Go ahead and stop Patriots players after they run the hills behind the Gillette Stadium practice fields at training camp. Ask them about what they'd just been ordered to do. You'll see eye-rolls. You'll hear expletives. You'll even sense a touch of nervousness, as if talking about the hills might anger those heaps of turf the next time they meet.
The Patriots emphasize conditioning year-round, and though they usually dial back the hill runs late in seasons when players are sometimes limping to the finish, they hit the hills in their final week of practice before taking off for Houston.
The ability to be "comfortable being uncomfortable" as Danny Amendola once put it, something hill runs help to reinforce, played a significant role in the Patriots recording the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Yes, they adapted their scheme. Yes, they won one-on-one matchups. Yes, they executed. But part of the reason they were able to do all those things was because they had the wind to do them. In the end, Atlanta didn't.
That's why, despite grading out poorly in several spots for much of the game, the Patriots returned to New England with their fifth Lombardi Trophy.