Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots to Get Shot at History, Revenge View from New England

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots to Get Shot at History, Revenge View from New England

Article excerpt

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- History. And revenge.

The Patriots trumped the Steelers, 36-17, in the AFC championship game Sunday night to advance to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons Feb. 5 in Houston. New England becomes the first NFL franchise to make it to nine Super Bowls, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have a chance to become the first coach and quarterback to win five.

But this New England matchup with Matt Ryan and the Falcons is much more than a shot at ring records and grid immortality.

Above all else, it will be a showdown with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Patriots-Falcons is going to be New England's Super Bowl In Context, an opportunity to make Goodell swallow his shield and present Bob Kraft, Belichick, and Brady with their fifth Lombardi Trophy just a few months after Brady dropped his court appeals and served his heinous four-game suspension.

"All of you in the stadium understand how big this win was," Kraft said when it was over. "But we have to go to Houston and win one more."

Brady added, "We'll see if we can write the perfect ending in a couple of weeks."

There's nothing subtle about any of it. Goodell would not come to Foxborough after he dropped the Deflategate hammer on the Patriots. We have not seen him in two full years. But the commissioner won't be able to avoid the fury of Kraft, Belichick, and Brady in Houston, where the Patriots are 3-point favorites to win their fifth Super Bowl of this century.

New England's ticket to Houston was punched Sunday at Gillette when the Patriots (16-2) overwhelmed the estimable Steelers on a rainy, 40-degree night in front of 66,829 (1 million, according to the White House). Brady toyed with the Steelers' defense, completing 32 of 42 passes for 384 yards (three touchdowns) and converting 11 of 17 third downs. …

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