By: Steve Balestrieri
Bill Belichick, perhaps feeling under the weather still from a bout with the flu that left him audibly hoarse, or perhaps just tired of the constant sniping from the Boston media, (which he doesn’t read BTW) with negative questions about his team and their performance, Belichick fired back with a broadside yesterday at a reporter who questioned the validity of winning against losing or bad teams.
Just a few days after being, (for himself anyway) effusive in his praise over his team’s resiliency and mental toughness in coming back from a 10 point deficit to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, Belichick has obviously had enough of the local media downing his team and their accomplishments thus far.
Belichick wasn’t stating, but driving home his point that records mean nothing in the NFL but performance on each Sunday that matters. While many of the media types scoff at this as mere hype, think again. A sign hung in the Patriots locker room for a long time, that now hangs in Hall at Patriot Place, stating:
Records Mean Nothing
New England Patriots (12-1)
vs Miami Dolphins (2-11)
First time in NFL history a team at least nine games below .500
beat a team at least nine games above .500
If you don’t think that point was being pounded into the Patriots players heads all week, think again. If nothing else, Belichick is a student of the game and a person who loves the history that is everything about the NFL.
“They’ve heard me talk about it every week, saying we don’t care about the record, and we don’t,’’ he said. “What difference does it make? Look, how somebody played two weeks ago against somebody else, who cares? Us or anybody else, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how we and the Colts perform against each other on Sunday. That’s all that matters. Who cares who won three weeks ago in some other game against some other players? It doesn’t matter.
“We talk about this every . . . It doesn’t matter. There are16 games on our schedule, they’re all the same. It’s our team against that team that week and we look at, try to learn about our opponent and scout them and pick up tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, and all that, but how we match up against that team that day is all that matters.
“The rest of it is just a bunch of garbage. You guys can write about it all you want, it doesn’t matter. I mean, really. The winner of this game will be decided by which team plays better on Sunday, not what happened four weeks ago. It’s like that every week. Every week’’ he said with emphasis.
Hearing this, most reporters should have been smart enough to leave that subject alone. But Fox 25’s Kristine Leahy who a few weeks ago, had harped on the Julian Edelman subject to the point of actually sounding harassing towards Belichick, fired one burst too many at him. She asked, if he could really gauge whether his team is improving when it plays against a squad that isn’t showing any improvement, she never got to finish her question before Belichick in uncharacteristic, but strongly worded response, cut her off.
“I don’t agree with that, so go ahead on your soliloquy (which he never finished the word), but I just don’t agree with that,’’ Belichick said. “You don’t think you can gauge a team based on how a player blocks Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? I mean, who else could you gauge it against? Are you kidding me? Covering Reggie Wayne and [Austin] Collie and [Pierre] Garcon – you don’t think you can gauge your coverage based on those players?
“I don’t care what their record is. You don’t think there’s better receivers around than them, better pass rushers than Freeney and Mathis? I’m not sure what games you’re watching here.’’
During his press conference Tom Brady was asked a similar question of how the team can effectively judge themselves against lesser opponents. Deadpanned, Brady said, “Because you don’t play football.”
With his statement, Belichick may be taking a shot at the media who keeping harping on the “Yeah but” comments every time the Patriots win….or should I say the other teams lose. He is proud of this team, very much the anti-2009 team that while perhaps a tad more talented, had nothing on this team in chemistry or mental toughness. But more telling however is that Belichick is very clearly sending a message to his team that the Colts are not to be taken lightly. And they won’t be, just take a look at the sign…