White noise from the pigskin jukebox
Have you turned on the radio lately? You might hear "The High-Powered Indy Offense Can't be Stopped" by Everybody and The Pundits.
Bill Belichick has heard this tune before. The Cold, Hard Football Facts doubt he's snapping his fingers and singing along.
Three times in his coaching career Belichick has listened to the hype about the greatest offense in football, high-powered attacks that his teams, the chorus of "pundits" said, had no hope of stopping. But all three times these juggernauts have foundered upon the rocky outcrop of a Bill Belichick defense.
The 1990 Bills boasted the No. 1 scoring offense in football (428 points) and the no-huddle, "K-gun" attack. The Bills charged into the Super Bowl against the N.Y. Giants and their defensive coordinator, Belichick, by racking up an amazing 95 points in two playoff games.
The 2001 Rams boasted the No. 1 scoring offense in football (503 points) and the "Greatest Show on Turf." They catapulted into the Super Bowl by scoring 74 points in two playoff games.
The 2003 Colts boasted co-MVP Peyton Manning and the No. 2 scoring offense in football (447 points). They headed into the AFC title game after racking up 79 points in two playoff games and, famously, not needing to punt even once in either postseason contest.
Of course, the "pundits" often forget the lost 45s of the past and claim that the current pop stars are the best of the bunch. Today, that title falls to the 2004 Colts.
The current Colts boast the No. 1 offense in football (522 points) and hung a humiliating 49 points on Denver in their first playoff game. Now they head to New England for another playoff showdown.
Once again, Belichick and his staff are faced with an opponent the "pundits" say they have no hope of stopping. But we found that Belichick comes into the 2004 divisional playoffs against Indy with the most talented back-up band he's ever had entering one of these now-legendary games. In fact, we looked at the record and scoring differential for each team that participated in these games and found that, for the first time, Belichick is clearly buoyed by the better all-around squad. (In other words, for the first time he fields a team with a better record and a better scoring differential.) Keep in mind that all of these opponents entered a game against a Belichick team after humiliating opposing defenses in the playoffs.
Super Bowl XXV
Bills – 13-3; 26.7-16.4 (+10.3)
Giants – 13-3; 20.9-13.2 (+7.7)
Result: Bills went 1 for 8 on third downs, held the ball for less than 20 minutes and lost, 20-19. Belichick's gameplan resides today at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Super Bowl XXXVI
Rams – 14-2; 31.4-17.1 (+14.3)
Patriots – 11-5; 23.2-17.0 (+6.2)
Result: Rams turned the ball over three times, were held to 3 points through the first three quarters and fell to New England, 20-17. The defensive effort that stymied the Rams in that contest is regarded by many as the best defensive gameplan ever devised.
2003-04 AFC title game
Colts – 12-4 27.9-21.0 (+6.9)
Patriots – 14-2; 21.7-14.9 (+6.8)
Result: The Colts imploded against New England, losing 24-14 with an offensive effort that included four interceptions, four sacks and a failed punt attempt that ended in a safety.
2004-05 divisional playoffs
2004 Colts – 12-4; 32.6-21.9 (+10.7)
2004 Patriots – 14-2; 27.3-16.2 (+11.1)
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