Devin McCourty

Patriots are back in the Super Bowl after beating Steelers in AFC title game

Patriots are back in the Super Bowl after beating Steelers in AFC title game

Tom Brady ran off the field wearing a fresh “AFC Champions” T-shirt and the rest of his stained uniform, an athletic glove and play-call band on his left hand and wrist.

He bowed his head, put his unadorned right arm high into the air and waved to the crowd before ducking into the Gillette Stadium tunnel and greeting well-wishers with hugs.

Then he disappeared into a happy but ever-businesslike New England Patriots locker room.

The scene after the Patriots’ 36-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday might not have varied much from the other times Brady and his team advanced to the Super Bowl.

But the circumstances certainly were different.

The NFL...

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