The New England Patriots are more likely than not to play in the conference title game. The Patriots have reached six straight AFC Championship Games and their 36-17 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed more routine to Patriots fans than special.
Don’t tell that to the Patriots, who were celebrating their third Super Bowl berth of the past six years.
“We going to the ‘ship, boy!,” DT Alan Branch shouted in the locker room after the game. “We’re going to the ‘ship!”
Branch joined the Patriots in 2014, so he was a part of the Super Bowl XLIX champion squad. He knows what it’s like to win and to win a lot. Not every member of the Patriots has been so fortunate. Just ask a former member of the Cleveland Browns.
“We’re going to the Super Bowl,” offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said to LB Barkevious Mingo.
“We’re going to the Super Bowl,” Mingo replied. “Never would’ve thought that!”
The Patriots acquired Mingo from the Browns in August in exchange for a 5th round draft pick. Mingo hasn’t been a factor on defense, but he ranks second on the team in special teams snaps, behind only Second Team All Pro DB Nate Ebner.
Mingo is certainly appreciating the ride, as are other veterans in their first Patriots season, like TE Martellus Bennett and EDGE Chris Long. Who knows when New England will get back to the Super Bowl?