Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
When Tom Brady first supplanted Drew Bledsoe at quarterback and led the Patriots all the way to a Super Bowl victory, he was the ultimate underdog. He hasn’t been able to claim that title since. The Patriots are always a contender now, and Brady has only gotten better. No one will get caught calling the Patriots sleepers or underdogs as long as Brady and coach Bill Belichick are in town. Instead, opponents like to assume the underdog mantle and use it as motivation against the often-successful Patriots. The Texans, who are coming into Foxboro on Sunday for a divisional playoff game after getting thrashed 42-14 by the Patriots earlier this season, are among those doing just that. “Love it,” defensive star J.J. Watt said of being called an underdog, according to Dave Zangaro of Comcast Sportsnet. “I love doing things people tell me I can’t. That’s a great feeling. Right now, there are a whole lot of people telling us what we can’t do. I see a lot of guys in this locker room working hard to prove what we can do.” Calling themselves underdogs may help with the motivational hype, but it’s a funny place for the Texans to be after starting the season 11-1. They essentially made themselves the underdog after wilting in their marquee matchup with the Patriots, which was billed as a battle between two of the AFC’s best teams. Now, few expect them to win — but that may be the advantage they didn’t have before, when they fully expected to hold their own against a Patriots team that then dismantled them in all aspects of the game. “That’s the secret weapon of the underdog,” defensive end Antonio Smith said. “Yeah, it bothers us, and you just sit there, and you take it, and you let it harbor, and you let it fester and grow into what you need it to grow into.” At least one Texan wasn’t buying the new label, though. Running back Arian Foster seems to have seen enough of the pregame chatter, and his message as Sunday’s game approached was that the labels are secondary at this point. “I don’t care about that,” he said. “I don’t know what an underdog means. We’re not supposed to score more points than [them]? I don’t [know]. It’s all stories, man.” It always is. But the difference with the labels is that the winning team is usually the one determining them.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wrigley Field renovation causing massive rat problem

Rex Ryan praises Patriots, calls Deflategate 'unfortunate'

Brady hopes Peyton Manning comes back next season

Report: Thibodeau’s relationship with Bulls 'beyond repair'

Joe Montana pins blame for Deflategate on Tom Brady

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFLPA boss: No Deflategate interviews until after SB

Blandino: Deflategate no sting; PSI in footballs not logged in

Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found on bullet casing, joint near body

Thomas upset he was tested for PEDs over health statement

Marshawn’s press conference to end all press conferences

NFL to assist Seahawks in ID'ing Pats' ineligible receiver sets

WATCH: Timberwolves throw shade at Kevin Love in promo

Tom Izzo: 'The Twitter' may have affected team's confidence

Measles outbreak hits Arizona days before Super Bowl

Proposed pace-of-play rule changes, by the numbers

Super Bowl XLIX should smash TV viewership record yet again

NFL, officials, Carroll disagree on ineligible player rules

Seattle business rolling 12,000 joints for Super Bowl

How Yardbarker got Marshawn Lynch to open up back in 2008

Super Bowl records that won't fall anytime soon

Richard Sherman, girlfriend expecting baby any day

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Pats fans buy Super Bowl tickets, told they're unavailable

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

SB anthem, halftime performers through the years

Super Bowl should smash TV records

Super Bowl records unlikely to fall

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Teammate: Manziel not a joke

Ten most underrated SB performances

Knicks ‘in play’ for Kevin Durant?

Ex-QB: Everyone deflates footballs

Where did 'Hawks, Pats find players?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.