Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

SandersEmm10.jpg

» Scramble for the Ball: Quarter Pole Projections

Mike and Tom weigh the chances of this year's class of receivers, running backs and tight ends who are on pace to break the magical 1,000-yard mark for the first time.

30 Dec 2007

Audibles at the Line: Patriots Go 16-0

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2008. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

The FO staff doesn't usually sit around on a Week 17 Saturday night and exchange seven pages of e-mail about a single game, but there seemed to be something a little different about this one. Congratulations to the New England Patriots on their undefeated regular season.

New England Patriots 38 at New York Giants 35

Pregame

Doug Farrar: Discussion question: With the cap going up to Mets/Red Sox-payroll levels recently, are the Patriots really doing all this stuff in the "Salary Cap Era," as they would have in, say, 1999? Does that era exist anymore, or have we gone past the financial constraints that make specific accomplishments noteworthy in that sense?

Bill Barnwell: Do the Patriots have a particularly high cap number? I don't recall that being the case. Miguel's Cap Page lists the Patriots as being $6.2 million under the cap.

Basically, the Patriots just don't screw up in the draft and make limited forays into free agency.

Doug Farrar: Right –- I understand that certain teams manage their payrolls better than others; my question is more about the overall constraints about the cap and whether they even exist as they used to. People talk about the impressiveness of what New England is doing this year in the salary cap era, and I'm just not sure the accomplishments –- and they're absolutely stunning, no matter what -– really qualify for that particular designation.

Bill Barnwell: Well, yes, they can spend more, but it's not like baseball, where there are payroll levels other teams simply couldn't hope to match because of the lack of revenue they can obtain. Outside of maybe Buffalo, there's not a team in football that couldn't support the Patriots salary structure.

Ben Riley: I think it's hard to separate "cap savvy" from "front office and talent evaluation savvy." There are teams that are very good at structuring and restructuring contracts so that they maintain a healthy financial flexibility from year to year. Amazingly, there are other teams that seem completely baffled by the concepts of "guaranteed money" and "amortization." But that's a very different skill from realizing that, say, Deion Branch isn't that all that great a wide receiver, and he certainly isn't worth $39 million spread over six years, no matter how you slice and dice it.

Patrick Laverty: Is the question whether the cap is higher than most teams can afford anyway? I don't think that's the case at all. Because there is a cap, teams need to manage their payroll a certain way, and I don't think the fact that the Patriots are under the cap shows that it is higher than they could afford. I have no doubt that if the cap was twice as high, there'd be teams close to it.

Stuart Fraser: The Patriots aren't really a "dynasty" in the sense the term was used to talk about the Pittsburgh team of the 1970s and what have you -- a cohesive group of players who swept all before them. If memory serves, 19 of the Steel Curtain Steelers won all four rings. Scanning the New England roster for 2001 gets me Troy Brown, Matt Light, Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk and Lonie Paxton (he's the long snapper). That's eight.

I don't think New England's payroll is significantly higher than that of other teams, and it's certainly not the case that they've kept together a world-beating squad over that time as previous multiple winners did.

Vince Verhei: I absolutely give the Patriots extra credit for working under salary cap restrictions. The top teams in baseball for the last decade have been the Yankees and Red Sox. Why? Because they're generally well-run organizations, yes, but also because they have essentially unlimited funds to throw at any holes in their roster. It's not just cash flow -- I believe the Orioles have a pretty darned high payroll and nothing to show for it -- but the fact is, if the Red Sox and Athletics both want a player, the Red Sox can simply outbid the A's and get their guy. The Patriots can't do that. This makes their consistent success -- and, to a lesser degree, that of the Colts and Eagles -- more impressive.

Aaron Schatz: And Steelers. If we're talking great franchises of the decade, the Steelers are in there.

Ben Riley: "History simply means historic." -- Deion Sanders. Man, I wish I'd written TWIQ in the Neon Deion era.

Patrick Laverty: The things that I don't understand about the NFL letting out the rights to this game to CBS and NBC include, why not ABC? It's on ABC in Boston, Manchester, New Hampshire and New York City? And the other thing I don't understand is, why not black it out on NBC and CBS in those cities? Why kill the exclusivity for the local ABC channels? I imagine they dumped some cash into what they have here and then in the blink of an eye, the NFL wipes that out in giving it to their competitors.

Russell Levine: It's not on ABC in New York. It went to CBS because it would be a CBS game on a Sunday afternoon (AFC at NFC) and to NBC because they're the primetime broadcast network. That's why Fox didn't get a taste.

Aaron Schatz: No question, the NFL screwed WCVB and WWOR big time.

The Game Begins

Sean McCormick: I have no idea why more teams don't call play action on second down after a first down incompletion. The entire league seems dedicated to running the ball into the line on second down after missing on a first down pass. Why not take advantage of that overwhelming tendency?

Stuart Fraser: Alright, who left Ellis Hobbs on single coverage on Plaxico Burress? Still a better coaching decision than Coughlin's first challenge, though. Sigh. Collinsworth, the Giants are not "keeping Brady on the sidelines," as you put it, given the bomb they threw on the second play of the drive, which is not exactly a staple play of a clock-control offense.

Doug Farrar: Mr. Gumbel, Osi Umenyiora does not lead the NFC in sacks. Patrick Kerney plays for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle Seahawks are in the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks have not been part of the AFC since 2001. Patrick Kerney has the most sacks in the league. Therefore, Patrick Kerney leads the NFC in sacks. Thank you for playing.

Sean McCormick: Pretty much every time I turn on the Giants, a receiver is dropping a ball that hits him in the hands. Or the chest. Or the head. Or the...

Michael David Smith: That's why I consider Eli one of the hardest quarterbacks to evaluate.

Ben Riley: What's going on with Amani Toomer's hands? Have they always been coated in butter, or is that something that's happened with age? (That's a semi-serious question -- do older wide receivers struggle with drops?)

Sean McCormick: I refer you to James Lofton, circa 1992.

Mike Tanier: Old receivers like Toomer often have trouble with their hands. Lofton at the end of his career was a fine example. Art Monk at the end of his career started dropping passes. Tim Brown, I think, started to have a problem. These guys aren't gathering the ball in the way we do when we play catch in the parking lot. They are snatching it while they are turning their bodies to make cuts. They lose that quick-twitch and nanosecond coordination long before they lose the speed or the physique. It isn't unusual to see an old receiver who can still run playing for a year or two while dropping 10-yard passes he used to have no trouble with.

Bill Barnwell: Older receivers struggle to create separation because of their disappearing speed. Harder to make a catch with someone on you than it is with someone open.

I should note that I'm covering a fight show at the moment, and the loudest reaction for anything all night was the announcement of the Giants-Patriots score.

Zebra Hunt

Sean McCormick: Is it not a horse-collar when you tackle the guy really gently by the collar?

After a helmet-to-helmet hit on Randy Moss away from the play...

Sean McCormick: That was a particularly excellent piece of refereeing consistency. Jam a receiver for 5.01 yards past the line and you get an illegal contact flag, but make what was, if not an attempt to injure, then very much a hit for the sake of making a hit, and no flag. Given the rules of the NFL I'm sure both calls are perfectly justifiable, but that doesn't make them right.

Ben Riley: Mike Carey's crew is not having a good night. Ticky-tack call for illegal contact, no-call on the hit to Randy Moss's head, and then another ticky-tack call for excessive celebration that indirectly turns into a kickoff return for a touchdown. I am soooooo tired of having officiating impact these huge games so dramatically. Fix it, NFL. Please. I beg you.

Doug Farrar: Oh, Good Lord. New England gets called for delay of game for "holding the runner down," but Vince Wilfork can poke Brandon Jacobs right in the eye after the play and it goes uncalled?

Vince Verhei: I like Gumbel responding to that incident by making Three Stooges references, like it was all a joke. Clearly, Gumbel has never been poked in the eye.

Stuart Fraser: To be fair, I'm pretty certain that "delay of game" was exactly what Wilfork was trying to do there.

Mike Tanier: Is Wilfork going to get suspended? He should. Eye-pokes aren't even legal in extreme fighting.

Michael David Smith: I've always thought that if you do something that the ref would have ejected you for, but the ref didn't see it, you should be suspended for the next game once the league reviews the video. I also think there's approximately zero chance Goodell suspends Wilfork for the first playoff game.

Later, after the Patriots are flagged for "illegal formation" near the goal line...

Aaron Schatz: I hate asking questions like this, and this has nothing to do with complaining about a call which didn't end up meaning anything anyway. I really want to know so I understand the rules. Can somebody please explain the illegal formation call before Laurence Maroney's touchdown?

Stuart Fraser: Given that the only replay we saw only showed half the New England formation, no.

Doug Farrar: No clue -- Vrabel was in on that play, right? The only thing I can think is that he was in as a lineman (or they thought he was), or the crew was otherwise positionally confused. Other than that, Collinsworth didn't understand it, and neither did I.

Stuart Fraser: Maybe Vrabel didn't report eligible? He doesn't have a pass-catcher's number, does he? Seems like a kind of unlikely mistake for him to make though, given how often he plays in that package.

Vincent Verhei: I have just rewatched the play, hours later. The exact words from the official were "Illegal formation, offense, not lined up at the line of scrimmage." I guess they saw Vrabel lined up off the line, figured he was supposed to be on the line, and threw the flag. But the Patriots clearly had seven men on the line -- the five linemen, plus a tight end to either side. I think the refs just completely blew this one.

Ben Riley: At least Mike Carey is screwing up on both sides. Brady did not get that time out in before the play clock expired (at least, that's the consensus of the five people watching the game with me, including two who want to have Tom Brady's love child. Well, his second love child.)

Aaron Schatz:This is what I was talking about a few weeks ago with Eli Manning, in that game where he was called for delay of game numerous times. The officials are supposed to give the quarterback the timeout if he calls it only a half-second too late. That was a league directive starting last year. They just gave it to Brady, which is the way they are supposed to do it now. In that game a few weeks ago, they didn't give Eli that, and I think he got screwed.

Stuart Fraser: I question Brady's decision to call a timeout there. From a play-calling standpoint, is there really all that much difference between third-and-11 and third-and-16? On the other hand, in a tight game like this the timeout could well be useful later.

Vince Verhei: That's one of my biggest pet peeves in football. Don't waste a timeout to "save" a third-and-long. You can get the yards back, but you lose the timeout forever.

Aaron Schatz: Just to further explain the 2006 directive to be less exact on delay of game, I just went to look up the numbers. In 2005, delay of game was called 112 times, not counting special teams. In 2006, delay of game was called only 68 times, not counting special teams. (2007 numbers won't be comparable because the stupid lame "don't spike the ball" penalty is ALSO called delay of game, but it is a completely different issue.)

Later, after a personal foul call left everyone confused...

Doug Farrar: Sooo ... is the kickoff penalty after the Moss touchdown on Brandon Meriweather, Randy Moss, Amani Toomer, or what? What the hell is Mike Carey's crew doing tonight?

Stuart Fraser: Lil' hint for Mike Carey here: When you're calling a penalty on Randy Moss on a special teams play, you probably don't mean it. That said, I'm not sure what Amani Toomer (who the penalty was called on) did to deserve it. Cynical European that I am, I don't think anybody on the Giants sideline touched Meriweather when he fell over.

Ben Riley: In the interest of learning more about the rules, why did the Giants just get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct? Because a Patriots player fell down?

Vince Verhei: Yes, actually, they did. Again, I had the benefit of watching this frame-by-frame hours later. Meriweather made a borderline late hit on the sideline, and he and Toomer were jawing at each other. There was a referee between them. Meriweather was walking backwards, yapping at Toomer, then tripped over either his own feet, or Jared Lorenzen's, who was just wandering through. At that point, another official, in the back of the screen, who was separated from all of this by several players, threw his flag in the air and called a penalty on Toomer. Somehow, the official who was right there watching, who was physically in between Toomer and Meriweather, let this call stand. Atrocious.

Aaron Schatz: I'm not saying the crew made a bad call, but I didn't see anything either, and I wish Carey would turn his microphone on and explain to us what happened on that kickoff return. Don't you want to be as famous as Ed Hochuli, Mike?

Ben Riley: The weird thing is, Carey is probably one of the most vocal refs in the NFL. He usually talks the crowd through his decisions.

Michael David Smith: The league really, really needs to explain that personal foul call on Amani Toomer on the sideline. The replay showed him do nothing, he said afterward he did nothing. That doesn't necessarily mean he did nothing, but it does mean that it's incumbent on the league to tell the fans what the hell happened, not just stick with the non-announcement Mike Carey made.

Patrick Laverty: Penalty calls/non-calls were pretty crazy tonight. Early on there was a Harrison late hit not called, there was the ridiculous "5.01"-yard illegal contact call that benefited the Patriots, and there was the "gentle" horse-collar on Welker. I lost track of more after that, but I was confused as to why receivers will push off, not make the catch and then lobby for a P.I. call. I think the back judge called the celebration penalty against Moss just out of fear.

Mike Tanier: Collinsworth said something about Eli being too robotic and mechanical in the past. Well, that's a critique that applies to the officiating. I watch basketball refs, and they call a game. I don't want to hold them up as marvels of fariness or equity (particularly the gambling ones), but they call a game. They call ticky fouls early to assert themselves then ignore them or make "no-calls" with the game on the line. They use make-up calls when they miss something. Yes, they make "superstar calls" and other mistakes, but there's a traditional way they do things to keep themselves out of the story.

Football refs seem addicted to going all paragraph-subsection on you at the worst possible times: sudden letter-of-the-law interpretations at key times in key games. The "group celebration" call after Moss' first touchdown may have been the refs asserting themselves ("There will be a lot of records broken tonight, so don't get carried away") but 15 yards is too big a penalty to use to prove a point. The refs missed the eye gouge completely, but they knew damn well it happened (they talk to each other and see replays on the big screen too). But they shoulder shrugged it. Then they called the Toomer on the sidelines play on the kickoff, and suddenly the calls are looking one-sided. Maybe they should have huddled after that jawing match on the kickoff and said "I think Toomer or somebody gave a shove over there, but the kid may have taken a dive, and anyway we missed the eye-poke earlier, so let's give some warnings and keep the game clean." Either way, there are no five-yard infractions on the book that make good "warning" type penalties except offsides, which the whole stadium can see.

Anyway, I am the only person in America who thinks that refs should use their judgment, not even more codicils and subheadings in a rulebook, to make their decisions. Hockey fans, help me: in big games, minor fouls get shrugged off with "you don't call that in the playoffs or overtime or wherever" right? Wouldn't that be better in football? "That PI is too close to call in the playoffs, especially when it is in the end zone and it just looks like both guys tripped over each other." No, in the NFL five plays are written off as incidental contact or whatever, then someone rings the magic bell and puts his pinky in the wrong place and it's a 50-yard play.

And I would be much happier about the whole celebration rule if I didn't see Terrell Owens eating popcorn after a touchdown on the cover of The Sporting News.

Aaron Schatz: I have an idea to help clarify the celebration and spike penalties: get rid of them. That's pretty clear, and then we don't have to fight about whether a slight hip boogie counts as a "group celebration."

Back To The Game

Sean McCormick: It's nice to have a color commentator who is actually watching the game. Collinsworth noted the Pats' switch to a two-back shotgun look instead of a single back or an empty back look as soon as it happened, and he correctly noted that it was necessary to counter the Giants' defensive penetration. It's a small detail, and yet you rarely hear any commentator other than Madden pick up on a schematic adjustment.

Vince Verhei: Collinsworth is outstanding. I may be in the minority, but as horrible as Gumbel is, I'll take this team in a heartbeat just for Collinsworth.

Doug Farrar: As a long-time "Eli-basher," I have to capitulate. He's solid in the pocket, making some good reads and throws. He's not just going with his first read and the transparently easy play.

Bill Barnwell: It's not as if Eli's terrible. He's a perfectly solid quarterback a good portion of the time, and then the other percentage of the time, he doesn't set himself and makes awful throws, and he's been doing it since his rookie year.

Aaron Schatz: And at halftime, the happiest man in the NFL is Jon Gruden.

Stuart Fraser: Meanwhile, Eli is blissfully unpressured. When you're facing a quarterback whose major failing is that he doesn't set himself well, ideally you'd like some pressure up the middle. Or, you know, anywhere. Brady, on the other hand, is frequently hit or hurried -- but then, he was frequently hit or hurried against the Steelers too. It's a natural hazard of a spread offense. This doesn't mean that Matt Light is having a good game against Osi Umenyiora.

To be fair to the Patriots, I think VOA would have them ahead at the moment -- they've put together lots of drives without turning them into touchdowns, and 14 of the Giants' points have basically come off two huge plays.

Aaron Schatz: Aaron Ross is really, really good on the corner blitz. I've noticed it charting a few Giants games this year and I certainly noticed it tonight. And I don't think I saw the Patriots go four-wide a single time this game. Given that they couldn't keep themselves from doing it against every other opponent, that is some serious (and well-deserved) respect for the Giants pass rush.

Patrick Laverty: Is it a serious respect for the pass rush or at least partly an understandable fear of Russ Hochstein and Ryan O'Callaghan?

Doug Farrar: I think the answer is a resounding "Yes." If they want to win this thing, they're going to have someone back there chipping on just about every play, especially on the right side. Great blocks from Faulk and Welker on the third-quarter touchdown drive.

Patrick Laverty: Brady's gotta be hoping that Stephen Neal and Nick Kaczur get back soon.

Doug Farrar: That Moss dropped pass after Gibril Wilson fell down brought to mind Jackie Smith in the end zone in Super Bowl XIII. "He's GOT to be the sickest man in America."

Oh, wait -- next play, another bomb, touchdown, as James Butler sets up a nice little picnic while Moss blows right by him on a go route. Standard mortal fate-based rules do not apply to this team. When will I learn?

Vince Verhei: That sequence was so beautiful. Almost every other team in the league would have figured that they'd had their chance for the big play and blown it. The Patriots know they always have a chance for a big play. It just showed amazing disdain for the defense.

Sean McCormick: Ah ... and I remember when Mike Mayock was in a snit on the second day of the draft because so much coverage was being devoted to the Randy Moss trade. I'm sticking with my guns. Randy Moss is the MVP, not Tom Brady. They're both great players, but I don't think there is any question that Moss is more responsible for Brady's numbers than the other way around. And Wes Welker should give Randy a cut of any new contract extensions he signs.

Mike Tanier: Tom Brady is the MVP. Without Randy Moss, the Patriots go about 14-2 and have home field advantage through the playoffs. Without Brady, they are about 10-6, only because a) their division would still hand them at least five wins and b) Belichick would trade for Tim Rattay or somebody 10 seconds after writing Matt Cassel's name on top of a depth chart.

Aaron Schatz: Another strange thing about this game is that it took the team with the top Adjusted Sack Rate in the league three and a half quarters to get a sack, and the team with the second-best Adjusted Sack Rate also has only one sack. Although the Giants must have like 20 quarterback hits tonight...

Patrick Laverty: Laurence Maroney drives me nuts. When is someone going to tell him to stop dancing and just run? When he puts his head down and accelerates he does well. Or if he is going to keep his head up and look around, then really look around. There are multiple times where he's trying to hit the 1 or A gap, and off-tackle is wide open. And with the way he dances, he's far enough back to make the cut. He dances in the backfield and if there's nothing there, he seems to just kind of flop into the line.

Ben Riley: I think this is the worst possible outcome for the Giants. They just played an incredibly tough game for 60 minutes. They just ran a flaccid offense for two critical minutes and the game is all but over. Oh, and there was some sketchy officiating along the way. There is no chance -- none -- that this team beats Tampa Bay next week.

Aaron Schatz: Don't forget injuries to Kawika Mitchell, Shaun O'Hara, and Sam Madison. Also, did Eli go to the Donovan McNabb School of Clock Management?

Ben Riley: OK, the Giants need to pull the Neil Rackers onside kick move right now. A slow dribbler straight up the middle, recovered by the kicker. This has a 1 percent chance of succeeding. Anything else is doomed to fail.

Stuart Fraser: That was a horrible onside kick. I'm sure that Mike Vrabel didn't actually need more catching practice.

It's unfair to Eli, but what people are going to remember from this game is that he had the ball with his team down three in the fourth quarter, overthrew Plaxico Burress in traditional Eli style and was picked off. He's played well tonight -- certainly better than his receivers, though not as well as his line (at least until the fourth, where the Patriots have managed to get more pressure). I was going to spend more time being complimentary about Eli, but Collinsworth just said "he saved his best for when they needed him most" about Brady, which has blocked all my positive feelings off.

Aaron Schatz: OK, this is the third game now where I am sitting here saying, "Man, Team X played really well against the Patriots tonight. Where the hell has this team been the rest of the year?" We all felt that about the Eagles, the Ravens, and I definitely think the Giants played really, really well tonight. Is it that hard to get up for games against teams that aren't the Patriots? Where the hell has this version of Eli been the rest of the last four years? I am telling you, we'll make it a FO crusade to make sure Eli is not blamed for this loss. I'm not the guy's biggest fan, but he was excellent tonight.

Michael David Smith: I actually thought Eli's best game this year, in terms of the crispness of his throws, was the Detroit game. But this game, obviously, he was very good.

Mike Tanier: This is the best game I've ever seen Eli Manning play. He's moving around in the pocket more than usual and making quicker decisions. Please, let's not get into the hand-wringing about whether we are too hard on the guy or whether we've misjudged him. It was a very good game. A.J. Feeley had a good game against the Patriots. Next week's game means a lot more for Eli's legacy. I want to see this spontaneous, decisive, fairly accurate passer in the playoffs.

Bill Barnwell: I think one of the things people try to do that's usually a failure is to try to define a player in a sentence. Eli Manning isn't a player you can define in a sentence, because he's a strange mix of strengths and weaknesses. He has a good arm that allows him to make any throw you can ask a quarterback to make. He has a fast release. He doesn't get sacked all that often. He has a good playfake.

On the other hand, as I've said many times about Manning before, he makes obvious mistakes that should be corrected with proper coaching and repetition. He throws off his back foot too often. He misses reads. He fumbles too frequently.

There's two different types of quarterback accuracy. It's like pitching, where there's command and control. Control is giving your receiver any chance to catch the football. There's also command, where receivers are thrown passes in places they can adjust naturally to the ball, are likeliest to catch it, and can run after the catch with the ball. Manning has periods where he's erratic with both. This is commonly thought of as throwing high to Burress, but he also tends to throw balls on crossing patterns behind his wideouts, while his throws to the sideline are often low. This isn't the result of new wideouts, since Manning's had the same crop of guys since his first season as a starter, and I don't think the offense has changed too dramatically.

