Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Running Up The Score Isn't Just Wrong, It's Stupid

In today's Bad Tooth moment for me, I read Simmons' latest mouth job for the Patriots. It turns out that running up the score and being irredeemable douchebags is OK, because people said mean thing about the Patriots about CheaterGate FOR TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

I mean, really, people, what were we thinking? The marquee team of the league threatens the entire viability of the NFL by compromising its integrity in a particularly blatant way, right in front of the league's commissioner, and we went *on and on* about it. WE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

Ow. Impacted. Owwww. Yeah, I think it's cracked. Let me touch it with my tongue some more. OWWWW.... Hmm. Maybe some mouthwash would help. OWWWWWWWWW....

Anyway, after the self-loathing was over, it got me to thinking -- what, beyond the sense of reeking obnoxiousness, is really all that bad about running up the score? The opposing team are professionals, not little kids; it's not like we expect them to cry over it. The fans who are rooting against the Patriots aren't going to hate them any more or less from an extra score or six. You're either all in or all out with this team - they are the football equivalent of a Karl Rove campaign, only without the subtlety, and with ten times the competence.

And yet, here is the reason why it's a bad idea... I'm convinced, on some level, that it will eventually get the refs to turn on you. And it's also going to get the team that's taking it without lube to forget the Unwritten Rules of Football.

While it hasn't manifested itself enough to turn into action yet (or, for that matter, a workable labor union), the NFL is a fraternity. On any given play, at any given moment, your career can end. And it can happen at more or less the mercy of individual players on the opposing team.

A dive at the back of the knee. A roll into the pile, with a grab and yank that isn't about getting the ball. A flat out late hit on a high throw, or a quarterback, punter or kicker taking a shot with malice when they are vulnerable. If you want someone hurt badly enough in an NFL game, and have a small but actionable group that's willing to go beyond the pale to Make A Statement... well, we know it could happen, so at some point, maybe it will happen. We're talking about some of the biggest, fastest and most powerful athletes on the planet. And most of them are pretty good at violence.

It's still not terribly likely; if nothing else, no one wants to pay the fine, face the suspension, or deal with the resulting public fallout and possible revenge ploy from an unhinged Patriots fan. But you have to think that eventually, someone is going to Cross The Line.... and that line gets easier to cross when the team that's giving you the beatdown are being complete douchebags about it.

And that, by the way is why

1) You don't crown the title of Best Team Ever before Halloween, and

2) You don't run up the score, week in and week out, on large and violent men who have access to your extremities.

So... am I rooting for this blood lust?

When John Lennon sang the Beatles' song "Revolution," the lyric is

But when you talk about Destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out...

and then Lennon would say


Fairly quietly, so that most of the time, it was not noticed.

Eventually, an interviewer asked him about it, and Lennon said something to the effect that when violence and destruction went down, he hoped he'd have the strength and decency to keep out of it... but, well, he just wasn't sure. Maybe he gets caught up in it, he just didn't know.

And yes, that's increasingly where you are getting, if you are a football fan that is ambivalent or worse about the Pats. When the fall occurs, and it always does, there will be many enjoying the ride.

P.S. For another side on this, check out what the boys at My Brain Says Rage have to say. (They do use naughtier language than us, if such things offend your virgin eyes.)


Rae Carruth's Trunk said...

This is an interesting "Deadspin link once removed". Heh.

Anonymous said...

how aren they running up the score?" this is big boy rules: the pats in the game against my cowboys shoved a 4th string running back down their throats over and over. we didnt stop them. hell, WE called a timeout

no, there is no running up the score: my cowboy's defense gave the hell up against a 4th string running back out of navy. disgusting, but true

this is the NFL: big boys rules apply: stop them, or dont whine. if your team is too fucking pathetic to stop another team from scoring (especially when you know they are going to run up the middle over and over with a 4th string rb), then you need not whine afterwards. complain about your D coordinator being a bitch. but dont blame the other team if they decide to kick your ass

Jess Nevins said...

Tell me, over the past several years, when the Colts have been running up the score on their opponents, were you writing about this? Did it even occur to you?

Kyle said...

Somewhere, down the line of tiebreakers in the NFL, is points scored.

They have a reason to run it up a bit if they can.

Anonymous said...

Boston fans should be more aware of the repercussions of this sort of thing. On the field isn't as important as off the field. The Celtics were always sticking it to the rest of the league to the tune of 3 decades or so, but when they ran into some really really bad luck (see L. Bias and R. Lewis) the league told them to go screw. No cap relief and no quarter on the court. The league got the team (Red) back for being d-bags. And it took almost five years after Lewis' death to get back on track in terms of cap viability (ignoring the Ricktators incompetence of course). That being said I don't think that Pats are running up the score per se, the Cleveland game and the Dallas game both were kind of ferakish occurences that resulted in a lopsided score. But what goes around comes around and when the worm turns on the Pats it's going to hurt. I just hope we dismantle the Colts before that happens.

ThisThingGoesFaster said...

To quote UCF coach George O'Leary from a few days ago, "That's football. It's their job to score and it's our job to stop them."

Stop the hating. Its not flattering.

DMtShooter said...

FTT launched last January, so you are absolutely correct in not writing about the Colts running up the score. So whether it occurred doesn't really matter, does it? For the record, the Colts haven't gone with LB-TE much, though.

(Your point, I'm assuming, is that I Just Hate The Patriots, so I must be wrong about, well, everything. Right?)

As to how the Pats are running up the score... um, jeez. Watch the games. Even the ones not involving the Cowboys.

And if those are Big Boy Rules, so is Snapping Legs, really. Depends on which Big Boy you're talking about.

Finally, my team is the Eagles, who haven't had the pleasure of trying to slow down The Juggernaut yet. Not that I'm expecting a much better result.

Rae Carruth's Trunk said...

Here is a thought Jess, this is last season's summary of the Colts:


You could argue they ran up the score in just one game. Instead of say, oh all 6 games thus far this year. Give me a break.

SRKMike said...

Really? I would dearly love a copy of John performing revolution solo. Especially since, y'know...it never happened.

TheHombre said...

It's irrelevant that the Colts have run up the score in the past or that points scored can be used as a tie breaker. Anyone who has played football knows that you're not supposed to run up the score late in the game. It's an unspoken rule. People do it all the time, especially in college, but that doesn't make it OK.

It seems to me that the point of the post is that the Patriots are putting Tom Brady's health, and maybe their season, in jeopardy by running up the score to make a statement. Most NFL defensive players are insane by nature and have enough motivation to try and hit Brady as hard as they can. Don't give them any extra motivation to come in head first or below the waist.

Anonymous said...

it doesn't get any more conservative than calling running plays

Rae Carruth's Trunk said...

Going for it on 4th down is conservative?

Wilreems said...

So you expect the Pats to start calling kneel downs everytime they have a lead? The objective of the defense is to not let the opposing team score. If they can't do their job, that's their problem. Maybe if the Cowboys weren't retarded enough to call a time out during the Pats last posession they wouldn't have put the ball in the end zone.

There may be some sort of "unwritten rule" about running up the score, but until the NFL puts that rule in writing like high school athletics, it's pointless to argue about. I've also noticed the people who have the biggest problems with the Pats are the ones who have lost pretty convincingly to them in the past. ahem...Eagles....

Bouj said...

"Somewhere, down the line of tiebreakers in the NFL, is points scored.

They have a reason to run it up a bit if they can."

It's something like the 6th-tiebreaker (like the second-to-last one). Even though it's so far down the list, it almost came into play last year or the year before to determine the last Wild Card team. If the results of 6 games gone one way, that tiebreaker would have been used. It ended up only 4 of the games went the way they needed to.

Rae Carruth's Trunk said...

Exactly Bouj,

Its also not like the Pats are going to need a tiebreaker to get in the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Instant karma's gonna get you.

Rae Carruth's Trunk said...

"So you expect the Pats to start calling kneel downs everytime they have a lead? The objective of the defense is to not let the opposing team score. If they can't do their job, that's their problem."

You Boston fans are intolerably fucking stupid. The objective of any team is to win a game and teams have failed this year at that goal while playing the Pats.

Sometimes you get in a blowout game. No one is going to fault someone for running an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter when there is 10 minutes left. Afterall, stranger things have happened as far as big ocmebacks. However, with 19 seconds left, you kick a field goal on 4th down, extend the lead to 17 and walk off the field.

You don't shove in another touchdown and dance around just to prove how douchey you are. That is the difference that is apparently incapible of penitrating the 14 inches of bone you call a cranium.

DMtShooter said...

SRKMike's Beatle knowledge is, indeed, greater than mine. Error fixed.

Anonymous said...

GB fan here from deadspin's link. No rooting interest for the Pats coming into the season, but now I hope they meet the Pack in the SB. Easterbrook's unbelievable rant on Beli-cheat did it for me. In case you hadn't heard, EVERYBODY STEALS SIGNALS. And if they don't, they aren't trying to win hard enough. Yes, there was a memo saying that was cheating. Well, holding is cheating, too. The integrity of the league isn't in doubt when Chad Clifton gets caught for holding, again.

That crap made me want to root for them. Now, they're killing teams. It's delicious. How can you not enjoy this? Team gets called a cheater by MSM and other teams (when all other teams do, in essence, what they were caught doing) and starts taking it out on other, inferior teams. That kind of emotion is usually missing in today's game. I love it, and am looking forward to a 19-0 or 18-1 year...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, real GB fan, rooting for an undefeated Pats team... GJ jackass from Boston. Go watch the Sox blow 150 million on a loser pitcher.

Christopher said...

150 million on a losing pitcher? huh?

Anyway, the Pats have not been running up the score. And going for it on fourth down with your 4th running back when the other team is calling time outs is completely within the "unwritten rules".

Running up the score would be sending in the kicker, douchebags.

DMtShooter said...

Um, even Simmons admits they are running up the score. Cut, paste...

Week 1 at New York Jets (38-14): 1-yard TD by Heath Evans, 1:58 left.

Week 2 vs. San Diego (38-14): 3-yard TD by Sammy Morris, 3:18 left.

Week 3 vs. Buffalo (38-7): 45-yard TD catch by Randy Moss, 10:22 left.

Week 4 at Cincy (34-17): 14-yard TD catch by Randy Moss, 3:18 left.

Week 5 vs. Cleveland (34-17): 15-yard fumble return TD by Randall Gay, 0:42 left.

(Important note: This came one play after the Pats failed to convert the "Eff You TD" on fourth-and-goal from Cleveland's 4 when Brady just missed Kyle Brady in the end zone.)

Week 6 vs. Dallas (48-27): 1-yard TD run by Kyle Eckel, 0:19 left.

So why can't the rest of Patriot Nation? (And before you go into point by point over how six instances in a row isn't a pattern and how some of these aren't that way... well, OK, fine, they are wearing your laundry, they can do no wrong, everyone else is just jealous, we're all meany poo heads. Does that make you feel better?)

Anonymous said...

The Dallas game was running up the score. But when you're still in the first half of the season, shouldn't you be taking every possible opportunity to run as many offensive plays as possible in a live game?

As for chop blocking, hitting late and high, etc.: There's a big difference between embarrasment and endangerment. Running up the score is a crummy thing to do, but intentionally hurting another player is despicable.

And no, I'm not from Boston, or a Pats fan. I root for the Redskins.

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