JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This was a game which was supposed to be over before Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude.
But the New England Patriots waited until after the legendary Beatles star paid back America for last year's Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction fiasco with the most marvellous halftime production I've ever witnessed.
Then they got to their own greatness.
And it is greatness. With a 24-21 win in Super Bowl XXXIX, not sealing the deal until the Philadelphia Eagles failed with an on-side kick with 1:41 to play, and Rodney Harrison getting a pick with six seconds to play, they laid claim to their own status as a legendary team.
The Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years, a trick only one other team has ever turned. And they won all three by three points!
Today, 101 days after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, Beantown has become title town and the Patriots are a dynasty.
Yet it was difficult to get them, with the way this team thinks, to say that.
Maybe offensive co-ordinator Charlie Weis explained it best.
"Dynasties are something you talk about 10 years later. When you're living it, when you're having the experience of going through it, you don't think about it."
Tom Brady is now 3-0 in the Super Bowl and 9-0 in post-season play.
But he wouldn't go there.
"To approach it as winning three of four ... we just never approached it as that. We never self-proclaimed ourselves as anything," Brady said.
BECOMES A CLICHE
"It becomes a cliche. But we keep saying it over and over again. We're a team. I've never had a receiver complain about not getting the ball. I've never had a running back complain about not getting the ball.
"It's not easy for us to look at what we've accomplished in the grand scheme of things - you lose track of everything.We accept the compliments but we work pretty hard. In the end only one team ends up doing it. We did it again!
"I can't say enough about this team. To repeat as Super Bowl champion ..."
Bill Belichick, 10-1 in the post-season as head coach to move ahead of 9-1 Vince Lombardi with the highest winning percentage, wasn't pounding his chest after the game either.
"We're just happy we did it. We'll leave history to somebody else."
"I can't say enough about our players," he said. "We worked so hard for six months. No matter what happens, this team keeps working, keeps fighting and did it again this year."
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
It's like greatness implies that they did it with talent more than desire, determination and the blood, sweat and tears. And it's almost like they react badly to the word.
"We're thrilled to win," said Belichick. "It was a tough win. We didn't play very well in the first half. Philadelphia had a lot to do with that. Give them credit.
"I'm just so happy with this year. We started at the bottom of the mountain with everybody else."
It took them forever to get it going, but once they did, it was a countdown to a fully accredited era for the Eagles in an era which was supposed to have made something like this impossible.
The first half was, arguably, a result of two coaches having two weeks to produce designer defences.
The result was a 7-7 halftime tie, only the second Super Bowl ever to be tied at the half. San Francisco and Cincinnati went 3-3 in Super Bowl XXIII.
Five minutes into the second quarter Philadelphia had a 7-0 lead and a 9-1 edge in first downs. Until then, the Patriots hadn't really done a thing on offence. Then Brady got it going. But it took all night to get the Eagles gone.
For the first time in Super Bowl history the score was tied after the third quarter when the two teams had traded touchdowns.
But other than office pools, only one score counts. Only one team gets a Super Bowl ring. And this team is collecting them.
"This one was the best," said linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. "They caught us sleeping in the first half, but we came back fighting and now we're back-to-back Super Bowl champions."
Didn't use the word dynasty.
"Other people can talk about it. We don't mind," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
"We're just excited about what we've done right here, right now. It's such a great feeling.