As colleague Mike Demenchuk asked weeks ago: Who does New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick think he is, Barry Switzer? Seems the paranoid, prima donna who patrols the Pats’ sideline feels the compulsion to routinely run up the score, like college football coaches trying to boost their teams in the national polls, to prove his genius.
Week after week, QB Tom Brady, who with 30 TD passes through eight games is well on his way to obliterating the Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning’s record of 49 TD passes set in 2004, continues to throw the ball long after contests (and covers) have been decided. Brady was reinstated into the game two weeks ago to add another TD pass when the Dolphins "closed" to within 21 in the fourth quarter. Brady’s third TD pass yesterday came with 9:06 remaining, a tack-on touchdown that made it 45-0. Guess, Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs had Xs and Os worth 44-points under his NASCAR hood. For those checking the scorecards, Indy boss Tony Dungy and Manning pulled back the reins down the stretch in 2004 – registering only five TD passes during the last four games — as the QB moved past Dan Marino’s 48-TD mark achieved 20 years earlier.
Pitching a legacy about an undefeated seasons –ask the 1972 Miami Dolphins—is one thing. Surpassing the 1998 Minnesota Vikings (556 versus the Pats’ 331 to date) as the NFL’s highest-scoring team is another—the 15-1 Vikes lost in the NFL title game to the Atlanta Falcons that season.
If the pro football gods are watching — and we’re not talking about sitting down in front of the big plasma in the sky for the battle of unbeatens in Indy next Sunday (of course, the real game between the best clubs in football will come in January) — Brady will suffer a season-ending knee injury on the next one of his garbage-time TDs.
Lousy in London. The NFL hardly put its best cleats forward at Wembley Stadium Sunday in the first regular-season game played outside of North America. Playing on a field that makes soccer balls skid, the New York Giants and the absolutely awful Miami Dolphins, led by QB Cleo Lemon (Chet Lemon, centerfielder for the 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series champion probably couldn’t have played much worse), did just that. In the midst of a rain that was alternate parts drizzle and sheets, the game proved little other than Europe footballers perform better than their American counterparts in muck and mire.
As the NFL brass pontificates about how more exported regular-season games (and perhaps a Super Bowl down the line) will engender greater global revenue opportunities, they might be wise to consider that the novelty quotient won’t reside in London next time.
Rookies and boozers aside, who could get jazzed (we didn’t say ginned) about another run of the mill midseason game crossing the Pond? The Giants-Dolphins is the equivalent of a match featuring Aston Villa-Derby County as a showcase for Barclays Premeir League in the States.
Maybe a season-opening rematch between the Super Bowl XLII combatants abroad would really break through in Europe. Otherwise, BPL powers Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea won’t have to worry about losing many headlines to the NFL any time soon.
Undone in Denver. Now, the Colorado Rockies never really had much of a chance to prevent the Boston Red Sox from capturing their second World Series crown in four years—the best team in baseball all season earned its well-deserved 2007 Fall Classic reward.
Still it would have been interesting, if the Rox had been able to push the Bosox to a fifth game and a second encounter tonight against Boston ace Josh Beckett. What would the Nielsen count been in the Mile High City with the Denver Broncos hosting Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers at Invesco Field on MNF?
Artie Bulgrin and the gang in Bristol, no doubt, are glad they won’t have to find out.