We wrote this post last Friday, but because Simmons ran his "Eff-You" touchdown column yesterday, this seemed like a good post to run again. By the way, we'd like to thank all you commenters who argued that the Pats didn't run up the score in any of their games. Might want to check out that Simmons column, because even Mr. Patriot seems to disagree with you.
A few weeks ago, Bill Simmons got an interesting email from a reader. Here was the question:
"I noticed Brady threw a TD bomb to Moss in the fourth quarter with a 24-point lead on the Bills. Was he running up the score or padding his stats? You were all about criticizing these moves by Peyton Manning in 2004 when he broke the TD record, so I am just wondering if we can expect these same comments now about Brady?"
Simmons gave what is becoming his all too typical homerism response.
Manning was running up the score to break the TD record; the Pats are running up the score because it's the most effective way to wave both middle fingers at the rest of the league and prove that they didn't need to cheat to win three Super Bowls.
Simmons said that he doesn't condone running up the score, but it was enjoyable watching the Patriots do it. So in other words, he actually does condone running up the score. Which is ok, but it can come with consequences.
Because despite Simmons' ridiculously stupid rationale about the difference between Manning and Brady, it doesn't matter at all to players on the field. All they care about is when people run up the score period, whether it's to get a TD record or to give the league the finger.
Big Daddy Drew at KSK has written a few times asking defenders to take out Brady's knees. And at the rate the Pats are going, that may actually happen.
The Jets season is currently going down the toilet. They meet the Pats again in Week 15. What's to stop Mangenius from telling his players to go at Brady extra hard? It's not the same as telling them to take him out, but it's basically the same message. And what would be sweeter for the Jets than knocking out Brady just before the playoffs? When you honestly think about it, probably nothing.
And you may not even have to wait that long. The Pats play the Bills in Week 11. There really wasn't any reason for the Pats to run up the score on the Bills in Week 3. The Bills never even went after the Pats about SpyGate. If you think the Bills defenders won't be thinking about Week 3, then you're crazy.
We've also got to remember that the Pats play the Dolphins twice. Here's guessing that gets out of hand as well. Which means rematch payback.
The simple truth is this. If you keep running up the score, and you keep taking cheap shots at opposing players like Vrabel did on Sunday (I don't care what anyone says, that was an absolute cheap shot) you're going to ultimately pay for it. Even though pro football players play primarily for money, they still have some pride in them. They don't like getting shown up.
So Simmons can believe whatever the hell he wants. But if the Pats keep running up the score and pissing people off, they're ultimately going to pay a price. And it's most likely to be delivered by a division opponent that got embarrassed during the last matchup.
So if I were the Patriots, I'd watch my back. Because all it takes is one big hit to officially end your season. And you're currently creating a line of people waiting to deliver it.