Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Oct 2007

MMQB: Here They Come

That's right, folks, it's the Week 9 GAME OF THE CENTURY. With expert analysis from Carson Palmer, Greg Cosell, Donnie Edwards and Cris Collinsworth!

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 29 Oct 2007

114 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2007, 10:44pm by Greg


by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:45am

Bill Belichick coach of th week? Really?

San Diego ranked a few spots ahead of Dallas? What?

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:48am

I wonder how many fans the Patriots have lost in the last two months. Personally, I went from admiring their dominance to despising their lack of perspective. I'm sure their TV ratings will keep being high, if only because 90% of the viewers hope they get beaten by about fourty points, but I'm not sure they'll gain as many merchandise sales because of their blatant attempt at humiliating other millionaires. This Sunday, I lost all respect for Lovie Smith as a coach, but also lost all respect for B.B. as a human being and wonder if he's this spiteful in his private life. oh, btw, FIRSTIES, (unless some loser just typed "first" while I was typing this rant).

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:50am

Oh, BTW, my early nomination for Keep Choppin' Wood goes to Lovie Smith for stupidly going for the endzone with 40 seconds left when the Bears needed a five yard sideline pass and a field goal because they were down by NINE points and could WIN the game with a kick and a touchdown. Idiotic, rookie, boneheaded decision by him.

by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:51am

The comparison of the Florida-Georgia game attendance to 8 NFL home games is stupid. There are millions of Florida fans willing to travel hundreds or thousands of miles for one game. There are millions of Georgia fans willing to do the same. There are something like 4 million Florida alumni/family of alumni in this country. There are one million people in Jacksonville. Do the math! Many if not most of those 84,000 were not from Jacksonville. Hell, 42,000 weren't even from Florida. Should Wayne Weaver expect to draw fans from Atlanta every week?

Second, this idea that college football takes a back seat to pro football in Jacksonville is unsupported by facts. TV ratings continue to favor the NFL over college football.

by cd6! (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:05am

How awesome would it have been if Carson Palmer had said "To me, Colts vs. Patriots is like a battle between good and evil..."??

by skins fan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:06am

#2 Ryan


I don't buy any of that "running up the score" nonsense. Yes teams should not be coached to run up the score in Pop Warner or High School....BUT that's it

When you are a professional & play against the BEST - you WANT to BEAT them playing at their BEST.....and if their BEST means that YOU LOSE 52 - 7...so be it

It is actually worse when a team takes PITY on you & STOPS playing

I don't want ANY of that

Even it it means you occasionally lose 52-7.

To me - how do the Redskins respond after such a devastating loss (this is far more important than any "running up the score nonsense"

My congratulations to Redskins coaches & players for "taking the loss on the chin" & not complaining about such foolish things as "running up the score"...

who cares !!

The Patriots ARE VERY VERY GOOD....


by cd6! (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:07am

Also, a hypothetical:

If Tom Brady suffers a concussion during a QB sneak on a 4th down play in the 4th quarter of a 38-0 game, does Belichick still win "Coach of the Week"?

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:11am

King makes the same mistake that Don Banks did, thinking that LenDale White is beginning to acquit himself.

All he's done is play the awful Raiders run defense. A review of what the Raiders run defense has done so far:

Week 1 - Tatum Bell gets 6 yards per carry, but Mike Martz doesn't run the ball much because he's Mike Martz.
Week 2 - Travis Henry and Selvin Young combine for 29 carries, 171 yards.
Week 3 - They do a fairly adequate job of stopping the Browns.
Week 4 - Ronnie Brown has 15 carries for 134 yards.
Week 6 - LT gets 200 yards and 4 TDs.
Week 7 - LJ gets 112 yards and a TD
Week 8 - LenDale White suddenly appears useful.

by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:25am


As I see it you have to take a shot at the end zone there, because you have a much better shot of actually scoring that needed touchdown. It just sounds more likely to me to be able to score a TD from 24 yards out and drive 30 yards into field goal range than to kick the field goal and drive the entire field with about 40 seconds left. If their had been a bit more time on the clock I might change my mind.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:28am

Good one, cd6. The truth is, there's nothing whatsoever to gain from keeping your starter in the game in that situation. You, as a coach, already know he's unstoppable, so you're not learning anything new about his skillset. You're always running that risk of a major injury. The ONLY thing you gain from this is a feeling of inflated pride by feeding your ID. He's come off as a very selfish and spiteful individual and just a big high school bully. That's pretty much all that he is. The only way to shut the guy up is to kick him in his teeth. So, come on rest of the NFL, do whatever you can do beat, injure, maim, and mutilate the players and the organization of New England. Pull a "Last Boy Scout" on their asses if you have to.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:36am

Am I alone in being a little surprised that Carson Palmer is so interested in the Colts/Pats? I mean the guy has his own (2-5) team to occupy his thinking, right?

By the way, King may be a little late to the party but he's right about Braylon Edwards. He's having a terrific season.

by Eric P (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:36am

Gotta love people who complain about the "class" of scoring an extra TD or 2 in a game between highly paid professionals and then advocate deliberately injuring, or even killing, the players who are just doing their jobs. Very classy. Are you all from San Diego?

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:39am

Re: 7

I thought that play was a little risky too. I had a vision of Sean Taylor just flying into the pile and going helmet to helmet with Brady. But Brady has been very durable so maybe I'm overstating the risk.

by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:45am

re: 2
I expect the Patriots haven't lost any fans in the past two months. Why would anybody think they would have?

Real Patriots fans remember the 2-14 seasons, and how other teams were quite happy to run up the score on them while nobody in media thought anything about it. Because continuing to play offense is what NFL teams do.

I have never heard anybody complain that the Bears won Super Bowl XX by the then-historic score of 46-10. To the contrary, all the commentators saw the score as a sign of how good the Bears were.

I suspect you didn't "lose respect" for BB Sunday. More likely you started Sunday with a chip on your shoulder. In your world, the only acceptable way for Belichick to coach well is for him to stop coaching his own team and to start helping the other team. That's not his job.

If "multimillionaire" Redskins feel "humiliated" for losing by 45 points on national TV, perhaps they should find a way to play better. Joe Gibbs has no problem with how the game ended. Of course, Gibbs remembers the 80s and 90s when a few NFC teams dominated the NFL and would regularly win by several TDs without having to listen to self-righteous comments about "class".

by Carl H. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:49am

Remember in the '80s when that anonymous Green Bay Packer grabbed Jim McMahon long after he'd released the ball and slammed him to the turf, ending his season?

Anyone think the Patriots are tempting that kind of revenge with their running up the score every week?

by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:50am

re: 12

Yes, it does appear that advocating violence against players you dislike is considered "classy" while calling a QB sneak is not only "classless", but opens a window into the soul, through which you can see a person is "selfish", "spiteful", and a "bully".

No, I don't get it either.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:03am

Man, is envy an ugly beast, or what? Calm down guys, or you'll pop a brain artery long before someone pops Brady's knee. How ironic would that be?

by P. Ryan Wilson :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:04am

Just a preemptive note: any irrational Brady-Manning comments should go in the irrational Brady-Manning thread.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:10am

Just a preemptive note: any irrational Brady-Manning comments should go in the irrational Brady-Manning thread.
Is that one back, or are you referring to the "Armageddon" thread?

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:12am

So, where should we put rational Brady-Manning comments?

by Eric J (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:19am

"Derrick Ward was inactive on Sunday, and still leads the entire Green Bay team in rushing."

The entire Green Bay team was also inactive on Sunday. They'll probably run for 54 yards tonight.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:35am

Pretty shocking lack of insight from Jeff Fisher there, wasn't it?
"It's going to come down to the quarterback play." Really? Not unless one of the two QB lays a giant egg, and neither is likely to do so (Manning's 2004 meltdown notwithstanding).

IMO, it's going to come down to how the Colts' DBs and the Pats' DL play. Everything else will follow.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:43am

I have to give Peter King some credit here, that's one his best columns for a while. Very good stuff on Pats-Colts. I would have liked slightly more on the London game (which was great and I can't wait for another one, though maybe they should shut the roof).

