Blog Entry

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

Posted on: October 20, 2009 9:02 pm

Last week's Patriots/Titans game sparked an interesting debate in football communities across the nation. The Patriots exploded for 35 points in the second quarter and entered halftime leading Tennessee 42-0. It was clear New England was the superior team and there was virtually no chance for Tennessee to come back.

So what does Bill Belichick do with a six possession lead and the ball to start the half? He keeps his starters in the game only to see them score again. He goes for it on 4th & 4 late in the fourth quarter. He has backup Matt Hoyer throwing the ball deep with a 53 point cushion.

Simply put, Bill Belichick ran up the score.

After taking some time to collect my thoughts, I wondered: is that OK?

The argument goes, "if you don't like it, do something and stop them." I get that. These are professional football players and they are paid to play the game. I also understand a team could get hot and score points at any time.

These are both valid arguments, but I just don't buy into them.

There comes a point in a game where you stop throwing the football and ease off the accelerator. Belichick's team had the game comfortably won and there was no reason to deliberately embarrass the other team.

Players and coaches alike abide by a code consisting of several unwritten rules:

  1. Thou shall not speak of another man's contract.
  2. Thou shall not discuss internal affairs with outsiders.
  3. Thou shall not interfere with another man's money
Running up the score is directly in violation with the third and arguably most important rule. Every player, coach, and assistant on the Titans' sidelines will be forever associated with that 59-0 loss at the hands of the Patriots. People's careers, wages, and lives depend on the outcome of these football games. For Bill Belichick to play with otherpeople's livelihood at his discression is wrong.

There is a time and a place for everything.

Throwing the ball deep into the fourth quarter goes against every rule held in the NFL fraternity.

And if he continues doing that, he may not be in that fraternity for very long.
Category: NFL

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: October 22, 2009 2:12 pm

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

There's absolutely nothing wrong with what Belichick did.  He took the starters out in the 3rd quarter.  As far as the Titans being shamed by the large final margin; they have one excuse, the weather.  The snow certainly favored the Patriots who have played many times in that weather.  The Titans of Tennesee had no experience and were taken completely off guard with the game being played in early October.  I have to believe that a lot of the dropped balls by the Titans could have been cought in warmer conditions.  The Patriots are clearly the better team, but not 59 points better.

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

I think this entire thing is being blown out of proportion due to the simple fact that it was the Patriots and Bill B. that scored 59. Was this an issue when the Jaguars beat the Dolphins 62-7 in Dan Marino's last game? Or when the 49ers beat the Broncos 55-10 in the Super Bowl?

Another fact being ignored bu the people wanting to cry foul is that the Patriots had a golden opportunity to add 2 more points late in the game if they would have thrown the challenge flag. And they chose not to do so. There was no reason to. Yet the folks who are quit to criticize and make a big issue out of the Patriots running the two-minute drill just before halftime aren't commenting at all on the Patriots allowing a play to go and not challenge it when it could have gotten them more points.

The Patriots scored just 14 points in the second half, none in the 4th quarter. If they did "run up the score", they did so before halftime. Lest anyone forgets. there has been a team lead 35-3 and lose a game. That's why there is no mercy rule in the NFL. It has happened before.

I really think this whole "running up the score" controversy is being fed by people with a personal bias against the Patriots' head coach. People who would have no problems with their own teams winning 59-0.

Since: Oct 22, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2009 10:16 am

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

And if he continues doing that, he may not be in that fraternity for very long.I'm pretty sure Belichick is already out of this fraternity and has no problem with it.

Everyone outside of a Pats fan pretty much cheers for them to loose anytime they play. He knows turnabout is fair play, and you would never even hear so much as a whisper from him if a team ever ran up the score on him.

My question is pretty much this....

Did the Patriots embarrass the Titans or did the Titans embarrass themselves?

This isn't high school or even college ball with amateur athletes.

These are "million dollar men" who get paid to play professional football. You send your offense out to score points regardless of the score and whose under center. Football is a 60 minute game and it is not the Patriots fault that Tennessee had abondoned all hope after 30 minutes.

If the Browns, and this is a big if, were putting it on the Steelers like this would you really want them to stop? I know I wouldn't.

Since: Sep 3, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2009 9:42 am

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

Honestly I have zero problem with any team running up the score.  This is the what the fans paid to see in New England - would you really pay hundreds of dollars for tickets to see Brady get pulled after the second quarter? No.  Plus these are ADULTS we're talking about, very very RICH adults that we're talking about.  I'm not particularly worried about whether these players had their feelings hurt after a bad football loss in which they still get their ridiculous paychecks and fly home to their multimillion dollar mansions.  If this was a highschool or pee-wee football game I might think differently but in accordance to this particular case I have no problem with running up the score.

Too bad the eagles couldnt do the same to the Raiders this week...

Oh and I even lost my fantasy game this week because of this

Since: Oct 20, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2009 8:18 am

Belichick Broke Code By Running Up The Score

That is an interesting point that you make about the players' and coaches' livelihood.  But I really wonder if there will be long term repercussions to anyone's salary if they were to lose 42-0 or 49-0 instead of 59-0...  I would also expect GMs and owners to be intelligent enough to realize that one glitch in any player or coach's resume should not hurt their overall evaluation of said individual.  And this is my own humble opinion, but...  As much money as some of these players/coaches make, if they are losing 59-0 they probably shouldn't be making the money that they do.

Another perspective to consider is also that of the fans.  As a fan, I would be terribly disappointed if after the first half both teams just called plays to run the clock.  I would feel bad for the team getting destroyed, but I would still prefer to watch some great plays develop and see some scoring.  Otherwise it simply because a waste of time for everyone (players, coaches, fans, event staff) and you might as well implement some kind of mercy rule and tell the losing team to give up.  That, I would think would be an insult to professionals.

In the end, I believe competitive games always are a lot more entertaining than lop-sided games.  But what real alternatives are there when a one-sided game does happen? 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or