The Patriots will play the San Diego Chargers next weekend for the AFC Championship.
I grew up watching the Pats try in vain to make any playoffs at all, having been shellacked by those Chargers in the 1963 AFL Championship game by a score of 51-10. From ’64 on, they never seemed to have recovered from that beating, and it wasn’t until the mid-’70s that they made any appearance in the playoffs at all.
While the Pats were able to handle the Chargers in the last playoff in which they met, last year, and it seems likely that the combination of a healthy 17-0 Patriots squad and a battered, injury-ridden Chargers team will mean a continuation of the Patriots good fortunes, I can’t help but think back to those early AFL days, when both teams were outstanding, but one was clearly dominant.
And it wasn’t the Patriots.