The Patriots Are Going to the Super Bowl

They're headed to Houston with a score to settle.

CBS announcer Jim Nantz, right, interviews New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, second from right holding the AFC championship trophy, beside team owner Robert Kraft, left, honorary captain Tedy Bruschi, second from left, and head coach Bill Belichick after the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Photo via AP

Here we go again. With a score to settle with a dictatorial commissioner and with the chance to cap off another dominant year, the Patriots are headed to Houston for Super Bowl 51.

After besting the Steelers 36-17 at Foxborough to claim the AFC Championship, they will now take on the Atlanta Falcons, who beat the Green Bay Packers 44-21. It’s a chance for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to earn a record-setting fifth Lombardi trophy.

While it’s great to have a shot at another title (a full hand’s worth of rings would look awfully nice) there is a lot more on the line than that. For many fans, the face-off in February will be about revenge for a season tainted by a ruling that cost the team its star quarterback for four games—a campaign led by reviled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who hasn’t visited Foxborough in quite some time, but will soon be forced to come face-to-face with Belichick, Brady, Bob Kraft and the rest of the crew. Pats loyalists, who jeered Goodell at last night’s game, would love nothing more than to hold another victory over him, just like they didn’t hold back when word got out that he wouldn’t be at Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s championship game.

The decisive win Sunday night is also a victory for those enraged by the expletive-laden, Patriots-targeting Facebook Live video starring Antonio Brown that consumed much of the pre-game chatter this week. And the role in the Steelers’ struggle last night played by that fire alarm at the Hilton by Logan, where the team was staying, will never fully be known (the alleged prankster, a 25-year-old man from East Boston, has been arrested).

Also, we can report that Tom Brady was warm as all hell on the bench last night, as confirmed by his yeti-size outerwear, which for some reason set the internet ablaze last night.

The Super Bowl, featuring Lady Gaga at halftime, is slated to begin February 5, at 6:30 p.m, on Fox. And don’t forget to look for two of Boston’s finest local dogs (from Last Hope K9 Rescue) at the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.