly one of the most thrilling NFL playoff games we’ve ever seen.
With the victory, the Patriots punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIII. But they also did much more than that. By beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, they exorcised a demon that has been gnawing at them for 12 years.
This is a fact that has often gotten swept under the rug, but Sunday’s win was New England’s first playoff win on the road since the 2006 postseason (not counting Super Bowls, of course).
The last one came at Qualcomm Stadium, against the then-San Diego Chargers, in January of 2007 — the famous game where Brady threw three interceptions, but was saved on the last one when Troy Brown stripped the ball from Marlon McCree and it was recovered by Reche Caldwell. The Pats went on to win 24-21 in one of the wildest playoff games of the Brady-Belichick era, which is really saying something because there have been several of those.
Fast forward 12 years to January of 2019, where the Patriots would pick up their next road playoff win in Kansas City. Believe it or not, it has really been that long.
Luckily for the Pats, they haven’t had to play too many playoff games away from home. They’ve been pretty good at locking up home field advantage in the AFC. Ever since that epic win in San Diego 12 years ago, they had only played three road playoff games before this year. But nonetheless, considering this is the greatest dynasty in NFL history, you would like to think they could win a big game on the road if they needed to. Instead, they went 0-3 in those three games.
All three of them were in the AFC Championship Game against teams quarterback by Peyton Manning — one was in Indianapolis, and two were in Denver. All three of them were gut-wrenching defeats.
But finally, thanks to one of Brady’s all-time greatest victories on Sunday night in Kansas City, those playoff road demons have been conquered. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 12 years, or longer, for the Patriots to win another playoff game away from home.