If you want to summate Manning in a sentence so badly, it would be, "Gifted quarterback with obvious flaws that should have been corrected by now." Manning's having his worst year as a starter according to DPAR and DVOA, but this isn't really his worst season. He's still the same guy. And that's the problem. He hasn't developed beyond the player he was. Furthermore, what makes him so frustrating as a Giants fan and an observer is that he's not like a Charlie Frye, someone without the tools to play the game at a high level, or a David Garrard, who plays well but lacks the ability to really change the game. Manning makes repeated, obvious mistakes that better quarterbacks simply don't make. And he makes them too frequently to be a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback.

What Does it All Mean?

Doug Farrar: I finally figured out who this team reminds me of -- Tiger Woods. When Woods is on his game and winning majors between swing changes, he's not winning because he's perfect. He's winning because if you want to beat him, you are going to have to play at a sustained level of excellence that is probably over your head. His reserves are larger than yours. And if you slip, even a little, he will see the opportunity and seize it. And then he's doing the "Tiger Walk" down the eighteenth fairway on Sunday and all his opponents are dying from 1,000 paper cuts and wondering what happened. There's something admirable but almost robotic about Woods at his best, and I see that in this team. They even had a "Tiger Slam" of sorts when they won the record 21 straight, but not every game in a season.

That said, the Pats have looked entirely beatable on a regular basis ever since Rosevelt Colvin got hurt in the Eagles game. With the Jaguars playing so well, and Indy getting Marvin Harrison back, and even the Chargers hitting their stride just now, I think you have to erase the blackboard as the playoffs begin. They are the best team going in, but they're not the team I look at and say, "They're unbeatable." There is no such team this year.

This is the most incredible achievement I've ever seen in sports, but their real test begins now. They've got one bad-ass list of fortified teams to deal with on their way to destiny.

Stuart Fraser: I'd go with that. It's Woods-dominance, not Federer-dominance. Roger Federer is incredible. He hits shots other people can't do, he's breathtaking. Woods, and New England, are just better than everybody else. More consistent, more reliable, more ready. You can beat them -- if you get everything right, time after time after time, like they will.

I'm also with Sean about the MVP. Brady doesn't look any different to Brady last year, to me, so Randy gets the credit for the difference in output.

Russell Levine: I love this analogy. Woods is the ultimate grinder. Sure, the Pats can light you up and win 52-7, but when they get in a scrap, they'll find a way to do one or two things better than you do and it will make the difference. After they beat the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, I wrote a piece on them called The Art of Being Better. You just get the sense this year that no matter what kind of fight a team puts up, New England will find a way to get it done.

They might find a tough game in the AFC, but I won't be shocked if the Super Bowl looks like Niners-Broncos (55-10), either.

Sean McCormick: Well, congratulations to the Patriots on their historic season. What strikes me is that in each of the games where they've been tested, the Patriots have been able to hit big pass plays in the fourth quarter. The way to beat -- or at least to stay with New England -- is to generate pressure on the quarterback while playing tight coverage on the receivers. Indy, Philly, Baltimore and the Giants were all able to do so for a while, but come the fourth quarter, the pass rushers get just tired enough to open up the deep ball, and Brady is going to find Moss or Donte' Stallworth every time. It's that aspect of their game more than anything that makes it hard to see a team beating the Pats.

The other common denominator in these close games is that the offenses have gone into untimely lulls in the fourth quarter, especially when protecting a lead, which suggests strongly that the offensive coordinators tightened up. (The Colts get a bit of a pass here, as half their offense got carted off the field.) The Patriots never tighten up with their play-calling. They're the most aggressive offensive team I've ever seen.

All that said, I can't help but think they can be beaten in the playoffs. Indy is the team I would put my money on, because they have the offense to go toe-to-toe with Brady and Moss and no glaring coverage holes in their secondary a la Roy Williams. I think an Indy-New England game is about a 60-40 proposition, maybe even a 55-45 proposition. But the other thing that might hurt the Pats is a succession of very difficult opponents. The Pats are looking at a potential gauntlet of Jacksonville/Indianapolis/Dallas, which is about as tough a slate of games as I can remember a No. 1 seed having to play. (Someone should go back and check the average DVOA for opponents faced in playoff runs.) Are the Patriots the favorites? No question about it. But I won't be surprised at all if they lose. Not at all.

Ben Riley: Hey, I hate to break this to everyone, but the Patriots are winning the Super Bowl this year. Could they be beaten? In theory, abstractly, perhaps in a computer simulation, yes. In reality, this team is rolling through the AFC and then crushing whatever poor sacrificial lamb is offered up by the NFC.

Aaron Schatz: The hardest playoff runs ever were two of the last three years. The 2005 Steelers had to play 11-5, 14-2, 13-3, and 13-3. The 2004 Patriots had to play 12-4, 15-1 and 13-3 -- remember those DVOA ratings showing four teams in the top 10 ever before the Eagles started sitting players that year? As far as DVOA goes, that is harder, because the Jaguars' DVOA is depressed by being only slightly above-average the first few weeks, and the Cowboys' DVOA is depressed by recent struggles.

Vince Verhei: When the game ended, they flashed up a graphic that read something like "First perfect season since 1972." And I thought "Hey, they're not perfect yet, they've still got the playoffs." And that's really kind of sad, because this is obviously a once-a-generation thing. Teams win the Super Bowl every year. Only four teams have gone undefeated through a regular season.

I spent a summer following the closest thing a Major League Baseball team ever had to a perfect season, the 2001 Mariners' 116-win campaign. Of course, the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the playoffs, and the Diamondbacks ended up winning the World Series that year.

When I look back at that season, I remember the team that would win seven games on a road trip, eight on a homestand. I remember the six months of asking "Did the M's win again?" and hearing "Yup!" I don't remember the bad week they had in October. If the Patriots do end up losing to a good team in the playoffs -- which, for the record, I bet doesn't happen -- I hope that New England fans still take time to appreciate and cherish the past four months, and how this team accomplished something that people said would never be done again.

Doug Farrar: I went to about 20 games that year. By August, people weren't even asking if they won, because it was a shock if they lost. Well, here's how hard it is to win 16 times in a row. In anything. Ever. In that 2001 season, the M's had 162 regular-season chances to win. The longest winning streak they put together? 15 games.

Aaron Schatz: We appreciate it, but I don't know if the rest of the country will. The obnoxious New England fans get noticed, but the majority of New England fans understand just how lucky we are. There has never been a run like this by any city in America. We have the World Series, the perfect NFL (regular) season, the 24-3 Celtics. The only thing like Brady and Big Papi was Bradshaw and Pops, and Pittsburgh didn't have a third team to enjoy when they ran the sports world in the late 70's.

If the Patriots lose in the playoffs, they will be remembered as great chokers by almost all sports fans, because they have become the villains. Yes, Spygate contributed, but it started long before then and I don't understand why. They say winning breeds contempt, but if that's true, how come nobody hates the San Antonio Spurs? Aren't Tim Duncan and Tom Brady extremely similar, steady superstars who don't trash talk their opponents? Isn't Bruce Bowen a quiet, hard-working role player like so many of the Patriots defenders?

We already know that the 1972 Dolphins keep moving the finish line. Now that the Patriots have matched their perfect regular season, they put out a press release where one of the guys from the '72 team says "congratulations on finishing the exhibition season." Earth to 1972 Dolphins: What makes you special isn't winning the Super Bowl, it is going 14-0 before that. If the regular season is the exhibition season and only the playoffs matter, then the 1985 Chicago Bears and 1989 San Francisco 49ers and 1992 Dallas Cowboys kick your whiny wrinkled asses. Show some class like your head coach Mr. Shula and appreciate what this team did. Yes, they have to win the Super Bowl to finish perfect, but if these last 16 games were the exhibition season, apparently nobody told the Giants, Ravens, Colts, and Eagles.

Of course, this is why we can't do a statistical comparison to figure out if the Patriots are the greatest team ever. They probably would come out as the greatest regular season team ever, but I doubt that they will match the dominance of the 1985 Bears in the playoffs. So which team you believe is the greatest ever will depend on how much weight you put on the postseason -- which is opinion, not statistical analysis.

This will change based on opponent adjustments after Sunday's games, but:

BEST DVOA EVER

2007 Patriots: 51.6%
1999 Rams: 45.8%
1996 Packers: 40.6%
2001 Rams: 38.5%
2000 Titans: 37.4%

BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA EVER

2007 Patriots: 42.7%
2004 Colts: 39.9%
2006 Colts: 33.7%
2002 Chiefs: 33.3%
2000 Rams: 31.7%

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 30 Dec 2007

273 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2008, 4:13am by Ken Pierce

Comments

1
by Sam (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 1:54pm

Aaron, everyone DOES hate the Spurs.

2
by footballprofessor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 1:54pm

New England will lose to Indianapolis in the AFC CG, and in 2008 they will win 9 games.

3
by Lee Gibbons (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:01pm

The Patriots are hating mainly because of the 'obnoxious' portion of the fan base and also the media love affair. The Spurs don't get the same kind of attention for whatever reason (small market?) and they have a much quieter fan base.

4
by inkakola (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:05pm

when moss went down i thought christmas had come twice this year. no moss = no superbowl.

5
by vanya (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:05pm

Great job! Thanks for the early audibles.

To Aaron's comment: They say winning breeds contempt, but if that’s true, how come nobody hates the San Antonio Spurs?

That's because most of America hates Massachusetts, and nobody hates San Antonio. In most of America people perceive North Easterners as snobs who have an attitude and think they're better than everybody else (and actually for the most part we do think we're smarter and better than the rest of country). The Patriots (just like the Celtics in the 80s, or John Kerry) get extra hate from being from an affluent Northeastern state. If the Giants or the Jets were in the Patriots position, they would probably also be widely hated, but I bet the Chiefs or Jaguars would not be. The Sox kind of get a pass for being the nemesis of the much more hated Yankees, but the tide will quickly turn against the Sox as well if they keep winning.

6
by Steve Nolan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:06pm

I hate the '72 Dolphins more than I've ever hated any single team. They didn't play a single goddamn playoff team in the regular season, while this Pats team has played a guaranteed 5, with a possible 7 if Cleveland and Washington get in.

Maybe the 'Fins played an "exhibition season," but these Pats sure as hell didn't.

7
by Temo (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:10pm

As far as the Lawrence Maroney thing about dancing, it might be a fallacy to compare them just because they were teammates in college, but Bill Parcells spent much of Barber's early time in the NFL pounding the "dancing" habit out of him, working to make him make his cuts upfield and not sideways. And now we have the runner that we know in MB3. Maybe Maroney needs the same encouragement.

8
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:13pm

I thought it was really foolish for both teams to play this game hard, but they put on a great show for us all, especially thanks to the simulti-cast.

I'm not sold that the Patriots win the Super Bowl. Typical media meme the past 2 years as the Colts were going for perfection was to say, "Well, its too hard to go 16-0 in today's NFL." I believe it is too hard to go 16-0 in today's NFL, but great job to the Patriots for doing so.

The Patriots offense has over-taken their defense as the strength of the team, and I think the Colvin injury makes them vulnerable. Neither their defense nor special teams have looked great, and I'm still waiting for Brady to have a horrible multi-interception game.

I'm not overly familiar with the other AFC secondaries, but it seems like teams could lock in on covering Moss and force Brady to be perfect in the playoffs... especially if they can generate pressure from the front 4. Jacksonville could do this with Nelson and their front 4... I could see Cromartie locking down Moss as well (although I believe you need a great FS to help out on Moss as well).

There's still 3 more games left, and if the Patriots lose in the Super Bowl everyone's going to remember them as the team that couldn't finish... like the AFC version of the 1999 Vikings.

9
by UK-Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:15pm

If anything I think the Pats are more of a dynasty in the classical sense than the Steelers precisely because they have had player turnover. The definition of 'dynasty' includes

"A family or group that maintains power for several generations"

which I think sums up the Pats more but it may be that dynasty is not the right word in the first place. Maybe something like dominion or empire works better!

Also, if the Deion quote was the one on NFLTA after the game I thought he said "history" means "his story" and then went on about each player having a story. It was a bit contrived but not not that bad otherwise.

10
by Darrel (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:20pm

I sure as hell hate the Spurs. Tim Duncan is a whiny baby who shows up the refs, Manu Ginobili flops every chance he gets, and Bruce Bowen is one of the dirtiest players in the game.

I hate the Pats, too though. Don't really hate the Celtics, though.

11
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:22pm

I think Mike Taniers comments were directed at ME.

I liked the comment that " Eli played better than his receivers". Eli's last 3 games were terrible weather and all the drops in the Washington game were riddulous to compound that.

When you really break it down, what are Eli's weaknesses? Accuracy and interceptions. I don't know if he will ever be that much more accurate but I think that is fine. Donovan has had a great career and he has accuracy problems as well. Picks from making bad reads should lower as a quarterback ages and knows the offense inside and out. You still see Eli looking at screen shots after every series and I don't care what anybody says, after 3 years as a starting quarterback you are still learning. The picks from balls that bounce off receivers hands are incontrollable ( and bad luck), and the really inaccurate throws will happen from time to time but nobody is perfect. I am glad some FO guys finally see SOME value in the guy and that the country got to see him go toe to toe with Tom Brady. I just think the negative comments this guy gets on a weekly basis are unfair at best.

The Patriots are the best team ever and you guys deserve to gloat. Remember this moment because they don't always happen. I also think the guys saying " they might lose in the playoffs" but not making any solid, write it down predictions are selfish because they would be the first people to run back and say " I told you they weren't invincible". Any given sunday anybody can beat anybody, if you are going to pick an upset then write it down, don't tell us that they "might lose".

I have NFL futures from last march on the Pats at 12/1 and 10/1 and I'm loving life.

12
by nobody (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:23pm

re.6

They also played the vast majority of the season, one playoff game, and part of the CC with a backup QB. How would New England have fared without Brady for that equivalent period of time? Still 16-0, you reckon?

13
by nobody (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:25pm

And of course, they went to the Super Bowl the previous year, and then went 12-2 the following year before crushing the Vikes in the SB.

So yeah, clearly they were just lucky. Or the most disrespected great team in history.

14
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:25pm

#8- Teams could lock in on Moss? Geez, why didn't anybody think about that in the first 16 games of the season? You are really onto something, maybe you should consider a career change into an NFL defensive coordinator? The job pays well and you are certainly full of insight!

15
by Mike (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:27pm

Something I haven't seen noted:

The Patriots haven't won 16 straight regular season games. Well, okay, they have, but they haven't won *only* 16 straight regular season games. They finished 2006 with three wins. They've won 19 straight regular season games. Meaning they've broken their own regular season winning streak of 18 games, from 03-04.

I can't stand the Patriots, but they raise the bar for dominance.

16
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:32pm

The Patriots have quielty had a good offense say the last 5 years or so but they just didn't throw up the ginormous stats the say the Colts threw up. Bellicheck modeled that offense to be efficient.

They used to be aggressive/semi aggressive to start the games off, and then taper down the aggressiveness into an efficient machine.

It wasn't great for stats, but it was great for wins by keeping the opposing offenses off the field, reducing possessions, improving field possesion etc.

In the Manning/Brady debate I always said that if you threw Brady in the Colts offense that he COULD put up big numbers as well if he were in a more aggressive offense ( and this year proves that).

The odd thing is that in the past couple years the Colts have been moving to be more efficient, while this year the Patriots became more aggreissve this year.

17
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:39pm

Do you remember say in the mid to late 90's when teams would win the super bowl and get completly gutted and people would talk about this new "free agency era" where teams had a small window of opportunity?

The cowboys from the mid 90's got ripped up , even the whole Al Davis brining in the Larry Browns , Desmond Howards, from the Packers, the Matt Millens over paying for the Az Hakims from the rams, the etc.

Then here come the Pats. I know it is difficult to keep it all up and build a winner, but these Pats are certainly better in 07 than 01. I mean would Antwain Smith even make this roster? How many of those receivers would even see the field on this team? An aging Otis Smith at corner? The 07' Pats are even better than the teams they sported years ago, and champions are supposed to get WORSE in the " free agency era".

18
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:44pm

Re: Gentle Horsecollar
Yes this is allowed, I believe the rule has some wording such as "yank" involved.

Re: Officiating
The worst rule change in the past 2 years has been the "Sean Locklear" rule. Whereas there is never any offensive holding on pass plays, never, EVER.

Re: Mike Carey
I think he's been an average ref over the past 2 years. Sure he still explains stuff well when he has the chance, but his crew isn't as good as they once were (or his reputation).

I think the NFL will have HamHoch for the SuperBowl... also I bet Geno S gets one of the Championship games and he gets the Super Bowl next season... those are the only two officiating crews that have stood out for the best the past couple of seasons.

19
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:51pm

Re: Chris
Yeah, the Giants really had the DBs to match up with Moss. (SARCASM OFF) It just seems to me that teams with good CB play, but a great FS might be able to contain Moss... although there is still the fear of Welker and the other receivers... just saying... I think Baltimore has a decent secondary, Philly has a decent secondary... and both of them played NE close recently. Maybe Jacksonville has a physical secondary that can match up against Moss especially now with their new FS who is pretty darn good. I don't know about Pittsburgh and Indy. Cromartie might be able to match up 1-1 although SD is not that great at safety position.

I'm just brainstorming about AFC playoff secondaries here... so feel free to play along... I'm not sure if you are follower of the AFC as it seems like you watch plenty of NFC.

20
by Ryan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:55pm

I'll go on record as saying the main reasons I hate the Patriots are Rodney Harrison (for everything) and Bill Belichick (as a human being).

21
by Hoainam (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:00pm

I just need to vent that I despise Cris Collinsworth and his anti-Moss stance. Less than 30 seconds after the 23rd TD catch, Collinsworth was quick to point out that Rice did it in a shortened season. Okay, fine, but Rice did it in '87 and Moss did it in '07. Cornerbacks and defenses have matured significantly in those 20 years so Moss' TDs are just as impressive as Rice's.

Both Rice and Moss deserved credit for their great achievements. I just hate Collinsworth for his not-so-subtle anti-Moss Agenda.

22
by JohnR (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:02pm

I don't get the 'obnoxious' fan base thing. Every team has obnoxious fans - in all the stadia I have been in around the league, the obnoxiousness level is pretty similar - with the possible exception of Raiders fans.

People love underdogs and any team that plays the Pats is one. The 2001 Pats were loved - the 2007 Pats are hated. People root for an upset - just like most people would pull for a San Antonio loss to a weaker opponent.

I don't buy the "the rest of the country hates the Northeast" theory. You could say similar things about 'the South' or 'Texas' or wherever. If you have good qualities and you inspire people, it doesn't matter where you are from. The country seemed to like Kennedy, everyone loves NYC, and most of the country was cheering for the 2001 Pats in the Super Bowl.

I think what people react to is the incessant ESPN coverage of the Pats, Sox, Yankees, Mets, yadda, yadda. I wish ESPN would move out of Connecticut and re-establish headquarters in L.A.

Great, great point about a team winning a Super Bowl every year, but only 4 teams in history pulling off the undefeated season with the Pats most recent one being the longest and clearly the toughest. It should be a *great* playoffs - I can't remember one with so many really good teams.

23
by Mike (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:06pm

Week 14, 2006: Miami 21, New England 0.

Since, New England has won 19 straight regular season games and is 21-1 overall. Miami of course, is 1-17.

24
by Butchie From Beyond The Grave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:08pm

Hey football professor, care to explain your prediction? Why will the Patriots lose in the AFCCG? Why will they lose 7 games next year? Why throw out unbased statements like that? Why not come up with things like "Terry Bradshaw will grow hair next year", "David Carr will be the Super Bowl MVP" and "Keyshawn Johnson will sign with the Cowboys and outplay Terrell Owens".

Anyone else notice the crowd cheering get louder when it was realized it was Randy Moss down with an apparent injury? I guess the Iggles fans aren't the only classless ones who cheer injuries.

As for those saying that teams can just lock in on Moss and shut down the Patriots, what then do you do about Welker? Stallworth? Watson? Faulk? Leave them all in single coverage? I'm sure all Patriots fans would love that. Welker in single-coverage? Welcome to another 11 catch, 120 yard day and lots of time chunked off the clock.

25
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:11pm

I've lived in Dallas since '84, big Cowboys fan (Seahawks, too). I rooted for the Pats for a good while prior to the last few years.

Tom Brady is great, and any team he's on has a chance at winning a Super Bowl every year. Look at what he did last year with a bunch of guys who hardly earn a paycheck this year.

For me, some of the reasons I've turned off the Patriots are the fans, who are obnoxious (like many other fans), but the thing that drives it for me is the in-your-face part of the fans. I understand being a humble fan base who struggled for years and now has found recent success, but it's so over-the-top it makes me ill, along with the media (East Coast) love that just drives me up the wall. Another reason is guys like Rodney Harrison (Shawne Merriman, too), who are caught cheating, yet seem to have no humility while playing (Loved his act with Billick). But, after the game, he's Mr. "Humble Pie". It's such a fake act it wears on me. People hating on Belichick is odd. The guy's good, he knows he is, and he just plays his games.

I haven't been around this site long enough to know where the hate stems towards the Cowboys and their fans, so maybe someone could enlighten me on that.

I also hate the Spurs!

26
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:13pm

Whoops, follow-up note!

Pats went 2-2 in the pre-season, winning their last 2.

They've won 18 straight!

27
by Ben Riley :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:14pm

#18

Of course, Sean Locklear wasn't actually holding on that infamous penalty called in the Super Bowl.

28
by Butchie From Beyond The Grave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:14pm

I agree with Hoainam in #21. I guess I missed the news article that tells us that Jerry Rice voted against the strike so he could continue on with that record. Otherwise, that was his choice to end the season at that point. A season is a season. We don't have any Maris asterisks any more. Rice's season was 12 games, Moss's season was 16 games. If we want to really get into that, didn't Rice play on one of the best teams in the NFL in the pre-salary cap era? Thus, he was playing against lesser DBs each week, where Moss plays in a time where the talent is more spread out. This can be taken to ridiculous extremes. Rice is a great, great receiver. But he's #2 now in TD catches for one season

29
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:16pm

18- I'd agree that Ed Hochuli and Gene Skelator are the best refs ( and have the biggest muscles). Coincidence? I think not. Can one of the geeks run a regression on Refs Muscle size/ ability to call a fair game?

19- I love where you added that Jacksonville has a "physical" secondary. Maybe you should have added how that team was built in the mirror of their head coach because I haven't heard that enough. Rasheen Mathis might be the best corner in the game but he plays mainly on the opposite side of Moss the X receiver.

21- I just hate the cynical know it all collinsworth in general. The guy just bashes whatever team is losing much in the same respect as Joe "king forehead" Buck.

30
by Butchie From Beyond The Grave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:18pm

#25 Shannon, talking about seeing a different Rodney Harrison on the field and in the media and you hate him for that? Umm, he plays professional football for a living. Most of those guys are completely different on the field as they are in the media. Brady's not an aww shucks smiley guy on the field either. Lots of people in sports are completely different during competition than in media interviews. Yeah, I'm looking right at you too Mike Krzyzewski.

