January 21, 2007

IF WE WANTED TO WACH THE ZEBRAS PLAY WE'D TURN TO NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL:

It's time to talk 'smack': Pats' best bet is to turn this championship bout into a slugfest (Michael Felger, 1/21/07, Boston Herald)

[A] funny thing happened the last two times out against the Colts in the regular season: The Pats never got the chance to flex their muscles. The corners played off the line, the big hits at the second level never came and Harrison and Wayne had a field day. Everyone got off the ball cleanly and Manning looked like a different guy as a result. The Colts won the games by a combined score of 67-41.

Was it all because of the "point of emphasis" the league put on contact in the secondary after the Pats battered the Colts in the 2003 AFC title game? Colts president Bill Polian and coach Tony Dungy, each of whom was a member of the league's competition committee at the time, complained bitterly after that game and the league's powerbrokers listened. Did their whines hit home or was it just a coincidence that the Patriots' power play disappeared soon after? [...]

Polian was back at it last week, kvetching to the Colts' Web site about the illegal contact his receivers were subjected to in the divisional round in Baltimore. Dungy didn't exactly shy away from the topic, either.

"I'm a little concerned that we don't turn into a third period or overtime of NHL hockey games," Dungy said, referring to the clutch-and-grab tactics often seen on the ice. "Hopefully, what was a penalty in the first game of the regular season is still a penalty in the playoffs. That's all you can hope for."

In the Colts' 27-20 win over the Pats at Gillette Nov. 5, the Pats were flagged for six pass interference/illegal contact penalties, including one of offense. Clearly, the officials that day were more interested in a game resembling flag football than real football. Today's referee is veteran Bill Carollo, whose regular-season crew threw the fourth-fewest flags.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2007 8:24 AM
Comments

In 2003, the Patriots' cornerbacks mugged the Colts' revceivers. There should have been multiple holding and pass interference penalties. So now the Pats fans are griping ahead of time about how the refs need to bend the rules in the Pats' favor again? Muggings, tuck rules, bleah. The Patriots have already gotten more than their fair share of breaks.

Posted by: Brandon at January 21, 2007 10:57 AM

There are no breaks--some coaches are just better than others. It's a coaches' game.

Posted by: oj at January 21, 2007 12:17 PM
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