You know what? The New England Patriots are not only better than anyone else, they’re smarter too. And there’s evidence all over the AFC that supports such a claim.
Honestly, just look at the past few days. No fewer than four of the Pats’ fellow AFC competitors have publicly embarrassed themselves by the sheer force of being dumb. Let’s take a closer look.
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The Chiefs: Somehow, some way, Andy Reid has been a head coach in the NFL for 17 consecutive seasons. He’s not won a playoff game since 2008 and only been to the postseason once since 2010 but he just keeps on trucking despite continually having no idea how to manage a game from the sidelines.
Never mind the dubious distinction of being an offensive-minded coach yet presiding over a team that went parts of three seasons without its quarterback throwing a touchdown pass to a wide receiver; that’s as much a function of not having a quarterback who can throw the ball downfield as anything else.
What’s most damning of all is the fact that after 17 consecutive years as a head coach, Reid is still mystified by some of the most basic strategic, situational aspects of the game. He still has no idea how to manage to clock, which was once again made painfully obvious during Kansas City’s brutal Week 2 loss to Denver. And then this past Monday night against the Packers, he botched one of the more routine math equations you’ll ever see in an NFL game.
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The Chiefs, who were blown out and outclassed in Green Bay, scored a touchdown (perhaps not coincidentally, their first on a pass to a wide receiver since 2013) with 56 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Packers’ lead to 31-13. A two-point conversion makes it a two possession game with one quarter to go, Time was of the essence.
So Reid kicks the extra point. The score is now 31-14. It’s a three possession game, same as if the Chiefs make the right move, go for two and don’t convert. It’s staggering how simple this is. Not to Reid though. Hopefully Chiefs fans won’t be too depressed when he gets a contract extension after their team goes 7-9 this year.
The Ravens: Last week’s loss to the Bengals dropped the Ravens to 0-3 for the first time in team history. It’s fair to assume that dropping to such depths clouds the minds and judgement of all involved, even those who cover the team.
Such was the case on Tuesday, when The Baltimore Sun published a story with the following headline:
Hey, when you’re “soul-searching” like these Ravens, who haven’t won a game since John Harbaugh became so incensed by the Patriots’ deliberate attempts to deceive him (gasp!!!) in Foxborough during the divisional round of last season’s playoffs, nothing is out of bounds.
The Colts: Hoo boy, this is a good one. After needing a botched two-point conversion attempt to escape Nashville with a win over the Titans, a team that went 2-14 last season, head coach Chuck Pagano delivered a victory speech in which he noted that the win, which again came in Week 3, was “as big a win I’ve ever been a part of in my life.” He also told his players that the game was “bigger than a football game,” and was “about life and learning lessons about life.”
This is less dumb than it is misguided on Pagano’s part. We can leave the dumb moniker to GM Ryan Grigson for his failure to upgrade the team’s offensive line, the fact that he traded a first round pick for Trent Richardson or any number of other follies.
But Pagano, who admittedly had to feel some modicum of extra elation after the win over Tennessee given all the talk about his impending departure from the Colts, still proved himself to be in over his head with such a hysterical speech. We knew this about him after witnessing his inability to adjust at all to the Patriots the past two seasons. But this speech hammered that point home.
The Bills: Rex Ryan simply won’t allow himself to be excluded from a list like this. He can’t help it.
On Wednesday, when asked a question about the Bills’ game against the Giants this Sunday, Rexy deviated so that he could continue his obsessive journey regarding the Patriots.
“I’m not all the way over the Brady butt-kicking he did against us,” Rex said about a game that was played nearly two weeks ago against a team he’s not preparing for this Sunday.
“What I loved is how we battled back when a team was clearly trying to embarrass us,” he went on. “We stood up to them and said, ‘Here we are. We’re going to give you our best shot,’ regardless of what the scoreboard is. So we’ll see. Again, we’ll play that one down the road.”
There are so many aspects of this nonsense that are hilarious, it’s tough to know exactly where to begin. Is it Rexy being proud of his team for outscoring the Patriots 21-3 in garbage time? Is it the fact that his offseason proclamation about building a bully then whining about standing up to someone else “trying to embarrass” him basically defines irony? Is it simply the mere fact that the Patriots completely own him and he can’t deal with it?
In the end, who cares? This is perhaps the prime example of everyone else just not being on the same level of the Patriots, whether on the field or intellectually. You can’t fault Rex Ryan for continually reminding everyone exactly who he is, you can just laugh at him for it.
Look, the Patriots aren’t perfect. There have been mistakes over the years on the field, in terms of personnel and at the podium (Bill Belichick’s comments about Wes Welker and Aqib Talib following the AFC Championship game loss in Denver a couple years ago did not represent one of his finer moments).
But if there was ever any doubt that the Pats operate on a different, higher plane than pretty much anyone else, look no further than this past week across the AFC.
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