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Archive for the 'Intense hatred' Category

Patriots Rant: The Second Half

16th January 2007

Yesterday, I went on a big anti-Patriots rant. Today I'll conclude it, by looking at the Pats from 2003-2006. Once again, here's the official PFR Warning from Doug:

I’ve got a busy week ahead, so Chase will be taking over for some/most of the upcoming week.

Chase hates the Patriots.

Chase really, really hates the Patriots.

He has been ordered to use the “rant” categorization instead of trying to pretend like he’s doing honest analysis. management — which also hates the Patriots, but only the normal amount — will not be held responsible for anything he might say.

While Doug and I enjoy providing logical and dispassionate analysis nearly every day, I think it's probably good to show that at heart we're both sports fans, and therefore capable of intense and maybe even irrational hate. Anyway, let's start off at the beginning of the 2003 season...

The Pats can't reach an agreement with Lawyer Milloy, and cut him right before the first game. A Boston Globe columnist writes that "Bill Belichick is pond scum again. Arrogant, megalomaniacal, duplicitous pond scum." The Pats then lose their opening game to the Bills 31-0, and Tom Jackson remarks that Bill Belichick has lost his team. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the Patriots would then win 23 of their next 24 games, and 35 of 38 games, and hoist two Lombardi trophies in the process.

So why did the Pats do that? Well because Tom Brady is the best QB ever! At least that's the response you get from Patriots fans, who routinely play up this "we're a great team, we're morally superior to everyone else" and just flat out don't recognize the boatloads of talent on the roster. That 2004 team in particular was stacked. And without a doubt, Belichick did an incredible job coaching the past these last few years.

But let's start with Brady, who I now hate much much more than Peyton Manning. Brady supporters always start their arguments with the number three (which hopefully stays that way forever), but then soon move to "1". As in Tom Brady led the league in TDs in 2002, so he could compile big time stats if he wanted to. While it's true that Brady led the league in TDs that year, it's also true that his 28 TDs were the second fewest to lead the league since the 1982 strike-shortened season. But every Brady conversation inevitably becomes a Brady v. Manning debate, and for the sake of my own sanity, I've been forced to become a big time Peyton Manning backer.

Let's go to the numbers. Obviously Manning just obliterates Brady in the totals (16,000 more yards, 128 more TDs), so let's look at the averages.

For his career, Brady has an 88.4 QB Rating, has averaged 6.37 adjusted yards per attempt, completed 61.9% of his passes, averaged 7.0 yards per attempt, and owns a 1.88 TD/INT ratio. Manning has a 94.4 QB Rating, has averaged 6.97 adjusted yards per attempt, completed 64.0 % of his passes, averaged 7.7 yards per attempt, and owns a 1.98 TD/INT ratio. That's not very close.

But some Brady supporters admit he wasn't that good in his first year, and think we should just compare the two when they started becoming stars. Over the last five years -- i.e., starting when Brady led the NFL in TDs -- how do Brady and Manning compare to their contemporaries?

Fourteen QBs have attempted 2,000 passes since 2002. Manning laps the field, averaging 7.58 AY/A, while the number two QB (Trent Green) averaged 7.07 AY/A. Marc Bulger's third, Matt Hasselbeck's fourth, and Tom Brady's fifth. Drew Brees and Steve McNair aren't far behind, either. Donovan McNabb (1,972 attempts) is right behind Trent Green, and Daunte Culpepper (1,895 attempts) is ahead of Brady as well. If you lower the limit even more, Ben Roethlisberger (1,032 attempts), Carson Palmer (1,461) and even Rich Gannon (907) pass Brady.

In other words, if we never watched a game of post-season play, we'd say that Peyton Manning is well ahead of everyone else, Trent Green and Dononvan McNabb are on the next level of passers (and of course McNabb's a better QB than a passer), and there's a big group with Bulger, Hasselbeck, Brady, Brees, McNair, Culpepper, Palmer, Gannon and Roethlisberger for the best QBs of this era.

But of course we do watch playoff football, where Tom Brady becomes...well, I'll let you decide. Brady's career playoff adjusted yards per attempt ratio? 6.23. Career playoff QB rating? 86.8. Average unadjusted yards per attempt? 6.60. Completion percentage? 60.6%. I won't make you scroll up....EVERY ONE OF THOSE NUMBERS ARE LOWER THAN HIS CAREER REGULAR SEASON AVERAGES. Brady doesn't turn from Drew Brees and Matt Hasselbeck into Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas in the post-season, he turns into a slightly less effective version of himself.

Yet Patriots fans think he will end his career as The Best QB of All Time. Which I find pretty interesting, considering you'd be hard pressed to point to a single great season Brady has had. Maybe you remember this summer, when I looked at the best QBs of all time in both a single season and for a career. Here are Brady's ranks:

Year Rank
2005 85th best of all time
2004 182nd best of all time
2003 231st best of all time
2001 480th best of all time

Not a very inspiring list, is it? You may notice that I left out Brady's 2002 season. That's because he averaged 5.68 adjusted yards per pass that year, which was below the league average. So in his one "record-breaking" season, Brady finished below the league average for QBs in the single most important statistic. That might have something to do with New England missing the playoffs that year.

So can Brady really be considered among the all-time greats when he his best years weren't even very good? Six Steve Young seasons rank above Brady's best year, as do five Peyton Manning years, four Roger Staubach years, three Joe Montana years (along with many others), and even a Ken O'Brien, Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington year!

Brady's got just one season among the top 180 of all time. Steve Young, Joe Montana, Dan Fouts and Roger Staubach all have seven in the top 180. Marino has six, and Ken Anderson, Fran Tarkenton, Trent Green and Peyton Manning all have five (I'd imagine Manning's 2006 season would also get there, but I haven't run the numbers for this year just yet). Really, Brady has little to go on other than his post-season success. For his career (pre-2006), Brady ranks as the 27th best regular season QB of all-time, mostly because he hasn't hurt himself with any bad years yet. But I think you'd be hard pressed to look at his numbers alone and call him anything more than a very good QB. (And his playoff numbers are worse than his regular season numbers).

Anyway, that felt much better. Let's go back in the timeline now. The Pats are obliterating everyone they face in 2003, and lead the league in points allowed that year. In particular, New England's incredible against the pass, leading the league in yards per attempt allowed, TDs allowed, and interceptions. Even this year's Ravens couldn't do that. So if you want to start giving credit for a 14-2 season, that's the first place you should look.

Now I was out of the country in January 2004, so I couldn't see the 2003 playoffs. New England beat Tennessee 17-14, after Brady led New England on a 13 yard drive to kick the eventual game winning field goal. That's not a 13 play drive, but a 13 yard drive. Patriots supporters would say "Brady did enough to win", but they needed a 46 yard kick from Vinatieri to win that game, hardly a gimme. Especially since The Most Clutch Playoff Kicker to Ever Miss Two Chip Shots in the Super Bowl had missed from 44 yards earlier. As it was, the kick from 46 just made it over the cross-bar. (Yes, I'm well aware this is Vinatieri's patented move these days, and I sure hope he can do it again this weekend.)

From what I've read, Drew Bennett dropped a 4th down catch in the game's final minute that could have given Tennessee a great chance to tie the game. Maybe Brady's aura made his hands go numb. Brady threw for 201 yards on 41 passes, so this certainly was not his finest day. But the defense won it for the Pats, as a Rodney Harrison INT set up their critical TD.

We move to the AFC Championship game, where the Colts fell the Pats, 24-14. This it the Ty Law game, where Law intercepted three Manning passes. The Pats D was the story of the day, with 4 sacks and 4 INTs and a fumble recovery. The Colts defense wasn't very good that year, but it did allow only one TD to the Pats. Brady played an alright game, but threw an INT at the Colts goal-line, which is inexcusable for any QB not named Brady. The Pats got a safety and five FGs, in part because Brady averaged just 5.46 AY/A. It's no secret who the hero of this game was. And because I didn't see the game, I won't comment on the Patriots' alleged mugging of the Colts receivers.

So Tom Brady's 5-0, after being incredibly lucky in the first three playoff games, and having an incredible defense in the last two. Now comes the Super Bowl, where even I'll admit Brady played an excellent game. He threw for 354 yards and 3 TDs, although to be fair that come on a whopping 48 attempts and he did throw an INT. It wasn't one of the top ten Super Bowl stat lines of all time by a QB, and it wasn't even the best by a QB that day. Jake Delhomme ate up The Genius' D by throwing for 323 yards on 15 fewer passes, and had 3 TDs and zero INTs.

Adam Vinatieri missed two FGs that day, from 31 and 36 yards out. If the Panthers get a 2 point conversion, that game probably goes to overtime. Certainly Brady deserves credit for the W, but I'm not going to gush over him about it.

In 2004, the Pats were good. Scary good. This is an all-time great team, for sure. And just so we don't forget, Brady had an absolutely miserable game on Monday Night Football against the Fins (maybe the national TV audience pressure got to him), including one of the worst INTs I've ever seen. But because it's Brady, we shrug that off. Unfortunately, that game's the only thing I've got on the Pats all year, outside of getting creamed by the Steelers in mid-season.

In the playoffs, the defense was the story again, holding the Colts to just three points. That might have been the best game plan I've ever seen by a coach, so big props to BB for that one. That Colts defense was absolutely terrible, though, and Brady only passed for 144 yards and 1 TD on 27 passes. The Colts were mauled by Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk (34 carries, 200 yards) but still didn't put many points on the board.

Brady played well in the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, but the story was again the defense. The Pats had a defensive score and forced four turnovers, and completely overwhelmed Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Tom Terrific threw for 207 yards and two scores.

In the Super Bowl, Brady was again very good, throwing for 236 yards and two TDs. The defense forced four turnovers though, and completely shut down the Eagles running game (Brian Westbrook had 15 carries for 44 yards). A great win by the team, but the defense was again the silent hero.

After this year, the Pats suffered a lot of losses, and 2005 wasn't a great season by New England standards. Having to hear all the "Well now it's the playoffs" talk by Pats fans was pretty sickening, but fortunately there's a happy ending. The Pats blew out the Jaguars, who like they do seemingly every other week, decided not to show up. The Pats got an INT returned for a TD and allowed only 3 points, and the Patriots offense amazingly recovered all four of their fumbles.

And then in Denver last year, the Brady/Belichick magical joyride came to an end. Brady was picked off at the goal line again, but this time Champ Bailey ran it back for a TD. Brady threw two picks, and his team scored just thirteen points. Six net points in a road playoff game certainly isn't very awe inspiring.

This is getting long-winded, even for me. I'm gonna cut things short here and just add a few quick points.

The game Sunday was awful to watch, as the Chargers just gave the Pats the game. As a wise man in red once said, they let them off the hook. Tom Brady's luck never ceases to amaze me. On third down he gets hit, sacked and fumbles, and if it's any other QB it's returned for a TD. Instead his lineman recovers, the Chargers got an Unnecessary Roughness penalty, and New England has a first down. Brady throws an INT, it's returned and fumbled. These things just don't normally happen. Sure handed Eric Parker drops a ton of balls, and can't hold on to a punt. If Vincent Jackson learns how to drag his toe, the Pats lose. If Marty doesn't waste a timeout on the challenge, the Pats probably lose. If anyone on the Chargers can catch a ball, the Pats lose. Brady should have been picked off five or six times, but every single bounce broke the Pats way. It was like watching the 2001 AFC Championship Game all over again.

So now we get Colts-Pats, with the premiere QB of our time against the man people think is the premiere QB of our time. What do us Pats-haters/Colts-fans have to hang our hats on?

In 2001, the Pats swept the Colts in the regular season, winning two blowouts. In 2002, the teams didn't play. In 2003, the Colts lost to the Pats at home and then lost in the playoffs on the road. In 2004, the the Colts lost to the Pats on the road, and then lost to the Pats at home.

To recap, the Colts are now 0-6 against the Patriots, including three games in Indianapolis. The Colts stunk against NE in the regular season, and stunk against NE in the playoffs. There's no playoff curse at work here.

The Pats had a good amount of turnover since then. And guess what? In 2005, the Colts beat the Patriots in Foxboro. In 2006, the Colts beat the Patriots in Foxboro. The Colts have no reason to be afraid of playing New England in the RCA Dome.

If history holds, the team that won in the regular season would win in the playoffs. From 2001-2004, the Pats were always the better team, and that's why they won. In 2005, the Colts were clearly the better team, and they won. This year, I think the Colts were the better team at the time they played, although I think NE might have been the better team this year.

But there's little reason to think "Manning against the Patriots in the playoffs" scares the Colts at all, unless the Pats are bringing back Romeo Crennell, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Joe Andruzzi, Deion Branch, David Givens, Ted Johnson, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, David Patten and Adam Vinatieri. The true hero in all those old games was the defense, and hopefully this game being indoors will be the ticket Peyton Manning needs to get to the Super Bowl.

Posted in Intense hatred, Rant | 56 Comments »

Patriots Rant

15th January 2007

Warning: You should check this post first.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm going to go on a Patriots rant. This might become a two day rant. I'll probably be jumping around from topic to topic incoherently. Artistic writing this will not be. Maybe Wednesday I'll try to explain why the Colts are going to beat the Patriots on Sunday (I hope). But for now, this is just a rant. This is what happens after watching another Patriots playoff win. I normally try and ground my posts in well thought out objective analysis (whether I succeed is another matter), but I'll mince no words here. I hate the Patriots. A lot. For a million reasons. It's incredibly frustrating watching them win in the playoffs, and this is my current form of therapy.

Let's get into it. I'm going to give a Green spin on all of this because I feel like it. If you're partial to the Patriots, you might as well stop reading here. I imagine this is what Yankees haters felt like in the late 90s, only those Yankees were actually really good teams.

January 1997: You may remember this one. The Patriots were headed to the Super Bowl (yes, the Patriots won games before Tom Brady arrived, shocking I know), but Bill Parcells was heavily rumored to be the next Jets head coach. Patriots fans rightly blame Parcells for not having putting 100% of his mind into the Super Bowl, because owner Robert Kraft never makes a mistake.

February 1997: The Jets have the first pick in the draft, and Kraft won't give up Parcells for anything less than that. So the Jets hired Parcells to be the team consultant (a position above head coach, and therefore Parcells could leave New England for that role without compensation) and hired Parcells' defensive coordinator in New England to be the Jets new head coach. Because Bill Belichick was getting upgraded from assistant to coach, viola, the Jets got their men and the only casualty was the spirit, and not the letter, of the league rule. The Jets opened acknowledged that Parcells would be the head coach the following season. I can't defend this action on many moral grounds here, so let's just move on.

Parcells then signed a six year deal as Consultant/Chief of Football Operations, including four of the years in the contract with him designated as head coach. Parcells said that "I will coach a minimum of four years and hopefully more. I wanted to make sure they knew I was here for the long haul." He coached three years and then retired, never to be heard from again.

The Patriots and Jets would finally broker a deal to let Parcells coach the Jets in 1997. New England received the Jets 3rd (Sedrick Shaw) and 4th (Damon Denson) round picks in 1997, a 2nd in 1998 (Rod Rutledge) and a 1st in 1999 (Andy Katzenmoyer). Suffice it to say, I don't think those picks worked out well for New England. They also traded a first and a third in 1998 for Curtis Martin, which became Robert Edwards and Chris Floyd.

The Patriots ended up signing former Jets HC Pete Carroll to be their new HC. Why didn't Kraft go after Belichick?

I had plans to talk to Bill Belichick about coaching. But Parcells's departure had created such a whirlwind, a storm, and I couldn't talk to his people. We were just left in such turmoil and uncertainty, and I knew that Parcells would be taking the staff with him. We thought it was better to start fresh.

Anyway, we'll move on past this, but one note must be addressed. Remember that number one pick in 1997? Well, it was supposed to be Peyton Manning. But he pulled a reverse Eli Manning, and chose to not go to New York, and instead return to Tennessee for his senior year. The Jets ended up trading the pick to the Rams, who drafted Orlando Pace. This led me to hating Manning more than anyone in the world right up until...well, just keep reading.

So why do I keep harping on all this stuff from 1997? Because in the contracts Belichick and Parcells signed, it called for Belichick to take over as head coach when Parcells stepped down. But after the 1999 season ended, the Patriots wanted Belichick to be their new HC. Parcells had one year left on his contract, but felt very loyal to the late Leon Hess, the Jets owner that had died several months before. Parcells did not want to let Belichick go now, coach the Jets for one more year and retire, and then leave the Jets without either Bill. So on January 3rd, 2000, Bill Parcells stepped down as head coach, and Belichick took over as Jets head coach.

So what did the classy (I'm with you Mr. Tomlinson) Belichick do? Said nothing, as the Jets set up a press conference to announce him to be their new head coach. And as he stepped to the podium...well I'll let the newspaper take it from here.

He returned to his office and scribbled out a resignation that he delivered to [Jets President Steve] Gutman five minutes before the news conference.

"Due to the various uncertainties surrounding my position as it relates to the team's new ownership," it started, "I have decided to resign as the HC of the N.Y. Jets."

Defensive line coach Romeo Crennell, what do you have to say?

"Bill walked past and said, 'I'm going to resign,' " Crennel said. "That was a shock."

Ok, but Bill, a handwritten resignation note? Are you serious? How can that be?

"I don't know how to use a computer."

Yes folks, the most intelligent person of all time can't turn on a computer.

But fine, who cares what these suits have to say anyway. What did Belichick say to the team?

"I thought it was weird that after Coach Parcells retired, that Coach Belichick didn't at least address the team," [Offensive Tackle Jason] Fabini said. "After Parcells said what he had to say and left the room, there was a lull of 10 or 15 seconds. We're waiting for Coach Belichick to come in and address us, and tell us something, which was sort of weird, you know. After a while, we just got up and left."

The next day, Fabini was in the trainer's room watching television and what he thought was going to be Belichick's first public comment as the new coach. Instead, Belichick resigned. "I called Jumbo," said Fabini, speaking of teammate Jumbo Elliott. "He didn't know what was going on. He thought I was lying to him. I said, 'John, have you turned on the TV at all?' "

Ok, that's just the players. They don't sign your contract, right Bill! What about the owner, the late Leon Hess?

Shortly after the AFC title-game loss (where Belichick's defense allowed 23 points in the second half), Belichick received a $ 1-million bonus from Hess to remain with the team, dismissing overtures from the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears, among others.

Oh. So a dying man's wish for you to remain the team + 10,000 Ben Franklins isn't worth much. Perfectly understandable. What about the thoughts of your mentor, Bill Parcells?

Belichick's excuse about things changing with the death of Mr. Leon Hess was weak. Mr. Hess had been dead for seven months. The potential buyers of the Jets were all told by Goldman, Sachs that Belichick, by contract, would automatically be the next coach as soon as I stepped down. I don't know how you can take a million dollars bonus to stay another year to become the head coach and then walk out on the job . . . He tried to tell me after 18 years of being with me, he felt I owed him that opportunity to coach New England if that is what he wanted to do. I wasn't going to do that."

So the Jets have a new owner for the first time since 1963, their head coach retired, their replacement head coached bolted town, and their star wide receiver was traded to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Things looked terrible for the Jets, but a draft with Chad Pennington, John Abraham, Shaun Ellis and Laveranues Coles would help keep the Jets afloat. The Jets had a winning record in 2000, and swept the Patriots and their new HC (nice defense Bill, allowing 2 fourth quarter TDs in a 20-19 loss, and allowing 34 points in the second meeting), and the Pats were 5-11. All was right in the world.

Then the new Jets HC became the old Jets HC, as Al Groh resigned after just one year. But the Jets hired Herm Edwards, who seemed pretty good, and was bringing in some smart assistants. Everything will be fine, I'm sure. In 2001, the Jets started off 1-0, the Pats started off 0-1, and the Jets were winning 10-3 in the Patriots home opener in week 2. The Jets were on track to win the division, and the Pats were on track to get the first pick in the draft. All is good. Let's just wrap up that final quarter...

Bledsoe was knocked out of the game by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis in the fourth quarter of the Jets' 10-3 victory. Bledsoe, who has missed just 6 of 130 games in nine years in the N.F.L., was hurt on third-and-10 from his 19 with about five minutes left. He ran around right end for an 8-yard gain before being hit hard by Lewis in front of the Patriots' bench.

Bledsoe stayed on the ground for about two minutes. He returned for the next possession, but Tom Brady played the final series, with the Patriots needing to score a touchdown to tie or go ahead. Brady was 5 for 10 for 46 yards and led New England to the Jets' 29 before he threw four incompletions to end the game. Brady, who leapfrogged over the more experienced Damon Huard in training camp to be the No. 2 quarterback, will start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Hmm. Some guy named Brady against the Colts? That doesn't sound very good, does it? What's your prediction ?

COLTS (2-0) at PATRIOTS (0-2) Sunday, 1 p.m. Even with QB Drew Bledsoe, the Patsies would have had little chance here. With him out at least two weeks, their slogan becomes "Going Belly Up With Belichick." This one looks too easy. The Colts' offense has shredded the Jets and Bills, allowing a second-rate (at best) defense to slide by. The soft 'D' will catch up with Indy in January, but not this week. Bledsoe's sub, Tom Brady, wasn't even that good at Michigan, and his line and running game are poor. Although the Colts lost in Foxboro last year, a repeat would be stunning. Peyton Manning names the score. The pick: Colts.

Amazingly enough, Brady's whole career is a microcosm of his first game. The underdog Patriots beat the Colts, 44-13. And Brady gets the credit...while throwing 13/23, 168 yards and no scores.

I've documented why I hate Bill Belichick. I hate Tom Brady just as much, but for an entirely different reason. The best sports comparison is probably how Red Sox fans feel about Derek Jeter. Brady is put up on a pedastal like he's the greatest QB in the history of the world, and that he can do no wrong. This is what really, really bugs me. His supporters like to say Tom Terrific can never lose a big game, but when the Jets knocked the Pats out of the playoffs in December 2002, Patriots fans said it wasn't a playoff game so Brady is still immortal. Yes, once Brady knows it's a playoff game, he becomes superman and can't lose! Until the Broncos game last year. That was a bummer.

But still, 12-1 all time in the playoffs! This guy is incredible! And then he goes out and throws three INTs against the Chargers, and absolutely should have thrown at least five. The only people with worse hands in the stadium than the Chargers DBs were the Chargers WRs. How in the world does Brady get the credit for that win? I started seeing the signs already, people saying how Brady led them to that victory. The Chargers absolutely gave that game away, and yet Brady supporters will point to that 13-1 record as if Brady should be sainted.

It's the combination of Belichick/Brady/playoff smugness that Pats fans have that is incredibly frustrating. I told one of my Patriots fans friends how the Pats were very lucky to win that game and were outplayed. He agreed, but said the Pats kept their composure but the Chargers didn't, and in a close game the better coached team won. Sure, the Pats kept their when the ref didn't notice one of the Pats DBs (I think Ellis Hobbs) throw a punch after a play yesterday. These mythical reasons why the Pats win is infuriating. And to make matters worse, hearing any talking head discuss the Pats is sickening. Did you hear Jim Nantz in the booth? I couldn't tell if he had been replaced by Tom Brady's father at one point. And of course he quickly brushed off the Hobbs punch and went on to something else. We can't shatter the image of the Pats being holier than thou.

I hear Pats fans complain all week about Shawne "steroid" Merriman. Last time I checked, the Patriots punter was a known steroid user. But Pats fans like to sweep that under the rug and say "Bill Belichick would never put up with a showboat cheat like Merriman."

Anyway, let's get back to Brady.

In the 2001 regular season, Brady did pretty well, and very well for a second year player. Cool. He wasn't one of the top 10 QBs in the league, but no one thought he was. Then the playoffs came. And the tuck rule came.

I remember exactly where I was when I saw that play unfold. Up until that point, the Jets, Dolphins and Pats had long been battling for AFC East supremacy. All three teams had made the playoffs in recent years, and all three were usually in the region between good and great. I remember watching Charles Woodson celebrate the 4th down incompletion, wave his towel on the sidelines...and then see the call get overturned. And I remember getting a feeling that the Pats were going to win the SB because of this. I quickly brushed it off and said no way, this team just isn't that good. Then the clutchest playoff kicker to ever miss two chip shot FGs in a Super Bowl comes in and wins the game for the Pats. Ugh.

Somehow, Brady became the story line. He averaged 6.00 yards per attempt, and had 0 TDs and 1 INT in the game. That's not a good game. Yes, I know it was snowing, but let's not make a game with zero TDs and one interception (and another should be fumble) into a good game.