31
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:20pm

Rice also didn't play under the "Bill Polian" rules and Rice also played in a league with less expansion teams.

32
by Pat F. (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:21pm

I don't see Brady-Duncan as a particularly good comparison. Brady's got the good looks, the actresses and supermodels, an air of cockiness, etc. Duncan might well have these things too, but no one would know because he disappears into a cave during the offseason (and, some would say, parts of the regular season). The dude just kinda pokes his head out of a hole come late April, grabs another Championship ring, and drops off the face of the earth again.

Really, if we're making Patriots-Spurs comparisons, it looks to me more like:
Tom Brady -- Tony Parker
Richard Seymour -- Tim Duncan

We can keep going...
Randy Moss -- Manu Ginobili
Troy Brown -- Michael Finley
Mike Vrabel -- Bruce Bowen

Other Suggestions?
Wes Welker -- Fabricio Oberto?
Rodney Harrison -- Robert Horry?

33
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:22pm

Troy Palamalou is an animal on the field, but a mild mannored guy off the field. Carson Palmer even went as far to rave about how great of a rommate he was... keeping the house clean etc.

It is the nature of the best to be an animal on the field, the fact that the guy has decent mannors isn't a reason to HATE him. Hate the dog killer Michael Convict, don't hate a guy for behing humble in interviews and nasty on the field.

34
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:22pm

#30 - Butchie, you're right. But it gets to me, but it's just an example towards the Pats. There are other examples around the league that would follow suit. As I wrote Merriman, as well. The fake part and the fact that these guys did illegal things to gain an advantage (Yes, trying to recover from an injury faster than the next guy is an attempt at an advantage), then try to come off as the humble workman like dude is just hypocritical. I don't expect him to not say anything, but quit trying to fool people.

35
by zzyzx (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:26pm

One reason why the Pats are hated is because they were such sore winners early in the season. Running fake spikes and 4th down conversions when you're up by multiple scores is not going to make you friends.

36
by Black Squirrel (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:32pm

As a Giants fan, the most exasperating aspect of the bomb to Moss was the fact that the replay of the previous play clearly showed Madison suffering some kind of muscle strain. I think they should have tried to get a sub on the field.

I remember a similar situation during the Chicago game. A replay showed James Butler limping. Soon after, Hester blew by him on a deep pass that he dropped.

Does anyone else remember that sequence from the Bears game, or am I mistaken?

In any case, the Giants need to get their injured DBs off the field.

37
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:33pm

Thanks for the early audibles!

People don't hate the Spurs because, as far as I can tell, people don't really care about basketball. Or at least, the people I associated with...

That’s because most of America hates Massachusetts, and nobody hates San Antonio. In most of America people perceive North Easterners as snobs who have an attitude and think they’re better than everybody else ... The Patriots (just like the Celtics in the 80s, or John Kerry) get extra hate from being from an affluent Northeastern state.

Ghhaaa! I'm from New Hampshire and I hate this. Moving to California was a real wakeup call--it seems like most of the country confuses "western Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard" with "New England". Yes there are a bunch of uppity well-to-do snobs living in one corner of New England, but it is the suburb-of-New-York corner (and they're all Yankees fans!). We New Hampshirers (and Mainers, Vermonters, most Massachusettsers, and maybe even the Rhode Islanders) are just ordinary, lower-to-middle class Americans no different from people anywhere else. When I think of New England I think of rugged terrain, trees, old-fashioned moderate politics, and working folk. Why does the rest of the country see New Englanders as blue-blood snobs?

38
by Vendark (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:36pm

#21: You're joking, right? Despite your assertion of defensive "maturation," receivers are averaging *more* catches now than they were in 1987. Rice's record is doubly more impressive than Moss'.

39
by David Arnott (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:40pm

0 -- "There has never been a run like this by any city in America"... What about 1989 San Francisco/Oakland? Warriors: Playoffs, first round win. Giants: World Series. Athletics: World Series. 49ers: Super Bowl champions, arguably a top 3 all time team.

22 -- Now that I've fully outed myself as a Bay Area dude... As once explained to me, and anecdotally confirmed via many of my Boston and NYC bred friends, there's a certain cultural logic in those parts of the country that you don't truly love a sports team unless you express it outwardly constantly. That's why "east coast" people say "west coast" people don't care about sports. We do care. We just don't feel the need to tell you about it every chance we get and prove it every day. That can quickly devolve into being annoying and obnoxious.

40
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:41pm

Back to the Game...

I thought the refs were horrible, but both ways. But to read the FOMB posts during the game (which were mostly by Giants fans or Patiot haters) you'd think there was an NFL conspiracy to hand the Patriots 16-0.

I thought the Pats outplayed the Giants in the 1st half but had two screwups coupled with some bad breaks that kept the Giants in the game (the last two-minute drive by Eli was a thing of beauty and reminded me of Brady, but the other two scores essentially came about because of fluke screw-ups by the Pats and some questionable officiating).

The Giants opened up the 3rd quarter dominantly, and then inexplicably fell apart. They didn't get it together again until the end of the game when it was too late.

Eli was a much better QB than I expected. I'd heard all week about how (1) Eli makes dumb mistakes, (2) the Giants have a mean pass rush but a suspect secondary, and (3) their recievers drop balls. For most of the game, none of these seemed true (except for Toomer dropping a couple), and I can only imagine that the Giants can't have maintained this level of play all year or else they would have a much better record (and yes, I said the same thing about Baltimore and Philly...maybe I'm just jaded by the Patriots). Eli was crisp, smart, and decisive, the Giants receivers were catching enough to sustain drives, and the DB's were playing well enough to let their pass rush disrupt Brady.

Then, for about 15 minutes of game time (midway through the 3rd to midway through the 4th), the Giants I had heard about showed up. Eli threw an INT, the Giants DB's started letting Brady hit the quick slants and crossing routes, and the Giants stopped sustaining drives.

I guess people are right in saying the Patriots win because they (almost) never let up. The Giants played 45 minutes of excellent football, and 15 minutes of bad football. The Patriots played about 50-55 minutes of excellent football. And that is why they won.

41
by Lagfish (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:44pm

*

42
by Moridin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:47pm

Well, if we're discussing reasons for hating the Pats, my dislike for them was created by the media. Until 2001, they were always a joke team (losing so badly against the Bears in the Super Bowl didn't help that opinion during childhood). So, suddenly they show up on the radar. Fine, still never thought much of them, but then, I hear for weeks, the media always comparing Brady to Montana. And that (being a huge Montana fan) soured me on them ever since, and I've never cared enough to get over it.

I actually do want them to win the Super Bowl this year, because I think Moss deserves to actually win the big one finally. But I've wanted them to lose at least one game this year (preferably earlier, like the Eagles or Ravens games) because I completely and totally want this media love fest to tone down. And now, the only way to go for that is to lose in the playoffs, which would spark as great of a media storm blaming them for being chokers. A great no-win situation.

Also, I'm a little surprised at how happy the NFL is about the Patriot run. Watching the last half of the patriot's season has been like watching WWF matches back in the day between superstars and no names. The no names never win, and no matter how good they are doing, nobody ever thinks the star is going to lose. Their games (the close ones anyway) have been fairly good football games to watch, but ever since the Colts and Eagles games, the games have been overlaid with boredom even when its momentarily exciting. Oh well, enough rambling.

43
by Erithtotl (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:54pm

We didn't get a very good picture of it on TV, but can someone explain why Moss was so open on the 65 yard bomb? I mean, yes, Brady had all day, but the safety wasn't even looking in Moss's direction and there was no play action. Here you have the most dominant receiver in the NFL and you don't even cover him?

These kinds of breakdowns seem to happen in most every Pats game and I haven't been able to figure it out. It's one thing when Moss jumps over two defenders and snags the ball, but I've never seen a guy catch so many wide open deep passes where the defense just seemed to forget about him on a simple go route.

44
by Mystyc (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:55pm

I can't speak for everyone, but geography has nothing to do with why I hate the Patriots. It has everything to do with the Tiger Woods comparison that the Outsiders elaborated on - utterly robotic in their perfection. You don't see people hating on Tiger, but that's because he doesn't beat up on the Indianapolis Phil Mickelsons and the Pittsburgh John Dalys.

And then, on top of all of that, they seem completely immune to the callous whims of fate. Karma never comes back to them, and in fact, reality at times seems to bend over backwards to give them every break possible. The sequence at the end of the Baltimore game is only the latest example.

45
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 3:57pm

Yeah, that's a bad comparison, Aaron. Bruce Bowen is near-universally regarded as the dirtiest player in the NBA.

46
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:00pm

Fact of the matter is, the Patriots perfect season is marred by MAJOR officiating calls in their favor. The PI on the Ravens saved their season and the defensive holding and personal foul on Toomer and no call on Wilfork showed that this game, as do most NFL games, had a refereeing agenda.

Now before all you readers try to justify yourselves and jump all over me, I have been a MASSIVE NFL fan since 1972. If you readers, and especially you Patriot fans, don't think the calls stink, then you just can't be honest with yourself.

Now remember I'm a Vikings fan, so the only real agenda I have is how the greatest wide receiver and deep threat in NFL history ends up in OFF my team ( for Nap Harris and Troy Williamson no less) and on the Patriots for a FOURTH round pick?

Yes the Patriots are a phenomenal team, they came back on the road in the 4th quarter, but you KNOW the NFL wants a Patriots team in the SB; EVERYONE will watch.

There's something rotten in Denmark, and although the NFL is insanely fun to watch and highly addictive, I feel a generalized sadness and malaise that what is so obvous to me and many others cannot be rooted out and fixed. LAst night was entertaining, but the outcome was only going to go one way.

47
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:01pm

vikinghooper, the thing is, EVERY team's had their 16-0 or 11-5 or 6-10 or 1-15 season marred by major officiating calls in their favor. Officiating in the NFL is atrocious and getting worse.

48
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:02pm

Congrats to the Pats.

I think the ref situation last night was an absolute shame. The Pats would likely have won with good officiating, but we will never know for sure. If I were a Pats fan, I would be pissed about that.

But not too pissed if my team won the Super Bowl. :-)

As for the Giants, this game was what I've been saying about them for a long time. When they play smart and avoid the concentration lapses that plague the team (blown assignments, drops, false starts, etc.) they have the talent to beat any team. They could be elite. But they aren't, because they usually don't.

The comments above about Eli, "he makes obvious mistakes that should be corrected with proper coaching and repetition," are both true and too limited in scope. It is true about the entire Giants squad.

As for Coughlin, what a tough call I think he is. He's had us in the playoffs consistently. He's had very few losing seasons, anywhere. That's not a shabby record. Still, his teams tend to not quite reach the level that they have enough talent to reach. And his players, excepting Tiki, seem to be unable to learn.

49
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:03pm

Remember when the Pats killed the Redskins and the Deadskins fans were saying " at least the rest of the NFC East ( Philly and NY) are going to take their ass beatings goo.

AJ Feeley and Eli at least made it close. Jason Campbell just got owned by Mike Vrabel.

50
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:04pm

#30 JR Reid just lit up one of the Bills about 5 seconds ago. GEEZ, look for that one on hits of the week/year.

51
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:05pm

46: Yeah, if there is a conspiracy, someone forgot to tell the crew working the Pats/Colts game. I'm not getting into the debate of the merit of the calls, but I think everyone can agree that the officiating was not biased in the Pats' favor in that game.

52
by Greg (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:05pm

"They say winning breeds contempt, but if that’s true, how come nobody hates the San Antonio Spurs? Aren’t Tim Duncan and Tom Brady extremely similar, steady superstars who don’t trash talk their opponents? Isn’t Bruce Bowen a quiet, hard-working role player like so many of the Patriots defenders?"

ORLY? I think you watch with blinders on. Thats not an insult, because the Patriots are your team and we always ignore the blemishes of the team(s) we support, but just focus on how Brady acts during the game.

53
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:07pm

Mystyc,

To a certain degree, teams make their own breaks and karma. People tend to remember only the "lucky breaks" that end up aligning with the outcome--no one would remember the "tuck rule" if the Patriots had gone on to lose to the Raiders in overtime, for example. When two teams are evenly matched, a lucky break can often determine the outcome, and everyone notices and remembers it as an example of a lucky break. When one team is very good, it is good enough to overcome the "lucky breaks" that go against it most of the time, but everyone remembers all the lucky breaks that go for it (because it wins). So it seems like karma is in its favor.

Erithtotl (Re Moss's long TD):

In the postgame interview, Moss said he wasn't the first read on that play. In the huddle, the play as called was supposed to go to Welker. Moss was supposed to run what he called a "9 route" (I'm not overly familiar with WR route parlance, but the impression he gave was that it was a deep route up the sidelines designed to take double coverage with it and clear out the safety). Welker, coming on a stop or crossing route about 13 yards deep, was the first read, and was supposed to pick up the first down. However, he said that the Giants apparently figured this out and dropped two or even THREE guys to cover Welker (I think, Moss described it as "boxing him in and trying to sucker Tommy into making 'the easy' throw") --they knew Welker was the hot read. That of course left just a safety on Moss, who Moss ran by. But the pass rush was a little slow and Brady had enough time to recognize the heavy coverage on Welker and see that Moss was single covered and had beaten his man (again).

The breakdown thus was the Giants pass rush on that play--had they gotten to Brady right away he would have thrown to his hot read (Welker) and been intercepted or been forced to throw the ball away. But a pass rush can't get to a QB every play. That is why Moss was so open there.

54
by starzero (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:23pm

duncan seems noble, and brady comes across as arrogant. maybe he's not in-your-face about it, but i can't help but feel he thinks he's better than everyone else. he thinks he's the best there ever was. i don't get any sense of respect for his opponents. and, he's a pretty boy, and nobody likes a smarmy pretty boy. the days of prince charming are over.

55
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 4:32pm

AJ Feeley and Eli at least made it close. Jason Campbell just got owned by Mike Vrabel.

Part of that is a function of the fact the Colvin was healthy against Campbell and was IR'd against Feeley and Eli. At this point I think it's clear that Vrabel is the better pass rusher, but having to account for Vrabel, Colvin, Thomas, and the fresher of Bruschi/Seau is a lot harder than having to account for Vrabel, Thomas, and a tired Bruschi and Seau.

Another part of it may be their games. I haven't seen Campbell play this year, but from what I've read he's a downfield QB (Skins fans, is that right?), whereas Feely and Eli (at least last night) have a pretty good short passing game going. The weakness of the Pats pass defense is the area covered by the LB's (the short game), because their pass rush is good but not great (it gets there, but it takes time) and their MLB's and Rodney Harrison aren't all that fast. But they'll beat you if you try to throw downfield on them too much...

56
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:17pm

Aaron, some answers why people dislike the Patriots, and why they aren't really like the Spurs.

I think Duncan's more similar to Drew Brees than Brady. Brady's much flashier, and spends a lot of time in the spotlight despite the lack of a distinct personality. Duncan stays out of the spotlight (as much as possible). it's easier to appreciate Duncan, because we know he's "the quiet, responsible guy". Brady's dating supermodels like Tony Siragusa going through a bag of Doritos, but acts blandly anyway.

Many of the Patriots defenders are quiet role players, but are overshadowed by cheapshot artists Rodney Harrison and Vince Wilfork. I think everyone is sick of Tedy Bruschi by now as well.

Belichick is perceived as both classless and the face of the organization. Greg Popavich (sp?) is perceived as classy.

Randy Moss is extremely talented, a bit of a jerk, and doesn't try except when he feels like it. People hate that.

The one really (perceived) classy guy on the Pats is now in Indianapolis.

They've been extremely lucky the past several years, from the "tuck rule", to the refereeing in the 2003 AFCCG, to the Baltimore game this year (and many smaller incidents in between). All of the teams' fans that they've benefited against dislike them.

Finally, the New England fans are perceived as obnoxious. There are two reasons for this. The first is that they've attracted all of the annoying bandwagon fans everyone hates. Secondly, there is a large segment of Boston fandom, personified by Bill Simmons, that act as though the Patriots/Red Sox success is both a reflection on their character, and something they are entitled to.

57
by black (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:26pm

I hate the spurs as well, I can never hate on the patriots because they game me Big Play Willie Clay on whatever version of madden I was playin, he was the only db that could consistently pick off passes. And of course videogame hall of famer Ben Coates

58
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:41pm

People (such as my self) hate the patriots for a variety of reasons.

1 - Their continued dominance. Call it jealousy or whatever you want, but fans of other teams generally don't enjoy seeing the same team win the championship over and over over again.

2 - The overall dominance of all the Boston teams. See #1, only magnified as a result of Boston dominance in three sports at once.

3 - Boston fans have been absolutely insufferable this year. Many of them even go so far as to refuse to acknowledge all the silly lucky breaks their team has benefited from this season, or all of the questionable calls that for the most part seem to swing their way in crucial situations.

4 - In a couple games this season they've gone out of their to humiliate their opponents after already possessing historically insurmountable leads. Yes it's their job to win, but is it really their job to leave their first-string offense in through the 4th quarter, and go for it on 4th downs while leading by 21+? I think not.

5 - Bill Belichick. Very talented, surely a hall-of-famer, but the man has no likeability whatsoever.

6 - Fake humility. Every week they trot out their "humble pie" and then they proceed to intentionally embarrass opponents, make dirty plays, or talk trash directly to opposing coaches.

7 - ESPN fellating. ESPN has already begun saying that these Pats would beat any of the greatest NFL teams ever head-to-head before they've even made it to the super bowl this year. I realize the Patriots have no direct control over this, but most of the rest of the league finds such behavior insulting and holds them responsible anyway.

Here's another take on reasons for Pats hate: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-thegameface121407&prov=yhoo&typ...

59
by Rob (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:41pm

I hate the Patriots for 2 reasons, because I lived in a suburb of Boston for a couple of years. If there was a city that didn't deserve Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics championships it would be the Boston and fans of the surrounding environs. I never have seen such obnoxious and ugly fans. Take Red Sox vs. Yankees...I see Boston sucks shirts all the time in NY, but not in the same proportion as Yankees suck, or shirts, I'm not kidding you, that say "Gay-Rod and Jeter have AIDS". I've been treated to games at Fenway and Yankee stadium, it is an intense rivalry but the Boston fans are the worst. I've never seen that level of vitriol anywhere else. Yes I know that all fans in New England are not like that...but in general I would say an average NEngland fans have all the worst attributes of a sports fan...they are both sore winners and sore losers. Patriots fans are no different. I know this will inflame things but this is the truth. You can argue that am jealous, as I was in Boston area in 2001 when my Raiders got robbed by Tuck Rule...boy did the crap I get. Even when my team wins I have bragged and talked a little trash.

My second point I hate the patriots is because I think they are a media darling and I think generally they have the referees on their side. I think it is mostly subconscious but they get most of the breaks, starting from the tuck rule or to the fact that until last year against Colts...they never had one pass interference penalty called against in all the playoff games they played against the Colts. I think they get away with more late hits and when they hit late I notice that they generally try to hit the opposing players in their heads with their helmets...nobody says this, but this is true.

Thanks i'm sure i will get flack for this

60
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:46pm

The Patriots haven’t won 16 straight regular season games. Well, okay, they have, but they haven’t won *only* 16 straight regular season games. They finished 2006 with three wins. They’ve won 19 straight regular season games. Meaning they’ve broken their own regular season winning streak of 18 games, from 03-04.

Why is this streak impressive? Why is it impressive to ignore games against good teams? The Patriots haven't won 19 straight games. They've won 16 straight games.

I'm hoping people don't get insanely defensive, but I don't get that. It seems about as impressive as "the Patriots have a winning streak of 15 games in September" or something like that - it seems like cherry-picking.

And I thought “Hey, they’re not perfect yet, they’ve still got the playoffs.” And that’s really kind of sad, because this is obviously a once-a-generation thing. Teams win the Super Bowl every year. Only four teams have gone undefeated through a regular season.

This is another question, too, and again I hope the vitriol doesn't start flowing. Why is it a once-in-a-generation thing? History's made every year. The question is whether or not it's impressive. Is winning 16 regular season games and losing in the playoffs impressive? Why?

If the Patriots do lose in the playoffs, I don't think it'll be remembered as impressive. Record-setting, sure, but the 4th best overall DVOA is owned by the 2001 Rams, and they're best remembered as "the juggernaut team that the plucky Patriots beat."

Which, if the Patriots lose in the playoffs, is exactly how I think they'll be remembered.

61
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:50pm

Part of that is a function of the fact the Colvin was healthy against Campbell and was IR’d against Feeley and Eli.

Colvin was injured in the Eagles game. I don't think you can IR someone during a game. :)

62
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 5:57pm

Shoulda bought Mylanta stocks on Friday, sales are going through the roof if this board is any indication. Lighten up guys, you still have 3 games to hate, and y'all get an ulcer this way. I recommend taking one Prilosec p.o. one hour before each game, two before the SB.

I also have a question: hasn't it become customary that when a major personal NFL record is broken, there is a short congratulations message from the previous holder shown in the stadium? Now, I understand Manning would not want to do it, particularly since his season is still on and he may well play Brady again soon, but Rice? He's clearly a nice guy, so that's a bit surprising.

63
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:01pm

27: Yes he was. Don't think that you can pull revisionist BS now that nobody cares about that Superbowl anymore.

Oh, and I'm not a Steelers fan. I'm just someone who distinctly remembers watching that play and shouting "holding!" at the TV the moment Haggans fell to the ground.

64
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:01pm

It's great to wake up today as a Pats fan and not one of the bitter Bettys wallowing in wild conspiracy theories and whining about media bias (ho-ho "Pats Pull Another One Out of their Asterisk," says the NY Post). As to the Pats hating. Frankly I think Aaron spends too much time and space fretting about it (and needlessly apologizing for ALL New England fans, like he's our Bill Cosby). If Belichick were running in the Iowa Caucus this week, the negative opinions would be a concern. But he's not, so it doesn't matter. (Though if BB were a candidate and did get elected, he'd be the best thing that ever happened to this country. Enough with the sentimental crap about who you most want to share a beer with. Give us a guy who knows what the job is and is focused on getting it done. Vote Bill in '08)

65
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:04pm

64: "Frankly I think Aaron spends too much time and space fretting about it (and needlessly apologizing for ALL New England fans, like he’s our Bill Cosby."

LOL!

66
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:14pm

To use the word "lucky" to describe the Patriots over this past decade is laughable. Let me get this straight. For some reason the same team has benefitted from luck time and again, year after year, 3 Super Bowls and counting?

Someone in the thread made mention of how we don't note when calls or "luck" goes against the Patriots because they've been good enough to repeatedly overcome the not-so-favorable calls in games they win. And in games they lose? They got bounced from the playoffs the past two years in games in which PI played a critical role - and even warranted an official apology from the NFL in last year's Colts loss. But do we talk about that? Did the Patriots complain about that at the time(s)?

Regarding the hate the Patriots receive: I think the media coverage is the #1 reason for the hate. No other "dynasty" has had to face the constant scrutiny, "expert" analysis, and in-your-face coverage. The internet, blogs, chat rooms, 500 different football shows on 500 different channels, 24/7 ESPN News highlights - combined with the NFL being at the top of the sporting world and stronger than it's ever been from a hype standpoint - this is the main reason for the hate.

No team has ever received this much attention. And people hate it. People get sick of those that are constantly in the headlines - like Britney Spears of Bennifer. They just want them to go away.

Another point to mention - technology on the field gives us the capability of watching a particular play (i.e. a PI call or non-call), slow it done at 1/100th speed - from multiple angles, and pipe that highlight onto a HDTV or computer near you to be watched over and again.

The teams from back in the day didn't have the technology making each and every play so scrutinized. Hell, I still can't even get a decent replay of "The Immaculate Reception."

Can you imagine if that same play happened in the Patriots' favor in 2007? People would probably be talking about a conspiracy in which Kraft is in cahoots with the NFL and the networks.

If we could slow down every play of every game and scrutinize like we do today, I wonder if the Dolphins, Steelers and Niners of yesteryear would be considered "lucky?"

It's sad that rather than appreciate what this team has been doing on the field, the fans are using their personal bias - and the fact the Patriots have probably beaten their favorite team in a game recently - to poo poo their winning and passing it off as "lucky."

Please just take a look inside yourself and admit it once and for all: You WISH your favorite team was as good as the Patriots. You wish the nation was always talking about your team. And if you can't admit that, you're not being honest with yourself.

67
by Erithtotl (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:15pm

Here's a classic reason people hate the Patriots:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22371208/

A sportswriter on a major internet site, and he writes this:

About Brady: Unless you’re stupid enough to believe that passing stats and arm strength trump leadership and championships, you probably agree by now that he’s the best quarterback to ever play.

Wow, so anyone who disagrees with his opinion, which he backs up with nothing, is 'stupid'. I can't imagine why people would start to dislike the Pats with this kind of stuff being written, not by fans, but by sportswriters.

68
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:18pm

MJK- You haven't watched Jason Campbell play but you want to comment on him. Shame on you.

Downfield QB? That is freaking hilarious. The guy is known for running Joe Gibbs "horizontal" offense full of 1 yard wide receiver screens, and dump offs to his running backs.

You had it exactly the opposite. I saw Feely and Eli throw the ball downfield more than Jason Campbell and his training wheels 90 year old coaches offense.

MJK- It also cracks me up that you don't know what a "9" route is. For all the elitist know it all fans here at FO, not even knowing basic football termonology is hilarious.

I think there are some smart people here, but that they are smart with "results". Understading the game inside and out is much different than saying things like " the Vikings should start Adrian Peterson instead of Chester Taylor".

Not knowing what a 9 route is just shows that most of the people here haven't played a lick of football in their lives past highschool.

69
by UK-Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:22pm

I've been a Pats fan since the early 80's and at that time in the UK it meant a 1 hour highlights show on TV each week, trying to catch a live game on AFRTS as the signal came and went and getting to read about the games a week later in the paper.

Suffering though 1-15 and 2-14 seasons I could never have dreamt about the success today's Pats are having. Actually I could dream but that was all it was because it was never going to happen. When the NFC had it's streak of Superbowl wins I always wanted the AFC team to lose as I wanted it to be the Pats to break the streak, knowing all the while that chances were decidely slim that they would. So now I am lapping it all up knowing that in a few years time it will alll probably be gone and another team in it's place.

I don't feel I've got to feel guilty about that though I don't crow about it in other peoples faces (except for a Dolphin friend of mine :). I'm like everyone else, when it was the 49ers or the Cowboys or whomever winning I hated them. I don't know why, I just did and could come up with any number of 'reasons' for it but in the end there were only two (1) they weren't the Pats and (2) jealousy of success. When the Colts win I dislike them and Peyton and subsonciously nod in agreement when people go on about his pouting, choking and chicken dances.

In real life though, like the vast majority of players including TB (who I have met a couple of times) I'm sure he's a perfectly pleasant and amendable person off the field. You really can't take what people do on the field and extrapolate it to what they are really like unless you actually know these people.

So I can understand why people come up with (sometimes contrived) reasons for disliking the Pats, as a Pats fan it almost gives me a warm glow inside. The Pats are good enough to be hated, apart from the Superbowl wins I could hardly have asked for anything more. And I know that if the situations were reversed and the Cowboys or some other team were dominant then I would probably dislike them as much as other people dislike the Pats and given a few minutes to think about it could probably come up with just as many reasons for doing so if asked and make it so so very rational.

However it's sports and allegiances and suchlike so rationality has very little to do with it.

70
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:28pm

You know me, I am an NFC east guy. The Eagles fans get a bad wrap, people hate dallas fans, giants fans, but I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the Washington Redskins have the worst fans in the league by far.

71
by Erithtotl (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:31pm

A couple of other reasons people hate the Pats.

There are lots of teams that stress team above individual, but I don't know of another team that felt the need to tumpet that out to everyone all the time. It's like the asshole he keeps telling you he doesn't watch TV. There is a sense of smug superiority about it that drives people nuts.

Combine that with the ridiculous 'us against the world' attitude the team projects. One of the most lionized dyansties in sports history (there's a whole section on MSNBC about the Pats run for perfection), with their star player being the most hyped player of his generation, and yet somehow, everyone is down on them. Boo hoo. And the whole 'spygate revenge' angle. Utter BS. They got caught cheating! Personally, I think the whole spygate thing was kind of silly, but how do you use the fact that you got caught cheating as a motivational ploy? And how do people not call them on it?

Also, there's the 'anything to win' philosophy that runs through the organization. From Willie McGinness faking an injury during the Colts final drive a few years ago, to the mugging of the Colts receivers in the playoff game, to Harrison's HGH use and the utter lack of condemnation or criticism by his organization over it, to the largely overblown spygate, there is the impression that the Pats under BB will do anything to win, including cheat, as long as they won't get caught. What makes it all the more infuriating is that they are so good anyway, they don't need to pull this crap. While I doubt BB would actively encourage his players using illegal substances, I don't really get the feeling he was too broken up about it.

And finally, the whole 'why don't people love our Patriots, they are so wonderful and awesome how can some people not like our team' line from the fans, including several on this board. Do you think that is really helping? It's the same 'we don't get no respect' crap that your team pulls, again, despite being insanely overhyped.

72
by Steve Nolan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:34pm

Re 12 and 13:

I'm not saying what the '72 Dolphins did wasn't impressive and I never said they were lucky. It's just that I never hear anyone in the mainstream media saying anything about their soft schedule. That, combined with the horribly brash way those geezers that were on that team still act is ridiculous.

The accomplishments of these two teams over the course of the regular season aren't comparable.

73
by JohnR (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:41pm

#59: wow - a raider fan coming down on other fans for being obnoxious and rude! Now I have heard it all. A Raiders game was the one time I feared for my life - and with good reason, I might add - yet a fan of theirs can point another fan base as the "worst". Truly funny.

#56: those aren't "reasons" why you hate the Pats. Those are post-facto justifications. You hate the Pats and that is how you justify it. Those same "reasons" could be applied to the Cowboys. Do you hate them too?

I will say it again - they were loved in 2001 and now are hated in 2007. It has more to do with people cheering for underdogs. Now, because they win so much - and this is the key - they are now talked about as the greatest dynasty of all time - the hatred gets ratcheted up a notch mostly because fans of other teams want to "protect their turf". If you are a Steelers fan, you have to hate the Pats because of the 70s Steelers. Niners fans have to hate them too. Cowboys fans need to hate them.

And since they do hate them, it is irrational and they have to search for "reasons" like "Brady is in the spotlight too much" - even though he does 1/10 the ads that Manning does. Or "Moss doesn't try hard" - even though he has arguably tried hard on every play this year and has seen the most snaps of any player on the team other than Brady. Or "they run up the score" - even though you only have that argument to go to for 2-3 games this year and Jacksonville was even more guilty of this last week but noone "hates" them for it.

If the Spurs seriously start challenging the dynasties of the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, etc - they will be hated too.

74
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:43pm

#66 - The teams from back in the day didn’t have the technology making each and every play so scrutinized. Hell, I still can’t even get a decent replay of “The Immaculate Reception.”

The replay is buried somewhere with the JFK files. It'll be dug up in 100 years.

75
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:45pm

Of all the reasons to hate the Patriots, I'm surprised no one's mentioned the obvious one.

It's because this season, they, and their fans, have taken the obvious attitude that "just winning the Super Bowl isn't good enough for us."

Vince's "teams win the Super Bowl every year" hints at that. Have Patriots fans really become so jaded that winning a championship isn't good enough for them?

The Patriots playing their starters had a very real chance of lowering their chances to win the Super Bowl. Teams rest starters for a reason - because players do get hurt. The last team who went for an undefeated season rather than sitting starters was the Colts in 2005, in the game versus the Chargers - and if memory serves, they did have someone injured that game.

It didn't happen to the Patriots, but there was still a very real chance of it. Brady's leg gets twisted a little differently on a few of those hits, and who knows?

The fact that the Patriots did play starters says to a lot of the rest of the fans "yeah, winning the Super Bowl? We can do that any year." And that's a huge part of why other fans hate the team.

76
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:51pm

#75 - I was thinking the EXACT same thing when I first wrote that. The only thing is we have better footage of JFK than we do of that Franco Harris grab.

77
by Scott (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:55pm

Everyone hates the Pats now because most Pats fans are Red Sox fans. And everyone hates the Red Sox fans because they think of all the whining they used to do, only to turn around and talk a bunch of trash to Yankees fans once they win a World Series. Oh, and Ben Affleck. Ben freakin' Affleck.

78
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 6:58pm

74 - PM may spend more time in the spotlight than Tom Brady, but PM is funny and he makes attempts to connect directly with the everyday fans (just look at the "Pep talk" commercials). Brady comes off as cocky and aloof, and everything about his time spent in the spotlight just screams "Look at me, I'm better than you!" While that may be true, people don't like that shoved down their throats.

79
by Rob (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:07pm

#74 Thanks for not rebutting my points..."your fans are obnoxious too so it is okay that are fans are jerks youare saying... From Comments thread here and before, and even Aaron's own admission as Patriot fans himself, he testifies that New England has an obnoxious fan base. Well I have had things thrown at me because of the sports jersey or hat I've worn in boston...i was a little afraid but i'll get over it...i hope you will too, doesn't change the fact i still believe boston has some of the worst fans in country...i'll even add raider fans to the discussion if it makes you feel better

80
by Mikey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:18pm

The fact that the Pats are the first real internet-era sports dynasty plays a role in all the vitriol against them, I think. You could argue that the 96-00 Yankees were part of the internet era, but so much has changed since them in terms of broadband penetration and depth of online sports coverage.

Internet dialogue amplifies the most extreme opinions in everything and encourages readers to take more extreme positions themselves. I don't know that the Pats are actually more hated than the 70s Raiders or the triplets Cowboys, but we now have these forums where the most obnoxious Pats lovers and haters can goad each other endlessly. The internet kills moderate opinion.

It's also a factor that New England fans are disproportionately represented online. The most prominent online sports columnist is a Pats homer; the best independent football web site - this one - is run by a Pats fan; the best online sports community is run by Boston fans; the guy who posts the NFL broadcast maps is a Pats fan. Boston sports fans have just been tons better at the internet so far than, say, Atlanta sports fans or Phoenix sports fans. And that's to their credit but it does fuel anti-Boston feeling.

I don't think the media environment is the only factor behind Pats hate. I do think it's a major factor that goes basically unnoticed. If the average Pats hater only watched games for a month and never watched ESPN or read about football online, I really think their contempt for the Pats would diminish.

81
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:20pm

79:
PM may spend more time in the spotlight than Tom Brady, but PM is funny and he makes attempts to connect directly with the everyday fans (just look at the “Pep talk” commercials).
Do you really think Manning writes his own commercials? That because the commercials he's in play on his goofy accent and persona, it must mean that he's really all down-to-earth cool and such in real life, while Brady spends his time driving chicks through the desert in fancy convertibles? Jeebus, guys.

So, summarizing the main reasons to hate the Pats:

- They are clearly arrogant, and all their looking humble and respectful of other teams in the media, while others are trash-talking and giving guarantees they can't pay up, just annoys us.

- They run up the score, and always seem to win by a hair - we hate that.

- They don't rest starters, risking injury in a meaningless game to go after a chance to go unbeaten for the regular season, something that has happened only once in the past 60 years. Who do they think they are?

- Brady is always in the spotlight, and doesn't connect to the public by appearing is 200 commercials/year like Manning. Now, that's a guy I could stop on the street and have a Bud Light with.

- Belichick is just aloof, and always wants to talk football during press conferences, instead of answering the all-important questions, such as: "how do you guys really feel, emotionally speaking, about playing this or that player, or team, or so, next month?" That's what we really want to know, who cares abouts schemes and match-ups.

- They win too much, and besides, they'd have to win at least another 2 or 3 suberbowls to convince us they are a truly dominant team.

- Their fans are always so happy about their team winning. They should be like us: we never are.

82
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:20pm

I take what Schatz says about the Pats and Pats fans with large grains of salt, because Schatz, in his "oh please, please, please don't accuse FO of being biased" quest has more than once made things up about the Pats (like one week bogusly calling their offensive scheme "hubristic" when the scheme worked fine all game) and throwing Pats fans under the bus (I loved the "he thinks he's our Bill Cosby" line some commenter had upstream), to keep in the good graces of his own internet in-crowd.

That said, FO is far and away my fave NFL website. But Schatz isn't some magical spokesman for Pats fans.

83
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:34pm

82 - No I don't think that he writes his own commercials, but that doesn't change the fact that he's funny and connects with viewers while and Brady is not and does not. The fact that most of the time he doesn't even try to only adds to my perception that he's aloof and cocky.

I also like how you totally overlook the fact that Pats players trashtalk just as much as the rest of the league (and then try to say that they don't) or intentionally try to hurt players on the other team (Vince Wilfork, I'm looking at you).

I really don't see your point about running up the score. Are you claiming that intentionally humiliating opponents when any other team would show mercy is supposed to make us like your team?

84
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:41pm

after a chance to go unbeaten for the regular season, something that has happened only once in the past 60 years

Man! If doing something that hasn't been done in the past 60 years is important, the Patriots should now lose the Super Bowl!

No one in the past 60 years has gone undefeated and then lost the Super Bowl. The Patriots would be the first!

85
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:43pm

Two words : Bill Simmons. That's an ugly mug to be putting out there as the face of Boston fandom. (And sure, it isn't your fault, ordinary Boston fan... but you're stuck with him anyhow.)

86
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:45pm

Re: 85

Well, now you can have a personal cause to root for to light up your bitter, bitter days.

87
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:47pm

No I don’t think that he writes his own commercials, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s funny and connects with viewers while and Brady is not and does not. The fact that most of the time he doesn’t even try to only adds to my perception that he’s aloof and cocky.
What, Brady forgot to send you a holiday card this year? Weird, he sent me one (with him, Giselle, Bridget, the baby and Belichick dressed like Santa).

Seriously, if you look at press conferences (which is as close as you or I can get to actually gauge a player's personality, i.e. practically meaningless), Brady is generally laid back, respectful and pleasant, far more so, in my opinion, than Manning. But basing your opinion of some big-shot personality's character on the commercials they shoot? Come on.

As for trash-talking, there is a big difference between trash-talking before a game or during it. And an even bigger difference if you can deliver on your trash-talk.

88
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:49pm

Pat, looks like you forgot to take your meds today.

89
by PD (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 7:56pm

As far as the Brady/Papi - Bradshaw/Pops thing, Pittsburgh did have a third team in the late 70's, the Penguins, who made the playoffs in both the '78-'79 and '79-'80 seasons. The Pens' first season was 1967.

90
by Steely Glare (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:01pm

#90: Also, don't forget Pitt's national championship in 1976.

91
by Mikey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:07pm

Yeah, the real third team in Pittsburgh during those "city of champions" years was Pitt football. 11-1 in 78, 79, and 80.

Talk about some talent. Dan Marino, Hugh Green, Mark May, Rickey Jackson, and Jimbo Covert all played on those teams. Sheesh.

92
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:09pm

85- But Schatz IS a MAGICAL spokesman for Pats' fans!!!!!!!!

(sarcasm off)

I'm a lifelong Patriots fan living in New England, and to say I've appreciated the Belechik era is an understatement. These are the good times. It won't last forever, and it's lots more fun than 1989 - 1992.

Is Moss a free agent after the season? It sure sounded like it when the trade was made (for a fourth round pick...that'll never stop being funny) but I haven't heard it mentioned lately.

93
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:11pm

Pat, looks like you forgot to take your meds today.

Why? Because I'm apparently one of very few people who realizes that unless the Patriots win the Super Bowl, all of this fan attention and media fawning will be as pointless as the "are the Colts the best team ever?" talk was in 2005?

Doesn't anyone find it a bit curious that for the past four years or so, we've had "are the Xs going to go undefeated this year?" talk through late in the year?

Have sports fans really become so jaded that they need to have additional fake excitement generated over and above the league championship?

It worries me, to be honest.

94
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:12pm

Re: #93

Moss is a free agent (only signed a 1-year deal) and Stallworth is essentially a free agent (there's no way the Pats don't cut him with the way year 2 of his contract currently stands).

95
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:24pm

88 - The fact that they're capable of delivering on their trash talk does nothing to change the fact that they still try to claim that they don't do it.

I'm not basing my opinion of Manning's character on his commercials, my point is that he's entertaining while Brady makes no attempt to be. I'm not saying that this makes PM in any way a better person, but it does make him more likeable. I think that if Brady made 1 funny, nationally televised commercial per year some of the haters might be persuaded to like him more.

96
by The Broilermaster (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:34pm

@70: I've not heard of this "Tony Dungy as a keynote speaker at anti-gay fundraiser". Please elaborate.

About the spurs--people try to pretend they don't exist more than anything. Duncan is always there to cry, Bowen to jump on ankles, and Ginobli to flop. When they win, it's unwatchable. I'm more disgusted with them than anything.

And personally, one reason to root against the patriots is simply for the way their front office will just dump key players to save a few bucks. They show absolutely NO loyalty to the guys that do the hard work. But...that's the new NFL, right? And really, the patriots aren't worse in that regard than other teams (see: Mike Shanahan cutting anyone not on the OL for any reason at all).

97
by admin :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:45pm

Yeah, I'm stepping in right now to say that we are not letting this turn into a discussion of Tony Dungy's political views. We're not afraid to ban people who break the no politics rule. Don't go there.

98
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:58pm

I like the "truth and reconciliation" nature of this thread. It's extremely amusing.

In all honesty, I don't want fans of other teams to like, respect or to stand in absolute awe of the greatest team in all of sports ever. I would hate your team just as much if they were the ones having the continued success the New England Patriots have been having.

If defending the team that I support by arguing topics the way I believe them to be makes me an obnoxious Patriots fan, so be it. Part of being of a fan of anything is looking past the faults, actual or percieved and highlighting the strengths.

As a fan of the National Football League as well as the Patriots I love that the Colts and the Steelers were able to win Super Bowls these past two seasons. Weren't the victories greater knowing that your teams did this during the Patriots dynasty make the championship sweeter in a way?
Just look at Superbowls IX through XV. This was during the Steelers dynasty, but the Cowboys and Raiders won a couple during this time. The league just seems more robust when there are consistently excellent teams competing year in and year out. Look what a great rivalry has developed between the Patriots and the Colts this past decade. The funny part is that no one cared about these games when they played each other in the same division in the nineties. The Patriots v. Colts is very similar to Steelers v. Raiders of the seventies. Teams that seem to be in contention for the championship year in and year out. It's great isn't it?

Enjoy the playoffs everybody. I know I am really looking forward to them.

99
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:01pm

Re: #96

If it is true, all it does is show how shallow and pathetic the haters are.

100
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:04pm

The fact that they’re capable of delivering on their trash talk does nothing to change the fact that they still try to claim that they don’t do it.
As far as i know, the Pats never claimed that they don't trash talk dring games. What they say, however, is that they do not trash-talk before games, and they don't. (And they do seem to buy into BB's idea that trash-talking before games is a distraction and usually a sign of weakness.)

I’m not basing my opinion of Manning’s character on his commercials, my point is that he’s entertaining while Brady makes no attempt to be. I’m not saying that this makes PM in any way a better person, but it does make him more likeable. I think that if Brady made 1 funny, nationally televised commercial per year some of the haters might be persuaded to like him more.
OK, what do you base your opinion of Manning as "entertaining" then, if not commercials? Does he do stand-up in Indianapolis comedy clubs? And of course you contradict yourself by then saying that if brady did funny comemrcials, he'd be "likeable" too. It's like people who believe Chuck Norris is really a tough guy because of the charcater he plays on the tube.

101
by Sergio (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:15pm

re: 99

"Weren’t the victories greater knowing that your teams did this during the Patriots dynasty make the championship sweeter in a way?"

Oh. my. God.

Seriously?

102
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:20pm

101 - I don't think I've contradicted myself. I do base my perception that he's entertaining because he does commercials which...entertain me. I mean lets say you're waiting for the bus, and there are two other people waiting with you. One guy tells a joke that you think is funny and the other never speaks to you. Who are you more inclined to think positively about, all other things equal?

96 - I'm shallow and pathetic because PM has a well orchestrated PR campaign to make him seem more likeable?

103
by Nick (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:25pm

FYI guys, Roosevelt Colvin hasn't been a factor in three years. Please don't use his loss as the line of demarcation for when the Pats became "vulnerable".

104
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:32pm

Peyton Manning is likeable because he shows up in 17 really cheesy commercials inbetween plays? That Reggie Bush/Peyton Manning commerical/infomercial/pregame thingy becore the season started was about the dorkiest thing I had ever seen. I lost a ton of respect for Reginald and Peyton for doing that thing.

105
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:33pm

re 102.

Sure, why not?

106
by Sergio (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:52pm

re: 106

Because it's arrogant and condescending, for one.

Then again, perhaps that's the intent.

107
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:53pm

96:
"I’m not basing my opinion of Manning’s character on his commercials, my point is that he’s entertaining while Brady makes no attempt to be."

#103:
"I don’t think I’ve contradicted myself. I do base my perception that he’s entertaining because he does commercials which…entertain me.
Uh... OK.

108
by AndyE (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:56pm

102: as a patsfan, I am hoping for a Jax win next week, and for Green Bay to take the NFC, then lose to the Pats. Why? Because a perfect season which included beating the #2-#8 teams would be so much sweeter.

