In that way, Tom Brady is still letting the air out of Roger Goodell's ball.
The Falcons are terrific. No disrespect for them. Matt Ryan has ascended to a level of play that could cause any reasonable person to pick Atlanta here. Add in Julio Jones, and the rest of that attack, and that's good stuff going on over there — the top-scoring offense in football.
But … but.
The Patriots defense isn't reminiscent of the 1985 Bears in its overwhelming dominance. It just efficiently holds opponents to a points-per-game total lower than any other D. That defense will attempt to knock off Atlanta's timing with physicality up front — a real challenge, since Ryan has been so effective in situations of duress this season — and coverage in the back end. Brought along in that specific scheme by Bill Belichick, the Pats will put up enough resistance to allow that other guy to do his damage.
Brady has been masterful since his return from that ridiculous four-game suspension imposed by Goodell, a suspension that would have been more appropriate left at one game, or two. We'd all be happy if the word Deflategate was never heard again.
It will be brought up on Super Bowl Sunday, especially when Goodell hands Vince Lombardi's trophy over to Brady, Belichick and Bob Kraft.
The Patriots may be — according to polls, at least — the most hated team in the NFL, mostly because they win as much as they do. OK, so they've cheated a little here and there, indiscretions for which they are sincerely sorry, right?
If it makes you feel better, did you see Brady respond to a kid's question about who his hero is? The quarterback started to answer, then cut it short, with sincerity and tears in his eyes, saying … "My dad."
It's enough to make any father or any son favor the Patriots.
One last thing: New England is wearing white jerseys. In the last 12 Super Bowls, you may have heard, 11 of the winners wore white.
Patriots 30, Falcons 27.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM. Twitter: @GordonMonson.