"Stats are for losers." That's what Bill Belichick and his then-genius offensive coordinator Charlie Weis spewed in 2004 when Colts QB Peyton Manning was zeroing in on Dan Marino's single season TD record. Tin-Foil Pats fans, in their usual mindless droning, picked up the line and ran with it. "Individual stats mean nothing. It's about the team. Only the team matters. A 3-0 win is the same as a 52-7 win. If you're throwing 49 TDs, you're just padding stats and running up the score."
Fast forward to today. Funny, isn't it.
The same offense the Colts ran in 2004, an offense Patriots fans and NFL analysts called "soft" and "finesse," is the exact same offense New England is running today. Their pass package is 3 WRs, with Wes Welker in the slot, ala Brandon Stokley. Tom Brady, who never could audible when Weis was his OC, is not running a no-huddle attack with a "check-with-me" style adjustment system at the line of scrimmage.
Translation: They are running the Colts offense.
Again, this is the same offense every Patriots fan said was soft, silly, overly complicated, and designed simply to pad stats and run up scores. The great irony of al this is, unlike the Colts in 2004, the Patriots today are indeed running up the score on teams and pathetically trying to be coy about it after the fact. Yes, them be the facts, folks. People claiming the Colts ran up the score in 2004 are just silly, stupid little people who do not have a firm grasp on reality. More often than not, their names begin or end with Salisbury, Peter, King, or they carry the job title "Writer for Boston Globe." Most of the time, the people claiming the Colts ran up the score in 2004 specifically to get Marino's TD record are often described as "Patriots season ticket holders."
Now, we chide Tin Foil Pats because 1) It's easy, as they seemingly have no sense of humor, and 2) Because they set themselves up for it. And obviously, not all Patriots fans are stupid. Many are actually quite cool. But unlike the mad raving of many in Patriot Nation, we at Stampede Blue rely on nothing but the Cold Hard Facts. For these facts, I turn to our fine brothers over at 18 to 88, who take the Patriots fans' "argument" and squashes it like a wormy apple under their hooves.
As I remember, there was no shortage of criticism for that, but it was only the first time that season that the situation had arisen. That was the start of the run of insane blowouts that the Colts had. Manning would subsequently not play at all in the fourth quarter of the next two games (even sitting out part of the 3rd quarter against Detroit). Against Tennessee, the Colts had a 17 point lead early in the fourth when Manning threw a TD pass. He then sat out the rest of the fourth quarter. Later in the year, up 20-3 against Baltimore with little time remaining, Manning took a knee despite being in prime scoring position with a chance to tie Marino's record. He later sat out the Denver game (excepting a quick 3 and out to start the game). In all, Manning missed 6 and a half quarters of game time during his record season.
Again, reality is not a friend to the crazed, Tin Foil Pats fan.
For my part, I've really wanted to stay out of the whole "Are the Pats running up the score?" thing because there is no real debate. It's been so obvious from the start; since Week One against the Jets, when Belichick called a meaningless TD in the fourth. The reality is they are running up the score. It's obvious. It's beyond obvious. It's OJ Simpson so killed his wife it isn't funny obvious.
And even if it were debatable by some (it isn't, but I'll humor them), what is not debatable is the perception that most teams feel New England is running it up intentionally, and perception is reality in an instance like this. What I take offense to are Pats fans simply making stuff up about the 2004 Colts. As Colts fans, we all know that if Manning and the offense in 2004 ran up the score the way Brady and the Patriots are doing now, that record would have been 60-70 TDs. Instead, Manning, Dungy, and the team went about it in a respectful, dignified way. No one questioned that 2004 team as a team that ran up scores. No one, except, Tin Foil Pats fans.
The very same fans that defend running up the score today.