TAMPA — Next victim, please.
Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?
It would save us a lot of time.
Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclusion tooth and nail. The upstart Jacksonville Jaguars entered the fourth quarter of Sunday's AFC championship game up 10 points and only 15 minutes from Super Bowl LII.
Thanks for playing.an
Brady and the Patriots were better when it mattered, which is why they are champions, which is why the Beli-Brady consortium will go for Lombardi Trophy No. 6 in two weeks in Minneapolis.
We thought it was going to be up to the Vikings, who could have become the first team in in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
In fact, word was that the Patriots would have stayed with the Vikings during Super Bowl week. Brady was going to be at Case Keenum's place. Brady would get the big bedroom. Keenum would have slept on the couch.
But now it's the Eagles, big winner over Minnesota in the NFC title game. They did it with their Ryan Fitzpatrick: Nick Foles. They'll try to punch on through again for their first Super win.
Yes, guys named Nick Foles make Super Bowls. Foles was nearly perfect against the Vikings, outplaying Keenum and thus earning the right to be the other quarterback during Super Bowl week, the lamb led to slaughter while we all hail the GOAT.
This Super Bowl will provide small solace for the hapless Bucs and their fans. Maybe they'll remember that Thursday night this season when Dirk Koetter, Jameis Winston – and Nick Folk – made a mess against New England.
That night mattered much to the Bucs, sending them on their way to their 5-11 misery. Wouldn't have mattered to the Patriots. Even if they had lost, they'd be right where they are right now. Belichick and Brady are money players. January is their time. February isn't so bad, either.
This will be an underwhelming buildup. To their credit, the Eagles have overcome a slew of injuries, including the one to Carson Wentz that gave Foles his chance. But they will go into LII as the most banged up Super Bowl team in years. But their arrival will be no fluke. Philadelphia has built a winning culture under owner Jeffrey Lurie. But there is culture and then there is the granddaddy of winning DNA. There are the Patriots.
Yes, the Eagles will be able to pass rush the Patriots, but they won't produce the turnovers they did Sunday against the Vikings. Nothing ever works the same against Belichick and Brady. Haven't we figured that out by now?
Remember the last time the Eagles and Patriots met in a Super Bowl. It was in Jacksonville 13 years ago, and Philadelphia's grisly clock management was all over the place. I think Andy Reid is still calling plays.
Hey, Bucs fans, one more thing: Sick of seeing LeGarrette Blount rumble in championship games? Blount will be in Minneapolis. His old team won't.
Maybe there's hope for the Bucs and Jameis Winston.
If Nick Foles can go to a Super Bowl, who can't?
Does any of that really matter at this point?
The Patriots will be there. Belichick and Brady. Again.
Do we really need to add to the ad nauseum?
What an awful NFL season.
Contact Martin Fennelly at email@example.com. Follow @mjfennelly