Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Patriots won’t go away

Posted by Eric Fisher On January 31

The Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory one year ago would have generated pride and joy regardless of the opponent. The fact that the win came against the Patriots made it that much sweeter.

The Patriots. The cheaters. The evil empire. The same Patriots that beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Not only was it the same franchise, but the quarterback and the sourpuss coach were still the same. Revenge was indeed sweet.

The Eagles could have beaten Little Flower High School, an all-girls Catholic School in Philadelphia (for those who don’t know), in the Super Bowl, and Eagles fans would have partied in the streets. Beating the Patriots was the cherry on top of the sundae.

An added bonus was the feeling that the Eagles were driving the final nails into the coffin of the Patriots’ dynasty. The Patriots had escaped the previous year, improbably rallying from a 25-point third-quarter deficit in Super Bowl LI to beat the Falcons in overtime. When Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass fell harmlessly to the ground in the end zone on the final play of Super Bowl LII, it felt as if Nick Foles and the Eagles, with the magic of the Philly Special, had squeezed the last breath out of the New England beast.

But the Patriots are back. (And the Eagles are not.)

At a sendoff rally for the Super Bowl, Tom Brady led the crowd in a “We’re still here!” chant. The chant was lame. But it was accurate.

The Patriots are in the Super Bowl for the ninth time in the last 18 seasons. They are back in the Super Bowl for the third straight season, something they hadn’t accomplished before during their remarkable run. This is their fourth Super Bowl in the last five seasons.

Maybe everyone should have known better. As long as Brady lines up at quarterback and Bill Belichick paces the sidelines, the Patriots will be a threat to win the Super Bowl.

Brady is 41 years old. Belichick is 66 years old, twice as old as Rams head coach Sean McVay. If the Patriots win on Sunday, Belichick would become the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl. More importantly, he would tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for the most NFL championships in history, and they weren’t competing against 31 other teams.

We can hate on Brady and Bill Belichick, but we also can’t deny there isn’t a touch of envy mixed in with the hatred. Cheating can’t account for all five of their Super Bowl titles.

Sometimes you just have to give the devil his due. (Some would say literally, in this case.)

The Patriots seem to find a way to win when they need it the most. They proved that in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons. They proved it again this season with two victories over the Chiefs. They posted a 43-40 victory over the Chiefs in October on Monday Night Football, but that paled in importance to their 37-31 overtime triumph in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.

What’s so frustrating is that the Eagles seemed to have slain that beast in Super Bowl LII. For once, the Patriots couldn’t get the job done. It was the Eagles who prevailed in the big moments.

Like the monsters in horror movies, however, the Patriots rose from the seemingly dead. This is Super Bowl IX for the Belichick-Brady Patriots. And who would bet against them return for a 10th Super Bowl next season?

Even if the Rams win on Sunday, there shouldn’t be any dancing on the Patriots’ graves.

We should know better by now.

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