PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – From the Bay Area to the far reaches of wintry Wisconsin, from deep in the heart of Texas to right here in western Pa., football fans are trying to cope with the realization that there really is no argument anymore: The New England Patriots of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era are the best football team ever.

For the past 15 years, the Patriots have been the NFL’s big, bad, older brother. They’ve done more with your favorite team’s cast offs, and done so under the tutelage of a guy who was once fired by the Cleveland Browns after a 2-10 run to end his tenure there. They’ve made embarrassing opponents – the real, on field kind as well as the perceived, off-field kind – their business.

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And business has been boomin’ in New England.  (And no one had to Facebook Live the postgame celebration in the locker room to prove it to us.)

Let’s first address the elephants in the room before Roger Goodell has a few goons in cheap boots stomp them to pieces.

The argument will be made by some that the Patriots’ entire timeline of achievement is null and void because of the Spygate scandal, especially when that radioactive cake is iced with the frosting of the Deflategate scandal. Let me be one of the first to tell you that while wrapping yourself up in those excuses may make you feel as warm and cozy as Gram’s old, hand-stitched black & gold afghan, doing so is also as foolish as trying to stop Brady with a passive zone defense.

Are we so naïve as to believe that the Patriots wouldn’t be where they are if not for some stolen signals and a few underinflated footballs?

Look, I’m not a fan of this either, but reality threw a big bucket of ice cold water in all of our faces last night when New England not only won their fifth Super Bowl, but did so in the most incomprehensible fashion, coming back from 25 down in the third quarter. And from 16 down with less than 10 minutes left.

You want some perspective? New England only attempted two 2-point conversions all season. When they had to convert twice in the last 6 minutes, they looked like they’d been practicing 2-pointers at a Mike Tomlin pace.

Obviously.

Again though, the excuse will be thrown out that Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan handed the Patriots a victory through some inane play-calling late in the fourth quarter.

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Why can’t we give the New England Patriots their due?

Is it because we’re Pittsburgh Steelers fans and deem the elevation of any team above them in the stratosphere of “the greatest” as an affront to the great Steel Curtain dynasty of the 1970s? There are a fair number of football fans around the world that remind all of us of the use of anabolic steroids by members of that team, or the conveniently icy sidelines of Three Rivers Stadium in January 1976.

What do we say to those that dare question the greatness of those teams?

We tell them to sit down and shut up, because the Steelers were just better, and it didn’t have anything to do with steroids or an icy field, or anything else. It had everything to do with the fact that they were just better.

Guess what? It’s our turn to sit down and shut up now.

What Belichick, Brady, and the Pats did in Super Bowl LI is enough to cement their legacy. In less than 5 minutes of game time, they took a win probability of 0.4 percent and turned it on its ear, taking charge of a football game they had no business winning. They did so without any Lynn Swann, Jerry Rice, or Michael Irvin-type weapons on offense, and without any Ray Nitschke, Joe Greene, or Hollywood Henderson-level talents on defense.

It had nothing to do with sideline signals. It had nothing to do with the PSI of the footballs. And it had very little to do with Atlanta’s coaching staff messing the bed with the game on the line.

It had everything to do with the fact that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots are the Greatest. Of All Time. No excuses, no matter where you sit, can dispute that.

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