Philly QB A.J. Feeley's first interception to Asante Samuel the other night was a costly one to his team ... but also to several Patriots.
See, any Patriot who's late to a meeting or any other team commitment is docked an internal fine, which goes into a large pot. In that week's game, the player who comes up with the first turnover gets to reap the rewards of his teammates' tardiness.
"So we want a guy to be late," DL Richard Seymour joked, "to get that pot up."
Big Sey and a number of his teammates explain in detail their big-time time-keeping tactics in an interesting article in USA TODAY.
"It's a game within a game," said LB Tedy Bruschi. "We're clock-watchers. You'd be amazed at how many people can come in that door before the clock hits and you've got 20 seconds left. Even if you're late by 10 seconds, we get the number.
"These atomic clocks around here? I've got a synchronized watch. Some of the DBs have synchronized watches. I've heard where some teams let a guy walk in late and they'll say, 'Try to be on time next time.' Not here. Everyone holds everyone accountable."
Meanwhile, a number of injured Baltimore Ravens starters are trying hard to come back this week against New England.
Quoted in the Baltimore Sun, cornerback Chris McAlister, who's been out lately with a knee injury, said, ""I'm going to push through harder this week than I have in the past just to give me the opportunity to get out there because of what this game means, playing at home and playing against the Patriots, who appear to be the best team in the NFL. It's always a good thing to be able to go out there and compete against the best."
LB Jarret Johnson and TE Todd Heap are also attempting to fight off their aches and pains to face the Pats Monday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
As we approach that game, we're witnessing a rarely seen event in NFL history this week, with the New England Pats being 11-0 and the Miami Dolphins 0-11. It's only the third time in league annals that this has happened, as the Canadian Press points out today.
And it seems the tide may be turning in the media. For weeks, the fashionable tack has been to root against the Patriots, but more and more writers are taking the opposite approach. For example, here's a selection from a North Carolina columnist's work today:
So when [the Patriots] win, which is 11 times in 11 chances this NFL season, the conflagration on the message boards begins anew and the 1972 Miami Dolphins get agitated as their champagne chills for another week.
And speaking of chilling, that's what everybody should start doing.
What we're witnessing here is not evil; it is historic,* which is why anybody who claims to be a sports fan should at least tolerate it if not embrace it.*
The Boston Globe thinks the Patriots need a theme song, poem, or catchy slogan to accompany their historic season, and they're asking fans to pitch in with lyrical ideas.
A Baltimore-area sports writer offers about a half a dozen ways he thinks the Ravens can beat the Pats.
And finally, some sour grapes from an Indiana-based NFL observer, who wants a piece of extra punctuation added to the Patriots record, should they go undefeated this season.