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    January 29, 2004
I'm Tired Of Carolina
By:  Uncle Bully
PatsFans.com Fan Columnist

I’m tired of being disrespected damn it.

And no I don’t accept the fact that we are the favorites Super Bowl Sunday, we are merely the favorites so that our detractors can point to us and say. “See the Patriots are a good team they’re six point favorites I respect them. Tom Brady he’s a great…ehh…very good quarterback…but Carolina’s front four…I don’t know.” I’m sorry but tempered praise is disrespectful.

I’m tired of Carolina’s big front four (really big front three…hello Brentson Buckner?), I’m tired Stephen Davis and if I hear the words John Fox and “he took a 1-15 team blah blah blah” again I’m going being to be sick. Every time their names are mentioned it means we are being ignored and that’s you know what. Even though I’m pretty sick of our own praise and just wished we played this damn game already.

The fact that Carolina players are out there claiming to be disrespected is disrespectful, can’t they see that by saying they’re being disrespected means that we, by characterization, are overrated and if we are considered overrated that’s disrespectful.

I want respect from Woody Paige, Skip Bayless and Pete Prisco even though they are morons and I disrespect their opinion.

I demand that Mike Wilbon stop disrespecting us on PTI and pick us even though by picking against us he merely fuels our feelings of disrespect which we will in turn use to beat the respect out of Carolina.

And yes being using the team “we” I’m implying that I have a direct impact on the game which I do and if you think that’s bunk well you just lack respect boy.

Warren Sapp demands our respect even though Warren is a burn out whose opinion has no more validity than any other egotistical fat overrated scumbag. And my assessment that Warren Sapp is a fat overrated scumbag is not disrespectful merely fact. By the way great job NFL network.

Media Day

When Nickelodeon is making fun of you…stop.

By the way I understand to an extent why the national media is trashing this game, not because they think the Super Bowl will be a snooze most think that the game will be close, not because either team is unlikable most writers who have followed both teams this post season have grown to respect both squads but there is no “juice” no energy, no underlying sub plot that sells the game beyond x’s and o’s. Last year we had the whole Gruden/ Raider thing, in 2001 the Brady or Bledsoe controversy, and of course in 2000 we had Ray Lewis who is the epitome of today’s infotainment society. The national media wanted Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb in the worst way and the fact that it’s the coolly efficient but mostly secretive Patriots and the “small market” Panthers irks them to no end and the backlash has been predictable. Now they are scrambling for text and every column seems to be either about comparing Tom Brady to Joe Montana and the 2003 Patriots to the 1972 Dolphins or criticizing those who do. Carolina is also getting more hype then they’ve ever received before even though the hype seems to always be about the lack of hype they’re getting (confused you should be).

And in the end will it really matter, people are going to watch the game no matter what but God forbid it’s one sided or a battle of field goals. If Carolina wins they’ll be criticized for being another small market/ expansion team whose spoiled fans didn’t suffer enough (see Florida Marlins), and if the Patriots win well I guarantee you someone (probably Pete Prisco) will call this team the “New Jersey Devils of The NFL”.

Idiot of the Century

Chris Collinsworth while on Inside The NFL said, in effect, that Ty Law after shutting down Marvin Harrison probably wouldn’t take Steve Smith out of the game…ok. Now look Steve Smith might be the Superbowl MVP on Sunday but for anyone to assume ANY receiver is going to have his way with Ty after the post season he’s had is only revealing his lack of insight. Maybe Collinsworth is bias due to his affiliation with Fox but really his comments only convince you that he probably didn’t even watch the game.

And while we at it…

Please No More Stories Relating To:

Belichick Being Smart…yup

Brady and the State of The Union Speech, is he a Republican or Democrat? Hey I’d let Louis Farrakhan quarterback this team if he can lead us to 14 wins.

Is Houston a Superbowl worthy city? Is this article worthy of being printed? No.

Jake Delhomme, and how nobody ever heard of this guy three weeks ago. Can you say Vince Ferragamo?

He Hate Me…yes I do.

Arod for Manny…just checking.

Hey There’s Still a Game Right

Quarterback

Jake Delhomme vs. Tom “Joe Cool” Brady

Jake is a good story, seems like a nice guy, he battles, plays tough but seriously do see his jump ball approach to the vertical game working this week. And Tom Brady apart from Bill Belichick no one has more to lose this Sunday. Tom is the ice man and with 85 million watching his every move this is his time to launch himself into icon status and besides he’s alleged to have shacked up with Bridget Moynahan so of course this is the mismatch of the century.

Advantage: Patriots

Running Back

Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster Vs. Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk

The Panthers one clear advantage, Davis has been their workhorse all year and Foster has been very reliable sub come playoff time. Smith merely gets it done and he’s the hometown boy. The good news for the Pats is Smith can have 80 yards and they’d still win the game outright, if Davis and Foster combine for 80 yards most of America will have changed the channel by the third quarter.

Advantage: Panthers

Receiver

Steve Smith, Ricky Proehl, Muhsin Muhammad, Kevin Dyson, Kris Magnum and Jermaine Wiggins Vs. Troy Brown, Dieon Branch, David Givens, Bethel Johnson, Christian Fauria and Daniel Graham

The Patriots clearly have the advantage here and if the Patriots are to walk away with the Lombardi they must clearly outshine the Carolina receivers. Look for Givens and Johnson to be the difference on the fast turf and don’t be surprised if prodigal son Daniel Graham doesn’t have a huge day, he did last time he was here.

Advantage: Patriots

Offensive Line

Jordan Gross, Kevin Donnelley, Jeff Mitchell, Jeno James, and Todd Steussie vs. Matt Light, Dan Koppen, Tom Ashworth, Joe Andruzzi, and Russ Hochstein

The knee jerk reaction here would be to give the Panthers the advantage. They are healthier, they play a more smash-mouth style of ball, and they are peaking at the right time. Of course that sounds a lot like the New England Patriots offensive line of 1985 and I don’t want to go there. The Patriots have protected Brady well this season but the Panthers have protected Delhomme just a little better (one sack for every 18 attempts vs. one sack for every sixteen attempts). It should be pointed out however that the Patriots have allowed no sacks in two playoff games, Delhomme has been sacked 4 times in three playoff games at about one sack for every 17 attempts still not bad. The key to both squads is to continue to do what they do best Carolina controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing their backs 4 yards + per carry and Patriots protecting Brady and giving their backs enough push to keep Carolina’s front seven honest. Both squads are going against excellent D lines so obviously the unit that struggles the most will likely catch the heat the following Monday morning.

One story that has been made out of this matchup is the Russ Hochstein/ Warren Sapp imbroglio. Hochstein has stepped up well and has been exemplary in his games against the Titans and Colts. Sapp’s inappropriate and down right stupid dressing down of Hochstein on ESPN’s PTI does reveal the lack of respect (there you go again) the Pats’ O line is getting. Perhaps a player not even involved in Sunday’s proceedings has provided the best bulletin board material.

Advantage: Panthers

Defensive Line

Michael Rucker, Brentson Buckner, Julius Peppers and Kris Jenkins vs. Richard Seymour, Ted Washington, Willie McGinest, Jarvis Green and Bobby Hamilton

Carolina’s gets all the press but the Patriots’ D Line is just about as good. And for the record let me make this statement the best defensive line from the above-mentioned group is Richard Seymour. Apologizes to Peppers and Jenkins but Seymour is virtually unstoppable right now and even double teams aren’t working.

Tale of The Tape

Carolina’s D Line 241 Tackles and 33 Sacks

Patriots D Line 286 Tackles and 22 Sacks

Carolina’s m.o. is to get at the QB, which they do very well but like most cover two defenses they are very vulnerable to straight north and south running which is what the Pats specialize in. The Patriots meanwhile can change their fronts to suit their need given stronger depth from their bench. I’m still going to give the advantage to Carolina here but do not underestimate the Patriot down linemen. Also since week eleven when Ted Washington came back from injury the Patriots have only had one game where the opposition had more than a 100 yards rushing, that’s not one rusher that’s the whole team and even then the Jets didn’t move with impunity (109 total).

Advantage: Panthers

Linebackers

Will Witherspoon, Greg Favors, and Dan Morgan vs. Teddy Bruschi, Roman Phifer, and Mike Vrabel

Carolina’s 239 Tackles and 1 Sack vs. New England’s 280 Tackles and 11.5 Sacks

This would be a lot closer if Bruschi wasn’t playing...he is so it’s not.

Advantage: Patriots

Secondary

Rick Manning Jr., Reggie Howard, Mike Minter, and Deon Grant vs. Ty Law, Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole and Eugene Wilson

Carolina’s much maligned secondary and has stepped up in the post season and is making a name for themselves unfortunately for them Law and Harrison are making a name for themselves in Canton, OH. And this is where I think the Patriots will win this game. New England’s secondary is so good that it will make Delhomme hold the ball that much longer that will in turn give the D line that extra second to get a hold of him I don’t see Carolina’s secondary having that kind of success versus the Pats’ receivers hence all else falls into place the Patriots and the title is theirs.

Advantage: Patriots

Special Teams

Todd Sauerbrun, John Kasay, Rod “Yes It’s Copyrighted” Smart, and Steve Smith vs. Adam Vinatieri, Ken Walter, Troy Brown and Bethel Johnson.

Carolina’s has the punting advantage and punt retuning is a wash, Karsay had a better season statically this year but missed a field goal in overtime can you see Adam missing a game winning field goal… didn’t think so. The interesting matchup is Rod “You Know Who” Smart and Bethel Johnson, Smart has been solid with a 23 yard per return average but Bethel has been a find with a 28 + average. Also Bethel is playing in front of the home crowd look for a big return early.

Advantage: Even

Coaching

John Fox vs. Bill Belichick

No I didn’t think so either.

Advantage: Patriots

Final Tally: Pats 5 Panthers 3

In Conclusion

For all the talk of the Patriots fourteen game win streak and being heavy favorites there is still a lot of unbelievers out there. Sure six point favorites sounds like a huge line but seriously if this game were played five years ago the Patriots would have been double-digit favorites. Now the Patriots are being punished for their incredible upset of the Rams in 2001. Anyone can beat anyone else come Super Sunday. Even the Panthers with their tough talk this week has revealed a certain apprehension when trying to figure out the Patriots. Dan Morgan and Mike Minter can make all the bold predictions they want but in the end saying it and doing it are worlds apart. We’ll see how tough the Panthers are when Jake Delhomme throws a quick slant to Steve (Madden Bowl) Smith and we see how he reacts, if he flinches waiting for pain that is Rodney Harrison then I’ll know the Patriots got this team.

Steve Young had the best observation so far this Superbowl week. He said the Patriots are a strong minded team in that they always are in a position to win they find a way even if the chips are stacked against them many other teams are weak minded like Philadelphia, Minnesota, and St. Louis they lack the intestinal fortitude to get the job done even when they have the advantage. Strong-minded teams don’t lose Superbowls they start dynasties.

Final Score Patriots 20 Carolina 10

See you in Space City

 Uncle Bully
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