FOXBOROUGH (Massachusetts) • The New England Patriots are headed back to what has become their rightful place with Tom Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their coach - the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl.
Brady's Deflategate tour will end on the NFL's biggest stage after he passed the Patriots to a 36-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship game.
The Patriots will face the Atlanta Falcons on Feb 5 in Houston in what will be their seventh Super Bowl appearance with Brady and Belichick together. The duo are seeking their fifth Super Bowl victory in tandem.
The AFC Championship triumph propelled the Patriots to a record ninth trip to the Super Bowl.
The Falcons walloped the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship game to earn a shot at their first Super Bowl title.
Victory was extra sweet for the Patriots and Brady, who was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season.
The suspension was for his role in the controversial under-inflation of balls two years ago that came to be known as Deflategate.
"This is my motivation right here, all these fellows right here in front of me. That's why we're here," Brady said.
"We'll see if we can write the perfect ending in a couple of weeks. It's going to take a big effort.
"We're playing a great team, but it's going to be a hell of a game."
The usually taciturn Belichick praised his players after the game.
"Great players. It's all about the players," Belichick said.
WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS