New England begins its playoff push on Saturday against Tennessee in a new role for the franchise: favorites.
It's not that the Patriots haven't had their moments. There were Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s and '90s. Of course they won it all just two seasons ago.
But favorites? Bullies? A team to be feared?
Never. New England always has been an underdog, and often a colossal one, for its entire existence. In their three Super Bowls the Pats went off as major dogs. At 14-2 and riding a 12-game win streak, the Patriots now are the favorites in Vegas to win it all.
"There couldn't be anything less relevant than that to me," New England coach Bill Belichick says.
That's what is a coach is supposed to say, which is fine. But confidence is contagious in football, especially when the deck is stacked in your favor: a decided home-field advantage that comes from winter weather and snow-crazed fans.
This entire franchise transformation can be traced to a single day: Jan. 19, 2002. That wasRead More »from Snow place like home