Few people expected to see the Melbourne Storm in the NRL’s semi-final weekend but, unfortunately for their opposition, here they are.
If you’re up to date with the NRL or the NFL, you would most likely understand this comparison.
If you aren’t, let me take you through the comparison, brick by brick.
In the NRL, the Melbourne Storm are the league’s benchmarks. Since their inception in 1998, they have been heavily present in dominating that era. They have been in eight grand finals in that 20 years, winning five of those eight (two later stripped), and featuring heavily in major finals games.
Since 2006, the Storm have been in seven grand finals, winning eight minor premierships along the way in that 13-year span. That’s an incredible feat.
Along with those accomplishments, they have also made the preliminary final in ten of those years. 10/13 is a great feat in today’s modern game.
The key to their success? They’ve had the same head coach, the same core players and the same structure, where they make average players into great players.
Moving over to the NFL, the Patriots are literally identical in terms of success and core figures within their system.
Since their first title in 2001, the Patriots have gone on to win another five titles since then, the latest one in 2018. The remarkable thing about the Patriots, however, is exactly like the Storm in that since 2000, they’ve essentially had the same core, with a key player and coach.
Quarterback Tom Brady has been at the helm since 2000 along with coach Bill Bellichick. In their tenure together, they have won their division 16/18 times, along with winning their entire conference (AFC) nine times. They have obviously been to nine Super Bowls, winning six of them.
Now to intertwine them together.
The Storm’s main figures since 2003 have been captain Cam Smith and coach Craig Bellamy.
Along with Cam, however, Bellamy has had two other key players who stayed from 2003-2017 altogether, those players being Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, who happen to be all-time top-five players in their positions. Very handy to have.
On the flip side, the Patriots, as said before have had Tom Brady and Bellichick as staples since 2000, and if there have been other key players throughout the runs it would be tight end Rob Gronkowski and players such as Julian Edelman, Adam Vinatieri or Vincent Wilfork.
Throughout these teams’ runs, they have had other great players play for them as well. Some for a short time, but have all pitched in for their clubs.
For the Storm, players like Dallas Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Matt Geyer and so on.
For the Patriots, players like Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law, Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour.
So many class players have played for both organisations, but there’s always one common thread: the key player and coach never change.
Both clubs have a notorious reputation as clubs who can pick up average and used-by players and turn them into strong clubmen who fulfil their potential. For the Storm, players like Ryan Hinchcliffe, Tim Glasby and Adam Blair played their best footy under their system when they didn’t have much going for them otherwise.
With the Patriots, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel and Edelman are players who sparked to life in the Pats’ system.
Another crazy but true comparison between the two teams is that people love to hate them. Both teams have had their fair share of controversies: the Storm for the salary cap drama and wrestling techniques and the Patriots for the tuck rule and deflate-gate.
Opposition fans love to g=hate them. They never let their downfalls slide, and those fans let them know when they falter.
Fans also love to predict that the given team will crash and burn once and for all. They may be due to stop succeeding, but both teams just don’t stop winning. They find new ways to stay successful and they are still both their league’s benchmarks.
They have been for over ten years, an amazing feat in today’s modern era of sport.
The last thing, which fans hate to agree with but know is true, is that the two key components to each teams success are arguably the greatest ever in their given position.
Many NRL heads have called Storm captain Cam Smith the greatest player of all time. Funnily enough, Storm coach Craig Bellamy is also arguably as the greatest coach in NRL history.
On the Patriots side, it’s less argued, but more envied, that Brady and Bellichick are the greatest in their given positions throughout the NFL’s history. Bellamy and Bellichick…ring a bell? Moving on.
It’s crazy to think that two sporting organisations that really wouldn’t know each other well can be so similar and have similar success, all the while having similar methods in reaching that success.
Same key player. Same coach. Steady culture. Strict guidelines. The most hated clubs, but that’s all based on one thing – winning.