The Patriots won another AFC East division title. Twelve of the past fourteen. Eleven straight for Tom Brady. Six straight for Bill Belichick.
The playoffs are coming. They're close. Bill, can you smell them?
Yes, that's the smell of success. Don't lose sight of what the goal is, though. It's not about winning the division, although it gets you a step closer. It's about winning the Super Bowl. But Bill doesn't have to tell that to anyone.
He is the best in the league at what he does and he's probably in the top 5 all time for shooting lasers at those who look too far ahead. He can evaporate those who skip the Jets next week and peak towards the playoffs. He can hold players, coaches, and media folk in a tractor beam of disdain.
Bill, how'd you feel about beating the Dolphins?
It's a little peak at how his mental approach permeates through the locker room. Enjoy the victory, but don't let it satisfy you. Let it feed you to more hunger, let today's victory make you yearn for an ever larger victory the following week.
The Patriots have to travel to New Jersey to face the Jets this upcoming week, with a victory solidifying a first round bye. Should the Broncos lose in Cincinnati to the Bengals, the Patriots will have locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, giving the team some extra rest in Week 17.
Of course, New England can't bother themselves with the can-they, won't-they surrounding the Broncos. The Patriots need to do their job and beat the Jets, a team the Patriots barely beat at home earlier this season (albeit on a short week with a newly-missing Jerod Mayo defense in flux).
You can be certain that Belichick will note that the Patriots are 2-3 in their past five away trips to the Jets. That the last three games have been decided by 3, 3, and 2 points. That Rex Ryan is coaching like a tiger with his back to the wall, knowing that he's fired after this season, and he has no reason to withhold any punches from his corner.
How will the Patriots and Belichick feel if they can put a final stamp on the Ryan-era in New York, clinch a first round bye, and be a step closer to home field advantage?
Apologies coach. I was getting ahead of myself. Let's only look at this week against the Jets. Let's only look at what's in the Patriots control and how they can capture a first round bye. Let the other teams handle their own match-ups. The Jets are on the only thing on the radar.
But while the Patriots are preparing for the Jets, the team needs to remember that there are more important things on the horizon. They're playing for something much greater than just this week.
Sorry, coach. We're on to the Jets.