By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
January 14, 2007

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New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates
Patriots notebook: Patriots hold bonding time at Children’s Hospital
Guregian: Patriots Hall of Famer Matt Light says there’s more to being a successful offensive lineman than the measurables

I'm still trying to figure out just how the Patriots went into San Diego and beat the best team in the NFL 24-21 to advance to the AFC Championship game next Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

They were out rushed 148 yards to 51 yards. Tom Brady had a very mediocre game going 27-51 for 280 yards. Wait…. I just figured out where this column is going.

The best football player on the planet doesn't wear a 21 on his jersey. He wears number 12.

Don't get me wrong. I have a powder blue Chargers 21 Tomlinson jersey in the closet and I don't mind wearing it around the house. The post-game tussle aside, I love the way Tomlinson doesn't make a spectacle out of touchdowns when he just hands the ball to the closest official. And I admire the way that he almost singlehandedly wins games and makes you go "Wow!."

But the biggest "Wow!"— as it has been for the last half-decade -- goes once again to Tom Brady. I've worn out a thesaurus trying to find adjectives to describe how this guy rises to the occasion in the fourth quarter. He can throw interceptions and make you go "Aggghhhh" one minute and then make you stand up and cheer when he coolly hits Reche Caldwell for a 49-yard bomb on 3rd and 10 deep in New England territory late in the fourth quarter.

If you're not a Patriots fan, watching this team must be maddening. They just keep reinventing themselves and winning in every kind of fashion imaginable. Next week they'll probably run the ball down the throat of the Colts 35 times on their way to a fourth Super Bowl championship.

But I'll get to the "It's on like Donkey Kong" AFC title tilt later this week. Tonight I'm trying to get my head around what I just witnessed.

Much will be written about perhaps the greatest non-Super Bowl win in franchise history. It's right up there with the Raiders in the snow. But one play epitomizes "Patriot Football."

Down 21-13 with 6:25 to go in the fourth quarter, Brady's pass is intercepted by Marlon McCree. A heads up play by the player who will forever be identified with "Patriot Football", Troy Brown, lands the ball back in the hands of the Patriots. Fate took care of the rest of the game.

Troy Brown will never be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but like his defensive counterpart Tedy Bruschi, he will be forever immortalized in the annals of the game as being a winner. You will never be kicked out of any Rousseau Super Bowl house party--you're all invited but just don't ruin the furniture--when you show up with a blue Patriots 54 or 80 jersey on your person. Troy Brown and Tedy Bruschi are the finest examples of taking the limited talent one has and performing to the best of their ability.

"I'm just so privileged to be able to watch this Patriots team and the Red Sox winning a World Series in my lifetime," said OfficerGlenn a few hours after Sunday night's victory. OfficerGlenn is one of Lynn's Finest and is one of the many buddies that I called from New Brunswick to Florida to share in the post-game glow.

You may roll your eyes when I say this for the 14,247th time but it's being able to share these great triumphs with friends, family and co-workers that makes it so sweet. I may remember Reche Caldwell 41 years from now when I look back on this game. But I'm willing to bet that I'll first remember phoning up Walter, Dwight, Ian, OfficerGlenn, Mark, my dad, my mom, my brother, my grandfather and Gerry while enjoying a cheap cigar and a cold beverage on the porch under a cold Maine winter night sky.

It's the people you share this stuff with that makes it special. It's cranking up "I'm Coming Up" by Pink every time it comes on the radio because I remember hearing it in the background when we called my mom and brother back home after our lives were changed at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI in the Louisiana Superdome. It's remembering the spot on Route 1 where I gave a man-hug to OfficerGlenn and Billy after the Raiders Snow Bowl game. Sure watching the game will be fun but I will always think that the people I share this stuff along with is the real nut that has been cracked in the last five years. Few things in life unify us with our friends and loved ones like the common bond of following a sports team.

I'll write about how the Patriots are going to rock the Colts world later this week. I'll write about how a hobbling Rodney Harrison is the best 53rd man anyone can have on an AFC championship game roster. I'll right about how I'm not able to think straight at work all week long because I'm running to the men's room because I'm constantly peeing in my pants in anticipation. But that's not for tonight.

Tonight is all about "Patriot Football" and the people that make it special in our lives.

Care to join me out on the porch?

Idle Zinger thoughts while rolling my eyes at a promo for another new David Spade television series:

-I'm pretty sure that the Ellis Nursing Home rally in Norwood last Friday night was the tipping point for the Patriot victory over the Chargers. Looking dapper as usual was my 89 year-old grandfather in my brother's Corey Dillon game jersey.

-This week in the "I'm Pretty Sure I Never Said This Before I Had Kids Dept.": "Please, do not put anymore toy astronauts into the VCR."

-Excuse me if you come across me in the coming weeks and I'm just muttering out "Playoffs?" in a Jim Mora accent indiscriminately.

-Getting digital cable has been great. I think the best realization has been that I can watch Gene Rayburn and "Match Game" five nights a week from now on.