It's a strange question I know, but as I'm reflecting on the benefits of watching a team that, like it or not, needs some rebuilding, and is not among the Final 8, and therefore not constrained in free agency, while benefitting from the fact that other teams are, I can't help but wonder.... Hypothetically speaking - if you were the coach of a team that had just lost it's true go to WR, and had a QB who was injured in all sorts of nagging ways, and had holes at various defensive positions that you knew were going to need to be addressed in free agency... ... and you knew that given all that this team had a VERY small chance of winning the Super Bowl, and that going further would significantly constrain your ability to address the many holes, including Wes Welker *cough* I mean the hypothetical WR spot... wouldn't it enter your mind that all things considered, losing might not be such a bad thing in the long run? I'm not saying that's what happened. There's definately a school of thought that once you make the playoffs you give it everything you have, never knowing what might happen... but still, when has the Final 8 Rule ever been a factor to consider before? But forget about this year's playoffs for a second... am I alone in my suspicions about that Miami game - was it the 2005 Season? The Pats had Cassell in for Brady and Flutie did his drop kick... and a Cassell TD throw that would have altered the playoff picture (setting them up to play Pittsburgh if it was caught) was badly thrown.... Seems to me that was a no brainer to tell Cassell to make sure he didn't complete the pass if it gave the Pats a better matchup in the playoffs. So if you think Belichick would lose a game to foster better positioning in the playoffs, is it really a major stretch to consider that he might consider losing a game to foster better positioning in the comming season or seasons. Especially if one knows that a win constrains him from improving the team while a loss opens the door to more free agents with less competition in an uncapped year - and that his current team wasn't going to win the SB this season anyways. As wacky as it sounds I think it does bear some consideration, as it's all part of that big violent chess game that is the NFL.