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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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AFC: As usual, Belichick pessimistic
By wire services
Published January 21, 2005
A reporter asked Patriots coach Bill Belichick if he would be happy to get the same kind of effort from his players Sunday in the championship game that he got last week when they whipped the Colts 20-3.
Belichick misconstrued the question, perhaps intentionally. To Belichick, the time for praising his team ended as soon as he wrapped up postgame interviews.
"If we play like we did against the Colts, we'll get killed," Belichick said. "Things we did against the Colts, if we tried to do them against the Steelers, it would be 55-0 if they kneel on the ball at the end. It might even be worse than that. There's almost nothing that would carry over or correlate from that game."
Belichick doesn't have to tell his players stories about how good the Steelers are. They experienced it themselves on Halloween at Heinz Field, where the Steelers took advantage of a Randall Gay gaffe and two Tom Brady turnovers (strip sack, interception) in the first quarter to take a 21-3 lead. The Steelers cruised to a 34-20 victory.
There were mitigating factors in that defeat, although Belichick, in keeping with his pre-game tradition of making things look as bleak as possible, barely acknowledges them. That was the only game Corey Dillon sat out.
Deion Branch, perhaps the Patriots' best receiver, was still recovering from a knee injury and was not in uniform. Brandon Gorin, newly elevated to the starting lineup to replace the injured Tom Ashworth at right tackle, was making his first NFL start. And when left tackle Matt Light was injured in the third quarter and sidelined for the rest of the game, Gorin was moved to left tackle, where he had hardly practiced.