Here we go again.
The New England Patriots are playing in their eighth consecutive AFC championship game and, gosh dang it all, no one but no one thinks the plucky Pats have a snowball’s chance of winning except for those plucky Pats themselves. That especially goes for downtrodden quarterback Tom Brady, who assumed the mantle of “vincibility” in his viral postgame interview with CBS’s Tracy Wolfson on Sunday. “Everyone thinks we suck and, you know, can’t win any games,” he said (to a small laugh from Wolfson), “so we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”
Maybe he was just joshing in the flush of victory, but the Kansas City Chiefs are a three-point favorite for Sunday evening’s game in Missouri. Just the way the Patriots like it no matter how it stung when pundits picked against them in the game with the Chargers, or said that the dynasty was over during the season, or wondered whether Brady had anything left in his 41-year-old tank. Given the chance to walk back his postgame remark, he instead went all in Monday.
“I just think it is just a general — what is generally said about our team,” he said during his weekly appearance on WEEI. “ . . . It is just a question you get asked. I mean, we have TVs on from time to time. I don’t think you are completely into anything. I just know a lot of people didn’t think we could win yesterday and I’m sure a lot of people don’t think we can win in Kansas City.”
They’re three-point underdogs, so Brady — who never seems to forget how he was the 199th pick in the NFL draft — must be happy.
“They can pick whoever they want,” Brady said of the Chiefs, whom the Patriots beat, 43-40, in Gillette Stadium on Oct. 14. “Kansas City is a great football team. They really are. We played them at home. They are having an incredible season. Even the games they have lost they have been right in them until the end. Any less than our best won’t make it this week. It’s a tough place to play and we just have to be as mentally and as physically prepared and be as mentally and physically tough, and go in there and try and beat a great football team.”
Brady has seemed to have this same mentality since coming into the league as a sixth-round pick.
“I am trying to do what I have always done,” he said. “I don’t think it has been any different now at this age than it was when I was in my second year and in the playoffs against the Raiders, Steelers and the Rams. It is a different team. It is different challenges. Again, I love playing the game. That has always been what it has been to me and that has been a real blessing in my life — loving something as much as I do, to work hard at it, to try and be the best I can be for my teammates and for myself and for my family every time I take the field.
"That is what motivates me every day. That love is there. I don’t see it going away and it will be a sad day for me when it does, but I am glad I’m not there yet.”
There’s a little more to it than that, if possible. As he said about his opponents in his “Tom vs. Time” Facebook series, “you better be willing to give up your life because I’m giving up mine.” Easy to forget he’s got those five Super Bowl rings (in eight trips) or that ESPN only gives New England a 15 percent chance of winning the championship, isn’t it?
“Tom’s got it all wrong,” said ESPN’s Rex Ryan, who coached against him plenty of times with the Bills and Jets in the AFC East. “We don’t think they stink. We wish they stunk. . . . We’re tired of seeing them there, but let’s recognize their greatness. . . . Heck, no, he should never be an underdog.”
Read more from The Post: