Wait, The Pats Are Running It Up?
You will have to forgive us if we have been a little Red Sox-centric around here these days, but it appears that the national media has finally caught on to the fact that the Patriots have been beating teams like a BCS berth is on the line.
There is a theory out there that goes something like this: In the wake of the Spygate Scandal, Bill Belichick and crew compiled an enemy’s list of those who questioned the Patriots past successes and are now taking retribution (see: Phillips, Wade).
That’s fun and all, but the reality is probably far simpler. This is a bunch of pissed-off football players and coaches whose pride was wounded, and they want to leave no doubt as to their dominance.
There are two sides to this. One is the over-the-top sanctimonious response that people are shocked, shocked we tell you, that the Patriots would be so classless. I asked a friend (OK it was Gonzalez) how he would feel if Buddy Ryan were still running the Eagles and he ran up the score on the Cowboys. Naturally, he said he would be all for it. To be fair, Buddy would at least give you the courtesy of stating the obvious.
The other side is the Patriot apologists who insist that Belichick is doing no such thing. He is simply playing to the whistle and that is that. To which we say: you cannot be serious. Of course the Patriots are running it up.
Our argument is, who cares? These aren’t undersized high school teams getting their brains beaten in by a bigger opponent. As SI’s Don Banks pointed out, the Patriots themselves don’t seem all that concerned about the perception, so why should their fans?
From the beginning of their run, the Pats have done what they want, when they want, and they have never spent one ounce of energy worrying about their vanquished foes. That the national press and TV analysts held them up as some sort of model for all that is good and right with sports over the years really isn’t their problem.
This isn’t some great revelation. The Patriots have shown their hand and they are daring anyone to do something about it. It may not make for terrific sportsmanship, but it does make for great theater.