The line-toters did it again.
The Patriots are headed to their seventh Super Bowl appearance of the magnificent and marred Brady-Belichick Era after whipping on the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 in a game where Tom Terrific barely broke a sweat, but was hot like fish grease.
It’s poetic justice for Pats supporters who suffered through another embarrassing cheating fiasco (Deflategate) that caused Brady to miss this season’s first four games.
Those blind fools think Brady can do no wrong. They think Belichick never coached in Cleveland and lost more games than he won. They believe that the Super Bowl trophy should run through New England regardless of how it gets there.
Winning the marathon at all costs is a very gangsta yet complex and morally-shaky philosophy. Hopping in a Jeep and riding for a mile to get ahead of the competition and then beating them straight up in the final stretch ain’t kosher. Even if the winner has more talent, is considered the favorite and the world is blinded by his celebrity and success and the media hype machine that drives public opinion.
It wasn't a given that the Pats would win on Sunday. Mike Tomlin had the Black and Gold balling out and in 10 appearances in the AFC title game -- before his 32-of-42, 384-yard, three-TD performance against Pittsburgh -- Brady had a 76.3 passer rating with 12 TDs and 12 INTs.
So it actually took one of the most lethal AFC Championship performances of Brady's illustrious career to win that game. It seems as if every pass that Brady throws this season is delivered with the purpose of slowly erasing any stain that his incomparable legacy has endured due to past NFL transgressions.
The Steelers loss was undoubtedly bittersweet or even infuriating for non-Pats fans and non-Brady apologists. Today, they are wondering how the football gods failed them. How The Evil Empire of the NFL was able to storm back to the mountaintop with a karma afforded saints of the church.
The narrative this morning is that Brady and Belichick are the best coach-QB combo that the NFL has ever seen. They’ve played in 11 of the last 16 AFC Championships, including six in a row. So while this latest Super Bowl run doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, the NFL should temper itself in supporting the hype that is sure to surround The B-Boys for the next few weeks.
But it won’t.
After Roger Goodell showed some bowling ball-sized brass by suspending the face of the NFL and accusing the NFL’s flagship franchise of cheating -- again -- the league now has to do a 360 and show undeniable support for The Killer B’s despite past accusations or punishments.
Looking at the social media mush this morning, it appears as if Brady is 100 percent back to golden boy status. Those boisterous accusations of “cheating” are now merely soft whispers by opposing fans unhappy with the ineptitude of their own franchises. The NFL refuses to mention the past or acknowledge any wrongdoing by Brady anymore. Deflategate has been swept aside like Peyton Manning's PED allegations.
And while Brady and Belichick have undoubtedly put in the work and comprised a formula that exceeds other winning combinations of the past, their era of dominance also represents that fine line between cheaters and champions that gets more blurry in sports as the culture continues to evolve financially, athletically and philosophically.