The Dolphins’ Week 1 postgame comments gave the Patriots plenty of bulletin board fodder for Sunday. (M. McKeown/Getty Images)
NESN — The New England Patriots usually are pretty good about ignoring the noise. Not this week.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly put quotes from Dolphins players all around the Gillette Stadium facility this week, reminding players what Miami was saying after beating New England 33-20 in Week 1. Apparently it worked, since the Patriots beat the Dolphins 41-13 on Sunday, scoring 27 unanswered points in the second half.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis was asked about that motivational tool after beating the Dolphins. “I don’t know what they were saying after the first game, but there was a lot of talk — those guys were chirping,” Revis said. … “The one thing you gotta understand is, you get a second stab at them, because we’re in the same [division]. You might need to watch what you say.” …
[I]n September … wide receiver Mike Wallace told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins could have scored 50 points against the Patriots. “Honestly, it’s not bragging or boasting, but I honestly feel like we could have scored at least 50 points,” Wallace said after Week 1.
You know that old hackneyed cliche that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Well, I’m adding a new meaning. Insanity is shooting your mouth off about the Patriots in the Bradichick Era and expecting that they’re not going to use it as motivation to exact revenge until you’re begging for a quick death. When is the rest of the NFL going to catch on to the fact that this coach works in grudges like some artists work in oils or clay? That he plays the “no respect” card the way Johnny Chan plays a pair of pocket aces?
The Patriots of this millennium feed off the disrespect. It’s one of the sources of their strength. They’re fueled by it the way Superman draws power from our yellow sun. And the road to their fourth Lombardi trophy is littered with the professional corpses of guys who dared to give them bulletin board fodder like this. Remember Freddie Mitchell of the Eagles, who popped off before Super Bowl XXXIX that he didn’t know who any of the Patriots defensive backs were? Don’t feel bad; not many people do. The highlight of his career was being shut down in that game and having Belichick say afterward, “We were glad when he was in there.” Or how about Steelers safety Anthony Smith, who in the 2007 season guaranteed a victory over the unbeaten Pats, only to have Brady go up in his grill mix after repeatedly targeting him in the end zone. There was the Jets celebrating a September win over New England and calling it their “Super Bowl.” It’s a fond memory they’ll all have when their coaches are clearing out their offices in a couple of weeks. Then there was the time the Browns rolled over the Patriots in a midseason game in 2010 and celebrated by giving coach Eric Mangini a Gatorade bath. He was fired at the end of the season, never coached again and now exists only as a hollow, Mangini-shaped shell of a man on ESPN 27 or somewhere. There are dozens of other such examples.
The point being, it never works out to talk smack about this Patriots team. They will always, always make you pay in the end. As Quintus told Maximus, “A people should know when they are conquered.”
P.S. Since the Patriots are supposed to be such a classless team, run by an allegedly dour, angry coach who has no respect for anyone, I defy you cite me one example — just one — of a Patriots team yapping the way this 7-7, third-place Dolphins team did. It’s never happened, never will.
P.P.S. Broncos defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton just gave the Patriots more fodder for their board. From The Denver Post:
“It doesn’t matter what happens. At the end of the year, we’re hoisting that trophy,” Knighton said. “I don’t care if New England doesn’t lose again. I don’t care where we have to play. I don’t care who our opponent is. We’re not going to be satisfied until we hoist that trophy. So if we’ve got to go to New England [in the playoffs] and win somewhere we’re not used to winning, we’re going to make it happen. … Write that. And put a big period after that one.’
He then considered his punctuation options and decided on: “Exclamation point!”
On behalf of Patriots fans everywhere I say, “Thanks, Pot Roast.”