109
by nobody (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:08pm

re. 73 - you're right, going undefeated with a backup QB is far more impressive.

110
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:10pm

re: 107
It was a bit of a poke in the eye.

111
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:19pm

I am a Pats fan, and I really couldn't care less that the Pats are hated. It is a direct function of the amount of success they have had, and I'm fine with the hate if that is a by-product of the privilege of being a fan of this particular team at this point in time.

As far as the Pats getting all of the calls, people are going to believe what they are going to believe, and while I could go through a laundry list of bad calls that I feel have gone against the Pats this year (including a boatload in the biggest game they played this year in Indy) that's not going to change anyone's mind.

However, I do have a few questions for those who think that the NFL and the refs actually, consciously, make calls in favor of the Pats:

1. Wouldn't this be like the biggest freaking story in the history of sports if it were revealed that a league actually wanted 1 team to win over another, and in order to accomplish that instructed their refs to call games intentionally in that team's favor? And wouldn't this conspiracy have to involve a whole lot of people given how many NFL officials there are? And don't you think that by now one of them would have said something? This would pretty much destroy the NFL completely if true.

2. Do you think that the other NFL owners who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their franchises would actually let this happen?

3. If you actually believe this to be true, why do you pay any attention to the NFL (unless you enjoy it on the same level that you enjoy WWF wrestling)?

Hate on the Pats all you want, nothing I or any other Pats fan can say will change that. But, the idea that the league wants the Pats to win and therefore they get all the calls intentionally simply doesn't hold water if you think about it critically for more than 2 seconds.

112
by Ceiling Fan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:22pm

ESPN makes me hate all sports. They have all day to cover sports, and they're still so incredibly shallow. There are so few thoughtful people spread amongst the Baylesses, Smiths, and Scotts. They just take all the fun out of it. It's all poorly formed opinions and hype, like their ombudsman pointed out, and I agree with Pat that it makes you wonder about the future of professional sports. ESPN and so many other Pats fans are more responsible for the anti-Patriots attitudes than the Patriots themselves.

That said, there's a lot more to the likeability of Peyton Manning and the Colts versus Brady and the Pats than commercials, in my opinion. I think Peyton is much more genuine in interviews, and his football camp is really nice, I hear. His wife seems intelligent and elegant while Brady couples with bimbos like a playboy. Then there are Wilfork and Harrison, although they can't compare to the cast of thugs assembled in Jacksonville and Tennessee. A lot more video interviews are available on the internet outside of the immediate post-game talk, and I think you can really tell a lot about people by seeking them out and watching them.

The Patriots are still a great team, and 16-0 should be savored. I just think it's not that hard to see why the Patriots are not universally appreciated. I'm sure some people just hate them because they win, but I really hope they're not many.

113
by Staubach12 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:40pm

The visceral hate of the Pats is a 2007 phenomenon. I rooted for the pats in all of their Superbowl appearances. My in-laws are from Boston, and I was happy for them that their teams have had success in recent years (my father-in-law died in 2005 after a long bout with several ailments, and I cannot explain the joy he felt as he was very ill to have seen the Sox win a World Series in his lifetime).
This year, I cannot stand the Pats because of Spygate and because of how they ran the score up on several teams. I even felt sorry for the Redskins.
To some extent this is me hating success, and--as a Cowboy's fan--that's something I find natural for fans of less successful teams to feel. It makes sense to hate the best team in the league.
However, there is more to the anti-Pats feeling than just hating success. My wife is a classic example. She was a lifelong Pats fan, and She has disowned them this year because of their lack of class.

114
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:45pm

A Cowboys fan complaining about scores being run up and lack of class.

Too funny.

And feeling sorry for Gibbs and the Redskins -- even funnier. Gibbs didn't seem to mind running up the score on many occasions, including a game against Belichick's Browns.

Yet another case of Patriots Derangement Syndrome -- another hater (which on its own is perfectly fine, mind you) who is too intellectually dishonest to just admit the hate, but has to manufacture "reasons" and/or hold the Patriots to standards they they've never held any other team to.

115
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:55pm

115:

What are you talking about? The Cowboys never ran up the score.

Sincerely,

Thurman Thomas

116
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 10:58pm

Chris,

It's true that I never played football as a kid, outside of backyard pickup games. At 5'10", 140 lbs, playing it formally was never really an option. I'm a lifelong fan, but be honest...how is a fan who got into the game watching it on Sundays with his dad while doing construction projects around the house supposed to know what a 9-route is? If you polled the American population--even if you limited your poll to people that call themselves football fans--I bet less than 5% would be able to say what a 9-route is. Does that mean that my opinions, thoughts, and comments count for less? Yes, if I'm commenting on the merits of a 9-rout versus a 5 route. I was not. Just because I never played organized football doesn't mean that I have no right to be fan or to take part in a disucssion that is not predicated on knowing detailed football terminology, nor does it mean that your opinions carry any more weight than mine given the topic at hand. Actually, I was for the most part agreeing with many of your statements and found them insightful, and it's too bad you couldn't have responded to my request for knowlege that you obviously had as a more experienced person on the particular issue rather than berating me for my ingnorance and acting self-entitled and superior based on something you were exposed to in your past and I was not.

And I commented on Jay Campbell specifically because I didn't know a lot about the NFC East or the Skins...which is why I made the request for a person who knows more about the subject to add their thoughts. I had two data points, having watched two of the three games in question, and a theory that fit the data I had, and I was asking for a person who had the missing data to either validate or repudiate my theory. You did so, but in somewhat a confrontational manner--i.e. How Dare I put Forward a Theory on the NFC East when I don't Watch their Games!!! I live in California, and it's all I can do to catch the games of my hometown Patriots!

117
by Josh (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:10pm

I'm no fan of Brady or the Pats, and hate to contribute to an irrational Brady-Manning commercial debate, but I will anyway. I think the commercial linked in my name with Brady is as funny as any Manning commercial.

118
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:11pm

It sounds like a lot of Pats hate is actually hatred of THE MEDIA'S COVERAGE OF THE PATS, not the Pats themselves.

Pats coverage being crammed down our throat--media's fault.

East coast bias--media's fault.

Portrayal of Brady as arrogant and obnoxious--media's fault? Seriously, where do you get this. He's always soft spoken, polite, and pleasant in all the interviews that I've seen. He has a sense of humor. He doesn't do as many commercials as Manning does, but he's done a few, and they're funny (remember the "layers of protection" ads?) And why does not doing commercials make someone arrogant. I haven't seen Jake Plummer do a single commercial--that arrogant SOB! And that Jake Delhomme guy...no commercials! What a jerk!

Belichick has no personality--media's fault! How much personality do you want a coach to have? How much personality does Tom Coughlin have? Dick Jauron? Jack Del Rio? Are there any other coaches out there that do special sit-downs with the media where they break down plays and point out the finer points of football strategy once a week? There may be, but I don't see it. Are there any other coaches that will give as detailed answers to questions about the difference between two schemes, or the historical significance of some football event? I don't know of many. Sure, if you ask him about something stupid he won't answer. If you try to make him give the other team bulletin board material, he's smart enough not to answer. But how does this make him unpersonable? Or at least any more so than almost every other NFL coach? Mainly it's because the mainstream media hates him becasue he's better than most at denying them distracting fluff stories.

The whole "we're a team, we're so humble, we're specialier than other teams" angle--media's fault. (95% of those things the Pats have never said or claimed, any more than all NFL franchises play lip service too. You won't find a single coach that says "Yeah, it's all about individual achievements. Team players mean nothing". Nearly every NFL player, when asked, would say he wants to win more than to get individual records. It's just that the media, searching for a story, has made up this ridiculous concept of a "Patriot Way" and has been cramming it down our throat since 2001. As another commenter mentioned, the Pats have never claimed they don't trash talk--just that they don't do so BEFORE a game, which they don't).

119
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:18pm

Link in my name is that jerk Tom Brady showing off how smart he is. Boy, what a selfish guy!

120
by Robert (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:18pm

What Mike described about the difference between NBA refs and NFL refs is part of what I like about the NFL and hate about the NBA. A call should be the same at any point in the game, no matter the situation, and officials should always strive to be as close to the letter as they can be.

It's ridiculously unfair for a team to not be able to interfere in the first quarter if their oponents can interfere in the fourth. If a call decides the game it decides the game. That's the fault of the player, not the ref (assuming it's the correct call). A no call is the fault of the ref's.

121
by Robert (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:19pm

And as for Mikes question of "wouldn't that be better in the NFL?"

No. No it wouldn't be.

122
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:22pm

Here's another one of those classless Patriots who never does anything good.

123
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:24pm

dum de dum dum

124
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:25pm

One other thing, I don't really get the Brady hate, to be honest. I mean, I understand hating Tom Brady the player, as a fan of another team, because he's good. That is the reason I hate Peyton. But if that is the case, why not just admit that?

But the other stuff, I just don't get. In interviews he's humble and he's always giving credit to his teammates and coaches and, most of all, opponents. He's never blamed a loss on anyone else, or reverted to any excuse other than the fact that the team didn't play well enough. He has been known to trash talk in games, but he's hardly unique there. He's the hardest worker on the team even though he's also the best player on the team, and he's not someone who ever had anything handed to him coming into the league.

As far as the commercials go, Brady picks and choses and could do many more than he does. The last national commercial he did he would only do it if they agreed to have his o-linemen in it as well. Obviously I'm biased but I am surprised that people actually LIKE Manning because of his commercials. Personally the guy seems ridiculously over exposed if you ask me, but whatever.

He's also actively involved in many charities, recently took a trip to Africa (which he refused to have publicized), etc.

I'm not saying any of this stuff makes him a saint or unique or anything. But the reasons people are giving in this thread as to why they hate the guy just don't seem to make much sense to me. To be honest with you reading this thread it sounds like people hate the guy because he's good looking and has dated some pretty hot women (who have been characterized as bimbos in this thread. Not sure about Giselle but Bridget Moynahan from what I have seen and read of her does not seem like a bimbo). That just seems stupid to me.

Not that I actually expect people to love Tom Brady if you are a fan of the Colts or Jets or whatever, but on the list of things that one would hate about the Pats, it just seems like Brady would be pretty far down the list.

125
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:29pm
126
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:29pm

MJK,

Excellent points about Belichick and his personality. I couldn't agree more.

The guy is close friends with Bon Jovi and he even called into the Howard Stern Show the morning after the Patriots won their 3rd SB. Who does that?

Clearly he's an unlikeable guy with no personality, right?

And the whole team-first mentality stuck when the Patriots decided to become the first to be introduced as a team in SBXXXVI. When they were the Little Engine That Could back then, this act was cheered by most. Now that they're the Big Bad Patriots, an act like that would seem contrived and probably jeered by the masses.

By the way, have you noticed that the Pats are the only team whose Captains don't wear the "C" on their jerseys? This team has stuck to their operating procedures from when they were the underdogs, only now they are despised.

You can never win. Might as well enjoy the ride while it lasts - another 8-10 years I'm guessing.

127
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:35pm

Here's another one of those jerks!

128
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:37pm

OK, I'm done now.

Speaking of classless teams that it's fun to hate, I'm off to go root against the Titans! Come on Jim Sorgi!

129
by Mr Nike Top (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:52pm

Like one of the previous posters I am from the UK and started supporting New England in the 1980s.

I can understand why fans of other teams hate the Patriots - I felt the same way about Bill Walsh's 49ers mainly because of the sycophantic hagiography which passed for analysis of their play rather than anything their players did. I would point out that it is better to be hated by other fans than pitied as we were in the early 1990s.

In the UK it is difficult to find well informed commentary on the NFL and I am grateful to all those who contribute to this site for helping to fill the void.
Given my ignorance of typical NFL fan culture I wonder if someone might give me an insight into the following -

Spygate - How many expected points per game would a team expect to benefit by doing what Belichick did?

Running up the score - What is actually wrong with this in a professional league? In football (soccer) it is generally expected that teams score as many as they can and if their opponents are humiliated then that is their problem. Shouldn't professionals in any sport be expected to prevent their opponents giving them a hiding?

'72 Dolphins - Why would they care about other teams emulating them? Their record can only ever be equalled because, after all, you can only beat the teams on your schedule. They will always have the distinction of being the first team ever to do it.

I apologize in advance if I have wasted anyone's time in posting silly questions in a long winded fashion and thank in advance anyone who cares to reply.

130
by AndyE (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:53pm

Kudos to Aaron and crew for putting up this thread separately from the rest of the Audibles for the haters to spew bile in so that fans of other teams aren't compelled to come watch it.

131
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:53pm

Only Boston fans would argue with other people about their reasons for disliking a team.

If you hated the Steelers when they were good, their fans didn't bother to argue with you. Or the Cowboys or Yankees or Niners. You didn't like them? Whatever.

But Boston fans -- it's not enough for them that the Sox or Pats win. No, Bill Simmons and company aren't happy unless you worship with them. You must understand that their prior suffering was unique. You have to agree with them when they tell you that the Pats' coaches are the smartest. And their players are the most team-oriented. Ever. And hard working.

And if you find the Boston media (including ESPN) and its love fest to be irritating, or you find Belichick to be a low rent scumball, or you tire of reading that Tom Brady is god (only more perfect), you are simply wrong! You must be forced to see the truth as Boston fans see it.

Boston fans will tell that you are wrong, if you dislike their team! They get offended! It's not enough that they enjoy victories. They get their feelings hurt, if you won't worship with them at their altar.

132
by Ceiling Fan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:56pm

119:

I kinda like Belichik, and his frustrating the media is the biggest reason why.

133
by perplexed (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:56pm

It is a pretty much undisputed fact that the Patriots are loathed by many throughout the country. The conversation has become are they the most loathed team ever in sports? Whether you believe the hatred is justified or not, there is no doubt they have drawn the passionate ire of many football fans.

The one argument I hear, and this is another of the reasons that the Patriots are so loathed, is that there is something fundamentally wrong with every other football fan in the world except Patriot fans. They are whiners. They hate the front runner. They hate them because they are so good.... etc etc

What I don't see is any Patriot fans stopping a second and actually giving a moments thought that maybe all the other football fans are not despicable, irrational people. Maybe, just maybe, these football fans dislike the Patriots because of the actions of the Patriots, not because they hate all that is good and holy in this world.

For many, cheating is despicable behavior. Defending cheating because 'everybody does it' when everyone clearly does not is even worse. For many, poor sportsmanship is despicable behavior. Defending poor sportsmanship because it helps you win is even worse.
For many, victory should be accompanied by class, grace and joy. When victors show mean-spirited bitterness and a sense of entitlement they inspire people to hate them. When a team shows that cheating, poor sportsmanship and mean-spiritedness win championships, they disappoint those that want to see sports bring out the best in us, not the worst.

134
by Jon (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:58pm

Manning playing better I think had a lot to do with simplifying the gameplan. For all the criticism he gets, he plays in a very complex offense that calls for a lot of low-percentage throws. I was completely baffled as to why the team had abandoned play-action in the past month when it works so well for them. Unsurprisingly, we had a lot of success with PA last night, as the Giants have had all year.

135
by perplexed (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:59pm

By the way. Anyone who dumps his girlfriend when he finds out she's pregnant is a classless asshole. That alone puts Brady right under Vick for biggest piece of shit off the field.

136
by deltadave (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:01am

Re: 110: Backup QB Earl Morrall for '72 Dolphins in SB VII was a winner with the Colts in SB V, relieving Unitas in the 2nd quarter. He had played in all 14 Colt games, threw 21% of the passes that year, was a 2 time Pro-Bowler. Not quite the same as Matt Cassell.

137
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:05am

Boston fans don't get their feelings hurt if you won't worship with them at their altar. But when fans of other teams discredit the Patriots accomplishments with reasons ranging from "their coach is arrogant" to "Brady isn't as funny as Peyton Manning in commercials," I mean, you've GOT TO be kidding me.

138
by Kurt (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:08am

8 - I thought it was really foolish for both teams to play this game hard, but they put on a great show for us all, especially thanks to the simulti-cast.

I can't really say whether it was foolish or not, but I'm glad the Giants played to win. I would rather have won last night's game than the Tampa game next week.

139
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:10am

132-

"If you hated the Steelers when they were good, their fans didn’t bother to argue with you."

Maybe that's because the internet didn't tie the world together back in the early to mid 70's. There were no blogs, no chat rooms, no forum for finding out the opinions of fans who cared enough to "log on." Hell, there wasn't even a 24/7 sports channel to jam their accomplishments down your throats back then.

It was a different era, and the 2001-2007 Pats are the first dynasty to thrive during the internet era.

140
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:15am

#136

By the way. Anyone who dumps his girlfriend when he finds out she’s pregnant is a classless asshole.
Of course, that's not at all what happened between Brady and Moynahan. But tell me, what do you think of a silver-spoon football brat who as a projected first draft pick QB in college puts his naked ass on a female trainer's face for kicks, just to humiliate her, and then when she goes public with it apparently tries to hamper her career by pulling all his insider levers? Oh, he's in really funny commercials, too.

Let's be serious. There is far more evidence of Manning acting like a prick (admittedly, as a college kid, but still) than Brady.

141
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:16am

Perplexed:

"For many, victory should be accompanied by class, grace and joy. When victors show mean-spirited bitterness and a sense of entitlement they inspire people to hate them. When a team shows that cheating, poor sportsmanship and mean-spiritedness win championships, they disappoint those that want to see sports bring out the best in us, not the worst."

You watched one too many After School Specials growing up, no?

As one of the writers mentioned above, the Patriots are like Tiger Woods - deliberate, robotic, etc. When does Tiger Woods show "joy," besides after finally achieving his goals? Yet people tend to love Tiger and hate the Pats.

As for your comment about Brady and his kid - how do you know what happened? Are you a friend or family member of the involved parties? Please save your moral indignation for another forum.

Thank you.

142
by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:17am

re: 136

Now you're -really- reaching for things to hate, given Brady dumped her about two months before they discovered she was pregnant. (Break up in December 2006, pregnancy announced Feb 2007, when she was three months pregnant.)

In other words, go ahead and hate, just don't make up stuff to justify the hate.

143
by Butchie From Beyond The Grave (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:21am

By the way. Anyone who dumps his girlfriend when he finds out she’s pregnant is a classless asshole. That alone puts Brady right under Vick for biggest piece of shit off the field.

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant now. He dumped her and then she came back to him with the pregnancy news.

Lots of reasons to hate on Brady, but that ain't one.

144
by Robert (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:44am

The main difference between hating the Spurs and the Patriots is the fans. In all my internet communities, the Patriots fans are an insufferable, obnoxious mass. I don't even know any Spurs fans.

I wouldn't hate the Patriots if not for their fans (and I don't really hate them that much, anyway), but that's the reason. It's also the reason I hate the Yankees and why everyone hates me as a Cowboys fan.

145
by pete (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:45am

Very interestng article on the Giants-Patriots game, but there is one point I'd take issue with:

"Aaron Schatz: We appreciate it, but I don’t know if the rest of the country will. The obnoxious New England fans get noticed, but the majority of New England fans understand just how lucky we are. There has never been a run like this by any city in America. We have the World Series, the perfect NFL (regular) season, the 24-3 Celtics. The only thing like Brady and Big Papi was Bradshaw and Pops, and Pittsburgh didn’t have a third team to enjoy when they ran the sports world in the late 70’s".

I'll submit for examination the city of Philadelphia circa late 70's - early 80's.
Sixers - Finals appearances in 79-80, 81-82, and a championship in 82-83.
Eagles - Super Bowl appearance in 1981 vs. Raiders.
Flyers - One of the more dominant teams of the time with a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1980 vs. Islanders.
Phillies - World Series Champs in 1980, with an additional appearance in 1983.

Meanwhile, the Celtics despite their admirable start, haven't even clinched a playoff spot yet (its not even january yet, for goodness sake!). The Sox do have their World Series. The undefeated season notwithstanding, the Patriots are not even defending AFC champions. I would mention now the Bruins, but there's no sense in being harsh. The region's had a good run of it lately, but a little historical perspective may be in order. Of course, there's always the argument that New England isn't a city, but that would be nitpicking...

146
by nobody (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:47am

re. 137. Thanks for the history lesson but I knew who Earl Morrall was before this thread started. Unlike you.

Morrall was signed off the waiver wire for $100 by Shula, the offseason before the perfect season. That's how much the rest of the league thought of him at that point.

Obviously he played extremely well. Still doesn't negate the point that Miami did it with a waiver wire QB, and New England would have no chance of doing the same.

147
by Ceiling Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:50am

141:
Silver spoon? Are you seriously trying to imply that Peyton hasn't earned his success? Or is it just original sin that he was born with a successful father?

148
by Bobby Conners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:50am

why are all you guys arguring all the time? Isn't this supposed to be a fun place to tslk bout football? I think the Rams suck real bad. They're coach should get fired tomorrow.

149
by Bobby Conners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:52am

The Patriots can lick my jewels why they are at it.

150
by Roxy Jezel (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:53am

I want to make a baby with Tom Brady.

151
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:01am

146 - here's some historical perspective for you:

Patriots - SB wins in 2001, 2003, 2004. AFC Divisional round loss in 2005 and AFCCG loss in 2006. This season is TBD.

Red Sox - WS wins in 2004 and 2007. Lost ALCS in 2003. Lost in WC round in 2005.

Celtics - lost in Eastern Conf finals in 2001 and lost in Eastern Conf semis in 2002.

Bruins - nobody cares.

I would say this is a pretty decent run - one that would make just about any other city envious.

No, New England is not a city, but we're arguing semantics here.

152
by Bobby Cbnners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:02am

Just shut up already, people. SO th e Patriots went undefeated. Big whoop. I went undefeated four seasons in a row in Madden 07 with the Bills. 4 years, people. Do you understand this???

153
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:15am

Silver spoon? Are you seriously trying to imply that Peyton hasn’t earned his success? Or is it just original sin that he was born with a successful father?
Of course not, but in college, at the time those events happened, he was clearly a silver spoon brat from a football insider family, who acted like an arrogant dick out of a sense of entitlement. I am not making a big deal out of this - everyone is allowed to make mistakes in college, and top athletes are more susceptible than most to acting up. I am just pointing out how hypocritical it is for people to make stuff up about Brady, or simply argue that he seems arrogant based on commercials and such crap, when there is far more evidence of Manning acting like a prick. (And I am not even going into the absurdity of listing Brady as "right under Vick for biggest piece of shit off the field" when there are plenty of players in many teams with significant criminal precedents, including for violent crimes. People can look at a count of players on every team that have been subject to arrest/judicial proceedings in the link under my name - there are only 5 teams with clean rap sheets: Dallas, the Giants, Philly, Detroit and the Pats.)

154
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:18am

OK, trying the link again.

155
by Robert (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:18am

Re. 22:

It really is going to depend on your sports circles. I am in groups and message boards where the Patriots fans are more obnoxious than most other teams. That is why they are hated.

