Perhaps the fandom in sunny San Diego can console themselves over the long period of 70 degree weather before next July by telling themselves they were better "on paper". Yeah, so what, the Egyptians were better on papyrus, but how did that turn out for the Pharaoh?
In typical championship fashion, the New England Patriots were better on the all-important field, in dispatching the bumbling San Diego Chargers 24-21. Tom Brady overcame 3 interceptions (one of which resulted in a drive-sustaining first down) to engineer an 11-point 4th Quarter outburst in a staggering 3 minutes and 26 seconds. League MVP LaDainian Tomlinson rumbled for an impressive 123 yards and 2 TDs—while netting another 64 yards through the air. But, the Pats let him get his yards and still were able to hold the Chargers to three touchdowns.
A lot of this game came down to a simple paradigm: championship teams make championship plays in crunch time; losers don't. Simple. Also, championship teams adjust to adverse conditions. After being frustrated on offense for most of the first half, Coach B shifted gears from a run-based plan to an all-out passing game. Result: a key TD before the half and an energized Brady in the second half.
Troy Brown, of course, made the "play of the game" with the aforementioned strip of a potentially game-killing interception. The man played both sides of the ball on one play. He is a legend. As pictured above, the true killer was a 49-yard bomb to former Charger Reche Caldwell to set up the game-winning field goal by ice-veined rookie Stephen Gostkowski.
But really, the whole contest came down to one overriding impression: the Pats have been there before, the Bolts (still) have not. Peyton, we're baaaaaaaaaaaack!