FOXBOROUGH — They are a team that gives you chills on those freezing nights in December — just like in the good old days at the beginning of the century.
Remember 2001, 2003, and 2004, when the Patriots would always win the cold games off Route 1 in December and January? Bill Belichick would outsmart the other guy, Tom Brady would channel Joe Montana, and a band of overachievers submitted weekly tutorials in the concept of Team.
Here we are in 2010 and everything new is old. Since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl, Belichick has chiseled his profile on NFL’s Mount Rushmore . . . Brady has become a husband, a dad, and a spokesman for UGGs . . . and now a new generation of Patriots is kicking butts and taking names.
In the latest chapter of a storybook season that started with diminished expectations, the Patriots last night decimated the front-running, trash-talking New York Jets, 45-3, at frigid (15 degree windchill factor) Gillette Stadium. A noble New England team with two undrafted running backs and a young, highly suspect defense went on national television to announce its candidacy for Super Bowl XLV Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas.