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Patriots Rant

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 15, 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.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 15th, 2007 at 3:18 am and is filed under Intense hatred, Rant. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.