And as to the country hating the northeast, they do.

156
by mlc0808 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:40am

Lots Going On In This Thread:

'Most people who hate the Pats hate them because they have been incredibly successful over the past 6 years.' I believe that.

'Patriots fans are obnoxious' . . . I guess so. I know lots of other fanbases that are obnoxious too, though: Cowboys, Raiders, Steelers, and many, many college football fans (and I love the college game).

I think a lot of what people find 'obnoxious' comes from regional differences -- I have lived all over the country though my extended family is from the northeast. Guess what? Everyone thinks their part of the country is 'the best', has 'the friendliest people', 'good values' and that other places have 'terrible drivers'. Interestingly I realized while writing this that my least favorite fans are those of the Steelers, Buckeyes and WVU Mountaineers . . . all conveniently co-located in the same geographic region. Maybe some cross-regional nuances in behavior do rub people the wrong way. I know for a fact the 'blue-blood' stereotype of New England is laughably innaccurate. Most of New England is blue-collar through and through. We aren't all Kennedy's; not by a long shot.

I have a theory however, that if you took the most obnoxious Pat fan in the stands and looked in his closet at home you would find a Rams jersey from a few years back, some Cowboy's jerseys from the 90's and some Niners gear from the 80's and maybe even a Steelers or Packers jersey from even further back.

Bandwagoners are the most obnoxious fans of all: they bask in the reflected glory of 'their' momentarily adopted team(s) -- usually because they are trying to use that reflected glory to fill in some other hole in their life -- and they never do so quietly. The internet makes them feel even more a part of an imaginary 'us' as well as adding another level of anonymity they can use to be more provocative without facing any real consequences.

Having played and coached football for many years I have ultimately come to look at bad calls by the ref they way I look at injuries: We hate them, they can cost you the game or the season, some teams get more than others, we do our best to limit them, but they will always, always, always be part of the game and ultimately you just have to live with them.

The rules are the rules. In my opinion the 'basketball' style of officiating has hurt that game and the NBA's overall product. I'm not convinced that the 'flexible' attitude towards the rules among their officials is unrelated in some way to the gambling issue. I mean if some rules aren't always rules then which other rules aren't really rules at all?

A no call is a bad call. A make-up call is a bad call. Call it the way it's written in the book. If the book needs to be changed those avenues exist as well.

I don't understand why people think Brady is arrogant. I really don't. I can't recall him saying more than a couple sentences outside of the 'team spirit' script that every teams uses. He's talented, quiet and -- apparently from the pictures of his girlfriends -- has better things to do with his spare time than we all do!

157
by chris clark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:43am

I'm a Broncos fan living in the Boston suburbs. The Pats fans I've met have not been obnoxious and I don't hate them.
Of course, perhaps that is because although I'm not now a Pats fan, I have been in the past. I stopped being a Pats fan after they let Bledsoe go--talk about misplaced loyalty on my part. Moreover, most Pats (and RedSox) fans *have* earned their rewards, having steadfastly cheered some teams that let them down or suffered particularly bad breaks.

158
by Mack (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:46am

"perplexed" sounds exactly like "morganja"

Did morganja get banned?

159
by Kevin (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:03am

132: Ding, ding. Combine the arrogance and obnoxious of your regular Boston sports fan with the ridiculous amount of bandwagoners which comes with any championship team, and you have a fan base which is so overbearingly annoying, you can't help but want to punch Tom Brady in the face in retribution.

I think many of the posts by Pats fans here specifically illustrate this point -the smug is overwhelming for certain persons who don't need to be named. When you include the absolutely ridiculous non-stop ESPN coverage of all things New England (here's looking at you, 'College Football Live Special' which had Lou Holtz and Mark May spend 10 minutes talking about the Patriots!) and the backlash makes perfect sense to me.

137: More like the 1972 Trent Dilfer, then, no?

160
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:21am

I don't understand all the ripping of Bryant Gumbel. Last night was the first time I'd heard him, and I thought he was pretty good.

161
by chris clark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:22am

Personally, even though not being a Pats fan, I like[d] the way the media hyped the Pats chances at a perfect year. I think the fact that the Pats were already a proven team coming into this year made the magnitude of the hype reasonable. I think there would have been similar hype if the Colts, Bears, Steelers, or even Broncos had gotten a significant undefeated streak going. In fact, as a Broncos fan in '98, I recall a similar (although somewhat more subdued) hype going for them that year.

Moverover, I think the hype helped motivate both teams to bring their "A" game to the field and give us a very enjoyable and well contested football game.

162
by Bobby Cbnners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:27am

cYou people know Patriots are missing something. They need a better RB. Laurence Maroney is definitely not the next Barrel Sanders. Once they sure up the RB position, the Patriots will really be a force to be reckoned with. As it stands now, the Colts are still the best team, ya heard.

163
by Arson55 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:32am

I've hated the Patriots since watching a play-off game against the Colts after my Cowboys missed the playoffs again, and I noticed something, 'Wait, the first thing they do on virtually every pass play is hug Freeney's arm. Shouldn't that be a hold at some point in this game?' But it never was, and the Patriots won. I decided I didn't like them then.

I hate the Miami Heat because of crappy officiating too (considering I'm a Mavs fan you know why that was). I hate the Spurs because Duncan whines to the officials after every play...even if he gets the call.

Oddly enough I like the Red Sox...but a lot of that is because of coming back to win that one series against the Yankees. Still, I have remained loyal (as I can be to a baseball team...it just isn't that interesting a sport) since.

164
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:33am

Kevin,

If I'm one of those people with overwhelming smug, please name me. I like to think of myself as a fairly even-handed, fair-minded, sensible person (as I suspect we all do, else we are a troll, intentionally being obnoxious for the sake of being so), but if I'm being obnoxious unknowingly, please let me know.

I'm aware of the level of obnoxicity on FoxSports, CBS Sportsline, and AOL messageboards. But here on FO, would people honestly characterize the Pats fans as obnoxious? At least, the majority of us? (I'm aware that there are one or two outspoken Pats fans, who I will not name, that really rub certain others the wrong way).

It seems that of the regular posters here, a fair number (six to twelve or so) are Pats fans, and for the most part I think many of those six-to-twelve tend to post some of the more insightful and non-obnoxious messages.

So...ignoring what you see in the national media, and ignoring the barely coherent babblings that lead to the DVOA complaint template...are the Pats fans you interact with here on FO obnoxious?

165
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:37am

I too didn't understand the moaning about Gumbel. He seemed pretty good. Is it his brother that everyone doesn't like? Or did he just have a good game (announcing-wise)?

166
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:43am

Wait, the first thing they do on virtually every pass play is hug Freeney’s arm. Shouldn’t that be a hold at some point in this game?’

Thing is, you could insert just about any team into the "they" there (at least any team that has success against the Colts), or just about any name of a good pass rusher into the spot where it says "Freeney", and that would be a true statement. I've started watching line play closer and closer in the past couple of years, and have concluded that the statement "there really is holding on pretty much every play" is not an exxageration.

It's frustrating, because when they tightened up the DPI rules, the only thing that could have balanced the game would have been to tighten up enforcement of offensive holding as well. But no--the league wanted more offense. So there is holding on pretty much every play and large numbers of sacks pretty much only occur against bad QB's. Or at least that's my sense.

So of course the Pats held Freeney a little on every play. The Colts also held Seymour or Vrabel or Green (or all of the above) on every play. My wife rolls her eyes whenever I'm watching a game for which I'm a neutral observer (say, Seahawks-Lions) and I start yelling out "HOLDING, HOLDING! HOW CAN THEY NOT CALL THAT" on practically every play. (Strangeley enough, I tend to not notice it when the Pats hold, but I think that's just my blue-and-silver tinted glasses...) :-)

167
by Kevin (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:48am

MJK,

There's a lot of Pats fans who do offer a lot of interesting commentary, and you are one of them.

What I'm referring to are the people who shove the Patriots' greatness in our - meaning non-Patriot fan - faces. It's always "You are all inferior humans for not rooting for the greatest team evahhhh!" with them. In this thread, the one that comes to mind is the "I'm mocking your stupid reasons for hating our team because you're stupid" post.

Look, I'm a Yankees fan, and I've never, ever said 'count the rings' or chanted '1918' or any of that garbage. That's just being a massive tool.

Obviously, here, there's not anyone like your generic AOL commenter ("PATRIOTZ RULZ <3 TOM + PEYTON SUXORZ") and those that are obnoxious have more intelligence and humor about it.

Just my thoughts after getting a rise from a couple of comments and thinking about why it is the Pats are so face-punchable.

168
by Staubach12 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:49am

#165--I don't think most of the Pats fans here are obnoxious at all. Certainly, you are not obnoxious. There are only 2-3 obnoxious Pats fans here.

169
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:56am

166 - Gumbel -

People are complaining about Gumbel because people complain about anything and everything. Makes them feel better about themselves.

Gumbel 2 Gumbel all the way!

170
by Staubach12 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:01am

But it does suck that I can't even escape obnoxious Pats fans here...

171
by Bobby Cbnners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:07am

re164 Stop bitching about everything. I just had a long night. I had to go shopping after watching the Bills game and then I had to make love to my wife. This was not a fun day at all and then I come here to talk football and I see you guys bitching about every which thing.

172
by Bobby Cbnners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:09am

I am also Bill Conners. I post as Bull Conners on the Browns board.

173
by Bobby obnners (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:11am

Sorry meant to write BIll Conners. Too drunk from beer and love making to post good tonite

174
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:14am

168: Eh, I think some of it may be perception; I, for instance, think that we, as fans of good football, should appreciate a lot of what the Pats do (on some level, even if people can't stand them). I don't think that's arrogance, because I think the same about the Colts (and to a lesser extent, Eagles and Stillers). I don't think we'll realize how many quality rivalries (and how much good football) we have right now until they're gone.

I think there are a lot of reasons to dislike the Pats - Spygate, Belichick's lack of charisma, questionable conduct by Harrison/Wilfork, for example. That said, like "running up the score" gate, I think anyone making broad criticisms of the Pats as classless or whatever should make sure that, in the (relatively recent) history of their franchise, their own teams don't do the same conduct. Which, in the NFL, is extremely unlikely (in my opinion); sports (and football coaches and players) are fairly conservative breeds, and when one does something, many others often follow.

(And am trying not to be in the "obnoxious" camp!)

175
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:37am

Good grief, what a boring thread. 100 posts on Pats' hate and officiating. As Parcells would say, doesn't anyone want to talk a little football?

We didn’t get a very good picture of it on TV, but can someone explain why Moss was so open on the 65 yard bomb? I mean, yes, Brady had all day, but the safety wasn’t even looking in Moss’s direction and there was no play action. Here you have the most dominant receiver in the NFL and you don’t even cover him?

Moss and Belichick explained it in their postgame news conferences. After the dropped bomb, the Pats called a play designed to go to Welker to pick up the first down. Moss said he was just supposed to run a go route as a decoy on the play.

The Giants guessed correctly and played what Belichick and Moss described as a "trap" coverage, where the safety "trapped" Brady into throwing to Welker only to see an corner peel off Moss and jump the Welker route for a potential interception.

According to Moss, "Tommy" recognized what the Giants were doing, saw that Moss was left one on one with a safety, and heaved the ball downfield. Moss was wide open because the corner covering him had dropped off to jump Welker's route. It's quite possible that the safety on that side had also bitten on Welker's route...or maybe Moss just blew by him.

BTW, I've noticed all year that Moss uses his "jogging" on decoy routes to his advantage. I think he suckers defenders and then turns on the afterburners when they relax.

176
by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:38am

Just calling it right here. My prediction is that the Pats lose to the Colts, though I wouldn't be shocked if they lost to the Jags. But I would bet on the Colts even if the spread gave the Pats 3 points. This is obviously just my opinion. But Ben Riley's comment about how the Pats were locks to win the SB seems to be one of the more ridiculous things I've heard an FO commenter say. This is a team that just gave up 36 points to the Giants wit their defensive starters in, how are they locks to win anything??? Anyway thats my prediction, I just can't see them beating the Colts. I'll come back and admit it if I'm wrong.

Those "holier than 'thou" commentas are a perfect example of why so many people hate the pas though. Who wants to hear that crap that theres no possibility anyone can beat the Pats. Combine that with the fact that ESPN is located in NE, so we hear Pats talk half the time, and people get sick of it. They got the most obnoxious fans in football (much of it may be bandwagon but at the sports bar I go to I know most people are absolutely sick of them). They have a coach who's hard to like, a QB many people hate (just like Romo or Derek Jeter, hes got that pretty-boy image that bugs people), a thug (IMO) in Harrison who gets tons of attention, and a aseeming arrogance (which may be unfair, but thats what people think) while trying to convey complete humbleness. Oh, and they cheated. And obviously the winning has to do with it bu there are lots of teams (Colts, Spurs) that aren't hated close to as much as the Pats. With all this baggage, its impossible to think they aren't absolutely hated. I'm sure people will hate them for a long time. I know I will. ;) Its gonna be fun talking to these fans when the Pats are 7-9 again. Only problem is they'll probably have moved on to some other team by then.

Anyway, congrats Pats fans. It has been a special season for you guys. Here's to a fun playoffs!

177
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:45am

BTW, I think the Tiger Woods, the consumate grinder, analogy is a good one.

There have been many tournaments where a Mickleson or Els is on fire and leading Tiger going into the back nine on Sunday. Woods looks out of it and then, from seemingly nowhere, he drains a 45 putt, gives the fist pump, and three holes later, it's all over.

That's Brady. And, it's nothing new about Brady's game, either. Recall back to the miraculous game winning drives in the 2001 season. He's just a consumate grinder.

178
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:51am

Of course the Colts can beat the Patriots. That seems self-evident. Will they beat them in Foxboro? We probably won't know that until the final minute of the game.

BTW, it was pretty obvious last night that the Pats gameplan was to stop the vaunted Giants running game and force Eli to beat them in a shootout. They held the vaunted running game to 79 yards. Eli beat them for a three quarters. But, it's a four quarter game.

By forcing the Giants into a shootout, the Pats were basically dictating that the game was played on terms favorable to the Pats and unfavorable to the Giants. The Giants would have probably prefered a 13-10 type game.

179
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:04am

You people know Patriots are missing something. They need a better RB. Laurence Maroney is definitely not the next Barrel Sanders. Once they sure up the RB position, the Patriots will really be a force to be reckoned with.

Final regular season stats:

Maroney 4.5 ypc
Morris 4.5 ypc
Faulk 4.3 ypc

The three combined for 1484 yards with the heaviest workload carried by Maroney with just 185 carries.

With Morris, Maroney, and Faulk all healthy, I think the Pats have exactly the running game they want to have. Share the carries between Morris and Maroney so neither gets run into the ground and let Faulk continue to play "Dave Meggett" on third down.

The reality is that the physical toll makes a marquee running back carrying the ball 250 times a year a mirage in most cases. You might get a year or two of that kind of workload, but mostly you just get a broken down RB.

180
by cd6 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:12am

A whole thread about Pats hating and I missed out?! Since I'm an expert on the topic, here's reasons I hate the Pats that may not have been mentioned:

-Belichick is a lousy human being. Broke up that dude's marriage, and then the whole spygate thing. Don't tell me "OMG he does charity events" like that matters, every NFL persona does charity events. Plus, he looks like a hobo. You make millions of dollars and you dress like you eat out of a dumpster. Have some self respect, you ugly miserable bastard.
-Spygate comes out and we're treated to an ESPN article featuring Aaron and Bill Simmons that goes about two paragraphs and then says "But the chargers are classless!" Nice. The comment thread gave us "what if there was a contract employee locked in a box the whole game, would that be legal?" That's just offensively stupid.
-Similarly, this article about the patriots has people bashing peyton manning's commercials. I mean, really.
-Spygate also led to a pats fan giving my all time FO quote: "I don't see how the patriots cheated. Sure they broke the rules, but..."
-Google "Tom Brady Stetson Cologne ad" and tell me it doesn't make you violently angry.
-How it pisses me off when they send out Vrabel like a tight end. He's an old, slow linebacker, you dipshits. You want to tell me the personnel geniuses at New England can't find a tight end that catches better than an old slow linebacker? And last night a touchdown pass went through his hands. Maybe you should have thrown to somebody who is actually a tight end? It pisses me off even more when teams leave Vrabel totally uncovered so he can catch a TD. See: Redskins game.

I hope the steelers beat them by 300 points in the playoffs.

181
by cd6 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:17am

If Peter King writes about how we're all lucky to live in the Patriots era and, regardless of favorite team, should just be happy for them for being so good, I will write an angry email to CNNSI.com demanding he be fired every day until either he is fired or I die.

182
by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:17am

As a Giants fan...this game was downright heartbreaking, especially for a game that was basically played for pride. I've been rooting for the Patriots to pull this off all season for a few reasons - it'd be a great accomplishment, I've always been a fan of Randy Moss, and I've had it with the '72 Dolphins. Nothing I saw said that Eli could do something like that again, and I can't help thinking it's another year of one and done for my team. This was probably the only chance for them to really do anything memorable, because a deep run is frankly out of the question.

The running-up-the-score thing is pretty much the biggest reason I can think of for people disliking this team. Neither of the Mannings really stand out as particularly interesting...but nor does Brady. Rodney Harrison has cast himself in the villain role a bit in recent years, I guess.

179 - How well was the running game stopped? Jacobs averaged around four and a half per carry - it seems the stopping of the run was done really by the Patriots' offense scoring points. Everyone's offense looks to score, so I'm not entirely sure what was done special. I really hope Quick Reads comes out soon, but can someone give us a good charting of the key DVOA scores from Saturday night?

183
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:31am

108: char·ac·ter - moral or ethical quality

I don't see what being entertaining (or not) has to do with that.

184
by MP (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:38am

In my experience, "Patriot hate" exists only on the Internet. In real life, not so much. I travel for work a great deal, and I wear my Pat Patriot hat everywhere I go, and no one has ever given me even a nasty look. I was in Pittsburgh two weeks after the Pats beat the 15-1 Steelers in the AFC title game, and everyone there just congratulated me and said what a great team the Pats were. I was in Candlestick this year for the Niners-Vikings game, openly rooting for the Niners to lose (because NE gets their draft pick) and no one was a bit upset about it. In September 2002 -- eight months after the Snow Game -- I was on the crowded BART platform outside Oakland Coliseum after a game, hemmed in by drunk Raiders fans. Some guy saw my hat and said, "Your guys got lucky." I grinned and said, "Upon further review -- the quarterback's arm was moving forward -- it is an incomplete pass!" Everyone laughed. End of story. People will anonymously rip on the Pats on the net because it lets them let off steam, but in fact, as far as I can tell from my pretty extensive experience, nobody actually hates them.

185
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:41am

- How well was the running game stopped? Jacobs averaged around four and a half per carry - it seems the stopping of the run was done really by the Patriots’ offense scoring points.

The Giants had 18 yards rushing in the first half. Despite leading 21-16 at the break, the Giants were in real trouble for the fourth quarter as they trailed in time of possession 20:00 minutes to 10:00 minutes. Their d-line only has so much gas in the tank and they were getting devastatingly bad "gas mileage" in the first half, being on the field for 20 minutes.

186
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 6:14am

"I don’t understand all the ripping of Bryant Gumbel. Last night was the first time I’d heard him, and I thought he was pretty good."

"I too didn’t understand the moaning about Gumbel. He seemed pretty good. Is it his brother that everyone doesn’t like? Or did he just have a good game (announcing-wise)?"

I have been one of the biggest critics of Gumbel, but I have to admit that he was pretty good last night from what I saw (which was a little more than half the game). However, that definitely was not representative of his work last season and earlier this season. Maybe he was more focused than usual this week, with all the hype for the game and the much larger audience. Maybe he was just mailing it in for the earlier games, many of which featured terrible matchups and were sure to be ignored by much of the country.

Those of you who saw Gumbel for the first time last night might think he's good. But that was only one game, and those who have seen Gumbel throughout the past two seasons know better. After all, does anyone think Kyle Orton is really good because he outplayed Brett Favre and Drew Brees the past two weeks? Anyone who has seen Orton for more than just the last two games knows better.

187
by perplexed (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 6:34am

Re: 143

'Now you’re -really- reaching for things to hate, given Brady dumped her about two months before they discovered she was pregnant. (Break up in December 2006, pregnancy announced Feb 2007, when she was three months pregnant.)

In other words, go ahead and hate, just don’t make up stuff to justify the hate.'

That's exactly the sort of deliberate stupidity that give Patriot fans their well-deserved reputation. Brady dumped her one month after the conception. You would have me believe that the announcement at the three month mark was the first moment they realized she was pregnant. A super-model no less.

Do you realize how stupid you sound? I'm sitting here in the middle of the night with my 7 week old son. My girlfriend and I knew at two weeks. Especially when the girlfriend is a super-model and normally weighs 102 pounds, there is no way she could not know at one month. But wait, one month is when your 'Golden Boy' dumped her.

So exactly when she would know, is exactly when Brady dumped her. I think this is pretty clear.

What is so annoying is that Patriot fans are this deliberately, or at least this functionally stupid when it comes to any criticism of their team.

Spygate cheating? 'No possible way it could have helped the Patriots' or 'There is no way they are cheating in other ways, it's physically impossible!' etc

Running up the score? 'Going for it on 4th down in the 4th quarter and spiking the ball in the face of a team you are beating 52-0 is not running up the score or poor sportsmanship. In fact, it's actually an insult to a team when you don't run up the score!'

Late hits? 'Oh, leading with the helmet consistently on every play hitting a player who is already down is not late. They just can't stop their momentum in NE like every other team seems to be able to do. It's physically impossible for them to stop.'

Consistent 'illegal contact' calls in critical 3rd and 4th down situations in close games?

etc etc etc etc

188
by perplexed (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 6:40am

Whoever noted that there are a number of players with equally bad character issues is right. I misspoke and meant to refer specifically to Quarterbacks.

Besides Vick, who is in a class(lessness) be himself, Brady tops my list of despicable quarterbacks, made much worse of course, by all the awards and commentary praising his supposed character.

If you get your girlfriend pregnant, man up and see the course with her. You don't have to marry her or spend the rest of your life together with her, but you have to stay with her through the pregnancy and birth. She's a super-model, how bad could it be?

189
by langsty (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:47am

8:

Jacksonville struggles in nickel situations, which is exactly what NE would put them in with their spread looks.

190
by old (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:07am

What the hell? Is this really a 'why don't more people like the Patriots?' thread. Egad! There are other teams in the NFL, and there are fans of the other teams in the NFL. Some of us like other teams because we are from that area or our fathers' were from that area. And because I cheer for another team I am a 'hater.' (the stupidest word to enter the sports' lexicon). Holy christ! This thread is the reason I dislike your favorite team!

