Reader David Clauss of East Providence, R.I., writes, "Back in 2007 when New England's offense was a juggernaut and ran up the score, you consistently criticized Bill Belichick for this. This season, you say nothing about John Fox, and praise Denver's dazzling offensive stats. Why the Broncos favoritism?"
All season I've mulled whether Denver is running up the score. Denver defeated Tennessee 51-28, but the lead did not become insurmountable until late. When the Broncs led Philadelphia 42-13 at the end of the third quarter, Manning held a clipboard for the rest of the contest. So, no problem with either of those high-scoring outings. Sunday, Manning should have come out with the Broncos ahead 30-13 and only five minutes remaining: Denver plainly was playing to make sure its star got the touchdown-passes record. (He might sit in the season finale.) On the other hand, the Broncos wish they'd run up the score when they held a seemingly safe 24-0 lead at New England.
I'd be the first to admit some of the difference in reaction is optics. Belichick snarls at the public; Fox comes across as awe-shucks. Maybe they're both different in private. But no one puts a gun to Belichick's head and forces him to snarl -- he could make an effort to seem grateful for his good fortune.