By now, they know how to line up for the team picture.
By now, they know how to handle their week.
By now, they are used to the confetti falling.
For the Atlanta Falcons, this Super Bowl is new territory. But the New England Patriots have been here a lot. This will be their ninth journey to the big game, and with coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the Falcons have their chore cut out for them.
The Patriots earned their latest trip Sunday evening with a 36-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, a relatively routine win by New England. Once again, it was Tom Terrific, aka Brady, who threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns.
New England took a 10-0 lead and led 17-9 at the half. The Patriots outscored Pittsburgh 16-0 in the third period to break open the game.
“They work hard,” New England coach Bill Belichick said of his team. “They’re unselfish, and they’re tough. The players played hard, played smart and didn’t turn the ball over.”
The Patriots got a huge game from Chris Hogan, who caught nine passes for 180 yards — identical to Atlanta’s Julio Jones. Julian Edelman caught eight passes for 118 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 314 yards in the loss. But the Steelers, who lost Le’Veon Bell to an injury, gained only 54 yards on the ground.