191
by Dom (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:10am

Interesting seeing the Tiger Woods comparison. Personally I think the Patriots resemble Lance Armstrong, partly because they were/are somewhat taciturn, unpopular with the media and much less 'human' than their opponents but mainly because even when Lance had bad days he'd dredge something out of the depth of his body to limit his losses and eventually win.

192
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:30am

Congratulations to the Patriots, the coaching staff and the organization.

193
by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:33am

re: 188

You do realize that you're ranting about a December announcement... of a relationship that ended amicably several weeks earlier, according to Bridget Moynihan, the -ACTRESS-, not the supermodel. (She was a model, but she'd long since abandoned it to become an actress. 2006 she filmed three films). Which kind of shifts your timeline a lot more. Now we're talking about Bridget being a week or two pregnant when they broke up instead of 'Brady dumped her a month after conception.'

But hey, Patriots fans are 'deliberately stupid', eh?

You'd have to argue that Moynihan -knew- she was pregnant that early, that Tom knew when they broke up (with a -very- narrow time frame to find out, based on that announcement) and somehow did it 'amicably' despite her having a baby that Tom would DUMP her for, and that for SOME reason, Bridget announced the pregnancy -three months later- from when she knew.

Me, I tend to go with the simplest explanation (based on the timeline): Sex in November, Breakup in November, Announce Breakup in December, Finish Filming the last of her three films, Find out pregnancy somewhere between December and February, Announce Pregnancy in February.

194
by AndyE (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:45am

And the hate continues.

Look folks, as a Pats fan, I don't give a crap if you root for my team. Heck, feel free to hate my team. I'll be honest here - I hate the Raiders (for leaving LA), the Rams (for leaving LA), the Colts (because they are our rival), the Jets (see rivaldom), and I could probably go on to name a bunch of other teams.

I don't need to make up excuses to justify this. They aren't my teams. We Patriots fans just object to you trying to justify your hate with pansy reasons like, "They run up the score" and "They occasionally injure people" and "One of them is a single parent".

Grow up.

195
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:00am

hey Owslek,
I know we are gathered here to bash Pats fans but I always enjoy your long summations of the games.

196
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:07am

Can Moss be the 'comeback player of the year' if what he's coming back from is playing for the Raiders?

197
by chris clark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:26am

Back to football: So, does anyone else think that the Giants actually acquitted themselves pretty well in that game despite coming up a bit short? The game was certainly not a rout, although it wasn't quite as close at the end as the score suggests. I wish the Giants had finished their last drive a little more quickly, so that the final onside kick was not completely forgone and that the Patriots would have had to do more than take a couple of knees to finish it. But, as I know this has been discussed numerous times, a 3 point game is hardly a decisive victory (I think the "official" term here is a GUT check.)

198
by spotter (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:30am

194: Giving's Brady's pocket presence and his ability to duck under sacks w/ no possible warning, two weeks after conception sounds about right for him to realize, "uh oh, better duck.

199
by chris clark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:32am

Next question: Are the Pats running out-of-gas? The last few games the Pats have been less dominant than they were in the early season, even though they aren't losing. Even the games against the "lowly" Jets and Dolphins were closer than most expected. Is this the mark of a December swoon? Or have other teams figured out better how to address the Pats? Do we have someone who will claim that the Pats are actually resting (if not sitting) their players? What is the explanation?

200
by AndyE (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:38am

200 Chris:
I think it's a little of a lot of things. The Pats have been playing some odd schemes, and rested their tight ends for a few games. As they get closer to going undefeated, teams have played amazing against them (to answer your earlier question, the Giants played a very fine game of football. Good Eli showed up). The weather is definitely a factor, and I've gotten the feeling that when the weather gets bad, the Pats were pushing the limits to see how well they could throw in the rain - rather than downshifting, like most teams would.

I don't think the Pats are slumping much; I think that other teams are playing up to their level. I think this is going to be one amazing post season.

201
by clonmullin (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:41am

Yikes - I thought the red tops in the UK were bad but I've *never* seen bile (towards a sports team anyway) like this before.

Being in Ireland I, like the UK reader above, just cannot understand the 'running up the score' issue. It's not the Pats fault that other professional teams suck and it should be shame on the opposing teams, and not the Pats, for not living up to their professional status.

202
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:42am

It looked to me like Lorenzon clearly hit Merriweather. The personal foul was deserved, just called on the wrong number

203
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:45am

As to the eye gouge thing, it didnt look like an eye gouge to me. If Wilfork was trying to injure, it would have been a harder poke.

Now, I'm trying to do some lipreading here, so it may not be accurate, but it looked like Jacobs said something along the lines of "don't f*@king touch me" and then wilfork tried to poke him in the head. It just didn't look malicious to me.

I think if wilfork was trying to poke Jacobs in the eye, Jacobs wouldn't have an eye right now.

204
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:49am

Re: Brady, Moynahan and kid:

Nobody knows whether Brady's relationship with Moynahan ended before he found out she was pregnant, because he found out she was pregnant, or whether it ended first and he found out later. However, this is what we do know:

1. Brady is not the only player in the NFL who has fathered a child outside of wedlock.

2. By all accounts, Brady intends to be very involved in his child's life.

3. In 2007 I thought most people understood that it makes pretty much zero sense for 2 adults to force themselves to have a strained relationship "for the sake of the children". By all accounts Brady has been involved with his child from the start and intends to continue that way.

All of this is not to say that the situation between Brady and Moynahan is perfect, but labeling Brady a "piece of shit" and putting him next to Michael Vick because of this situation is precisely the kind of "hating for hating's sake" that pisses me off. I hope you have a comprehensive list of all of the NFL players who have been involved in paterinity suits, for the sake of your comprehensive "pieces of shit who I hate" list of NFL players.

205
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:53am

My thoughts on the Pats running out of steam. For the last few weeks, every game they've played has been like a playoff game, with both teams giving their best. The Pats have been able to sustain that level of play, while their opponents seem to come out flat the next week. Now that they are in the playoffs, all teams need to play at that level each week, and I haven't seen anything that proves the other teams can, while I have seen the Pats can.

206
by Walter L (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:10pm

Vindication in the NY Times for the dissing of Gumbel-

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/sports/31sandomir.html?_r=1&oref=slogi...

207
by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 12:28pm

re: 199

Now -that- sounds like Tom Brady, all right! :)

re: 200

Hard to tell, really. Some of the things that the Patriots looked flat on were the sort of thing that looked like they were -forcing- plays (the second half of the Miami game comes to mind.) Some of it was the weather (high winds for Baltimore and Jets game). And of course, playoff teams tend to play more and more vanilla-type plays and save the variations of plays for when they need it in the playoffs.

As to sitting players, I think the answer to that is pretty simple - look at the inactive list and see who're on it each week. That way we don't have to 'guess' if they are resting or not - we -know- they're out.

These guys were inactive vs the Giants: Kazcur and Neal on the right OL, TE Kyle Brady, Eckel, Willie Andrews on special teams (two of the better tacklers there).

Before that, they'd been operating with one healthy TE for the last few weeks. Otherwise, they've been relatively healthy, so I don't think resting players is part of it, unless you talk about the limiting effect of having one healthy TE.

And a commentary on Eli Manning-

I don't think I've ever seen him play a game as -efficiently- as that. Until that one mistake he made, I thought he had been playing outstandingly well, to the point I'd been wondering if he'd traded brains with Peyton. Whatever they did (and I believe I saw someone say they simplified the playbook), they should keep doing it.

208
by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:21pm

Its kind of funny how people are really looking for ways the Patriots don't win the SB. Sure its possible, but if you were in a coma for the season, then got up and were put in a room and simply watched the games without the media do you think you'd have much doubt? People are reaching (the Jags? I mean maybe the Colts but a team thats 5 games worse than the Patriots, in Foxboro after facing either the Steelers or the Steelers and Colts?) because thats what the NFL has conditioned us to do. The Dolphins can't go 0-16 and the Pats can't go 16-0 because thats not how the NFL works. And yet Miami came close and the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season.
Do you think a Bill Belichick team, led by Tom Brady at the height of his power with a bye and home field advantage are going to underachieve in crunch time? That they'll make a crucial blunder, or crack under pressure? Really?
Even the conditions won't help. The Patriots can't throw at will in terrible conditions, but they're still better than most running the ball and their defense is built for the winter.
Indy has a fast, swarming defense. That works great on carpet, but when you have bad field conditions, with snow, rain and ice, defenders are slowed more than offensive players. If you have a Patriots style defense, where you fill gaps with superior size, you're helped by the conditions. Wilfork, Seymour and Warren don't have to make many sharp cuts to block off running lanes inside. The linebackers don't have to try to slice through the gaps to make a tackle, just fill them.
I know that teams just don't slice through the post season anymore. But maybe this year they do.

209
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:42pm

I just wanted to compliment cd6 for two of the funniest back-to-back posts I've read in a long time.

210
by Dylan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 1:58pm

Looks like this thread is dying, but I wanted to throw in my two cents:

I alternate between hating the Patriots and hoping they do take it all home. I'm a Vikings fan in my 20s, so I don't remember the '85 Bears and really have no natural reason to have an opinion on the Patriots. But with that out of the way, this is the single best team I have ever seen in the NFL, whether they win it all or not. It's just cool to see history being made, and fun to watch a franchise that knows what they're doing.

But what makes them so easily hated (to me) is the reaction of their fans to the hatred. Look, guys, people don't need to have valid reasons to root or not root for a team. There's no need to call them (or their reasons) stupid. To me, when fans of a team do that it reflects badly on the team itself. Not on the quality of the team or anything like that, but on my opinion of the team.

It sure makes me hope that they lose, just a little bit, so that those fans don't get to go home happy after the game.

That's just a small minority of the fanbase -- most of them (even Simmons) don't bring out this reaction. But the ones that do sure annoy the crap out of me, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

211
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:07pm

181- Vrabel is an old, slow tight end? Geez, who plays LB/TE for your team? The guy is one of the best pass rushers,linebackers, and coaches on the field but you feel the need to insult him.

117- The passing tree is about the most basic thing you learn in the passing game. It is something you would learn on the first day of practice in a non- pop warner wing T offensive type system.

Jason Campbell does have a "big arm", but it annoys me that people equate that skill that he has with the offense that he is in. The Redskins do NOT have a downfield passing offense at all. You equated the boring Redskins offense with chucking the rock downfield, where as you said the Giants ( and Eagles) ran a bunch of short passes. There were Redskins games where Campbell had only thrown the ball past 12 yards downfield once or twice the entire game. Eli might not be Mr. Perfect, but he runs a much more complex ( and throw the ball downfield) offense.

212
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:14pm

Can somebody please explain to me how the Colts seem to lock up their star players with record-setting contracts year in and year out and never seem to pay a price, or end up in some sort of salary cap purgatory?

I guess I don't know enough about it, but from the looks of it, they may have the best cap management team out there.

213
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:16pm

Look, guys, people don’t need to have valid reasons to root or not root for a team.

Quite true. I have nothing against people hating the Patriots per se. Hating the enemy is the second most important part of sports.

There’s no need to call them (or their reasons) stupid.

When their "reasons" are lies or ridiculous hypocracy/double standards, those "reasons" are stupid and should be called out as such.

214
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:21pm

#211:

"But what makes them so easily hated (to me) is the reaction of their fans to the hatred. Look, guys, people don’t need to have valid reasons to root or not root for a team. There’s no need to call them (or their reasons) stupid. To me, when fans of a team do that it reflects badly on the team itself. Not on the quality of the team or anything like that, but on my opinion of the team."

Just to respond to this, as I (and other Pats fans) have stated, I don't really much care if people hate the Pats. I understand it completely.

However, when the discussion at hand is reasons why people hate the Patriots, and those reasons are either (a) based on asserted facts that are just not true and/or (b) ridiculous things like Manning's commercials are better than Brady's, then Pats fans are going to respond.

I really don't think this is anything that is unique to Patriot fans. Look at any thread on this website, or any thread on any message board anywhere. Fans react when teams/players they root for are criticized for reasons that they deem stupid/invlalid. That's fandom.

It seems like as Pats fans we are expected to just suck it up and take it because the team is good. I can accept taht completely if the hatred is based on things that actually happened, or just in general based on the fact that people are sick of the Pats and/or the media coverage of the team. But I don't think it is fair for us to be expected not to respond when the articulated reasons are absurd.

215
by Eric P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 2:31pm

Put me on the list of Pats fans that don't care if anyone hates the Pats for any reason or no reason. Sports are supposed to bring out irrational hatred for the opposition. It's the people who attempt to justify their hatred by pretending they have perfectly rational reasons for their hatred that are nothing but extremely distorted versions of the facts, clearly distorted to support the hatred they already have, that illicits the responses.

216
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:00pm

#203/204:
Well, as a Pats fan, the Meriweather thing on replay looks to me like just him tripping on Lorenzen's feet, who is just walking by while watching the other way. Of course, when a player falls in the midst of a trash-talking crowd by the opposing team's bench, a ref is tempted to pull a flag. However, it looked like a bad call to me, and certainly Toomer had nothing to do with it.

Also, Vince clearly stuck his finger inside Jacob's mask, and whether or not he intended to injure (which may make a difference in terms of fine/suspension), he could have (which means it should have been a penalty). That came at the trail end of a scuffle in which Bruschi (I think) was on the ground for a while with some Giants players on top of him, so who knows what Wilfork was retaliating for, if anything.

Also speaking of retaliation, on the Harrison unsportsmanlike in the 4th quarter, looking at the play in slo-mo it seems as if Rodney and #76 of the Giants were doing a dance-around with hands in each other's face right before they disappeared off the top left of the screen. I suspect they both were grabbing the face-mask, and Rodney just had the better of it. Call could have gone both ways.

Other critical penalties were all there, in my opinion - the illegal contact on Stallworth was obviously well past the 5 yards, and the PI on Moss was also blatant. I don't know what the illegal formation on the Pats was about, it could have been big but ended up not counting.

Overall, I don't think it was a badly officiated game, except for some moments of confusion (the bad announcement on the Meriweather thing, and the lack of explanation on the illegal formation).

#181:
How it pisses me off when they send out Vrabel like a tight end. He’s an old, slow linebacker, you dipshits. You want to tell me the personnel geniuses at New England can’t find a tight end that catches better than an old slow linebacker? And last night a touchdown pass went through his hands. Maybe you should have thrown to somebody who is actually a tight end? It pisses me off even more when teams leave Vrabel totally uncovered so he can catch a TD.
LOL, that would be pretty much every team that Vrabel has lined up as an endzone receiver against so far. If I am not mistaken, he had something like 7 touchdowns for 7 or 8 throws until yesterday's drop. Honestly, in a short endzone pass play, I would probably take his hands over Watson's. As for slow, he has 12.5 sacks this year - 6th in the league. Are you a Steelers fan?

217
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:29pm

#

Here’s a classic reason people hate the Patriots:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22371208/

A sportswriter on a major internet site, and he writes this:

About Brady: Unless you’re stupid enough to believe that passing stats and arm strength trump leadership and championships, you probably agree by now that he’s the best quarterback to ever play.

Wow, so anyone who disagrees with his opinion, which he backs up with nothing, is ’stupid’. I can’t imagine why people would start to dislike the Pats with this kind of stuff being written, not by fans, but by sportswriters.

:: Erithtotl — 12/30/2007 @ 4:15 pm

So... because there are stupid sports writers whom you should hate saying really, really stupid things about some team... you hate the "some team."

Yay, logic!

218
by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:33pm

I'm a Pats fan but I do agree that Manning has better morals and overall has more character than Brady because his commericals are funnier.

219
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 3:46pm

Coldbike,

Thanks for noticing. Sorry for not keeping up with my duties. I just haven't had the time to get it done. Here are a few random thoughts that weren't prepared beforehand:

* I thought Watson had a terrible game. Two early drops and some awful blocking. I was actually surprised even beforehand that he was even active for the game since he has been battling injuries. Hopefully his struggles were due to rust and health.

* I know that this is not news or anything, but NE's offense is remarkable. They were essentially dominated in the line in both running and pass blocking, yet they still put up 38 points when the skill guys didn't even play their best game.

* My biggest issue with the defense reared its ugly head again: the pass rush. NE got pressure on Manning only a hndful of times, including a huge sack. Manning was given far too much time.

* Other than the one run that Colinsworth scolded, I thought Maroney played a very good game despite the mediocre to poor numbers.

* I credit the Giants for some of the borken tackles more than I blame NE for missing tackles.

* It amazes me at just how many people in the media keep bringing up how NE, "went back to the same play" on the Moss TD. Guys, it wasn't the same play at all. Moss ran a different route, there was no playaction, the OL blocked differently and Welker ran a different route. Just because Moss got open deep in the same area of the field doesn't mean it was the same play!

* I have mixed feelings going into the playoffs. Obviously I am very confident, how can you not be when it will be mid January and NE still hasn't lost, but they certianly haven't been playing like a team that is otherworldly lately. The gap seems to be lessening.

That said, the team seems to be satisfied with the wins they have gotten lately. Earlier in the year, a game like the Jet or Giant games or the second half against Miami would have drawn the ire of the entire team. But they seem to OK with the performance lately, despite some token comments about needing to improve, blah, blah blah. I can't even imagine that the team is becoming self-satisfied so I have to think that they are either

1) acknowledging that the pressure of going 16-0 was getting to them and affecting the performance and/or

2) significantly reducing the playbooks.

I don't want to come off as arrogant, but it just seems that NE isn't anywhere near as bothered by their recent play as they historically would be. And that makes me think that they will rise back up to their earlier season levels.

220
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:03pm

219:
* Other than the one run that Colinsworth scolded, I thought Maroney played a very good game despite the mediocre to poor numbers.
I agree. The Giants DL was getting consistent penetration, especially on the right side, and that cost him on many run plays (including several for 3-4 yard losses). Overall, his game was much better than his stats.

Speaking of the Pats' OL, it looked as if on many plays, one of O'Callaghan and Hochstein, as well as Watson when he was supposed to block, were just standing there blocking no one, while someone was zipping through a hole one position over, or pushing the rest of the line back. More than fundamentals, it looked as if they just didn't click on the adjustments.

221
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:17pm

First of all, I just have to apologize to the 200 angry finger-pointing people here for being a Pats fan. I'm just so sorry. So very, very sorry. I didn't mean to cheer for my team. I won't do it again.

But I did have a 2 questions :

1. Did anyone figure out why Rodney was so angry at the end of the game?

2. Did anyone figure out why Wilfork "Three Stooged" Brandon Jacobs?

222
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:22pm

The Pets (Pretty reliably pro Pats)
Boomer 1
Boomer 2
Salisbury
Simms
Kornheiser (his ludicrous and calculated World Wrestling Federation-like rant against Belichick on MNF notwithstanding, he generally slurps the Pats)
Mooch
Jimmy Johnson

The Pros (Struggle mightily to be fair)
Peter King
Collinsworth
Steve Young
(these three guys waaay over reacted to Spygate and seemed like lost causes by mid-season, but all three have reeled in their moral outrage to provide pretty balanced coverage by the end)
Schlereth (always benefits by being paired with Hoge the Idiot who, to his credit, was hating on the Pats long before it became fashionable)
Keyshawn
Cowher
Howie Long
Bradshaw
Neon Deion (easy for him to stay objective because it's always about him anyway)

Chris Carter
Jay Glazer
Trey Wingo (Mr. "Fair Enough"...he beats that damn expression into the ground, but lives by it on-air)
Parcells (surprisingly so, though one never knows what he's feeding his media buddies behind the scenes)
Jaws (reverse of the first three; seemed to be tending toward the Dark Side as the year came to an end)

The Punks (throw up in their mouths whenever they mention the Pats)
Costas (the WORST, a heartbroken 13-year old Rams fan trapped in the body of a big-time announcer)
Clayton (grow a beard, please!)
TMQuack
Ditka (a dick, Pats or no Pats)
Hoge
Mortenson (the day after they go 16-0, he goes on radio to talk about how classless they are...classy)
Gary Meyers (BB's Inspector Javert)
Wilbon (bias against Boston is pervasive...still thinks the Celtics are playing five white guys)
The Sharpe Bros
Marshall Faulk (pre-game to the Pats-Giants he said if not for spying the Pats would be 14-1 and we wouldn't even be talking unbeaten season...keeping the Whiner seat warm on the NFL Network until little LT retires)
The Bus (I love the guy, but jeeze, Jerome, you lost playoff games to them twice...AT HOME...get over it)
Marino (but, really, who can blame him?)
Tom Jackson (if the story is true that Chris Berman tried to get BB and Tommy together to bury the hatchet and BB refused, then I'm willing to cut the guy some slack, but still...)

223
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 4:42pm

Re: #221

HGHarrison claimed the Giants WRs were deliberately going for his knees.

As for Wilfork, I think he's just a slimeball.

224
by perplexed (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:06pm

I think we pretty much established the time line in the Brady dumping his pregnant girlfriend issue. It's not a question of having a baby out of wedlock, you idiot, its a question of dumping your girlfriend when she tells you she is pregnant.

I understand that many little boys who refuse to grow up do this sort of thing. Just don't proclaim him the 'sportsman of the year' or constantly tell me about his 'great character' or what a great guy he is.

He's a slime-ball. Pure and simple.

I also wonder if he was black whether this would have been a bigger issue.

But knowing Boston fans, he could have flayed Mother Theresa live on television and they would still scream at everyone they could find that Brady was the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus included.

225
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:07pm

Man, I wish I’d written TWIQ in the Neon Deion era.

In theory that's a piece that should be *compiled* and not *written.* But I realize in today's internet age, everyone thinks they're funny and has to keep hammering us with it, even when we're not laughing. See SportsCenter on any night, where it's essentially open-mic at the Chuckle Hut.

226
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:10pm

I ahould say one more thing:

Kevin Faulk made a play that needs to be mentioned spcifically when he converted a third and long by beating the LB, grabbing a tough ball from Brady and then breaking two tackels. Without this herculian effort, NE does not get their final TD and who knows what happens from there.

I love Faulk and I think - in spite of the DVOA numbers - that he is the best receiving back in the league. Unlike most other receiving backs, Faulk actually runs routes rather than just being there for dumpoffs.

227
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:17pm

I disagree with a couple of things:
1. The tendency to believe Moss should be MVP because he is the variable this year that caused 16-0. I interpret that this means that leading his team to the AFC Championship game throwing to the likes of Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney is not MVP caliber play. His MVP would not only be deserved this year, but it could also be a makeup call from snubs of the past.

I also disagree that Brady would filet Mother Theresa. She would have clearly spoiled by now.

228
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:21pm

oswlek,
Faulk is very good at down and distance recognition, pass catching as a WR or from the backfield, and he is a phenomenal blocker in that he is very small and often sacrifices himself by getting buried by much larger blitzing linebackers.

