Read and React: Pats on the back

Charles Robinson
Yahoo! Sports

World Series and Super Bowl rings? Those high-end jewelers in the Boston area must be doing back-flips. They're going to have to float all those diamonds in on a barge.

Still, it can't compare to being a fan from the region, now that the Boston Red Sox have toppled a curse and the New England Patriots have raised a dynasty. Perhaps for the first time in three months, we got nary a complaining email from Patriots fans who felt disrespected. And rightfully so. Anyone in their right minds would have a hard time questioning New England now.

Then again, who said NFL fans were right, or had minds?

A few New York Jets fans finally popped up, longing for a coach like Bill Belichick, while fuming over the fact that they had him … for a day anyway. Even some Cleveland Browns faithful checked in to salute Belichick, whom they once scorned but are now counting their blessings after landing one of his protégés.

But while we're all anointing geniuses and dynasties, some fans took note of Dan Marino's selection for the Hall of Fame, and agreed that, all the recent hoopla aside, you don't have to carry a Super Bowl dossier like the Patriots to be great.

Before we get to the comments, we'll be running the offseason mailbag with the same criteria as usual: If you have something you'd like to be considered for publication, include your first and last name, city and state.

To the mail …

SUPER BOWL XXXIX ("Their guiding light," Feb. 7, 2005)

Do you know if switching to the 4-3 defense was solely Bill Belichick's idea, or did it originate from Romeo Crennel, or was it a joint decision between the two of them?
Jim Daly
South Windsor, Conn.

Belichick and Crennel came up with the plan after reviewing Philadelphia's games. It was Belichick's final call to implement it, but the design was shared.

The Patriots won dishonestly because of what Belichicken did to the New York Jets. You don't make an agreement to take over a team and then sneak behind the Jets' back and accept a head coaching job with another team.
Amber Dunbar
Knoxville, Ky.

It was only a matter of time before we heard from a Jets fan.

Are the Patriots related to the referees in the NFL? I'm just curious because in all three of their playoff games, their offensive line held more than a mom would hold her newborn baby.
Heather Rink
Huntington Beach, Va.

I didn't really pay too much attention to alignments and what players were in during the Super Bowl. But, really, were the Patriots in a 4-3 defense very often? If so, why on earth did the FOX announcers never mention it? Did I miss that or were they that incompetent?
Jerry Wonnacott
Corvallis, Ore.

After watching the broadcast a few days later, I noticed the same thing – nobody in the booth caught the alignment change at the start of the game. Meanwhile, that was immediately what most "print" reporters noticed. That said, I thought FOX did an adequate job, especially at the end when the Eagles were frittering away the clock.

I was disappointed with FOX's broadcast of the Super Bowl. There were too many camera angles and I had a sense that they were trying to do too much.
Archie Green
Rockland, Maine

I forget who said genius is "10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration," but that certainly describes the genius of Bill Belichick. I also have to give kudos to the greatest line I've read in an article in a very long time when you described the Patriots' ideologies as "too simple to duplicate, too ordinary to be real." That line sums up the "magic" that happens when someone simply does the little things right.
Ken Crawford
Cleveland

I am truly happy for Bill Belichick's success and quite frankly, I hope he goes down in coaching history as the best. He has come a long way since his days here in Cleveland, and as he has taught his teams, he has made the necessary adjustments in his personality to win over the fans and media. I am also happy that our new head coach comes from the Belichick pedigree.
Bill Geraci
Cleveland

I think Belichick has been thinking and planning who will take the place of his departing coaches. They will not miss too many steps in the process.
Russell Wilfong
Fryeburg, Maine

If he hasn't been preparing for this, it will be a first since he took over the Patriots.

Next year, the Philadelphia Eagles are going to find it more difficult to run through the NFC like they did this season. Their own division is getting stronger and they might be fighting for a wild-card spot. Their window of opportunity, even with Terrell Owens, is slowly closing and I would not be surprised if they miss the playoffs completely.
Luis Heredia
Baltimore, Md.

I couldn't disagree more. Barring catastrophic injuries, they should be an NFC power for at least a few more years.

Can we say that this was the worst halftime show ever? Very boring, but the game was outstanding.
Bryan Lincoln
East Palo Alto, Calif.

The one thing I noticed – people either loved it or hated it. It definitely didn't carry over well on television, compared to the "live" experience.

Trash talking is a privilege that is earned – choosing to use it is another question. Terrell Owens proved he earned his arrogance with his talent and dedication. Unfortunately, Freddie Mitchell proved that the Eagles wasted a significant draft pick and all they got was a jumble of nonsense instead of a playmaker.
Dohee Min
Austin, Texas

HALL OF FAME ("Brothers in harm," Feb. 5, 2005)

There is no doubt the Super Bowl thing is blown out of proportion when talking about players. The fact Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl should be enough proof to anyone how silly it is to judge a player by championships. I mean really – Trent Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring, so using that "logic," I guess Trent is better than Marino, or is on par with Steve Young and Brett Favre? Riiiight.
Rob Lindo
Burlington, Ontario

The media taking a crack at Dan Marino was unjustifiable. That reporter should be given a demotion. He showed poor taste and a lack of respect. Dan Marino's stats speak for themselves and need no justification.
Isaac J. Watson-Chase
Wilmington, Del.

I just read your column about Dan Marino and Steve Young and how maybe the Super Bowl carries too much weight. I have to say I think you are wrong about that. I think in today's sports with the big salaries and the even bigger egos, it's hard to get these guys motivated. So I think the more importance put on the Super Bowl, the better for these guys. I know that the great ones don't need the motivation, but the greats are few and far between.
Jesse Elmer
New Glarus, Wis.

Sadly, it seems that a player's immortality is based on Super Bowl wins. I guess from that rationale, we could say Brad Johnson is a better quarterback than Steve McNair and Peyton Manning because Johnson won a Super Bowl. Dan Marino and Steve Young deserve their enshrinement in Canton because they were two of the best ever, regardless of Super Bowls played.
John Stant
Newark, Del.

The man that asked Mr. Marino the stupid question was such a jerk. Marino was and still is the best.
Falsey Daniels
Palm Bay, Fla.