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  1. #1
    moklerman's Avatar
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    Musings on the Patriots...

    With the constant barrage of Patriots news on ESPN and NFL Network, I think I've identified why I don't have the same respect for them that so many others consider to be unquestionable.

    Rams fans have all had to witness first-hand the "greatness", but even with cameragate, I never really bought into the Patriots' success being predominantly due to cheating.

    This leads me to the importance of character. For me, character is one of the more important aspects of a team's overall make-up. The 1999 Rams exemplified that in almost every facet of the organization. Their onfield dominance was coupled with class, humility and an overall sense of reward for perseverance.

    As important as character is, it has to be tempered with results. This is a big boy's game and it's naive to think that a team can have success, especially at the highest level, while being completely altruistic. Someone, somewhere, is doing the dirty work. But, does that justify winning at any cost? The Raiders and Forty-Niners were always examples of what I considered winning without honor. The Raiders were just dirty(IMO) but the 'Niners introduced someting new to the equation--exploitation.

    I suppose it could be considered just another form of cheating but they essentially stacked the deck. They manipulated the system and went beyond the spirit and letter of the rules to load their rosters with the best talent. Some would site the addage of "if you're not cheating, you're not trying" but there is a very distinct fork in the road here for me. I equate it to playing Madden football. Some guys like to load their roster with all the best players or just enter a cheat code and increase the skill levels of all their players to 99 so they can "win".

    This is where Bill Bellichick comes in. I think I've finally identified the crux of how they win and why I don't like it. I really couldn't care less about the Patriots in particular. I have no personal, long standing angst against them but I've never bought into their success. Something about it has always poked at the back of my brain, questioning how they do things. What dawned on me was exploitation. It's one of the reasons I could never fully get into the NBA. The hack-a-Shaq being a perfect example. Is it legal? Yes, completely. Is it what was intended when the rules were written? No. It's just exploiting the rulebook.

    This is what, and who, the Patriots are to me. In 2001, they exploited the defensive aspects of the rulebook. So much so that the rules had to be re-written because they were exploiting what was written. Now, they've just done the same thing on the offensive side of the ball. I'm sure BB is pissed at the league for restricting or eliminating his ability to exploit the rulebook so he just finds new ways to do it. He designs a team that can take full advantage of the check rule(touching a receiver after 5 yards) and all of the qb protection rules. Their o-line is designed for pass blocking and pass blocking only. They've completely abandoned the running game and focus on speed at WR and essentially have found a formula that manipulates and exploits the rulebook.

    That's why I'm not as impressed with BB as so many others are. While some admire his tactics, I find them repulsive. Football is a sport that's supposed to be inspirational and heroic, not sneaky and coniving. The league will catch up to his shananigans and once everyone's on a level playing field he'll have to come up with some new way to avoid facing an opponent on equal terms. For some, stealing the other team's playbook so you know all of their plays and have an unfair advantage would be perfectly acceptable. The end's would justify the mean's. I don't respect it and that's all Bill Bellichick is in my opinion.


  2. #2
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    The man is up 42-10, it's 4 and 1, and he throws the ball.

    That's like holding a sucker to a baby just inches from it's grasp.

  3. #3
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    That's why I've never thought of Steve Young in a very positivel light. When stat's are all that motivate you, you're missing the point. I still remember the game, perhaps not the details but the situation, when the 'Niners had everything wrapped up-playoffs, seeding, everything. Young had no business being in the game and stayed in just long enough to get the yards so his qb rating would be percentage points better than Montana's record number. No class. That's why he never got out of Montana's shadow.

    The Patriots are doing the same thing this year. Yes, they're the best team especially going up against juggernauts like Miami, Buffalo and NYJ twice a year but it's sad to think that they assume padding their stat's proves what they think it does.

    While no one has ever had the numbers that Brady's putting up, I'm pretty sure that Marino, Favre, Warner, Manning, et al were not passing in the red zone while up by 30+ points. I'm sure they all had plenty of opportunities to add to their personal numbers but didn't take the same approach that NE is taking. I guarantee you that Shula would not be sending Marino out on 4th and goal late in the third to pass the ball with a huge lead.

  4. #4
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman View Post

    This is what, and who, the Patriots are to me. In 2001, they exploited the defensive aspects of the rulebook. So much so that the rules had to be re-written because they were exploiting what was written. Now, they've just done the same thing on the offensive side of the ball. I'm sure BB is pissed at the league for restricting or eliminating his ability to exploit the rulebook so he just finds new ways to do it. He designs a team that can take full advantage of the check rule(touching a receiver after 5 yards) and all of the qb protection rules. Their o-line is designed for pass blocking and pass blocking only. They've completely abandoned the running game and focus on speed at WR and essentially have found a formula that manipulates and exploits the rulebook.
    Although I do agree 100% that Superbowl XXXVI was a complete explotation of the defensive rules of the NFL. Holding and tackling Marshall Faulk on every play whether he was the go to guy or not. Hitting Kurt Warner in the face and head numerous times.
    Leading with their helmets on several occassions, etc..

    I'm not sure I follow the offensive explotation you're referring to??

    Please keep in mind I hate the Patriots probably more than anyone could so I'm not defending them here just a little confused.

  5. #5
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    I'm talking about the penalties and fines levied on players before and after a game. If you touch Tom Brady right now, it's going to cost you and your team. In the old days and in recent years, if a qb was tearing it up like that(Warner), you send the defense after him and keep hitting him...and hitting him, and hitting him, regardless of whether you do it before or after the ball has been thrown. Now, they can't do that.

    In the past, if you stick it to the other team and run up the score, you better watch out. Someone's going to get hurt. In today's sterile NFL? Not likely.

    Historically, the way to slow down a team stocked with WR's is to agressively disrupt their release from the line of scrimmage and then punish them when they attempt to or make a catch. Now, you essentially can't play bump and run on defense and if you make a clean hit on a WR over the middle, you've got a 50/50 chance of it being a penalty. The defenseless receiver rule is a piece of zhit. In theory it's fine, but the officials don't ever enforce it correctly.

    Add in all the pick-plays run by offenses that are never called and it's virtually impossible to stop a team that is specifically designed to exploit the rules and has the personnel to do it.

    I give BB credit for putting together a personnel group and scheme to exploit things but to me, the Patriots offense is exploiting a flaw in the way the rulebook is set up more than being truly dominant.

    I didn't think Culpepper was a great QB when Minnesota was doing the same type of thing back in '04. Having all day to sit back and pass to wide open receivers and throwing jump balls to Randy Moss isn't great quarterbacking to me. Astounding numbers, but something aint kosher in Denmark.

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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    Okay, I gotcha now.

    Why aren't more teams doing the same thing as the Pats though???

  7. #7
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    I'm not saying just anyone could do it. Martz wants to do it, but never has the o-line to see it through. Indy uses similar schemes on offense but it's hard to replace a guy like Moss. Like I said, I give credit to BB for putting all the right guys in place but just having a dominant WR like Moss made Culpepper look all world in '04. What happened when Moss was gone in '05? He doesn't magically transform an offense but if you put him in the right environment, an offense can go from effective to having an incredible mismatch on the outside. Look at the Dallas game. Dallas would have won that game if not for the one on one skills of Moss. Both of those 2nd half td's weren't made by the greatness of Tom Brady, they were just jump balls. Would an official dare call PI on Randy Moss this year? No, so not only does he have the advantage of his natural ability he's got carte blanche on making a play.

  8. #8
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    Re: Musings on the Patriots...

    You also have to look at the willingness of high profile players to go and play in NE in search of a ring. Most NFL teams don't have that draw to the extent that players are willing to take a pay cut or even demand to be traded to NE.

    Philly's a team that, when it was clicking last year, was running a similar style of offense(pass happy) but didn't have the personnel to really have the mismatchs that NE's got this year. Few teams have the luxury of two #1 wr's (Moss and Stalworth) with a borderline #1 as a slot. Arizona and Indy have great duo's but they haven't been healthy. A great slot receiver is highly underrated as well. Most teams can't devote much money to such a player though.

    Look out for Dallas if/when Glenn get's back. I think people have forgotten about him but with TO's dominance of late, Crayton's emergence, Witten and Jones/Barber, they are going to be a force in the playoffs.

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