By: Will Burchfield
Kyle Van Noy’s season began in Detroit and ended in Houston, a journey perhaps best summed up by something Van Noy re-tweeted late Sunday night:
Traded by the Lions to the Patriots in October, Van Noy went from castoff to champion in a span of about three and a half months. What better way to take in the journey than through his activity on social media?
We’ll start on Oct. 16, with Van Noy giving a tip of the cap to the 1991 Lions team. Little did he know then, he was destined for bigger things a loss in the conference championship.
Van Noy was traded nine days later. Soon thereafter, he began to sense something special might be in store for him in New England.
The linebacker made his Patriots debut on Nov. 20 in a win over the 49ers, picking up his first sack of the season in the process. After the game, he posted the following photo on Instagram with an inspirational quote from Ghandi.
Van Noy paused on Thanksgiving to congratulate his former teammates on their win over the Redskins.
He also gave a shoutout to DeAndre Levy when the linebacker made his return from injury in Week 14.
All the while, Van Noy was taking care of business in New England, his role growing with each week.
On Dec. 18, Van Noy and the Patriots clinched the AFC East, with Van Noy tallying four tackles in the deciding game versus the Broncos.
Van Noy didn’t hesitate to call out those who had given up on him:
The next week, he paused to show love to another former teammate, Darius Slay, after the Lions’ cornerback missed out on the Pro Bowl.
By the time the playoffs rolled around, Van Noy was a key member of the Patriots’ linebacker corps. He had two tackles in their divisional round win over the Texans.
He added four tackles and a forced fumble in New England’s demolition of the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
It was around this time that Van Noy became obsessed with Internet sensation, “Salt Bae.”
Not to worry, Van Noy.
Leading up to the Super Bowl, Van Noy felt his dream within reach.
He seized it with a victory on Sunday night, after which he took to Twitter to express his satisfaction.
Van Noy was involved in one of the crucial plays of New England’s comeback, picking up a half sack late in the fourth quarter that knocked Matt Ryan and the Falcons out of field goal range. Had Atlanta been able to extend its lead from eight points to 11, the game likely would have been over.
Looking back to the trade in October, it’s fair to say Van Noy is happy with the way things worked out.
After the Patriots’ triumph, Van Noy said the feeling of being a Super Bowl champ still hadn’t hit him.
“It might take a couple days,” he told the Free Press. “I mean, I was in Detroit a couple months ago and now I’m here with that trophy. Ah, it’s beautiful.”
Earlier in the week, Van Noy had taken the blame for the way his career ended in Detroit.
“I don’t want you to ever blame coach (Jim) Caldwell, because he’s a great coach. He doesn’t get enough credit for how good of a coach he is because those guys fight for him till the death, and I respect coach Caldwell. He’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had, and I’ll always go to bat for him. So I’ll take the blame for all of it,” Van Noy said, via the Free Press.
“I had a hard 2.5 years,” he added. “I took a lot of heat from you guys and I took a lot of heat in general, and I think finally playing well is kind of showing people like, ‘Oh, man, we kind of should have waited just a little bit longer, maybe.'”
“Now I’m world champ,” he said on Sunday night. “No one can ever take that away from me.”