Local News
Eyewitness Sports
Medical Coverage
Call 12 For Action
More Details
What's On WPRI
What's On Fox
This Morning Weekend
2 Minute Test Drive
Experts Online
Online Store
Chopper 12
Station Info

MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  February 17, 2005
Education | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Weddings | What's Next | More Topics...
Road To The Super Bowl
Who would doubt the Patriots? Oh, that's right ...
Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version  

PITTSBURGH -- That's it. I'm done. No more trying to explain this New England Patriots team, no more trying to figure out how they get it done, how they dominate at a time when nobody is supposed to do so.

Let's just leave it at this: They are an amazing, special team, one we'll all look back on one day and say we were there to see it come together. We'll tell our grandkids about it the same way the New England fans will talk about the year the Red Sox finally won a World Series.

The Patriots won't engage in dynasty talk, but their fans aren't shy. (Getty Images)  
The Patriots won't engage in dynasty talk, but their fans aren't shy. (Getty Images)  
That was nice. This is extraordinary.

Can we say the word dynasty?

The Patriots went into Heinz Field on Sunday and turned the AFC Championship Game into a one-sided scrimmage, blowing out the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-27 on their way to their third Super Bowl in four years.

New England can win back-to-back Super Bowls if it beats the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 6. They would become the first repeat champ since the Denver Broncos in 1997 and '98.

Yet as the players strolled into the locker room after the game, you'd have thought they just put the wraps on a preseason game in August. Aside from a victory hat or two on a head, there was little celebration, almost no whooping it up at all.

"Why was that?" Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi asked. "Because there's one more game we still have to get."

Doubting they'll get it would be the wrong thing to do, as those of us who have done so have learned the hard way.

The Eagles are a good team.

The Patriots are a great team

There's no other way to describe them anymore, not when they're 33-4 the last two seasons -- counting the postseason -- already have two Super Bowl rings and are favorites to get a third.

That's why the dynasty word slipped out Sunday night in the locker room. Of course, the Patriots players did exactly what you'd expect from a Bill Belichick group. They kicked that talk to the curb.

"It's way too early for that," defensive end Willie McGinest said. "We don't want to talk about that. We have a game left to play. Whatever happens, happens. It's too early for that."

The Patriots took the field on a frigid day against Pittsburgh with the look of a team that expected to win, even though it was the Steelers who beat them 34-20 earlier this season in this very stadium. The Patriots had the swagger that said no matter what the Steelers did, it wouldn't be enough.

In a span of two weeks, the Patriots beat the league's best finesse team in the Indianapolis Colts and then the league's so-called most-physical team in the Steelers. How they won those two games says a lot about the greatness of Belichick.

To beat the Colts, they pounded the run. To beat the Steelers, they made big plays in the passing game early to set the tone as they jumped to a 24-3 halftime lead.

Instead of running Corey Dillon into a Steelers defense that was stout against the run, Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis -- also now working double duty as the Notre Dame coach -- opted to challenge the Steelers down the field.

The result was Tom Brady once again turning in a heck of a postseason performance. It wasn't gaudy numbers or anything like that, just good, solid control of the passing game. Brady finished 14 of 21 for 207 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was an impressive 130.5

"There's no quarterback I'd rather have," Belichick said.

That's particularly true in the postseason. Brady excels in it, now raising his record to 8-0 in the postseason. If he beats the Eagles, he will tie former Packers quarterback Bart Starr for the record for consecutive postseason victories at nine.

"It's been pretty good the last couple of years," Brady said.

Pretty good? This guy can join an elite group of quarterbacks with three Super Bowl rings if the Patriots beat the Eagles in two weeks. The others with three or more are Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Troy Aikman.

Brady playing well is a norm for the Patriots in the playoffs. So are great coaching and big plays.

One of those big plays against the Steelers was a laser-shot 60-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Deion Branch that put the Patriots up 10-0. Another big play was an 87-yard interception return for a touchdown by Rodney Harrison

The Steelers could get no closer than 11 in the fourth quarter, but then the Patriots answered with a drive to a field goal that put the game away.

"There's a lot of blood and sweat that's put out there and I'm happy that they have this kind of achievement to show for it," Belichick said. "Like I say, they've stood up to all the competition this year. They're a special group of guys."

They're special in every way possible. The coach is ready to punch a ticket to Canton. Their quarterback dates Hollywood starlets and is Mr. January. Their team doesn't let injuries slow them down, let alone stop them.

Nothing seems to bother them. They are the ultimate team in the ultimate team game. Scan the stat sheet after a game and it doesn't tell the story of their domination. But the scoreboard never lies.

What's not to like about this group?

Yes, I am now a true believer, a bandwagon jumper who somehow wedged his way back onto the wagon. Never will there be any doubting this team again. That is, unless they lose to the Eagles.

Don't worry. It won't happen. This team is on a collision course with greatness, and about to argue its place as one of the greatest team runs of the post-merger era.

How in the heck did some fool ever doubt this team in the first place?


Academy Awards
Which nominees do you want to win this year? Watch video clips, vote and more!
2005 Tax Guide
Getting ready to pay your taxes for 2004? Get the help you need in our tax guide.
Focus on: Diabetes
Manage diabetes with nutrition, exercise and medication.
Send questions and comments about this website to the .
All content © Copyright 2003-2005 WorldNow, WPRI, WNAC and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.