Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/12/13
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

Is D'Angelo Russell in over his head?

Percy Harvin voices support for Tyrod Taylor

Richardson pleads not guilty to traffic, resisting arrest charges

Andrew Luck tried not to watch Super Bowl, was still ‘salty’

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Former USC linebacker suing school over insurance policy

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Fred Jackson expected to sign with Seahawks

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

Fenway Park staff reportedly confiscating Don Orsillo signs

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer betting on himself

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

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker