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Something New: The Patriots in the AFC Championship

After months of struggles, the faithful fans of the New England Patriots are finally getting rewarded with an AFC Championship birth.

Patriots Training Camp by Md.Faisalzaman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Something New: The Patriots in the AFC Championship

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

As the dust settled this past weekend, only four football teams remained in 2018’s quest for the Lombardi Trophy. Fans waited with baited breath to see who would get their chance to go to the proverbial promised land, ending years, sometimes decades of waiting for a taste of glory. But of the four teams left, maybe no group of fans cheered harder at the result than those of the championship deprived New England Patriots.

“We’re going back to the AFC Championship! I can’t believe it!” sobbed longtime Patriots fan Robert Dillon, 42, into his Budweiser soaked beard. “Its been so long!”

Dillon was not the only New Englander moved by the team’s win against the Chargers. Patricia Murray, 35, who proudly sports a cutoff hoodie that smells of week old beer cheese in honor of Patriots Head Coach and Hall of Fame public speaker Bill Belichick, crows triumphantly, “Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., and now all of you haters are going to be forced to face it! Suck it losers.”

One fan even started the celebrating a few months early, preemptively showering Chief’s reciever Tyreek Hill in joy and beer during the Patriots Week 6 win. It was as if to say “Great game man! Lets’ do this again in January!”

Yes, its been a long road back to the Conference title game for New Englanders, so you can understand and excuse their lack of humility. After all they’ve been through a lot of rough times on the road back to greatness. Lets reflect.

The bitter taste of defeat

The pain must have been unimaginable. As the confetti rained down on the Philadelphia Eagles, Patriots fans were dumb struck. This wasn’t how the story was supposed to go. It wasn’t fair. Tom Brady was the G.O.A.T, and everybody knew it. They were just too jealous to admit it. And he deserved to win the Super Bowl. It was supposed to be his rite. His destiny. And yet some SCRUB BACKUP QUARTERBACK had outplayed him, beaten him, and taken HIS MVP trophy. This was unacceptable.

In the aftermath of that bitter loss, Patriots fans swore they would never allow themselves to feel this way again.

However, the journey would not be an easy one. Fast forward a lengthy 10 months later, and the Patriots frustratingly still hadn’t been crowned world champions. There was a petition after their Preseason win over the Eagles to ‘just crown them Champs already’ but commissioner Robert Goodell figured he’d better let the season play out, just to be sure. And now, they were 9-5 after losing, not one, but TWO games in a row. It appeared they might not be on their way back to the Super Bowl after all.

But Patriot fans never lost hope. And now that faith has been rewarded.

Showing the World

After statement wins against the impressive Bills and Jets to close out the season, the Patriots snatched their first round bye back from the undeserving hands of the Texans. And with the pummeling of the Chargers, the New Englanders are crowing again. And this time they have a chip on their shoulder. Who could blame them after how little respect they get?

Patriots God and Quarterback Tom Brady seems to share their sentiment.

You said it Tom.

The View from the Mountaintop

Patriots and their fans are one win against their old friend Andy Reid away from returning to the big dance where we all know they belong. But that doesn’t mean Patriot fans won’t enjoy this weekend’s game, too. Just like we commoners look forward to Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or any other annual holiday, it is a Patriot Fan tradition to watch their team play in the AFC Championship game.

This will mark the eighth straight year Tom Brady and his band of Merry Men will be in the AFC Championship. But, that’s where the clockwork ends. When it comes to making the Super Bowl, Pats fans know it’s a little less certain. After all, they’ve only won the game four times in those eight years. And of those four times, they’ve gone on to win the Super Bowl only twice.

Only two Super Bowl titles in nine years! I choke up a little writing this just thinking about what Patriots fans have had to endure. But it is a new year. And the Patriots and their fans have a chance to put all that pain and suffering behind them. This is their time. They’ve earned it. So get ready NFL because whether you saw this coming or not, the New England Patriots are back in the AFC Championship game, and they’ve got something to prove.

Michael is a Pittsburgh ex-pat living in NYC as a working bartender and semi working actor. He enjoys long walks down the Strip District, thinks yinz should go dawntawn 'inat, and knows that when you play Pittsburgh you play the whole city. But he's unbiased. I swear. Michael writes mostly hockey and football op eds for the Turf, but maybe soon he'll try his hand at covering horse racing or hot dog eating. Who knows. The sky's the limit.

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