But whatever, there's a little undeserved Brady hype. No big deal. The Steelers should romp the Pats, right? Well let's just go to the game recap...

On fourth-and-6 from his own 13, Pittsburgh's Josh Miller punted the ball to the Patriots' 23 -- 64 yards after it skittered behind Brown. But Pittsburgh's Troy Edwards was called for illegal procedure for stepping out of bounds and coming back in. So the Steelers had to rekick.

Cowher said the officials lined up the ball on the wrong hashmark when they respotted it after the penalty. He said that was one reason Brown punted the ball down the middle. "In my mind that's inexcusable," Cowher said. Brown took the ball back down the middle in the other direction for a 55-yard touchdown return that made it 7-0 with 3:42 left in the first period.

OK, so the Patriots get a big break, what's new. Anything else crazy happen?

Early in the second half, the Steelers moved from their own 32 to the New England 16, where they lined up for a field goal. But Brandon Mitchell blocked it, Troy Brown picked up the ball at the 40 and ran 11 yards before lateraling to Antwan Harris, who took it 49 yards for the score that made it 21-3.

Ok, so two kick returns for TDs go a long way. How'd Brady do? He was 12/18 for 115 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. Brady got hurt in the first half, and Drew Bledsoe came in and led the Pats to their only offensive TD and a FG, which means Brady wasn't responsible for any of the 24 points scored by the Pats that day.

Up comes the Super Bowl....that's where Brady becomes Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas, but better, right? Brady averaged 5.37 yards per attempt that day, in a largely nondescript performance. The Pats had an INT returned for a TD by Ty Law, and an INT returned for 30 yards that set up a FG. In the 4th quarter, with the Rams coming back from their three turnover day, Brady's Pats went 3 and out twice in the final ten minutes. Finally, New England got the ball back where Brady led "THE DRIVE". Right?

Starting on the Patriots' own 17-yard line with 1:21 remaining, Brady picked up a first down with an innocent 8-yard dump to J.R. Redmond for a first down. He hooked up with Redmond again two plays later for an 11-yard reception and another first down at the New England 41. [In between there was a five yard dump to Redmond].

Brady threw incomplete, then connected with Troy Brown over the middle, and Brown managed to turn up field and get out of bounds at the St. Louis 36 for a 23-yard gain. Now, with only 21 seconds left, Brady threw a short pass in the right flat to tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who fought his way to the Rams' 30-yard line. Brady calmly spiked the ball to stop the clock with seven seconds to play.

Where is the great play here? Was it "calmly" spiking the ball? Brady "led" a drive by dumping the ball off while the Rams played a prevent defense, and then his kicker hit a 48 yarder to win it. Pats fans watch that drive and noticed how poised Brady was, but there was of course nothing special about it.

Brady's final post-season numbers: 60/97, 572 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and he led his team to 13 points in four quarters against the Raiders, 0 points against the Steelers, and 10 points against the Rams. Never did a QB get praised more for doing less.

Then the Patriots hype started spinning out of control. The Patriots running out of the tunnel at midfield is "the coolest thing ever" for some reason, in the minds of Patriots fans. We even had to hear talk of how "wonderful" it was that a team named the Patriots won the Super Bowl following the 9/11 attacks. Patriots fans are incredibly defensive about this team and this title, and don't recognize how lucky New England was to win that Bowl.

As a follow up, the Pats missed the playoffs in 2002. The Jets made it, in large part because they beat the Patriots in Foxboro on national TV in week 16, which I thought was impossible. But we quickly learned that when the Patriots lose a game, it's never a big game.

Anyway, that's enough of a rant for now. More on Brady, Belichick and the rest of the Patriots talk tomorrow, if I'm still in a rantin' kind of mood.

Posted in Intense hatred, Rant | 46 Comments »


14th January 2007

I've got a busy week ahead, so Chase will be taking over for some/most of the upcoming week.

Chase hates the Patriots.

Chase really, really hates the Patriots.

He has been ordered to use the "rant" categorization instead of trying to pretend like he's doing honest analysis. management --- which also hates the Patriots, but only the normal amount --- will not be held responsible for anything he might say.

Posted in Intense hatred | 5 Comments »