Teachable Times

January 23, 2018 GMT

for Patriots fans

For the eighth time in the Kraft-Belichick-Brady era, the New England Patriots are headed to the NFL’s Super Bowl title game.

The Patriots clinched the trip to Minnesota and Super Bowl LII with a nail-biting come-from-behind victory Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium.

For New England fans, the Patriots’ annual march to professional football superiority might seem like old hat. In a way it is. We’ve become used to expecting excellence from this one-of-a-kind franchise that continues to set a new NFL standard for top-notch management, coaching and on-and-off the field player conduct.

So for the next two weeks we expect to be inundated with Patriots stories from the national media. They’ll descend on Foxboro and then head to Minneapolis, writing about anything and everything red, white and blue.

Some Patriots-haters will even try to sow seeds of discontent. Be on guard.

We’ve been through this before and know how to handle it. Enjoy it for what’s it’s worth. In fact, parents can use it as a teachable moment for their kids.

Here’s what we had in mind:

* The Patriots Success Story Wasn’t Built in a Day -- Until Bob Kraft bought the team from James Orthwein in 1994, for a then-NFL record $172 million, the Patriots were an up-and-down team. In fact, previous owners Victor Kiam and Orthwein had tried to move the franchise to St. Louis and Jacksonsville, respectively, as their business operations suffered. Kraft held the lease to former Foxboro Stadium, which also had an ironclad agreement with the Patriots to play there. It was Kraft’s refusal to let the Patriots out of the lease that kept them here and eventually forced Orthwein to sell the team. The Patriots’ value today? A noteworthy $4 billion.

* Bill Belichick -- Mr. Hoodie doesn’t talk much, but he sure knows how to teach a team what he expects of them. 100 percent on the field and good citizenship off it. If a player doesn’t fit the Patriots mold -- all for one and one for all -- he doesn’t last long. Show up for practice and be ready to play. Do your homework. Stay fit. And when speaking to the media, keep your interviews respectable. Don’t talk out of school. This guy is the builder of champions. The Patriots have made the playoffs in 18 out of 23 seasons, won 17 AFC East titles, and five Super Bowls. Teach your kids what the word “stoic” means. And discipline.

* Tom Brady -- We love him in New England, but everyone outside the area is trying to throw darts at the guy to take him down a notch. They can’t. He’s the most focused quarterback to ever play the game. He never boasts about himself or talks trash. He’s the model of consistency. His postseason record of 27-9 is the best ever. He sticks to a health regimen that’s carried him to be the league’s MVP at age 40. Your kids have a lot to look up to in TB12, including that he was No. 7 on the QB depth chart at Michigan but never gave up. If you want to teach your kids about character, read them the game summaries of TB’s final four “Comeback Kid” wins in college where the legend was born.

The next two weeks should be fun for New England fans.