New England Patriots fans have been walking on air since pulling off the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history on Feb. 5.

They had every right to be. The Patriots — down 28-3 late in the third quarter — did the unthinkable, overcoming a 25-point deficit, tying the game after a 92-yard drive and eventually winning Super Bowl LI by a score of 34-28 in the game’s first ever overtime.

The comeback was led by the greatest quarterback of the modern NFL era in Tom Brady. There’s no question about it now. He owns a 5-2 record in Super Bowls, with four MVP awards, the most all-time. Not to mention he set Super Bowl records in completions (43) and passing yards (466).

New England was led by the greatest coach of the modern NFL — possibly ever — in Bill Belichick, who has five Super Bowl rings (seven if you count his time as an assistant for the New York Giants).

“Deflategate” is officially dead. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to acknowledge it by shaking Brady’s hand at the podium after the game, which Brady graciously returned. Owner Robert Kraft was having none of it, reminding the crowd at Houston’s NRG Stadium of the team’s struggles over the controversy during the past two years (as subtle as he could possibly do it). The final nail will be put in the coffin in September, when the team raises the championship banner at Gillette Stadium. Goodell has already been invited to attend the game, giving New England fans an opportunity to boo the man they feel has slighted the team multiple times over the past decade.

But as I sat in my cousin Steve’s house in Shapliegh — amid all the reveling — a bittersweet feeling came over me once the Pats had finished off the Falcons..

You see, folks, this is the pinnacle of Patriots fandom. It’s never going to get better than this. Ever.

Sure, the Patriots will win more games. As long as Belichick is the head coach and Brady is the starting quarterback, they will always have a chance to go back and win their sixth Super Bowl, extending their legacy. As long as Goodell is commissioner of the league, there’s always the chance of another “violation” against the Patriots.

But it will never have the culmination of that night. Not that kind of game, not to put to rest that kind of drama. Not with as much emotion exuded at the end of it. The only feat the Patriots could possibly pull off that could even come close would be to go an entire season undefeated (they came oh-so-close in the 2007 season, losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII). But even then, I don’t believe it could top the drama and emotion that was displayed Feb. 5.

My earliest football memories were traveling to games with my whole family to the old Foxboro Stadium during the 1991 and 1992 seasons (the Patriots went a woeful 6-10 and 2-14, respectively, in those seasons), while the stadium was half empty, at best. I still appreciate those lean years when I watch the New England teams of the past 17 years. I still remember when — for a short while — guys named Scott Zolak (now a radio analyst) and Hugh Millen were the starting quarterbacks. I remember the early struggles of a young No. 1 draft pick named Drew Bledsoe, his promise coming through when the Patriots played the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI (albeit in a loss) and then losing his job to a young Brady in 2001.

A large amount of us have been along for this ride. So when Kraft said that this Super Bowl win was “the sweetest,” he wasn’t kidding.

It’s been a sweet ride. Enjoy it, Pats fans. This is as good as it gets.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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