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:46am

Good one, cd6. The truth is, there’s nothing whatsoever to gain from keeping your starter in the game in that situation.

I tend to agree. Why was Jason Campbell still in there throwing passes?

by hooper (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:46am

Hey! King picked the Broncos (a.k.a. Cutler) over Favre. I did not see that one coming.

by tkerwin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:58am

Wait, Jetblue gets DirectTV but the Bengal charter doesn't?

by Don Booza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:08pm

22. I think Jeff Fisher is correct. I foresee 3 INT's from the losing QB, be it Brady or Manning. (Sorry if this statement is viewed as irrational. It is intended to be very rational.)

Also, thank you for reminding me about Mannings meltdown in 2004. But lets not forget Brady's 4 INT's in last years regular season Colts/NE game. Somehow, that game has been erased from Brady's permanent record, as if it never happened. (Opps, I am probably getting close to irrational territory.)

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:10pm

The first half of this column is some of the best reporting I can remember King doing. His connections to players and others in the world of football really pay off sometimes.

Once the column gets to the lists, it becomes shakier. Let's see... how is Dan Klecko like Brandon Stokely? Wait, I know!

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:21pm

Re #8
Keep in mind, too, that LenDale White had 18 carries for 52 yards in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarters. His deceptively good totals all came from 2 drives in the 3rd quarter.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:36pm

Maybe we could just have all Colts or Patriots comments redirected to the Armageddon thread for the time being. The few rational ones will simply draw irrational responses anyway.

"That's the best all-around game the Lions have played in a long time."
Sure, PK. Sure it is. So I go back to look, using our good friend Premium Database, looking for, let's say, >10% offense and

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:37pm

less than 10% defense. (You can't keep me down forever!)

2007 ... 2006 ... 2005 ... 2004, week 13 against Arizona (17.9%, -28.0%, 45.2% total).

So, um, yeah, I guess you're right. My bad.

Pittman's not the goat of the week. Turk could have kicked the ball out of the end zone and still saved five points. And even with all that, I don't think either player made the biggest difference in a game this weekend.

As usual, striking out on his non-NFL references. Was PK really suggesting that the New York area couldn't support three home games at the same time (Rangers/Islanders/Devils)? Dumb? Not so much. (By the way, considering what's happened to the NHL in the last few years, "dumb" doesn't really apply to a simple scheduling quirk.)

A-Rod "belongs" in Anaheim? Why is that? Because of the A? What about Atlanta or Arizona? He sure doesn't belong in New York, though. There are quite a few people too dumb to understand his value to the team. Their loss.

No dumb comments about the NBA? I'm surprised.

I think PK's right about the Panthers' opening drive, though. That may be the best football Vinny had left in him. It was absolutely brilliant that he was able to convert all those third downs. As pointed out in Audibles, though, not sustainable.

Also good point about Hester, and I mean that. Look at the Bears offense. Why would you kick to Hester?

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:37pm

um, less than -10%, I mean.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:38pm


Brady has an annual 4-int game for some reason. I think it's part of his deal with the devil. That's probably why it's not brought up as much, because it isn't his first.

by Mike NYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:46pm

re: 14 - bravo.

by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:56pm

I think part of this disagreement over running up the score is between people who have played the game and people who have never played the game. Running up the score and continuing to celebrate while doing it invites the traditional, long established practice of payback injuries. It has been that way for a hundred years.

There are unwritten rules in any sport, and when you break them, you invite the other team to respond in kind. It's a self-correcting mechanism.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:02pm

I find it shocking that people cannot discern between ranting sarcasm and true advocation for actual murder. While I am highly irritated by N.E.'s ways, I don't want them to die; just for them to go away and never be heard from on television ever again.
And I'll never forgive Ditka for bleeping letting heavy-as-a-Fridge Perry score a TD while leaving Walter Payton out of the endzone.
I consider that classless IMO.

by Trevor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:10pm

the 1st 2 pages were great, they're the reason i read his column every week. but the rest of this shit drives me fucking crazy:
- what is up with the constant harping on the security folks in the airport? they're doing their job, you always complain about them doing their job well? what's the fucking problem! why don't you pull a john madden and quit flying if it bothers you that much. it's like looking at people arguing with police officers, what sense does thhat make...
- Jacksonville is not a better college town than Atlanta IMO, but Arthur Blank has the falcons selling out their brand new stadium. Maybe it's time for Weaver to look himself in the mirror?
- doesn't brittany bring that attention to herself?
- the red sox stuff is old, but they won the world series and they deserve it.
- finally, the snide comment about the couple getting married. THEY GOT MARRIED! AREN'T THEY SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY!

i know this is complaining, but i had to let it out...

by Trevor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:12pm

Like many before me have said, if the Redskins had a problem with anything the patriots did, they should have tried to do something about it. They're grown, these aren't pop warner kids we're talking about here.

by Banewulf (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:14pm

Re: 12 — I'm assuming by that comment that you are heaping all Chargers fans into a pile and saying that we like seeing opposing players get hurt while at the same time promoting a "don't run up the score" philosophy.....While I can't speak for any fan other than myself, I do NOT like seeing ANYBODY hurt in football; I think it's absolutely sick to root for that to happen. Florence's hit on Schaub was uncalled for, and no Charger fan should be happy to see that kind of thing happen from one our guys.

I think from what I've seen Belichek is coaching with a chip on his shoulder, and is allowing himself to tread some pretty classless waters, and I would LOVE to see the Colts beat the Patriots this weekend, but I would HATE to see anybody get injured in the process. If that's why you watch football, to root for players to get hurt, then you are not a fan of the game.

by V4Velvetta (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:20pm

"I'm pretty sure I know what Joe Gibbs was thinking with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Patriots up 38-0 driving aggressively for another touchdown. And he wasn't very happy about it. If Fox was doing its job at the end of this game, some guy in the truck would have had all cameras focus on the interaction between Belichick and Gibbs at midfield. But we never saw it."

Joe Gibbs: "I have no problem with anything that they did. Nothing. No problems from me."

If PK had taken the toruble to for Gibbs's postgame comment, he wouldn't have been reduced to whining about FOX's coverage of the hand shake, or trying to read Gibbs's mind. But reading minds seems to be what passes for reporting at SI these days. Where's an ombudsman when you need one?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:25pm


No, its got nothing to do with those who have played the game and those who havent.

It's got everything to do with people who have a bone to pick. Where were you when the Colts were running up the score and manning was setting records? Where was your indignation than Morganja?

Oh, you were already harping on the Pats at that point.

by Eric P (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:41pm

No, it was more of a reference to the classis Ron Burgandy line, combined with the self proclaimed "classiest player in the league" LT's crying jags in post game press conferences.

by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:30pm

I really don't understand all the hate that Patriot fans have for the Chargers in general and LT in particular. Good God. Give it rest already. And you wonder why most of the country now can't stand New England teams or their fans.

by Compucrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:58pm

Everyone keep saying, "They're pro's they shouldn't have there feelings hurt by running up the score."

That may be true, but no one has given a good reason WHY Belichick keeps doing it, what does he or his team gain by stat padding?

And btw the Colts were setting records and scoring a lot of points for sure. but I'm pretty confident they weren't lining up in the shotgun in the 4th quarter of a 38-0 game.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:01pm

"I really don’t understand all the hate that Patriot fans have for the Chargers in general and LT in particular."

Its because hes a whiner. He has no problem with Drayton Florence spitting on patriots players and fans. He has no problem with Shawn Merriman showboating all over the field, but the second Ellis Hobbs does a "sack dance," its a crime against humanity.

We're really sick of being told how classy LT is when hes really no different from any other player who can dish it out, but not take it. If he really wants to be classy, he should shut his mouth when the team loses, instead of whining about how classy he is.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:05pm

"And btw the Colts were setting records and scoring a lot of points for sure. but I’m pretty confident they weren’t lining up in the shotgun in the 4th quarter of a 38-0 game."

No, just in the 4th quarter of a 41-10 game against the saints... like 6 weeks ago.

by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:12pm

Its because hes a whiner. He has no problem with Drayton Florence spitting on patriots players and fans. He has no problem with Shawn Merriman showboating all over the field, but the second Ellis Hobbs does a “sack dance,� its a crime against humanity.

He was complaining about the dance being done on the team logo, not the dance itself.

Plus, he said something borderline dumb after a game which people consistently misunderstand. Let's not go overboard about it. LT's fairly non-demonstrative, low key, maintains a humble public image, and isn't a braggart, felon, dogfighter, head-stomper, Cincinnati Bengal, drug abuser/peddler, or (for the social conservatives among us) fathering-kid-out-of-wedlock type that the league and the media is so concerned about.

by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:22pm

Does anyone remember the game before Peyton broke Dan Marino's TD record? It was at the end of the game and he could have tossed a TD (let's face it, he was tossing TDs on everyone) but instead kneeled it down to end the game. His response was something along the lines of...the game was already over.

That's Class. For all that many people like to dig on Manning (and his 2,367,495,905.314 commercials), he's still the epitome of what a true fan of the game should be doing.

Not a huge fan of what NE is doing...but I believe in Karma. It will come around to haunt them. I hope it's a playoff implosion (much like last years). No injuries (wishing for it is classless)...just people forgetting how to play.

I understand that these are all guys getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (minimum) to play a game...but they're playing a (supposedly) professional game. If we're going to call them professional's...shouldn't they act like it.

(Yup, reference to everything from Belicheat to Mike Vick to half the Bengals team...etc...)

I know that the "great majority" aren't bad guys...and it's just a few bad apples (or teams running up the score)...but it still looks exceedingly bad on the whole.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:28pm

"Let’s not go overboard about it. LT’s fairly non-demonstrative, low key, maintains a humble public image, and isn’t a braggart,"

Non Demonstrative? Who's been more outspoken the last year than LT? I can't think of a single Comment that LT has made that hasn't been negative. I have no idea how this guy got a reputation as being classy. He's anything but.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:29pm

"If we’re going to call them professional’s…shouldn’t they act like it."

Score differential is still a playoff tiebreaker. They're doing their jobs.

by Compucrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:41pm

"Score differential is still a playoff tiebreaker. They’re doing their jobs."

Gimme a break, that's like the 6th tiebreaker or whatever, and it's not like they don't already have that wrapped up to begin with.

by vanya (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:46pm

I really don’t understand all the hate that Patriot fans have for the Chargers in general and LT in particular.

You don't understand it, because it doesn't exist. I live in the Boston area, I've never heard anyone badmouth the Chargers, except before the SD-NE game and that's just standard blowhard pre-game talk. I've never met a serious football fan from New England who "hates" the Chargers. In fact I generally root for the Chargers against any of the other AFC West teams. People here hate the Colts (because they are, pace Easterbrook, the incarnation of evil) and the Jets. We used to hate the Raiders, but now we just laugh at them. I personally hate the Broncos, but I'm not sure if that's a widely shared feeling up here.

by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:55pm

I don't understand what the big deal is about garbage time scores. Everybody whines and whines and whines when the winning team gets a garbage time score. Where are the complaints about the losing team when they get garbage time scores? Why is it any better to pointlessly shrink a margin of defeat than to pointlessly increase a margin of victory? Why are the Pats bad guys for scoring in the 4th quarter of a thorough beat down but it was OK for the Redskins to keep their starters out in a silly attempt to not get shut out?

In the end I think Ditka said it best: don't want the score getting run up on you, play better football.

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:03pm

Full disclosure: I'm a Steeler fan. I've always respected the Pats and Belichick, even though I hate the fact they've owned the Steelers when it's mattered the past 5 years. But my respect has been replaced by utter contempt.

Forgive me, but I'm very emotional about this. I'm glad I'm not Joe Gibbs; I'd have refused to shake Belichick's hand, and would have gone off on him at the postgame press conference.

Belichick is a classless, small man. Throwing the ball 30 yards downfield in the 4th quarter when you have a 40 point lead is beyond the pale on so many levels. If for no other reason, than this: what if Brady, Moss Welker, etc. gets hurt? But to me, that's not the worst of it.

I want you to think about something else: why do you let your kids play little league or Pop Warner sports> One of the main reasons is to teach sportsmanship! Are you saying sportsmanship goes out the door at the professional level? If so, as a human being, YOU have my contempt as well, for what it's worth.

These Pee-Wee kids are learning about sportsmanship from coaches and parents. Then they see Bill "greatest coach of our generation" Belichick, a surly, bitter, classless old bastard, throwing bombs to go up 45-0 in the 4th quarter. They see he's little more than a playground bully, and he's still a millionaire and at the top of his profession.

Yup, the Skins should have stopped them. Yes, Belichick has the right and freedom to run up the score. But why dance on a bloody corpse? The fact he chooses to do so shows what a complete failure of a human being he is.

If the Steelers were that good, and played that way, I'd be ashamed. It saddens me that anyone intelligent enough to post on this board has the audacity to defend Belichick for a single moment.

by Clark (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:14pm

I don't care about running up the score, but Brady whining to the side judge for an offensive pass interference call against Randal El at 45-0 was too much. It was especially bad considering Moss pushed off far worse on his touchdown in the first half. There is a difference between playing hard until the game is over and the way they relish humiliating the other team. The Pats have gone over the line.

by Ben B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:26pm

49: C'mon, man, obviously you're not going to hear about Tomlinson saying anything positive because the only time his quotes make the news is if they're negative.

Tomlinson gets a reputation as classy because he works hard and gives back to the community. Some bitter quotes after a devastating defeat don't really change that.

by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:47pm

So now we're going to add complaining to the officials to the list of things you aren't supposed to do with a big lead?! I think we're going to need to formalize the list here, otherwise there's no way teams can know what not to do when they have the big lead. Or is this all really just performance envy?

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:54pm

Joe... you're one of the people I'm talking about in #54. You're trolling and baiting now, accusing others of "performance envy". A formal list doesn't need to be created... he just needs to stop being a prick. If he doesn't, it confirms that he's a pretty low individual. And that's all we're pretty much saying. You're going to argue that Belichick's not a petty little jackass? Because if you're arguing against my opinion, that's all you're really arguing against.

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:11pm

I like that on the last page of this story, King writes a paragraph that basically says playoff experience is invaluable and cannot be overcome, then in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH notes that two rookies went a combined 7-for-10.

by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:15pm

re: 39
Actually I had no idea I was addressing a Chargers fan, so the idea that I was lumping all Chargers fans together is a marvelous fantasy. Who knew I was even addressing one Charger fan??

by Joe (from San Diego) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:17pm

Just to be clear, #43 Joe (me) and #53 Joe are different people.

by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:33pm

re: 52
As you say, the typical Pats fan doesn't care about the Chargers. The Colts are the enemy. The contempt for the Jets comes and goes - I usually think the team is beneath notice but Mangini is really a piece of work.

And yeah, the Bronco-hatred was a big deal bag in the 90s. Shannon Sharpe pretty much invited that. I think we all remember that famous Monday night game, the season after the Broncos choked against the Jaguars and the Pats made the Super Bowl, where the Broncos reasserted their dominance by clobbering the Patriots on national TV. In particular, Shannon Sharpe made a famous loudmouth telephone call on the sideline to the "National Guard", saying that they were killing the Patriots.

I also remember how sportswriters around the country berated the Broncos and Mike Shanahan for running up the score.

Oh wait, that bit didn't happen.

by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:35pm

Ignore comment #60. I confused #12 and #14.

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:06pm

Mikey -- I agree with everything you said. Though rather than berate Joe@57, we should thank him for proving the point so succintly.

People want to argue that sportsmanship should go out the window in professional sports? Seriously? That says as much about you as Belichick's actions say about him.

As others have said, of course Belichick is free to run up the score, and of course the Redskins should not complain if they can't stop it. This isn't about the Redskins though -- it's about the Patriots pulling wings off of flies and then defending their actions as the only right and honorable way to act considering how they've been "wronged" -- i.e., punished for blatantly violating league rules.

Performance envy. That's just classic. You see a rich and good looking guy -- let's just call him Tom, for the sake of convenience -- who acts like an ass. You tell him, and he concludes you're just jealous of his wealth. Guess what, Tom: it's certainly possible that others are jealous of your wealth and success and performance, but that doesn't mean you're not an ass.

Why is that the least bit complicated or hard to understand?

by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:15pm

I'm not trolling at all, I just think it's silly. Why is complaining about a call bad when you're up by 45? Assuming the complaint is valid at what point should one no longer complain, how big a lead does one have to have before you're expected to ignore bad calls? What is being a prick about wanting the refs to do their job well?

I'm not making a statement at all on Belichick and whether or not he's a petty little jackass. I don't care if he is or isn't. I just think all the kvetching and complaining about "running up the score" is silly. I've always thought it was silly regardless of which team was supposedly doing it and I always will think it's silly. Part of the problem with football is that you only have 100 yards to deal with, when you get past that line you get 6 points, it can be really hard to not run up the score. It's not like hockey where a team with a large lead can just play keep away and not take any more shots at the net. Killing time in the NFL to protect your lead moves you closer to scoring. And even when a team takes some steps to lessen the chance of scoring sometimes they score anyway and then people complain. Look at the Dallas game, they gave the ball to their 2nd string fullback with less than a dozen career carries before the game, but he scored anyway so everybody complains about running up the score. I've even seen people complain that getting points with scrubs is an insult in it's own right.

And there's still the losing team thing. Why doesn't anybody complain about a team down by 45 getting meaningless points late in a game? Why is what NE did to get the 45 point lead any worse than what Washington did to shrink the lead to a "mere" 38? This isn't trolling, this is asking reasonable questions people should be able to answer. If you're going to get your back up in righteous indignation you should be able to explain why your indignation is actually righteous. Sorry if you find reasonable questions to be trolling, but I think that tells us something about your complaints.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:08pm

Re: #54

This would be the Joe Gibbs who ran up the score in Superbowl Whatever, yes? Just wondering.

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:20pm

64: Thank you for showing some sanity.

65: The "trolling" remark was because you said we have "performance envy". Go play a street game of football, go up 45-0 and complain about pass interference... you'll be lucky if you're not shot.

To be blunt, I don't think what you're saying or asking is reasonable at all. This leads me to suspect you may be trolling and/or baiting. I'll go ahead and bite.

You don't see a difference between the Pats trying to score and the Skins trying to score? Really? That's a reasonable question to you? OK, then, I'll answer.

When the Skins are down 38-0 in the 4th and trying to score, they're trying to salvage their dignity. When the Pats are up 38-0 in the 4th and throwing 30-40 yard bombs into the end zone, they're trying to strip the Skins of their dignity. Just run it up the middle for God's sake, and if they can't tackle you, fine, that's on them. At least you showed some respect towards your colleagues. You really needed someone else to explain that to you?

Regarding the end of the Dallas game: if you have 4th and goal, you're up a few dozen points in the final minute or so and and your opponent has no timeouts, just kneel the damn ball (duh). I saw the Steelers do that several times during their 15-1 season in 2005, including their victory against the Pats, if memory serves me correctly.

I'm amazed how Pats fans have gone completely mad and blind with homerism regarding their team.

I'm just telling you... this may go against debate rules, but defending how Belichick has handled endgames this season, to me, shows character deficiency. Just call a spade a spade.

by compucrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:44pm

MikeyBenny, It's good to know there are some people out there who believe sportsmanship isn't just something for first graders

by vis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:59pm

Full disclosure first; I'm neither a fan nor a hater of the Patriots.

But really, the nerve of the Dolphins and Redskins in aggressively continuing to try and score points in games that were already decided! Roll over and die, wave the white flag, give up.

Despite all the ranting and raving, no one has put up a convincing argument as to why it's okay for the team getting blown out to keep their starters on the field in garbage time. I don't buy "preserving dignity." if the winning team is expected to act like the game is over, send in the scrubs, and run it up the middle every play---how on earth is it sportsmanlike for the losing squad to keep their first-stringers in and keep pushing? Either the game is over, for both teams, or it isn't.

If anything, pushing for a meaningless late TD against scrubs is a slap in the face to the first-string defense that put up a shut-out.

This is all slightly tongue-in-cheek, of course, but the point stands. Padding the score is either wrong for both teams, or it is acceptable for both. It is illogical to pose rules that only apply to one contestant in a competition.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:14pm

LT is a classy player. Everyone's temper gets tested on occasion, and Tomlinson snapped for a pretty good reason. He was gashing the Patriots defense for 6 yards a carry, but he wasn't given the ball enough, and then a DB on his team does a really stupid thing and effectively loses the game for them. I'm not going to change my opinion about him just because he got frustrated once.

However, the legions of New England "fans" that suddenly appeared over the past six years probably will, and there's nothing I can do about that.

by Kulp (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:20pm

I think there is actually one very logical reason for what the Patriots did to the Redskins which has gone completely overlooked.

Considering how well they are playing right now, the Pats are probably more likely to sustain a serious injury while running the ball than while throwing it. Maroney has already missed a couple of games, Sammy Morris is still out, and there's no need to subject Kevin Faulk to any more touches than he already gets. I realize they are carrying two other running backs right now, but do you really want to hand the ball to Kyle Eckel? Not only that, a few three and outs, a fumble or two, and some improbable returns later, and the Skins may be trying to crawl back into the game. Extremely unlikely, yes -- impossible, not necessarily. (But probably.)

Another thing, I didn't really look at this as the Patriots running up the score. They took one unnecessary shot downfield, but look at their second half drives. Their opening drive in the third quarter took 7:46, and the score in the 4th everyone is upset about, that drive took 7:56. Yeah, they could have kicked the field goal, but going for it took another two minutes off the clock. I saw it as their way of either killing more clock or forcing Washington to go over 90 yards to score.

I'm not a Patriots fan, but I watched the game and when they had that 4th down in the 4th quarter, I thought they should go for it, too. To me, kicking a field goal would have been running up the score more than trying to make a first down. That was a guaranteed 3 pointer, and instead they gave the other team a chance to stop them while forcing them to make a long march if they could secure the ball back. As we all saw though, not only could Washington not stop the first team from putting up 45, they couldn't stop the backups from adding another TD, so what's the problem?

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:06pm

*sigh* Like I said... Pats fans have gone mad and blind with homerism. Not sure what else to say. They're calling the sky green. It's like people who argue that dogfighting is OK... they just don't "get it" and I suppose there's no point arguing any further.

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:27pm

To answer the several bad points raised by others, especially those that Mikey hasn't dispatched with already.

* Joe Gibbs ran up the score once, you say? And? So maybe he "deserves" to be humiliated. That doesn't affect the Patriots' ethics or lack thereof. Restraint and sportsmanship is something that an individual has or does not have. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. Anyway, I doubt the Patriots were exacting vengeance for the poor Bills and Broncos of 20 years ago.

* Why try to score when way behind? What, you don't think after yesterday that Jason Campbell could use the practice? The game is effectively over for both teams, yes. The team getting blown out has some issues to fix. The team doing the blowing has nothing to gain except padding stats and increased chance of injury to star players. If you can't understand the logical differences between the two teams' positions, you and I must have different understandings of what logic is.

* That long drive that the Pats went on yesterday included 8 passes to get them into position to go for it on 4th down. Not risking injury to running backs by throwing instead? So risking injury to Brady and Moss makes more sense than risking Faulk? And you can't be serious about the risk of handing it to Kyle Eckel. They could have been handing it to Kyle Orton and felt comfortable with that lead in the 4th quarter. "Impossible" overstates the chance that the Redskins had to come back yesterday in the 4th. Meanwhile, against the Cowboys, Eckel's TD came with about 23 seconds on the clock. It was utterly pointless except as a way to pad the final margin.

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:00pm

68: It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels that way.

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:35pm

Re: 66

Which Super Bowl would that be again? XVII, which Gibbs won 27-17 (10 point margin)? XXVI, which he won 37-24 (13 point margin, Redskins score only 6 in the 4th quarter)? No?

OK, then it must be XXII, which he won 42-10. Big margin, yes, but the Skins scored 35 of those points in the first half. Apparently scoring one TD in the entire second half counts as running up the score if it happens in the 4th quarter.

Say it with me: "You can't run up the score in the first half!"

by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:34am

Nov. 14, 2004
Dominant performance by the Colts ends with a 49-14 rout of Houston
The Texans found it offensive and disrespectful that, long after the game had been decided, the Colts kept running their offense. Houston players and television analyst Randy Cross were particularly upset that the Colts, rather than running the ball in the fourth quarter, continued to pass - a move Cross referred to as having "no class".

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:45am

76 -- Great point. If the Colts have ever run up the score, or really if any other team ever has, the Patriots are still a class act. End of debate.

Again, why is this so hard for people to understand? It doesn't matter what Peyton might have done, or what Gibbs might have done (but apparently did not do, according to 75's convincing post).

Patriots rallying cry used to be "we are the best in the NFL," or the classiest, or what have you. Now, confirmed cheaters and utterly devoid of sportsmanship, their battle cry is "everybody else does it" and "look at our rings" and "how dare you question us."

by jason (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:51am

The fact Belicheck passes in the fourth quarter of a blowout, or goes for the touchdown when the other team is out of timeouts shows what a complete failure of a human being he is?

Could you have any less perspective?

I'm not defending Belicheck, and I don't wish to, but how can you take a handful of plays, out of context, and make sweeping statements about a team, its coach and its fans?

Looks like you should be saving some of that contempt for yourself

by BruceNH (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:36am

One important fact, the Pats only had one healthy TE at the end of the game. A TE who was not on their roster at the start of the season(but did go through training camp), Marcellus Rivers. The meant the Pats had to go to more 3 and 4 wide spread formations or play someone out of position. We can discuss wheather the Pats should have run more from those formations, but I think this does help explain some of the play calling at the end of the game.

by E Rock (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:31am

Jesus hates the Pats.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:53am

Re: #77

It matters because the morganjas and Mikey Bennies of the world have a ridiculous double standard. Anyone else does it and they zip their pieholes, look away and whistle. Patriots do it and they are this uniquely evil/immoral/etc. team.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:07am

The upshot being that it is rather hard to believe they actually care about running the score up (or whatever the anti-Pats complaint of the day is), since the complaints only come when the Patriots are involved. Instead they just don't like the team and are happy to bash them with whatever comes along, even though no other team gets bashed for the same behavior.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:30am

OK, then it must be XXII, which he won 42-10. Big margin, yes, but the Skins scored 35 of those points in the first half. Apparently scoring one TD in the entire second half counts as running up the score if it happens in the 4th quarter.

Isn't this precisely what happened in last week's Miami game?

With regard to this conversation, there are a few things that people are actively ignoring:

1) There were 9+ minutes left when NE scored their final TD with Brady in the game and that drive started in the 3rd quarter. From that point on, it was mostly all backups.

2) NE was down to one TE who wasn't even on the team a few weeks ago in the second half. They also are missing their #2 RB and the #1 is returning from injury. Their #3 is not a guy who should be running into the teeth of a defense. The FBs aren't likely at all to get even one first down, let alone run out the clock.

3) Matt Cassel just had a dreadful game against Miami and needed the time to work on some things.

Please try to understand the circumstances prior to judging others.

by vanya (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:42am

People like Mikey Benny have a first grader's understanding of what sportsmanship is. They're just soapbox moralizers always ready to point the finger at someone else's flaws. Here are the 5 principles of sportsmanship, the Pats fail some, meet others:

1. Full commitment to participation (e.g., showing up, working hard during all practices and games, acknowledging one’s mistakes and trying to improve) Pats clearly meet this standard.

2. Respect and concern for rules and officials Um, yeah, the Pats could improve here, but they do show respect for officials as far as I can tell.

3. Respect and concern for social conventions (e.g., shaking hands, recognizing the good performance of an opponent) Unequivocally, despite the media's efforts to pretend Belichick doesn't shake peoples hands after games.

4. Respect and concern for the opponent (e.g., lending one’s equipment to the opponent, agreeing to play even if the opponent is late, not taking advantage of injured opponents). I see no evidence the Pats doesn't live up to this.

5. Avoiding poor attitudes toward participation (e.g., not adopting a win-at-all-costs approach, not showing temper after a mistake, and not competing solely for individual prizes) . Well, they have shown a "win-at-all-costs" attitude. But that's endemic to pro sports. They certainly show more class than most organizations when it comes to playing as a team and avoiding temper tantrums.

So Pats are really just kind of average, they're not saints and not as "classless" as the hysterical Mikey Benny's want to believe.

by vanya (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:44am

The fact Belicheck passes in the fourth quarter of a blowout, or goes for the touchdown when the other team is out of timeouts shows what a complete failure of a human being he is?

Could you have any less perspective?

Yes, he could be Greg Easterbrook.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:34pm

Sorry Mike but they are reasonable questions. What is pride saving about garbage time points against the 2nd string defense? You really think the Skins players really had improvements in their self image when they proved they could at least score on NE's scrub defense?! You really think that anybody that can't score until the 2nd stringers are on the field deserves the ego boost? We all know what those scores are about, there's press baggage to shutouts and they want to avoid the extra bad press. In my book ALL garbage time points are garbage time points and if you're going to object to any you should object to all.

As for the Dallas game to me that's the silliest one of all for people to complain about because Dallas used their last timeout after NE's 1st down of that sequence, apparently Dallas still thought the game was contestable so what's wrong with NE doing the same. And of course the other side of the Dallas equation is that if they don't call that timeout the 4th down never happens, there were only 23 seconds left on the clock when they snapped, subtract 40 for Dallas not calling TO and the game is over.

Actually I'm a Steelers fan. And I don't remember them kneeling on a 4th down play EVER. You don't kneel on 4th because that just gives it to the other team, you kneel on 3rd and let the clock run out, you call a low percentage play on 4th and eat a couple more seconds. Which I think giving the ball to your 2nd string FB for the 13th carry of his career counts as a low percentage play, it's not NE's fault the Cowboys couldn't stop the 4th or 5th runner on the depth chart.

Most of these incidents of "running up" the score are actually bogus. They've got defensive TDs, they've got TD's after the other team shrunk the margin to something less that we've seen overcome this season, TD's after the other team burned a TO (TO's are an indication that you still think you're in the game and willing to try to win), TDs from 2nd and 3rd stringers. All complaints about running up the score, regardless of the team that does it, strike me as silly. I really like the one from the Redskins DL, whining about the 30 yard pass to Moss late in the game, hey mister DL if you don't like the other team throwing deep with a big lead get some penetration and sack the QB or at least force him to take a check down. QBs don't get to work in a vacuum, you as a defensive lineman have the ability to keep him from throwing deep. I'll repeat Ditka again: if you don't like somebody running up the score on you play better football.

by vis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:04pm

73 Matt, whether you agree with other's arguments or not, calling them "bad points" isn't exactly conducive to productive discussion.

It would also help if you understood my point before dismissing it. Certainly there is a cost/benefit ratio that the winning team is ignoring (though, the losing team arguably is also risking their players unnecessarily), but that is NOT what has been debated here. The chain is about proper sportsmanship, or more precisely, the unwritten rules that govern proper sportsmanship. I'm merely pointing out the inconsistency in applying rules to only one contestant. That is illogical based on the definitions of sportsmanship, competition, etc.

Responding that the winning team has more to lose by running up the score is not a response to this point at all.

Everyone obviously has strong gut-feelings about these issues, but most of the arguments presented here seem to represent those gut-feelings more than they do any sort of thoughtful examination.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:11pm

Ridiculous double standards? No Pats fan could be accused of that, for sure. Like when Bill Simmons rails against Shawne Merriman's transgressions but ignores Rodney Harrison's. Nothing to see here; move along folks. Or perhaps staunch Pats' defenders are so meta that they are really just critiquing other people's unacknowledged double standards by so clearly displaying their own.

Still, maybe other teams and fans of other teams that run up the score -- just like the Patriots do -- get less flack for it because said other teams and their fans do not describe the process as scoring the Eff U touchdown, humiliating the league, destroying the rest of the NFL, finally earning the respect or fear that 3-time SB champions somehow think has eluded them, avenging the manner in which they were wronged when found engaged in blatant in-game rules violations, etc. Just a guess.

Look, cries of hypocrite and double standard, etc. are all well and good. If you can't contradict the argument -- save by repeated references to the Patriots' dire injury situation at Tight End that apparently forced them to keep throwing deep with a 38-point lead, and apparently forced them to throw 8 times on the drive that ended with them nobly eschewing the FG in favor of a TD pass -- well then, sure, go ad hominem. Attack and impeach the motives of the messenger. Great.

But once we get past the ad hominem stuff and the back-and-forth charges of first graderism, continued argument that Kevin Faulk is not the kind of guy that should be running into the teeth of the defense just doesn't cut it. For those of you worried about poor, fragile Kevin Faulk, I suppose Brady is the kind of guy that should be running for two TDs and running QB sneaks in the 4th quarter of a blowout, correct? It's such paper-thin ad hoc rationalization that it doesn't really even deserve a response.

Finally, all garbage-time points are equal, and so the Pats are somehow justified in continuing to play their hardest if the Redskins or Cowboys have the audacity to continue trying in the 4th? They say consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, but its hard to imagine a mind small enough for this one. If you can't see the differences in attitudes, aims, and motivations between a team that is losing by 52 and one that is winning by 52, I cannot help you. One team needs to keep playing unless they plan to quit entirely on the game, but the other has nothing to gain from continued maximum effort except padding its stats (at the risk of injury to its stars) and getting the chance to say "Eff U!" one more time.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:24pm

87 - Vis, to the extent that calling something a bad point offends anyone, I'm sorry. I don't think it's particularly dampening to productive discussion, but it is a shorthand route and unfair (or, at least, would be in academic discourse). Yet I'm sure no one wants to read anymore six paragraph diatribes from me, save what we might trade back and forth if we really wanted to substantiate every claim, eschew all value judgments and pejoratives, etc.

Your point that the losing team risks injury is an interesting one, but I still say it's not illogical or inconsistent to apply different rules to the two contestants based on their situation in the game. The same basic rules of sportsmanship apply to both sides, but while T Brady seems to be doing okay and not in need of extra practice in the 4th quarter, I think it'd be fair to say that second year starter J Campbell still can use all the seasoning he can get in live action. If avoiding injury was paramount, then teams should never practice. But I think it's pretty clear that what the losing team here has to gain by continuing to risk their starters is far more than what the winning team has to gain on its march to the playoffs and a potential undefeated season.

As I (kind of) said above, consistency doesn't demand that you always apply all of the same rules to both sides, no matter how differently situated the two sides may be.

Sorry to keep droning on . . . .

by E Rock (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:25pm

I thought this site feautred intelligent commentary?? I am so sick of this topic. I'm a Dolphins fan (I know, I know), and I couldn't care less about this crap. What difference does it make if the Pats win 45-0, 52-0, 48-0, etc...?

For some reason the usually intelligent people on here turn into foaming at the mouth idiots whenever the Patriots are involved.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:34pm

It's funny how the people that complain about ad hominems are always the ones throwing the most of them.

Sorry Matt but all garbage time points ARE equal. They're points that don't matter, points that are gotten only to boost somebody's ego, and points that don't change the real outcome of the game. And you insulting me doesn't change any of those things. The KC Jax game was the classic example of why garbage time points from the losing team deserve exactly the same regard as for the winners. Mighty KC hadn't suffered a home shutout in a long long time, the stands were empty, the game was functionally over, KC had stunk all day, but wait there's 2 seconds left on the clock, Hail Mary and oh look now KC's precious streak without a home shutout gets to continue. If you want me to agree that what the Pats are doing is bad you need to explain to me, without ad hominems, wasn't pathetic.

Although there is another thing to consider. Long term strategy. Now I'm not going to talk about the tie-breaker thing because it's already been discussed and is unlikely to matter anyway (though honestly if it does I'm going to spend at least two days laughing at everybody that complained about the Pats running up the score). No what going to talk about is something I dubbed a few years ago "the Colts effect". We all saw during the years the Colts and Manning were rewriting the record book games where the Colts offense had clearly put the zap on the opposing coaches head. Games where fear of that high powered offense caused the coach to come in with whacky game plans like surprise onsides for the opening kickoff (Titans) or trying to make your run oriented offense play in a shoot out mode (my Steelers). These games predictably go badly for the other team, and I'm sure the fact that the coach spent all week preaching fear to his players really didn't help.

Which isn't to say that's why Belichick is doing it, I don't actually care why he's doing it, just pointing out that there are valid strategic reasons to put up gigantic scores.

by Doug (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:44pm

I think the problem is that since these are all "unwritten" rules, there is no one common belief as to whether running up the score is "bad" sportsmanship. And even among those who think it may be, certainly there is no universal agreement on when to take out the starters, when to run vs pass, etc. ...I kind of agree with those who are saying this is only an issue because the Pats are the team in question.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 6:38pm

90 - Fine, I am a foaming at the mouth idiot. Guilty as charged. Mikey bore most of the ire earlier, so I might as well get some now. Obviously, there was nothing intelligent in anything I said and it was entirely ad hominem.

91 - Joe, how about we both cry about ad hominems while acknowledging that we both make them, and then at least no one can cry about unacknowledged double standards? My "small mind" comment was insulting. Sorry. As for it being "funny how the people that complain about ad hominems are always the ones throwing the most of them," if the shoe fits, you can just keep on calling people silly and self-righteous for expressing their opinions. Whatever counter-productive, foamy-mouthed, ad hominem remarks I've resorted to, I think I've made a fair number of valid arguments too. Others must disagree and I'll shut up soon.

To attempt one final answer to your last questions though, yes, it is bad sportsmanship to score meaningless points late in the game simply to preserve streaks and pad personal statistics. I forget which dope it was a few years back in the NBA that tried to get a triple double by shooting at his own basket and getting the rebound, but that's poor sportsmanship. Agreed.

I just don't know what else to say about why what the Patriots are doing is bad sportsmanship too, however, except to repeat what I've said above: the fact that running up the score, however defined, is bad sportsmanship does not depend on what the other team does. The Patriots seem (to me, at least) to be bent on embarassing other teams. You can argue if you want that by scoring the meaningless TD instead of meekly accepting the 52-0 shutout, the Redskins were embarassing themselves; but whatever the opponent is doing the NE FU attitude is cause for criticism, and I just don't buy all of the reasons supposedly demonstrating that what NE does is better sportsmanship (FG is the surer way to points, had to throw because of banged up RBs and TEs, respect for the game and for the opponent demands continued effort, etc.)

Everyone says that the analogies to kids and bullies are misleading because these are all professionals here, and that's fair enough, but the analogies can still be instructive. Your son and my son play pee wee football against each other. Say your son's team is down 52-0. He takes the pitch, breaks free, and runs as hard as he can for an 80-yard garbage-time touchdown. Most eople will laud him for his effort and never-say-die attitude, though it may be irrational to do so, and though you and I may agree that scoring meaningless points after a game is decided could be a sign of bad sportsmanship too.

Now my son's team gets the ball back, and my son drops back to throw a long pass setting up the final FU touchdown of the day. Serves the little bastards on the losing team right, doesn't it? Because after all they just scored some meaningless points to break up my son's shutout.

One act may be "pathetic" to use your terms. The second act is vindictive and intended to hurt or humiliate others. I'm happy for present purposes to agree with you that both acts could be considered bad sportsmanship. That still makes my son's team liable for the charge of being vindictive little assholes, and to me, that is worse than being "pathetic" or whatever else we might call attempting to salvage something positive in a horrible loss.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:09pm

Sorry Matt I haven't insulted anyone, at least nobody in the threads (there are a couple of football players I've insulted in this, but screw them they should play better football and not whine so much). I never called any one silly or self righteous. I said the objections were silly, we all do silly thing sometimes, even very serious people, and so long as you're willing to admit it there's nothing wrong with it. I'm all for silliness, I watch sports after all, also a Monty Python fan, but I know when I'm being silly. There's also nothing wrong with righteous indignation IF the indignation is actually righteous, which is what I asked people to prove. Of course instead of even trying to establish righteous reasoning the people in question resort to calling others small minded, which is an insult.

The only real objection I can see to garbage time points, the one that makes the most sense, is they keep games that have gotten boring from ending. The people being insulted the most is the audience, especially if it's an early game because NFL rules prohibit switching over to the next game. More sports need an ability to tilt the king, but I guess performance based bonuses mean that'll never happen, and as long as there's no ability to admit it's over it's hard to object to people trying to score. We make them play to the final gun, they might as well PLAY to the final gun.

The problem with all the kid analogies is the sport is different at different levels. Kids play sports to learn about good effort, to learn to be good teammates, to get exercise, and other good healthy character building things. Exercises in character building should remain exercises in character building throughout. Adults play these games for paychecks, rather large paychecks at that, paychecks that are earned by entertainment to the masses. As long as they're getting paid to entertain they should entertain, and entertaining mean getting out there and trying hard and playing hard and if that means they put more points on the board then the other side should have been more entertaining.

It always boils down to none of this happening in a vacuum. Both teams have over $100 million dollars in salary on the field just in the guys wearing pads, it gets even scarier when you think of all the coaches. It's not group of guys making $100 million A fault that group B chose today to stink up the field. Both groups have people getting paid to put up points and to stop the other guys from putting up points, if group B isn't up to the task that's no reason for group A to stop earning their checks. Nobody thinks I should do less work just because all the companies competing with mine make crappy products with minuscule market shares. Why should Tom Brady stop trying to earn his paycheck just because the Redskins defensive line can't get within 10 feet of him after the snap?

by vis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:12pm

Ricky Davis. I think his fantasy owners were the only ones not offended.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:50pm

I just don't think you can truly believe everything you say Joe, though I don't know you and its unfair of me to suspect that of you. If I need to be the villain based on my small-minded insult, then so be it, though we could probably probe the differences between calling a person silly and calling his ideas silly for quite some time before finding a good distinction there.

Tom Brady earns his paycheck to win games and win championships. Despite what anyone at FO thinks, he is not paid to improve his DVOA. You can make all of the arguments you want about the valid strategic reasons for demoralizing opponents and protecting your team from nearly impossible tie-breakers, but I think Tom Brady had accomplished his job and earned his check on Sunday long before his final sneak and final toss.

Tom Brady is also paid to entertain people. Some people may be entertained by dominance, vindictive behavior, perfectionism, what have you. To paraphrase, I suspect this is only entertaining to Pats fans when the Pats are the team doing the dominating. I would agree with your fellow Steeler fan Mikey in saying I would be embarassed if my team won like that, or at least not proud of it later even if I got caught up in the moment or could later come up with rationalizations for it. Perhaps that means I'm in the minority on this board and in life and otherwise unfit to converse with the intelligent commentators that dominate these pages, so I'll shut up now.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:54pm

One last thought, before I slink off -- if you really think I offered nothing but insults and did not even try to "establish righteous reasoning" I don't think you read much of my posts.

by Matt (the Clemson one) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:39pm

So, it's classless to want an opposing player injured....ok. Can we still laugh at injuries during field goal celebrations? Ala Gramatica?

by sippican (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:52pm

However, the legions of New England “fans� that suddenly appeared over the past six years probably will, and there’s nothing I can do about that.

I watched the Boston Patriots on black and white TV when Lyndon Johnson was president.

Get off my lawn, sonny.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:53pm

By all means, there are people who have been Patriots fans for ages. They stuck with the team through its trainwreck of a Super Bowl against the 85 Bears, through those bumbling years prior to drafting Bledsoe. People like that are what make sports awesome.

I'm just saying there are also lot more people who became fans right around 2001-2003. I assumed you watched the Cowboys game. Did you see all those Patriots jerseys in Dallas? Since when are there Patriots fans in Dallas? I can tell you they definitely didn't exist back in, say, 1992.

by Greg (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:24pm

I've never been either a fan or a hater of the Patriots - as an NFC rooter, they were always kinda irrelevant to me, but I rooted for them when they were a team of scrappy underdogs facing the Rams, and I've admired their competence during the Belichick era. That said, I've come to despise them over the past few years in a way I haven't despised any team since the mid 90's Cowboys - what they're doing this year is pretty low-class, especially considering how they've taken every opportunity over the past five years or so to trumpet their "respect for the game" and what not in the media. The fact is, they're confirmed cheaters and poor sports, and the arguments being offered here in defense of them are absurd. You don't throw 40 yard bombs when you're up by 35 points with 6 minutes to go in the fourth quarter or hand the ball off on the goal line with 25 seconds left in a 30 point blowout unless you're trying to humiliate your opponent. Belichick comes off as a petty, loathsome bully of a human being, not just in on-field behavior of his team but also in the way he treats fans, other coaches, etc. Pats fans, I don't begrudge you rooting for your team, but realize that pretty much everyone who's not a fan has come to hate them, and will relish the chance to dance on their grave when they finally do falter - karma is a bitch like that.

From a player's perspective, it's not about some abstract logic or principle of fair play, or setting a good example for the kiddies, it's about the simple fact that the guy across from you has come out and given his all and bled on the same field as you have, and if the outcome is no longer in question, running up the score is disrespecting that shared bond. And in my experience, people who haven't played competitive sports DON'T understand this. When I played, we observed a code - if the other team tried to humiliate you, disrespected the bond, you made them pay.

Deliberately trying to injure is out - it's beyond the pale, I agree - but good, clean, hard hits are part of the game. If Belichick is going to keep ordering 4 WR shotgun formation bombs with big leads in the fourth quarter, opposing DC's should start ordering all-out blitz after all out-blitz and make sure Brady gets drilled in the ribs every time he sets up to throw long. Sure, you'll probably give up a touchdown or two, but that likely would have happened anyway, and it will make the Pats rethink whether padding their stats and running up the score is worth risking a concussion, broken ribs, etc. for their quarterback.

by StuAllen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:21am

101 - don't forget about Belichek having an affair with a married woman and destroying his family in the process. A real classy guy all around.

by StuAllen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:24am

...or Belichick. Jerk doesn't deserve to have his name spelled correctly

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 1:05am

I like running the score up. It is fun and I could care less, if you are looking for class in football you are looking in the wrong sport, as so these arguments are usually stupid. Your team is less classier! Oh yeah, back in 1999 your team did this! Who cares, you play to win the games.

But if Jason Campbell got hurt in a 52-0 game would Joe Gibbs get chewed out? Why keep a starter in if the game is out of reach, you are only risking injury? Complacent players are more likely to get hurt then ones that are playing hard (well I am not sure, but I have a feeling that is true).

Hell my favorite college team perhaps blew a chance for a SEC championship when it went deep on a 4th down play in the 4th quarter of a 31-3 beatdown against Florida. WR Protho horribly breaks his leg and is out forever. It sucks, but if we scored it would have been great. Thats the way life goes-I feel terrible for Protho though-great player.

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:13am

I foam at the mouth? REALLY? For someone putting down ad hominem attacks, you're sure good at dishing them out!

And I stand by what I said: Belichick is a failure of a human being, and running up the score is simply a small symptom. I don't see any other explanation. Belichick has accomplished so much, what else does he have to prove? The fact he feels he has to prove something shows he's insecure. The fact that a 3-time Super Bowl champ feels he has something to prove shows he's neurotic at best.

As I said, the only real point I'm making is that Belichick is an ass. Pats fans seem to take that personally... but no one has really disputed that statement yet :-D

by Greg (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 4:20am


Nobody is arguing that the Patriots should stop playing hard, just that they should stop the all-out "let's score as many points as possible" play-calling once they've gotten an insurmountable lead. And fact of the matter is, a simple run into the line is probably the least dangerous play in football as far as injury risk goes - throwing down the field entails equal or greater injury risk to every player on the field except the running back, and especially the quarterback.

Also, if you like running up the score in football, you've either never played the game or you're lacking class as a human being.

by sippican (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 11:08am

...Belichick is a failure of a human being
How's the weather in your mom's basement?

...you’ve either never played the game or you’re lacking class as a human being.
Karaoke ain't Carnegie Hall.

by Joe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:09pm

Offense sells tickets, always has. Chicks don't just dig the long ball in baseball. While it's true blowouts get boring, making them a bigger blowout doesn't make them more boring.

I wouldn't be embarrassed if my team was capable of stomping all over the league like the Pats are. Realistically I doubt anybody would be, maybe you'd feel a little guilt at the pleasure but no matter how you slice it having your team completely own the field for a significant chunk of the season would be fun. In beer time discussions we're always telling each other that our team is going to destroy the other guys team, well this year every drunken Pats fan has been right. Who doesn't like being right.

And no Matt I don't think you offered nothing but insults. Problem is once you throw in an insult it invalidates everything else.

And Mikey I think you're just late to the party. I accepted Belichick was an ass years ago, all you have to do is watch interviews with him. Actually NFL coaches in this modern era of obsessive game planning are asses. But because I don't have personal interaction with him I don't care. I watch his team play football, I am impressed and entertained by how his team plays football, I really don't care what he does with the rest of his time. Same goes for everybody else in the various sections of the entertainment industry that I find entertaining, don't care what they're like as people because I'm never going to know them as people, as far as I'm concerned they're dancing bears and my primary concern is how well they dance.

by Greg (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 9:09pm

Karaoke ain’t Carnegie Hall.

Quite presumptious of you to assume you know at what level I played, friend. For the record, I played 8 years and had the opportunity to play division one but decided to go somewhere where I could focus on studying instead. I played with and against a several future NFL players, among others, Matt Schaub, whom I once sacked. That's not the same as making it to the NFL myself, granted, but it's a lot more real than Madden and Fantasy Football, which is what I would guess is the sum of the actual football experience of most people on this board.

I wouldn’t be embarrassed if my team was capable of stomping all over the league like the Pats are. Realistically I doubt anybody would be, maybe you’d feel a little guilt at the pleasure but no matter how you slice it having your team completely own the field for a significant chunk of the season would be fun. In beer time discussions we’re always telling each other that our team is going to destroy the other guys team, well this year every drunken Pats fan has been right. Who doesn’t like being right.

I wouldn't be embarrassed about dominating, but I WOULD be embarrased about being an ass in doing so. I'm an Eagles fan, and I was embarrassed when T.O. did his stupid dance mocking Ray Lewis a few years back. There are actually some people who like the teams they root for to play with a bit of class, even if you're not one of them. As for the drunken Pats fans, nobody's saying they're not entitled to talk - we're just saying they're assholes for doing it. And if you wanna talk trash about your team leaving the starters in to score meaningless touchdowns in a 48 point blowout, you ARE an asshole in my book. If you can't take the heat you're going to get for that, don't whine about being judged, shut your mouth. And don't be surprised when other people take pleasure in rubbing it in your face if the Pats lose.

And no Matt I don’t think you offered nothing but insults. Problem is once you throw in an insult it invalidates everything else.

So I guess I'm entitled to disregard everything in every post you've made because you insulted me (ignorantly, to boot)? It seems like you're a wee bit sensitive. Belichick is an asshole. His team got caught cheating, and has displayed consistently poor sportsmanship this year. If those things don't bother you, fine, but don't act offended when other people hate on your team for them. That's our right as fans.

by sippican (not verified) :: Thu, 11/01/2007 - 11:36am

My bad. I had no idea you didn't even make it as far as Karaoke.

Money is on the table in the NFL.

by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 11/01/2007 - 3:07pm

109 - I think you are angry at and conflating different posters.

Joe -- one insult invalidates everything else? Really? That's a rule of logic with which I had been unacquainted, but I shall remember it from now on.

"Sorry Matt I haven’t insulted anyone, at least nobody in the threads (there are a couple of football players I’ve insulted in this, but screw them they should play better football and not whine so much)."

So everything else you've said is invalid, correct? Or is it only insults to someone's face that have this power to negate all else, while insults behind someone's back are logically valid?

Really, I don't mean to be petty about all of this (despite any appearance to the contrary), and I am truly sorry that you were so offended by my insult; but I think you've tried to get a bit too much mileage out of it.

by Greg (not verified) :: Fri, 11/02/2007 - 9:27am

110 - That insult wasn't very clever the first time. Repeating it just shows a lack of imagination. How much football have you play, by the way?
Just because they get paid to play doesn't mean they shouldn't act with class.

111- you're correct - in my haste I overlooked the fact that it was sippican who was insulting me and Joe suggesting that insults negate everything else one says. My apologies to the latter, though I agree with you that to say someone saying something mildly insulting completely invalidates the logic of what they say is, uh, questionable.

by sippican (not verified) :: Fri, 11/02/2007 - 2:33pm

This is in danger of becoming the least interesting conversation in the world.

I did not insult you. I pointed out that you had insulted others. That's different.

Calling people "bad people" because your fantasy football team is blown all to hell is infantile. And thinking that playing amateur athletics is anything like playing professional athletics is nonsense. And your experience is not very uncommon. Saying you touched a professional athlete once makes you an expert is kinda silly. There are probably thousands of people reading this website who could trump it. So what? All it means is that you're qualified to sit in the stands like everybody else --man, woman, child, handicapped, whatever.

It's kind of depressing to see people stand on their heads to find reasons to hate the Pats, simply because they are demonstrating excellence. Hating excellence is... poor sportmanship.

They are excellent. Deal with it.

by Greg (not verified) :: Fri, 11/02/2007 - 10:44pm

Sippican, where did I insult anyone, other than Belichick, who I assure you can take it? As for fantasy football, I don't play it and never have - I've always found the real thing much more appealing. I called BB a bad person because of the way he treats others, the way he coaches his team, and the way he wantonly broke the rules of the NFL, as I've spelled out ad nauseam in my previous comments.

I played organized football from junior high school through college, at a fairly high level. I'd wager, as I said, that that's a LOT more experience than most people on this board have, despite your claims to the contrary. You know why? Because of the football fans I know, and I know quite a few, I am by far the one who actually has the most experience with the real game. Most of the guys I know didn't even play in high school, or if they did, never made it beyond JV.

While there are differences between amateur and pro sports to be sure, the fact that so many PROFESSIONALS agree with me about the nature of the Pats' conduct this year leads me to believe that a different expectation as far as good sportsmanship is not among them. And sorry, but having played the game extensively DOES give me more standing to comment on the unwritten rules of it as I observed them than somebody who never came closer to the field than holding a PS2 controller.

There is no denying that the Pats are an excellent football team, maybe the most excellent of all time. You'd have to be blind not to realize that. But that has absolutely nothing to do with why I personally have come to hate them. They've been an excellent team for years and I never hated them before now, even when the beat the team I root for in the Super Bowl. I've always felt respect and a tinge of envy toward them up until now. I've come to hate them this year for three reasons - 1.)they GOT CAUGHT CHEATING, 2.)they appear to be attempting to embarrass their opponents, and 3.)their coach has done enough to prove himself in my judgment a major asshole. Yeah, if they win, and they look they will, I will "deal with it", whatever that means. But if they don't, I will definitely enjoy the schaudenfreude, and every gloating, abrasive Patriots fan I know (which is not every Patriots fan I know - though you'd certainly qualify if I actually knew you) is going to get abuse for it. What I find depressing is how quickly many Patriots fans have gone from likeable, long-suffering, and grateful for what they've got to utterly insufferable. If you can't deal with being hated, don't revel so much in playing the role of the villain.