New England Patriots defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 28-0

The ultimate key to the sports fan experience is to recognize exactly what is unfolding before your eyes.

Woe be to the Patriots fan who does not understand that These Are The Good Old Days. It's not ever going to get better than this.

The Patriots are the equivalent of any great local team we've ever been privileged to know, be it the Red Sox of 1912-18 (four championships), the Russell Celtics, or the Westwood girls' basketball squad. They do not need to win Super Bow...

Now that it's over, after he successfully plucked Tampa Bay's defense bare like the feathers off a holiday bird, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can admit it.

''I've certainly had better weeks," Brady said once his team's 28-0 dismantling of the Bucs yesterday was in the books. ''It was a long week. I wasn't on the field as many days as I'd like to be."

There was never any doubt that Brady would play yesterday. He was hobbled all week, suffering from an injured shin, ...

You're thinking of it, but you dare not say it. Master Belichick has trained you well, so you will not give voice to what you have been thinking since the end of Saturday's shutout.

That's OK, my child. I will do it for you.

The Patriots are going to beat the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs Jan. 15 at the RCA Dome. Set aside the Super Bowls, Tuck Rule Games, and annual playoff conquests in Steeltown; in the long, lofty reign of His Hooded Holiness, this will be th...

They appeared to be very real; not illusions.

And tens of thousands of witnesses could verify that they were live; not doctored Memorex.

Yet, the Patriots' recent displays of domination still somehow seemed bogus. Did they really play that well?

Many, possibly even a few Patriots, believed their recent improvement was the result of collusion -- hapless New York and Buffalo conspired to make the Patriots look good.

Well, yesterday, the Jets and the Bills -- the ...