CNHI News Service

Sports

January 14, 2013

Patriots-Ravens rematch on for Super Bowl berth

New England in AFC title game 7th time in 12 years

FOXBORO, Mass. — They should rename the AFC Championship this Sunday at Gillette Stadium the Bill Belichick Invitational.

For the seventh time in a dozen years, Belichick's New England Patriots will play in the title game and the right to move on to the Super Bowl. This one will be a rematch with the Baltimore Ravens, the team the Patriots, with a bit of luck, conquored a year ago in the same big game.

That feat has been accomplished by only two other teams. The Dallas Cowboys amazingly went to nine NFC Championship games in 12 years from 1971 to 1982, and the Oakland Raiders won seven in 11 seasons from 1971 to 1981.

If the Patriots win on Sunday -- they have been installed as 8 1/2 point favorites -- they will meet either the San Francisco 49ers or the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3. The New Orleans Superdome  was the site of New England's first Super Bowl win ever in 2002, an upset victory over the St. Louis Rams.

The Patriots also won Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005, but lost the NFL's championship game to the New York Giants in 2008 after amassing a perfect 18-0 regular season and playoff record. They also lost last year''s Super Bowl to the Giants.

A win against the Ravens on Sunday would assure the Patriots of a sixth Super Bowl visit in a dozen years. No team, not even the Cowboys, accomplished that.

"From the outside, you wonder why they are always in the hunt every year," said tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. "Then you get here and you understand the seven AFC championship games in 12 years. It's more than hard work. Everyone here has a focus on their job. It's about consistency every day."

What the Patriots did in beating the Houston Texans, 41-28, to play in yet another AFC Championship was not as easy as it looked, though the game was hardly ever in doubt with the lead 38-13 in the fourth quarter. Houston rallied late to cut the margin to 10 points with six minutes left, but New England kicked a third  field goal and controlled the ball down the stretch to win going away.

Text Only
Sports
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.
     

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg James bears the weight of Cleveland's championship dreams

    Can LeBron James change Cleveland sports history? Overcoming this city's tortured curse could prove impossible - even for the world's best basketball player.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.40.20 AM.png VIDEO: Sleeping fan suing Yankees, ESPN for $10M

    A fan caught on camera sleeping during a recent game at Yankee Stadium has filed suit against the Yankees and ESPN, claiming he suffered emotional distress when two announcers mocked him on the air.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg U.S. loss on World Cup pitch was a win back home

    Exuberant fans - even those who couldn't tell you what offsides means - cheered on the U.S. men's national team during the World Cup in Brazil. Are those fans excited enough to keep watching soccer now that the United States has been eliminated?

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

News

Features

Opinion