EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

February 5, 2008

Time for classless Belichick to eat some humble pie

On Pro Football

Michael Muldoon

He's been deified, and rightly so.

Now it's time to be vilified, and rightly so.

Bill Belichick was badly outcoached and just as disturbing was again classless after the Greatest Team Ever Assembled (GTEA) was pushed around by the presumed sacrificial lambs from New York in Super Bowl XLII.

But the Giants were Giant Killers, thanks to MVP Eli Manning, who came of age on sports' biggest stage, the relentless defensive line play of speedy linemen Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck (Rules), and the subpar performance by the HC of the GTEA.

Belichick has enjoyed a glorious eight-year run in New England — four Super Bowl appearances and three titles is still mindboggling in the salary-cap era. He still might be the greatest coach of all-time (and are you ruling out the Pats next year?), but not as great as we've built him up to be.

At least he wasn't Sunday night.

The Patriots had the talent, the cachet, the perfect record, the incomparable quarterback, the once-in-a-lifetime wide receiver going against a suspect at best defensive backfield, and perhaps most importantly, Belichick.

The great Belichick had two weeks to prepare

... for a Wild Card team!

... for an unproven Eli Manning!

... for a team with six losses!

... for a team coached by Tom Coughlin, who not only had never won the big one, but had never even been to the big one.

Who among us wasn't cockier than Muhammad Ali in his prime that Belichick was going to make all the right adjustments?

The only adjustment he seemed to make was to the drawstrings on his hoodie.

Maybe the look-at-me-America! dapper red hoodie was too tight and cut off blood flow to the brain.

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