After all the faux outrage at "CameraGate", after all the talking heads and their bad-mouthing, after all the other coaches have fallen by the wayside—one obstacle stands in the way of your New England Patriots becoming the greatest team in NFL history. No questions, no caveats, no asterisks, no more nonsense.
As one of the privileged 60,000 or so who witnessed the crowning of the AFC champs last night in the Foxboro chill (21-12 over the Chargers), your humble scribe was impressed (once again) with how resilient this team is. It was clear that even on a bad night for St. Thomas, this squad can beat anybody. Need to run? Maroney can give you 100 plus yards in the second half. Need a new "Third Down Troy Brown" to make the game-sealing catches with stunning ease? Enter the "Un-Sung Uber Alles", Kevin Faulk.
On a night when Brady was picked three times (and for the first time in the Red Zone in the Deval Patrick Era), the game had a surreal air to it. The Chargers could move the ball seemingly at will, but they simply could not penetrate paydirt. Otherworldly plays by Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi and Ellis Hobbs denied the hobbling but courageous Philip Rivers from making a game of it. Four field goals will not beat perfection.
And so, it's on to Glendale, Arizona to face the New York Football Giants, who many of us over 50 once called our own. It will probably not be as close as the final regular season match-up. When Bill Belichick is given two shots at you, watch out. More importantly, when Tom Brady has (what is for him) a mediocre day—he usually lays down vengeance on his next unlucky opponent.
So, before all the hype and misplaced hope from New York, here is our prediction for Super Bowl XLII: The Perfect Patriots of 2007-8 34, NYG 13.