If there is an NFL team that should talk trash, it’s the New England Patriots. They have won more games and more championships than any other team over the last 17 years.

But they don’t. They leave brash predictions to other teams.

Case in point: The Philadelphia Eagles, their opponent Sunday evening in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery guaranteed a victory in the days leading up to the game.

“Ain’t no ‘if,’ man,” he told reporters. “When we win on Sunday, ain’t no telling what we’re going to do. But we’re probably going to celebrate, have some fun.

“We’re bringing that trophy back to Philly.”


It’s cool that Jeffery is confident. He should be. The Eagles are a dynamic team, certainly capable of winning a title. But you never hear anything like that from the Patriots.

Each week they heap praise on their opponent, no matter what the records are, no matter what’s at stake.

Instead, the Patriots save their swagger for the field.

They win games when defeat seems inevitable, including their last two trips to the Super Bowl.

Last year they were down 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons before staging the largest comeback in the event’s history to win 34-28 in overtime.

In 2015, as the Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX, unheralded cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass in the end zone to secure a 28-24 victory.


Two NFL championships in the past three years, when it seemed the Patriots were certain to lose both games.

Now the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for an NFL-record 10th time. A victory would give them their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most all-time.

The Eagles are looking for their first Super Bowl win in three chances, their first championship since 1960.

The Patriots have become the NFL’s dominant team in the 21st century. Despite turning over the roster every year – and despite injuries this season to two of the heroes in last year’s comeback win over Atlanta (wide receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Dont’a Hightower) – they keep on winning. And winning. And winning.

Fifteen AFC East championships in 17 years. Eight AFC championships in 12 appearances since 2001. Five Super Bowl titles in seven chances.

It is a dynasty that inspires awe (and a little arrogance) from its fan base, jealousy from its opponents, dislike from fans of other teams.


They are led by two of the greatest personalities in NFL history: the stoic head coach Bill Belichick (who puts team success ahead of everything) and the never-say-die quarterback Tom Brady (who has directed 54 career game-winning drives, four in the Super Bowl).

But they are much more than that.

Collectively, they are a group of players who trust the system, the coaches and each other. They know how fortunate they are to be in this situation, not only playing once again in the sport’s biggest game, but on this roster.

“It’s a great privilege to play here and it’s a great privilege to play in the NFL,” said Brady, after the Patriots defeated Jacksonville 24-20 in the AFC championship game. “I could never imagine getting the kind of team achievements we’ve done and had. I mean, I don’t think anyone can ever take those for granted. These are pretty amazing times for all of us – fans included, players, coaches, everyone. It’s very special.”

And now the Patriots are trying to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs since they did it in 2003-04. Only the Eagles, led by a bone-crunching defense and a fierce running game (and an equally rabid fan base), stand in their way.

It’s not going to be easy, but then again, no Patriots Super Bowl is. The margins in their Super Bowl wins are by three, three, four, four and six. Their losing margins are by three and four.


So settle in and expect another tight one, probably coming down to the final minutes again and with someone unexpected making a big play.

One thing is for sure: The Patriots will keep their swagger on the field and out of the pregame shows.

They will leave brash talk to the other guys.

You might recall what happened last time the Patriots played the Eagles for the championship, 13 years ago.

In the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXIX, the city of Philadelphia announced details for a parade should the Eagles win. Belichick used it as fodder to motivate his players during a team meeting the night before the game, reciting the planned parade route.

The Patriots won the next day, 24-21.


Alshon Jeffery might be guaranteeing a party in Philadelphia this week, but city officials seemed to learn their lesson. They have kept mum about parade plans.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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