JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's official.
Tom Brady follows Joe Montana into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The University of Belichick takes its rightful place alongside Harvard and MIT. And the New England Patriots of the 21st century are established as an NFL dynasty on par with the Packers of the 1960s, the Steelers of the '70s, the 49ers of the '80s, and the Cowboys of the '90s.
The Patriots last night won their second consecutive Super Bowl, and their third in four years, beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, by the banks of the St. John's River. In front of 78,125 at
The legend grows. Brady goes to 9-0 lifetime in the postseason, Bill Belichick moves ahead of Vince Lombardi with a playoff record of 10-1, Sam Adams gets bragging rights over Ben Franklin, and the Patriots are a gaudy 32-2 since Sept. 28, 2003. New England's stretch of domination includes an NFL record 21-game winning streak, and a model of selflessness and teamwork for any coach who ever lived.
Heady times indeed. Years from now, it will be difficult to explain exactly what went on in New England sports during the golden days at the beginning of the 21st century.