10-29-2007, 12:31 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Well, apparently they did shake hands briefly...Although, if you skim through the top sports blogs, people are still debating it....lol
| Long before game's end, the face - chiseled into stone at the Pro Football Hall of Fame - burned a hole into the frosty October night. There are football blowouts and there are humiliations. And no matter what flaws the Washington Redskins of Joe Gibbs' second term might possess, there was always a respect for the man who led them. |
If out of nothing but football courtesy, one does not embarrass Joe Gibbs.
And yet late in this 52-7 demolishing of the Redskins on Sunday, the fourth-worst defeat in the franchise's history, the coach with three Super Bowl championships in this century performed the simplest violation of football etiquette against the coach with three titles from the previous century:
In a game with the outcome long decided and the ball deep in Washington territory, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick told quarterback Tom Brady to convert a fourth-down play in an attempt to drive the score higher than it already was. It is a tactic called running up the score. And it is rarely done in professional football - especially to Gibbs. So when Brady converted and later dived into the end zone to account for his fifth touchdown of the game, the 68,756 fans at Gillette Stadium roared.
Gibbs glared. After the game, he barely shook Belichick's hand as he raced off the field.
Later, when asked about the play, Belichick stared for a moment.
"What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?" he said.
Then he shrugged.
"It's 38-0," he continued. "It was fourth down. We were just out there playing."
The Redskins did not openly complain about the fourth-down play. When asked what he thought of it, Gibbs said, "I have no problem with anything that they did. Nothing. No problems from me."
The general reaction from the players could be summed up by linebacker London Fletcher, who said: "It's their football, that's what they chose to do with the ball. It's our job to stop them."
One player wondered privately about the karmic consequences of such a move on New England's part. But that was for another time, another team, another game. Sunday was about the worst defeat Gibbs has suffered in either of his runs as the Washington coach. It was a complete trampling. The Patriots scored seven of the first 10 times they had the ball before their third-string quarterback Matt Gutierrez kneeled down to run out the clock on the 11th.
They ran up 487 yards and stomped through a Redskins defense that was rated fifth in the NFL going into the game. Brady threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Linebacker Mike Vrabel caught a touchdown pass and forced three fumbles by quarterback Jason Campbell that led to 17 points.
Still, the Patriots followed Belichick's line: dwell on the mistakes so they're not repeated.
"It's a long season," Brady said. "It's not even November yet and we've got a lot of room for improvement left."
The Patriots (8-0) play next Sunday at undefeated Indianapolis, where they had their last loss, more than nine months ago in the AFC championship game.
Let the hype begin.