Not bad for a guy we had written off as a backup with fumble-itis

229
by JordanT (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:32pm

Well, my hatred for the Pats extends from a single person. At the start of the 2002 season he's wearing a Tom Brady jersey despite never rooting for the Pats before. Then he has the balls to claim that he's been a Pats fan all his life (despite living in San Diego his whole life). Then the Red Sox win the World Series and all of the sudden he's wearing a Red Sox hat. Now the Pats have been good long enough that if they end up winning the Superbowl we'll have to deal with these annoying bandwagon fans for a long time.

230
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:35pm

I am telling you, we’ll make it a FO crusade to make sure Eli is not blamed for this loss. I’m not the guy’s biggest fan, but he was excellent tonight.

Comments like this puzzle me. My girlfriend, who has a general at best understanding of football, easily figured out as we watched that Eli was playing well. Any reasonable fan or writer came to the same conclusion. Why do you have to act like you're discovering some new planet? You're stating what we all saw - it was one of Eli's strongest games of the year, obviously! Geesh.

231
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:35pm

JordanT, did you at least get his Yankees and Cowboys gear out of the trash? You can sell it on eBay.

232
by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:36pm

Re Faulk:

I don't know the numbers, but doesn't it seem like he hasn't fumbled in a long long time?

233
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:38pm

Agree, Faulk had at least two major third-down catches where he made an unblocked defender miss and picked up a conversion that didn't appear to be there. An underrated part of this win, to be sure. He's become such a solid player at the tail end of his career.

One other stray comment - I loved Tanier's extended commentary on officiating. Very interesting stuff.

234
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:40pm

22: I don’t get the ‘obnoxious’ fan base thing. Every team has obnoxious fans - in all the stadia I have been in around the league, the obnoxiousness level is pretty similar - with the possible exception of Raiders fans.

Excellent, excellent point. You'll easily find drunken morons in any arena or stadiun, unfortunately. That's just the way it is, baby. If there is an amazingly respectful, calm, rational fan base that backs a team in any collegiate or professional sport, show me who it is. I'll go sit with them.

235
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:43pm

234: The Jaguars fans are nice. I met both of them a while back.

236
by Eric P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:44pm

perplexed...

The Fox boards are thataway --->

237
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:47pm

The obnoxious New England fans get noticed . . .

I blame two things for this:

1. The ever-present and very sensitive mics at Fenway.

2. A columnist over at the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader, what's his name again? He almost made *me* root against the Patriots last year, and I grew up in New England, for crying out loud! Clutch Brady, Manning choker, right. His column after the Pats beat Carolina for the second title is another good reason of why he's a symbol for the "whiny Boston fan" - rightly or wrongly.

238
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:47pm

224:

"I think we pretty much established the time line in the Brady dumping his pregnant girlfriend issue."

Actually, unless your last name is Brady or Moyhnahan, we haven't. You can assume anything you want, but it has not been "etablished" that Brady dumped her because she was pregnant.

"It’s not a question of having a baby out of wedlock, you idiot, its a question of dumping your girlfriend when she tells you she is pregnant."

Except you don't know that this happened.

"He’s a slime-ball. Pure and simple."

You could have skipped the rest and just said this.

239
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:51pm

235: I actually went to a Jacksonville home game a few years back, the Sunday nighter against the Bengals (CJ did something in the end zone, forget what). I found the obnoxious fan index to be average, no greater, no worse, for whatever a one-game sample is worth. My main problem from that night was my seat being broken before I even got to it, something I always meant to complain to management about, but didn't.

As for all this Woods/grinder stuff, yes, he's an amazing grinder when he doesn't have his A Game. But let's not turn Tiger into the little train that could. When he does have his good stuff, he blows the field away by seven shots - and that happens a lot.

240
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 5:55pm

221: He was brushing off an eyelash. You know, for good luck. Clearly this whole thing has been overblown.

241
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 6:19pm

Pierce at Slate...the perfect companion piece to this thread. (Happy New Year, Perplexed)

242
by mush (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 6:54pm

Re: 241. Pierce takes a good shot at the Colts. There really isn't a very wide gap between New England and Indy. Are we sure Simmons didn't ghost this one?

(The Patriots) are ludicrously better than 30 of the other teams in the league. We exempt here the Indianapolis Colts, than whom they are only considerably better.

243
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:55pm

Speaking of hate, I found it rather ironic that that sanctimonious prick Dungy had no problems handing a playoff spot to the Titans instead of playing the game straight.

Gee Dungy -- I guess your much-beloved "integrity of the game" isn't worth a pile of shit if maintaining said integrity goes against the interests of your team.

244
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:04pm

Speaking of hate, I found it rather ironic that that sanctimonious prick Dungy had no problems handing a playoff spot to the Titans instead of playing the game straight.
Eh, he knows what happens to Titans opponents who don't roll over for meaningless end-season games. He is still sending them thank-you notes for taking out Harrison last year.

245
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:14pm

Very early on one of you asked why the Cowboys are so hated:

It's not that hard to figure out really, because I used to be one, up until about 1995.

The hatred towards the '90s Cowboys is self-explanatory for anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the game - Jerry Jones and the way he handled firing Tom Landry, the Michael Irvin episodes.

They were hated in the '70s too. Just as they were regularly the featured team on a Fox doubleheader weekend in the '90s, they were regularly the featured team on a CBS doubleheader weekend in the '70s.

Also, admit it or not, there are a significant # of Cowboys fans that expect the rest of the nation to be awestruck by them. That's a perception that a lot of the country has not just the Cowboys and their fans, but of Texans in general.

Then there's the whole 'America's Team' thing. Tex Schramm didn't invent the moniker. It was the title for their 1978 team highlight film. The term was coined by Bob Ryan of NFL Films (not to be confused with the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan), but Schramm embraced the moniker fully and ran with it. How could anyone not expect backlash from this?

Another thing - the Cowboys marketed themselves as a wholesome organization, which turned off a lot of people who saw them as being goody-two-shoes and their disdain only intensified when Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson pulled his antics. That made Landry seem hypocritical.

One more thing, many years later the Cowboys don't seem to accept their losses to the Steelers in the Super Bowls as fair and square. Many times when it's brought you can expect to hear someone like Charlie Waters come out and whine about the Benny Barnes PI call, or poor Jackie Smith's dropped TD pass, or the official who obstructed Waters' path to Franco Harris on his TD run in SB XIII. Thankfully, you can count on people like Dwight White to come out and, IMO, tell it like it is, that basically, the Cowboys back then basically expected the rest of the league to tongue their Super Bowl rings.

Right or wrong, it seems to explain a lot of Patriots hate. There are a lot of similarities.

With that said, teams that have a successful run for a long period of time will always have sycophantic fans who will rationalize any unseemly thing about their team along with irrational detractors who hate first and then discover reasons later.

246
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:16pm

Re:Slate article
I knew it. Wilfork hit Jacobs in the eye because he was wearing Wild Hyacinth.

/Should've tickled his feet

247
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:31pm

I think we pretty much established the time line in the Brady dumping his pregnant girlfriend issue. It’s not a question of having a baby out of wedlock, you idiot, its a question of dumping your girlfriend when she tells you she is pregnant.

A more plausible scenario is that an aging B-list celebrity saw the breakup coming and decided to cash in on the Brady gravytrain.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Pumpkins. Did I forget to tell you that I stopped taking the pill?"

248
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:36pm

Faulk is very good at down and distance recognition, pass catching as a WR or from the backfield, and he is a phenomenal blocker in that he is very small and often sacrifices himself by getting buried by much larger blitzing linebackers.

That's why I laugh when fans complain that the Pats don't have a "feature back" getting 300 touches a year. Belichick clearly believes in divvying up all the various roles on a team among the full 43 man roster. Kevin Faulk is exhibit A. He is a hugely valuable player to the Pats -- extremely effective in a specialized third-down back role. In addition to blocking and receiving, he does a great job running those infuriating delayed draws out of passing formations.

249
by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:49pm

#35
"One reason why the Pats are hated is because they were such sore winners early in the season. Running fake spikes and 4th down conversions when you’re up by multiple scores is not going to make you friends."

Actually, this made me hate the Patriots less. I got tired of people whining about it, so I had a new direction to channel some of my limited hate.

250
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:04pm

RE:232
sadly, although I don't know when Faulk last lost a fumble, jogging my memory has lifted the painful memory of a tough playoff loss to Denver 2 years ago, when everyone fumbled.

I linked his ESPN career page (hopefully this is not bad etiquette)

251
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:19pm

Kyle S
The call on Barnes sucked.
But years ago I read that Bradshaw knew Dallas played man on first downs.
15 att
10 comp
150 yards
1 td
1 int
Kyle and Barnes could not stay with Swann and Stallworth.
That was the game.

The list of things I am embarressed about as a cowboy fan is very long.

252
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 11:53pm

Yes, the Barnes PI call did suck. Like I said, I was a fan @ the time.

And coldbikemessenger you may not be one of them but I still frequently hear Cowboys fans act is if no loss is ever fair and square. I used to be one of those fans.

253
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:12am

I say even with the Patriots current run and with highly increased internet saturation the all-time bandwagon team is the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

Seriously, how many of their 'fans' remember Dave Corzine? Brad Sellers? Quentin Daly? Reggie Theus when he was there? Charles Oakley before he was traded to the Knicks for Bill Cartwright?

254
by sippican (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:06am

Oh, my mistake. Sorry, my bad.
I must have saved the wrong hyperlink. I was expecting some sort of Football site. But this issue of Teen Girl, the Brady edition is compelling reading, don't get me wrong.

"Tom totally dumped Bridget when he promised to be her best friend forEVAR and he's a poopy head...

Whoah, what just happened? Did someone change teh channel on teh intertubes on me? Now there's like this fire and brimstone sermon goin' on about damnation for sins of the flesh. I had no idea premarital sex was verboten in the NFL. I thought Tammy Faye Baker was dead. Oh, I see, it bothers you that Brady's girlfriend's last name is Bundchen, and your girlfriend's last name is jpeg. My bad. You know if Brady would just do some more commercials, he'd endear himself to the...

I'm sorry, someone's at the door.

I'm back. It was Peyton Manning. He's selling Amway, encyclopedias, ringtones, fill dirt, Fuller brushes, vinyl siding and girl scout cookies door to door. I told him I wasn't interested. He offered to clean my gutters. I demurred. Then he offered me something else, for a thousand dollars, but said you guys can't watch unless you pony up a hundred. I told him I still wasn't interested. He got back in the truck with his dad, who still drives him around. Touching story, really.

Anyway, I thought there'd be football here. Did you guys watch any football over the weekend? You might have missed it, but Tom Brady threw his record breaking 50th TD to Randy Moss for his record breaking 22nd touchdown to win the team's record breaking 16th regular season game in a row, 19th if you count last year, and broke the record for points scored in a season; and their midget broke the record for receptions by a Pat in a season.

It was really cool, shame you missed it.

255
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:18am

My God the list is endless.

1. Bill Belichick...cheater, asshole, liar...his record is long and negatively noteworthy.

2. Cheap Shot artists: Harrison, Wilfork ("I'm not a dirty player"...yea right) Bruschi, Vrabel

3. Running up the score against inferior teams

4. Stat-whoring for records. Week 15 when Brady was forcing bombs to Moss...pathetic

5. Masshole fan base...heck read this post...the "application" of the term "hate" by Pats fans is exhibit A typical of the sheer cocksucker nature of this collective group. No, don't think that people don't like cheaters. No, don't think people don't like teams who run up the score. No, don't think that a rationale person can make their own informed opinion of a team and dislike it...no, call it "hate" as if it's some "irrational crazy person syndrome" because God forbid if you don't respect the sheer greatness that is the Pats than you must be a loony. Case in point...chief Masshole PatsFan even tittled it "Patriots Derangement Syndrome". Gosh...maybe there is something there...when time after time and person after person continually say the same thing over and over about the Pats fan base...nah...it's just ""Patriots Derangement Syndrome"...as if they don't know any better.

6. Media ballwashing the Pats at every turn. Christ, the Pats have been on the cover of SI THREE TIMES this season alone and the playoffs haven't even started. BSPN anyone?

7. Respect card. Yea, the most ballwashed and over hyped team in the history of the NFL doesn't get any respect. Please.

But what do I know...I'm just a "hater" or suffer from "Patriots Derangement Syndrome".

256
by Glenn (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 10:23am

#254 Payne: Perfect example of how a lot of the Pats haters are just as obnoxious as the worst Pats fans, and why I've stayed away from this site for awhile.
To those unititiated to the FO message boards, Payne's post is NOT an example of how to use the English language when conversing here.

257
by Brad Bauler (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:17pm

All this talk of Patriots weaknesses entering the playoffs misses the point. They've been unbelievably lucky with injuries in 2007. Only two key guys went down - Sammy Morris and Roosevelt Colvin. If Morris stays healthy, the Pats do not set any passing or scoring records, by the way. And probably do not go 16-0. Belichick has historically ground it out when he gets a lead as he did with Antwain Smith and Corey Dillon in the Super Bowl years. In 07 he just didn't have the big durable back to do that.

The Pats adjust their personnel and game plans for the team they are preparing for. The Pats genius in free agency and the draft is that they get versatile players that can do lots of things and play on special teams. Whoever they play they will have a better plan and a personnel scheme to pull it off. Brian Billick got fired because he has one approach to offense and defense and can't adjust to anything.

Two unrelated comments - Mangenius eh? By beating the Chiefs he fell three spots in the draft behind KC. He is an ungrateful snitch who will be on the hot seat next year big-time. The other comment is that Thomas Payne should be banned from footballoutsiders.

258
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:43pm

What an embarrassing thread. Might as well just read Fox.

259
by Herm? (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:52pm

this is me agreeing with Purds. It's I'm sure the staff is glad this has an isolated thread and isn't mixed in with the other audibles...I wouldn't be opposed to someone finding Thomas Payne's IP address and banning it from this site permanently.

260
by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 3:50pm

Make it a third post in a row. This has to be the worst thread of all time on FO. At least the "Irrational Brady-Manning" threads were laced with humor. This just reads like a junior high study hall.

261
by Shannon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:17pm

#245 Kyle S - Sure, I knew the normal reasons, but I was looking for a little more detail. It's also interesting to see how some of it can parallel what's happening now with the Patriots.

One person wrote that given the amount of coverage now, especially with internet and the large amount of media outlets, channels, etc, the Boston teams seem to be having success in this period (Bruins notwithstanding). Of course, the Yankees were doing well early on in this expanded period, but now it's definitely Boston.

Anyone in their right mind would not associate certain "fans" as typical of all fans in that area. I've read this whole thread since my initial posts, and a lot of people seem to think that the kind of fan that turns people off can be common for any consistently successful team. With that being the case, it kinda makes me see things differently towards the Pats (and other teams I don't like).

I appreciate all the posts and thoughts relating to what I had talked about prior. While this thread has it's fair share of posts that are just off the wall, there has been some good opinions and information I've picked up. I actually see FO and it's writers/readers a little differently.

Thanks for that. I was getting a little jaded.

262
by jeff (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 5:00pm

243:

Not sure why Tony Dungy was obligated to
place his key players in harms way. If the Browns have a problem about the Indy - Tenn game, they could have avoided that problem last week by not throwing 4 ints and winning the game.

263
by MarkB (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 5:04pm

On Hating The Patriots: The one thing we know is that it has nothing to do with the Patriots, past or present. As usual, it says much more about the poster than it does about the subject. Why this particularly virulent and nasty language, when you never saw it with the Steelers, or Cowboys, or Forty-Niners? Try the Internet. The Internet brings together two things - anonymity and the natural human prediliction for hatred. Read your Orwell - two minutes hate, and all. The ability of memes to spread almost instantly via the 'Net produces a positive feedback network of bile that was unheard of before now. It doesn't matter that the Patriots happen to be the focus - it could have been anyone. The pleasure so many people find in denigrating and reviling others has been quashed in our times - try dropping a casual N-bomb and you'll find out. Where can all that built up anger go? It's just "You beat our team, but we'll kick your ass" played large. All those guys who could never get the cute girl in class, much less a Bridgit Moynahan, get together with the "Go Bolts!!!" crowd in a frenzy of adolescent feelings of impotence. In another venue, the Rush Limbaugh's of the world feed these guys. It's done so much for sports talk this year....

264
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:03am

Just to close this dieing thread inexplicably focusing on commercials and pregnancies, I always thought it was kind of ironic, in retrospect, that Brady's funniest and most popular commercials were those with his OL, dealing with VISA's "layers of protection". He should have listened to his linemen!

Happy New Year, everyone.

265
by vanya (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:03pm

As this thread closes, when do we start the Bill Simmons thread? Personally I like the guy. And he does faithfully and accurately represent the opinions and attitudes of a large portion, probably a majority, of New England fans. The reasonable ones. A lot of the fan base, especially Red Sox Nation, are far worse. But I'm kind of surprised to see one, I thought fairly obscure, humor columnist seems to be responsible for so much Pats hate.

266
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:26pm

I have to contribute my worthless drivel to this stupid thread.

Back in the 80s/90s when I lived in Colorado and oregon, I was a Pats/Red Sox fan... they were second only to my Broncos & Cubbies (pre Rockies). I was heart-broken when Buckner let it thorugh his legs... I cheered for Tony Eason against the Bears.

I now don't hate the Pats/Sox... I hate their fans. To the point that I can't actually cheer for them anymore. I'm sure there are plenty of "normal" Boston fans out there, but the "Mass-holes" give you all as a group a bad name.

It may be coincident that I moved to DC just as the Boston teams got good, but I have never seen a more obnoxious group of fans, and that includes Raider fans (who I also despise, but that is natural-instinct for a Bronco fan).

The biggest thing is, Boston fans never shut up... If they win, they crow. If they lose, they whine. They justify every supposed slight, and claim any grievance (real or imagined) is motivated by "jealousy and/or haters", and/or claim that "everybody does it."

When Denver was rocking in the 1990s, I had e-mail... but I did not feel compelled to send everyone I know e-mails about how great my team is (as I have received after every Sox/Pats championship from my Bostonian friends). I did not try to justify the salary cap cheating. I have always said cut-blocking is okay, but only if its deemed legal and safe...

Perhaps the 'net makes obsessive homerism more possible now than before, but even if so, it is EXTREMELY annoying.

As someone earlier pointed out, East Coast fans in-general wrap a lot more personal self-worth into their teams. To a westerner like myself, I find it grating.

Perhaps my hatred of Boston fans is only a product of timing... If some other team were dominating since my move east, they might instead be the focus of my hatred... as is, the Boston fans get it.

That said, I think the Pats this year have been an amazing team... the best I've ever seen. So if I say that Spygate was awful, and that I find the Pats running up the score distasteful, it doesn't mean I'm jealous. It doesn't mean I think only the Pats have ever done so... It DEFINITELY does not mean I need a 5-minute diatribe from a Boston fan on why I'm a "hater"...

Basically, my request of Boston fans is to simply "shut up" sometimes... thats all.

267
by T-Dub (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:48pm

Why hate the Pats? Because if any other team had a DT blatantly try to poke out an opponent's eye, it'd be all over SportsCenter. And in the week following the game, it's like it never happened. Compare this to Haynesworth cleating Gurode last year and how everyone was falling over each other in a competition to appear the most outraged and sickened.

Like another poster said above, there's something rotten in Denmark.

268
by Heef (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 5:19pm

Could "perplexed" possibly have picked a more appropriate name? I mean, assuming "ignorant" was already taken, of course. What an amazingly obvious and petulant avoidance of reason and fact... oh well. I mean, I guess if you knew your wife was pregnant after 2 weeks, it must be the same for everyone. AMIRITE? Not to mention that Moynahan herself said that she discovered the pregnancy post-breakup...

269
by Heef (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 5:25pm

"My girlfriend and I knew at two weeks. Especially when the girlfriend is a super-model and normally weighs 102 pounds, there is no way she could not know at one month."

No... nobody puts on noticeable weight in the first month. Your girlfriend was just eating too much, and you bought into her excuse.

270
by Heef (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 5:28pm

"7. Respect card. Yea, the most ballwashed and over hyped team in the history of the NFL doesn’t get any respect. Please."

3 super bowls in 4 years, first 16-0 regular season ever, a few noteworthy records here and there. Yeah, you're right. They're overhyped. I'm shocked the media even pays attention to them at all.

271
by Eric P (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 6:13pm

#267: Wouldn't he have to actually at least make contact with said eye in order for him to "blatantly try to poke out an opponent's eye"? He blatantly stuck his finger in Jacobs' face mask. Everything after that is speculation, since he didn't actually do anything other than that. Perhaps there's some history behind this event (click my name for pic of Giant doing virtually the same thing to Wifork)? Perhaps he was just busting Jacobs' balls and never had any intention of touching his eye, and the 2 cleared the air and shook hands after the game?

Compare this to Haynesworth, not trying to, but actually cleating someone's unhelmeted forehead.

Lastly, the NFL doesn't rush out and announce fines and suspensions the day after the game. I think Thursday is usually the day. So, the NFL still might have something to say about the matter.

272
by Tony (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 5:33pm

245. If you take all those things (the Barnes penalty, the Smith drop, Waters getting boxed out by the ref) and add a few more:

a)Gerela slipping on a kickoff, resulting in an inadvertent squib to Randy White, who fumbles the ball untouched due to his wearing a protective cast, setting up the Steelers final touchdown.
b) a miracle (and disputed) ricochet on 4th and 20 that basically started the Steelers glory years
c) an incorrect call on an apparent TD catch by Mike Renfro in the AFC Championship before the Steelers last Super Bowl win
d) Trailing in the 4th quarter in 2 SB wins, winning two by only 4 points, and winning none by more than 12

And then add an internet & media driven magnified spotlight on the Steelers, similar to what is occurring with the Pats today, then wouldn't the Steelers dynasty be held in much less regard than it currently is, at least by the "haters"? I would think so.

273
by Ken Pierce (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 4:13am

I'm with #249: didn't feel strongly one way or another until I was stunned by the grotesque overreaction to Spygate -- "oh, they must not have actually been good enough to win those SuperBowls" -- a whole bunch of obviously bitterly envious people leaping upon a terrible excuse to denigrate a team much better than their own. About three days of that and I decided, "You know what? I hope the Pats go undefeated and shut these jerks the hell up." So I've been a Pats fan this year, purely because the vitriol spewed in their direction combined the two vices I despise the most: envy, and sanctimoniousness.

And this despite the fact that I don't under ordinary circumstances condone running up the score.

'Course, it also helps that as a lifelong baseball fan I've always thought it funny that football teams weren't smart enough to disguise their signals. Can you imagine MLB passing a rule saying that it was illegal to steal signs? [chuckling] Just can't take that one very seriously. Irrational of me, no doubt; but then the thread was supposed to be about emotion, not reason.