New England picked up a blow out win over Indianapolis last weekend, but you wouldn't have known it based on the tone displayed by the Boston sports media.
This week was a perfect example of why it can be so frustrating to be a Patriots fan in this town.
After a week of hype about how rookie quarterback Andrew Luck would shred up the Patriots defense, New England issued a 59-24 reality check to Luck and the Colts, scoring two touchdowns on defense on interception returns, and scoring another on special teams.
Most places would enjoy such a win. Instead, here in New England we got three days of recycled talk about running up the score and ridiculously uninformed complaints about Rob Gronkowski getting injured while on the extra point team on the final score of the game.
The running up the score talk is spearheaded by WEEI's morning duo of John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, who are unable to even keep their arguments consistent. At various times they bring up poor sportsmanship, keeping the starters in the game too long, and then, just keeping Brady in the game too long. When Gronkowski was hurt, he was then included with Brady in the "keep these guys off the field at all costs" category.
In tandem with the running up the score cries was the hand-wringing over Rob Gronkowski still being on the field for the final extra point. On the surface it might seem like a logical question, and sports radio is apparently only for those who can't see below the surface.
Both storylines have been debunked so thoroughly this week, yet the proponents keep sticking to their guns. Sports radio hosts and columnists have never been afraid of looking stupid, their paychecks usually assuage any misgivings they may have about playing that role. Still, there's more to this than just stubbornness.
The chance to stick it to Bill Belichick on anything, even something completely inaccurate, is something a number of people in the media will never pass up. That's what much of this nonsense really boils down to. It doesn't matter what the rest of the league is doing, or how many people in the league come to the defense of Belichick and the Patriots.
Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column this week bewailed the fact that Tom Brady was still in the game with over seven minutes left in the game and up by 28. Even worse, Brady threw the ball two more times. Did he mention that Drew Brees and Robert Griffin III were both throwing in their games with five minutes to go, up by 25 and 28? Of course not.
King has mentioned more than once that Belichick does not speak to him anymore following a disagreement. Do you think that factors into his skewering Belichick over this practice and not other coaches?
Numerous players and coaches (among them Rex Ryan, no less) stated this week that playing starters on various special teams units is just a fact in the NFL, and that you can't really change those units if a blowout is in progress. Tedy Bruschi in a chat on ESPN Boston Monday noted that "you always leave your starters in on the P.A.T., even on the field-goal block team. When I was playing defense and we were blowing out an opponent, you were told, "You're out of the game now, Tedy, but you're still on the field goal block team." It's just the way it is in football."
Testimony like that doesn't sway those who have the insatiable desire to have something to hammer Belichick about. They know that most people are not going to bother to look into a matter more than what it appears to be on the surface. John Dennis spent time this week whining about Belichick and how the Big Show handles their weekly interviews with them. He sniped about them defending Belichick no matter what he does, suggesting his own deep-rooted issues with the coach. No surprise then that he is out in front with both of the storylines on this issue.
You only have to hear Dennis and his partner Gerry Callahan "interview" Curt Schilling, or even Tom Brady for that matter to realize even further that Dennis isn't interested in quality, hard-hitting interviews, but instead is simply looking to advance his agenda against whatever sins Belichick has committed against him.
Sadly, he and others have a very public platform from which to take whatever shots they wish, no matter how inaccurate their claims may be. They also have their own followers who will go along with and support whatever they say. Between the morning show on WEEI and the afternoon show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, it was a fairly miserable week for Patriots fans.
After a 59-24 victory.