The New England Patriots have ended another Super Bowl Sunday with yet another ring to add to their collection. However, this victory, in particular, resulted in an accomplishment the other victories have not. Aside from Tom Brady winning his sixth ring, giving him the most in NFL history, it also marked the first time an American Heritage athlete, former star running back Sony Michel, was able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Michel, who the Patriots took with the thirty-first pick of the 2018 NFL draft, did not make much of an impact for New England early on in the season, due to a lack of touches. It wasn’t until a few games in that Michel was able to establish himself as the Patriots lead back. Once the opportunity presented itself, Michel quickly took the league by storm, and when the regular season was all said and done, he had accounted for 931 yards on the ground. However, when the postseason arrived Michel seemed to bring his game to a new level.
In his first career postseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Michel helped carry the Patriots to a victory after he exploded for 129 yards off of 24 carries and scored three touchdowns. New England would win the game 41-28 behind Michel’s running game and advance to the AFC Championship game.
Michel didn’t lose a step in the following week versus the Kansas City Chiefs for the title of AFC champions. The Patriots continued to ride the hot hand, feeding the running back 29 times as he was able to produce 113 yards on the ground, as well as a pair of touchdowns. His second touchdown came in a crucial moment of the game in which the Patriots faced a fourth down with their season on the line. Michel was able to break free from the defense, score a touchdown and help the Patriots take the Chiefs into overtime. New England would score on the first drive and advance to the Super Bowl for the third straight year, allowing Michel to make his first appearance.
Finally, the most anticipated NFL game of the year arrived. The Patriots would face the Los Angeles Rams for the title of Super Bowl champion, who held the second most dominant offensive unit of the season in terms of statistics. However, even on the biggest stage, Michel did not shy away and continued his dominant stretch. In a mostly defensive game, both offenses had trouble producing much yardage. With seven minutes remaining in regulation, though, the Patriots star running back punched in a two-yard score to give New England a 10-3 lead. Michel’s touchdown would prove to be the only one of the game and help lead the team to a 13-3 victory. He finished the contest with 94 rushing yards on 18 carries and made a strong case for the title of Super Bowl MVP. Though his teammate, wide receiver Julian Edelman, ended up receiving the honors, Michel was still able to help lead the Patriots to victory and earn his first ring.
Michel’s dominant postseason run was one for the record books, with the running back ending the season as just one of eight players in NFL history to score six touchdowns in the postseason. Since his high school days at Heritage to his college career at Georgia, Michel has become accustomed to a winning culture. He was able to win the state championship as an American Heritage Patriot and come within reach of victory in the Rose Bowl championship game with the Bulldogs in his senior year at the university. Now, Michel is a New England Patriot and has already been crowned a Super Bowl champion in his rookie campaign; however, those who have followed Michel closely throughout his entire career know that he is just getting started.