The End of a Dynasty (no kidding)

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The End of a Dynasty (no kidding)

Are the Patriots still a dynasty?

It's been a while since I've heard anyone ask that question. It's been even longer since I've considered the possibility. Are the Patriots still a dynasty? Of course not. They haven't won a Super Bowl in eight years. They have only two guys on their roster who've won a Super Bowl at all. Are the Patriots still a dynasty? Are you out of your mind?

Are they a great team? Yes. Are they the model of prolonged success in this era of free agency and cap craziness? Yes. Are there any fans in New England who would have rather spent the last 12 years rooting for a different team? Hell no.

But the dynasty's over. It's been over for much longer than it ever existed.

I don't think anything that I just said comes as a shock. I don't expect my inbox to suddenly flood with e-mails from angry Patriots fans with horrible things to say about my intelligence and most likely my mother. Are the Patriots still a dynasty? Is this still the same team, with the mystique, that demands the same fear and respect every time they take the field?

I don't imagine there's anyone who still believes this to be true.

So that why I was surprised that Rob Ninkovich received all the attention he did yesterday afternoon for basically just stating the obvious.

"That whole era is over with. Its gone," Ninkovich told WEEI. So this is a whole new team. Its a different bunch of guys. We all have to experience it and learn for ourselves what its like. Getting in the Super Bowl last year and losing left a bad taste in my mouth.

If anything, I found Ninkovich's words to be refreshing, almost therapeutic. After all, we know even if it's somewhat clouded (in a good way) by the constant presence of Brady and Belichick how much things have changed. It's about time that this team is allowed to embrace that. Even as recently as a few years ago, I don't think a player like Ninkovich would have felt comfortable distancing himself and this team from the glory days, regardless of distant they may have really been. But in reality, although it's sad to say goodbye to who and what the Patriots were, it's good to see them laying the groundwork for the future, and building their own identity.

Especially since, as long as Brady and Belichick are around, the goals and expectations remain the same.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

It's funny how during a week like this one, a singularly ridiculous act -- such as Antonio Brown's live stream of the Steelers postgame locker room celebration last weekend -- can lead to a series of brush fires that pop up only to be peed on and put out. 

That was the case yesterday as a comment Julian Edelman made to WEEI earlier this week about Brown's Facebook Live video was spun as a sort of vicious burn directed at the Steelers franchise. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said, a comment that read as a more serious indictment than it actually sounded. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

That led to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being asked about Edelman's comments, and defending the honor of the Rooney family, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I don’t think I need to speak much," Roethlisberger said. "We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family."

And on and on it went. Later in the day, Edelman was asked about his comments during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters.

So just in case you're keeping score, a Steelers player streamed a video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots "a-holes," which prompted a response from Edelman. That response prompted a response from Roethlisberger, whose response to the response then led to a response to the response to the response from Edelman.

Got it?

"Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context," Edelman said. "I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] – I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories."

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview