- Associated Press - Saturday, December 15, 2012

That list of NFL champions can’t be right.

No way the New England Patriots have gone seven seasons without winning a Super Bowl.

Well, it’s accurate. And stunning, too.

The Patriots Way works, thanks to the consistency provided by owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and, of course, brilliant quarterback Tom Brady. The B,B&B method has kept the Patriots at or near the top of the NFL for a dozen seasons, including this one.

If they manhandle the impressive 49ers on Sunday the way they tossed aside the Texans last Monday night, nobody can doubt their role as championship favorite.

Yet their last Super Bowl win came in February 2005. True, the Patriots won the AFC crown twice since, including that perfect 2007 season the Giants turned sour with their upset in the big game.

The main reason New England keeps contending is its stability at the three critical spots of owner, coach and quarterback.

Especially the QB, who never takes the easy road.

“I hope I can keep making improvements. I don’t think I’m perfect out there,” Brady says. “I think I’m still trying to work on my mechanics and technique and read the right coverages and use my time to prepare each week effectively and be a great leader for this team.”

Leadership shows up in many ways with the Patriots.

Kraft, a power broker in the NFL and a confidant of Commissioner Roger Goodell and other owners, doesn’t interfere with football operations. That has damaged the image of the franchise in spots _ Spygate, most notably _ but is also the right way to run a team. Let the football people handle their area of expertise while providing monetary support and a steady hand.

Belichick, for all his scowling, clipped answers to questions and seeming disdain for anyone outside his inner circle, is considered the best coach of his generation. His ability to mold all kinds of players to fit his proven system has been the backbone of New England’s success.

A feel for talent, whether it was bringing in Wes Welker or Randy Moss, or drafting Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski, has established Belichick’s credentials even further.

But Belichick was a flop as a head coach in Cleveland, and Kraft was the guy who bought a foundering franchise and kept it in New England, not a championship owner.

Then they discovered and developed Brady, who could be headed to his third league MVP award and his sixth Super Bowl appearance.

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