Borges Stands Alone

In a kind of perverse way, you've got to admire the Globe's Ron Borges. In case you missed it, here was an item from his Sunday "Football Notes" column regarding the Pats-Dolphins regular-season ending contest:

Regardless of what you thought about Bill Belichick's bush league decision to let Doug Flutie dropkick an extra point in the meaningless (yes, we can say that after the way Belichick approached the game) season finale, the whispers that Belichick might have discussed the possibility with Dolphins coach Nick Saban before the game seem ludicrous.

If Saban knew it was coming, why didn't he tell his team to (A) avoid burning a timeout because they were confused as to what was happening and (B) rush the heck out of Flutie when he dropped back? If the coaches did have such a discussion, is that not collusion if Saban went along with it and left his team in the dark?

"We couldn't figure out what was going on," said Saban. "They've got a quarterback in, four tight ends, and a receiver -- I might be off by one on that -- and there was no kicker. I thought they were going to run some kind of quarterback sweep or go for 2.

"I'm kind of pleased to know someone can still dropkick. When I was a kid, we all practiced that. I thought it was a lost art."

Belichick is free to do what he wants in any game -- including tank one if he feels it's better for his team's playoff chances -- but in the future he can spare us all the speeches about how he plays every game the same and every game is as important as any other game and so on, because the only thing he didn't do after Matt Cassel air-mailed that 2-point conversion pass was high-five him for it.

This is where credibility comes in with Belichick. Losing to the Dolphins to face a team with a quarterback problem and three starting defensive players hurting rather than face the high-flying Steelers in the first round is fine. The Bengals certainly appeared to be doing something similar.

But why insult people's intelligence with the ''importance" of the game if you're going to send Flutie out to dropkick an extra point? If it was such a historic moment for football to have Flutie become the first guy since 1941 to dropkick, why not try it in the playoffs and make it a real feat?
Now, at a time when a) the Patriots can do no wrong and b) everyone in New England thought the drop kick was creative, clever, and cute --- here's the Globe curmudgeon bashing the team's ingenious coach.
In truth, Belichick is not exactly the media's wet dream. He is controlled, controlling and much more likely to conceal his true intentions than reveal them. (And he clearly wanted to lose the Dolphins game to get Jacksonville.) But because of his incredible success, he largely gets a pass on all that.
The headline atop Borges's Sunday column "Pack's mentality unfathomable" was actually about what Borges considered the unfair firing of Green Bay coach Mike Sherman. But it really speaks to Borges's self-appointed role in the local media firmament as the guy who bucks "the pack mentality," and spurns the conventional wisdom.
In that regard, he seems to be the heir apparent to one other notoriously thick-skinned, tough, arrogant, and controversial Globe sportswriter -- the late Will McDonough.
Is Borges's posture just that -- a carefully contrived move to set him apart from the pack or does he really believe what he's saying? Search me. But in a strange way, it's nice to see at least one voice dissenting from the amen chorus. Even if everyone in New England disagrees.  
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