New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after defeating the Miami Dolphins 41-13 in a December 2014 game in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The New England Patriots are in the AFC Championship game. Again.

If you’re a Patriots fan, embrace this. Wrap your arms around every second of it. This is not normal, and never gets old.

If you’re a Patriots hater, shake your fists. Throw your arms in the air and decry every second of it. This is not normal, and got old six years ago.

The NFL is built in a way designed for successful teams to have the life span of a housefly. Get good, shoot your shot, and get out of the way for the next guy in line. The Patriots are the housefly the NFL has been unable to swat for close to two decades.

Ravens, Ravens, Broncos, Colts, Broncos, Steelers, Jaguars, Chiefs. Six different opponents in eight games. Relevancy in the NFL comes and goes, except in New England. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a Rubik’s Cube. The Patriots are rock n’ roll.

While the Patriots have turned the AFC championship game into their own invitational, the NFC championship has been a who’s who of the conference. This season’s NFC title game participants, the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, are the 10th and 11th NFC teams to reach the game in the last eight seasons. This is exactly what the NFL wants. Every team has a shot, no dynasties, and the money rolls in from every corner of the conference.


Guess which NFC team has played in the most conference championship games over the last eight seasons. You don’t have to guess, I’ll tell you. The San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers played in three straight, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Today, the 49ers are rebuilding and trying to figure out what they’ll do with the second pick in the upcoming draft.

The Patriots and the playoffs are a new January tradition. In other cities, fans have playoff stories that go back decades. Tales are passed on from generation to generation. In New England, the stories are being written now. Anybody over the age of 40 has no mental encyclopedia of Patriots playoff glory to share with a new generation. The stories are being written now, on Twitter and Facebook and every time Tony Romo makes that weird squeal as he watches a replay review.

They’ve played on unseasonably warm January days (according to, temperature at kickoff when the Patriots hosted the Jaguars last January was 48 degrees, tropical for this time of year). Quite a few unseasonably warm days, actually. If the forecast for Sunday night in Kansas City holds true, this will be just the second AFC Championship game in New England’s streak in which the kickoff temperature is below freezing. On Jan. 22, 2012, when the Patriots hosted the Ravens, it was 29 degrees at kickoff. Just chilly, not bone-numbing, can’t feel your fingers or toes for days after cold.

It’s expected to be in the mid-to-high 20s at kickoff in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. Earlier in the week, the forecast called for a polar vortex to descend upon Kansas City, and that would have put game time temperatures somewhere around zero. Not Green Bay Ice Bowl cold, but for the players on both teams, every deep breath would have felt like a icy fist squeezing their lungs.

To a man, every player and coach on the Patriots and Chiefs will tell you playing in the cold is better than sitting in a warm living room watching the game on television.

This run by the Patriots is going to end, and there will be a long line of football pundits waiting to dance and celebrate when it does. You’ve heard the talking heads over the last few weeks. They’re already writing the Patriots obituary.


If you’re a fan, let them. There’s no need to let somebody else’s attitude ruin your enjoyment of anything. Don’t worry about the end. Don’t even think about it. Enjoy the now. Soak it all in, and remember it all. Years from now, you’ll have some stories you’ll be expected to tell.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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