In the hours since the New England Patriots won yet another AFC championship by rallying past the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 Sunday night to advance to – yawn – yet another Super Bowl, I’ve noticed one thing:

Outside of the six New England states, there aren’t a whole lot of folks rooting for the Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

My Twitter timeline and my Facebook news feed are full of fans rooting for “anyone but the Patriots.” Of fans who insist that the Patriots once again needed help from officials to beat the Jaguars. Of fans who insist their success is based on cheating.

And why is that?

Is it because of past scandals, Spygate and Deflategate (both of which the Patriots paid dearly for, losing draft picks and a certain quarterback for a quarter of the season) and whatever other perceived infraction (all the big calls go in the Patriots favor!) you think the Patriots have incurred?

Is it because you’re tired of seeing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, two of the NFL’s signature faces and the chief architects of New England’s success, on the big stage seemingly every year?

Are you just bored of the Patriots’ success, of eight Super Bowl appearances since 2001, three in the last four years, five Super Bowl championships?

Or are you jealous?

Or is it because you think the Patriots are arrogant and you want to see them slapped down?

You see Belichick, never smiling (OK, seldom smiling), often shaking his head, dismissing questions and never divulging trade secrets or injury information and you think, “Man, that guy is arrogant.”

You see Brady, always smiling, always saying the right things, living what appears to be the perfect life and you think, “Man, that guy is arrogant. He has everything but it’s never enough.”

You see them on the big stage every year, smiling and hugging and congratulating each other and you think, “Man, they are the most arrogant team I’ve ever seen.”

And you’d be wrong.

This particular group of players may be the most humble I’ve seen with the Patriots, each one knowing how fortunate they are to be in this organization, in this situation. They work hard at their craft every day. They take nothing for granted.

“You never know when it’s going to be the last chance,” said Matthew Slater, New England’s special teams ace who will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl. “So you try to just live in the moment and be appreciative of the blessings that you’ve got.

“I realize how blessed I’ve been to be part of such a special group.”

It’s a group that respects every opponent, no matter the week of the season, no matter the records. Asked where that attitude comes from, linebacker Marquis Flowers had this to say:

“From the leaders in the locker room and the coaches. We prepare for a team’s best, no matter who. We don’t listen to the outside experts, the media – ‘The Patriots should win.’ There’s no such thing as an easy game in this league … It’s hard to win games in this league.”

Flowers, rescued from Cincinnati late in training camp when the Pats traded for him, knows how fortunate he is to be here.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I’m thankful that the organization brought me here to play, even in this (AFC championship) game. The atmosphere was crazy and now I get to go play in the granddaddy of them all, a game I grew up watching, Super Bowl Sunday.

“It’s going to be great. I just want to go out there and give my best effort and help my team win.”

So maybe, instead of always rooting against these guys, you should at least appreciate what they’re doing.

The Patriots are in the midst of an unprecedented string of success in the NFL’s salary cap era, a dynasty born the moment Belichick replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe with Brady. They have done it with fewer stars than any of the NFL’s previous dynasties in Pittsburgh, Dallas and San Francisco.

They have done it by taking castoffs from other organizations and finding a place for them in their system. They have done it by making the players believe in what they’re doing and in each other.

“It’s everybody being prepared, everybody knowing what to do and when the time comes to be able to need to come through, have to come through,” said Belichick after Sunday’s win. “That’s what makes a good football team. That’s what a team is – everybody pulling their weight, everybody doing their job. When your number comes up, stepping out there and doing what’s right for the team, making the plays that the team needs you to make.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH