Sport: New England: Patsies No More

They are removing the scaffolding at last from the locker room inside hulking, gray Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. After dazzling consecutive wins over three of the National Football League's finest teams—Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland—the once and always rebuilding New England Patriots are no longer under construction. With a conference-leading offense built around the passing and surprise running of Star Quarterback Steve Grogan (see box) and an adequate, if not preternatural defense, the newly proud Pats have shucked their longtime label—Patsies.

New England's rise has been as stunning as it was swift. The...