FOXBOROUGH — You know how you hear NFL players and coaches talk about how tough winning is in the NFL? It's true — for the most part.
Everyone's a professional in this league. The difference between winning and losing is very small. The salary cap levels the playing field a bit. On any given Sunday, any team can win if they suddenly execute a perfect gameplan perfectly, and get a little help at the right times. Yada, yada, yada.
And while we'll get the usual preambles out of the way — You can't overreact to anything in Week 1, and I'm pretty sure there's an old pigskin proverb that says, Who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who reads too much into conquering a Mike Tomlin-coached team? — you have to be extremely impressed by the Patriots' absolutely dominating 33-3 victory over the Steelers on Sunday night.
Remember, this was a team that just beat the Patriots in December. Ben Roethlisberger is regarded as one of the league's top quarterbacks. Their offensive line is terrific. The Steelers made changes in defensive personnel and scheme to specifically counteract the Patriots. Tomlin is supposed to be a Belichick contemporary — Tomlin is second to The Hoodie in winning percentage (.680 to .654). And the Steelers had the entire offseason to prepare for a Patriots team that hasn't changed all that much since last season.
And the Patriots did that to them.
I thought this was supposed to be hard?
So ... if the Patriots barely worked up a sweat against a team that was the last to defeat them, one that will be an AFC playoff contender, will it ever be difficult for them?
Yes, after Sunday night, you can talk about it. Don't make me say it out loud. You know what I mean. It has to do with 2007 and unfinished business. It's something that could just be the ultimate topper for Tom Brady or Bill Belichick or both.
Just look at the upcoming schedule: