The 2008 New England Patriots: A 'Day After' Review
For those that say an NFL team is paid to "run up the score" or "play 60 minutes" or however you want to translate it, that shows that they haven't been on the opposite end of the spectrum in quite the way the Pats performed the feat the first half of the season.
You can play 60 minutes, but in lieu of hitting Randy Moss on a deep ball, run the ball and drain the clock.
When a team is up by 20 or so points in the 4th quarter, they should never go for in on 4th down unless they're in-between field goal and punting range, but even that's rare. How ironic that that same 4th down arrogance may have cost the Pats the Super Bowl.
Quite honestly, I couldn't care less who won the game. I have Pats friends and I have Giants friends, and no football allegiances to either side. To some extent, I would have liked the Patriots to take away the "only perfect season" title that Dolphin fans wave about when it's obvious they have nothing else.
However, after hearing Tom Brady buy into the offensive supremacy by calling out Plaxico's prediction (albeit he's not off the hook for pulling that, in my opinion) and then shunning Eli, I began to ask, "Do these Patriots players deserve it?" Belichick leaving the field early, as Moss was harshly criticized by the media for a few years ago forced me to have no sympathy for the Patriots at all. Then I remembered Rodney Harrison mocking the Eagle taunt in that Super Bowl.
As "classy" as the Patriots have been called at times, I can cite just as many examples of the opposite, and when it comes down to it, I can't root for a team that excuses disrespect, classlessness and anything of the sort. It's like they have a rule: if you taunt in any way, or call us out, we're allowed to do it back when we win, but we can do it back tenfold.
Sorry guys, that's not being the bigger person at all, that's being the spoiled kid who has his dad get the twelve speed bike when the neighbor's kid gets a ten speed bike.
By leaving the Pro Bowl, Randy Moss demonstrated a juvenile attitude, because at least Tom Brady can say he's had an ankle injury all along. But what I really think it is is the shame of confronting their NFL peers, peers they've run up scores against and basically condscended all year.
Do you think Terrell Owens wants to hear Tom Brady cite his bad ankle for poor performance in the Super Bowl? What about Torry Holt? Any chance during warm ups he wants Moss to chirp about how lucky the Giants were?
Didn't think so.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the Patriots, for the most part, are as liked in the NFL Players community as they are in the NFL Fan community.
Yes, the Patriots have as bright a future as anyone in the league, Moss is apparently willing to take a rather large paycut to stay. If his bowing out of the Pro Bowl is any indication, Moss is willing to follow Brady to the ends of the Earth. The Patriots still have a top 10 draft pick that they're probably going to use to draft Mike Jenkins of USF to replace Asante Samuel when he takes his rings and packs his bags for the highest bidder.
But then what? Patriots fans will have to live with the bed Belichick made for them when he got caught at the start of the season. Pending the investigation of Senator Specter, Patriots fans will either be eating crow, making excuses or rubbing it in all of our faces.
I reserve the right to be as angry as anyone if they are indeed guilty of using tape illegally to win Super Bowls. Because, let's face it, if you're going to cheat against a poor Jets team, weak Packers team or sucky Lions team, why on earth wouldn't you do it in a Super Bowl?
Ellis Hobbs, the same man burned by Plaxico Burress for the winning score in superbowl XLII, says in that article: "We put too many hours in as individuals and a team to have to go out and cheat," he said. "If it's true, obviously, we're in the wrong. But I'm standing behind my team, my coaches. I don't think we do that stuff."
I don't disagree with him with the fact that the team may have put in all that work, and that the players, as individuals, worked hard but it's the infamous half-time adjustments of Bill Belichick, especially on defense, that are being called into question. Any pro quarterback will tell you that if you know what defense is called, you can look like the best ever.
And, if the Patriots did indeed cheat on defense, why not on offense? This year's edition of the efficient Brady offense just simply "out-talented" the opposition, but in years past, Brady could have just as easily identified a defensive call that Belichick tipped him off about and exploited that as he could have made an excellent read and zipped the ball between the zones for a touchdown.
Simply put, it's all called into question. My argument is riddled with if's and but's, but the one clinching factor I'll support my argument with is the statement given by a member of the NFL's competition committee, also used in the previously cited article, "It's not their first time."
Congratulations to the Giants for pulling the upset of upsets. Congratulations to the Patriots for being the most dominant offense through 18 games ever, as well as the most dominant team ever.
But those bitter Patriots fans that somehow still feel "cheated" that they lost, yes, losing sucks, but everyone does it, and it stings more because you bought into having "The QB that doesn't lose the big game" and "The best coach in playoff history".
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