After Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted a 40-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to secure a 10 point victory over the Dolphins Sunday, the scoreboard operator from Gillette Stadium posted Joey Porter’s picture on the two big screen video boards. To the left the Joey’s smiling face was his game stats: zero tackles and zero assists.
Although Porter had nothing to say following the game, all week long Porter spouted how much he distained the Patriots, bashing Tom Brady and how he’s protected by the referees and claiming all their victories throughout the decade, especially those playoff wins over Porter’s Pittsburgh teams, were tainted by ‘Spy-Gate.’
Foot-in-mouth quote number one: “No question,” said Porter, prior to the game. “When a guy can tell a ref when to throw a flag and he gets it…he got his own rules. They made the whole (rule that you) don’t go at the legs because of Tom. So when he feels that someone is coming at his legs, he just points at the ref and he gets a flag. So you’ve got to honestly say that he got his own rules.”
Following the loss to the Patriots, Porter failed to hang around the locker room to talk anymore to the media. Maybe Porter was speechless following the game because his Dolphins got the benefit of more favorable calls from the refs during the game than New England, including a crucial roughing-the-passer call late in the fourth quarter on Pats safety Patrick Chung. After criticizing Brady for lobbying for calls from the refs, Porter did a good job lobbying for calls during the week in favor of his team. Porter’s hypocrisy holds no bounds.
Foot-in-mouth quote number two: “Never really too much cared for New England,” said the loud-mouthed linebacker. “Still don't care for New England. The hate’s been there for a while, especially after all the cheating they did back in the day.”
The Patriots did their talking on the field. Porter was completely stymied in the game with zero production. He was invisible and there was no spy in the stands to justify his ineptitude; just solid blocking from rookie Sebastian Vollmer. “He’s a great football player,” said Vollmer the tackle following the game. “I just tried to play well and execute.”
The only other talking came from the Patriots stands with the chant of “JOOO – WEEEE! JOOO – WEEEE!”
Porter is one of several trash talkers against the Patriots through the years who were forced to eat crow. Others included Anthony Smith, a little-known defensive back of the Steelers in 2007. Smith guaranteed victory. “We're going to win,” he said. “Yeah, I can guarantee a win.” The Patriots soundly won that game 34-13, with two of New England’s touchdowns thrown in Smith’s direction.
Even the superstar players put their feet in their mouths. Still bitter about losing to the Patriots in the 2006 playoffs, LaDanian Tomlinson, on the heels of “Spy-Gate,” said the Patriots can only win by cheating. “I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, 'If you're not cheatin', you're not trying.” The Patriots responded on the field by dismantling the Chargers in 2007, 38-14.
In the week prior to Super Bowl XXXIX, Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell was asked to name each member of the Patriots’ secondary. Mitchell said he didn’t know them by name, only by number, and proceeded to intentionally get each of their numbers wrong. He concluded saying he knew that No. 37 is Rodney Harrison and that he’s “got something for him.” This immediately got back to the Patriots and Harrison, who said “[Mitchell] really talks big for a first round bust.” Belichick later called Mitchell “terrible” after Freddie finished the Super Bowl with one catch for 11 yards. Prior to the start of training camp the following year, Mitchell was released by the Eagles. Mitchell and is now out of the league.
Another famous player who didn't know when to keep his mouth closed was former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt. After the Colts routed the Broncos in the wild-card round of the 2004 playoffs, he told reporters that the Patriots were “ripe for the picking,” and “I think they're not as good as the beginning of the year and not as good as last year (when the were Super Bowl champs).” Harrison shot back at him in an interview; calling him “Vander-jerk.” The Patriots eventually defeated the Colts 20-3, highlighted by Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi stripping the ball from Dominic Rhodes. He held up the football and said “I think this is what they were looking for! They ain't got it! They ain't got it!” he said brashly. Vanderjagt is no longer kicking in the NFL.
Who can forget that popcorn peddler Terrell Owens when he played for the Cowboys two years ago? During the week leading up to the game against the Patriots in Dallas, Owens wrote a letter to the media informing them to “Getcha popcorn ready.” He wrote “Dear Reporters, Due to the magnitude of this week’s game and high volume of questions for the Original 81 about the other 81 [Randy Moss]. I will be taking all questions immediately following Sunday’s game. Sincerely: Terrell Owens.” The Patriots won the game 48-27 and literally had their popcorn ready and celebrated with a big popcorn party in the locker room after the game.
The most notable of those who have boasted about playing the Patriots was former Pittsburgh Steeler Kordell Stewart. Before the Steelers and Patriots match up in the 2001 AFC Championship game, Stewart waxed poetic on how he could not wait to go home to New Orleans to play in the Super Bowl and that his reservations have already been made, completely overlooking the upstart Patriots. After the Patriots beat the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl, Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest chanted “cancel those reservations!”
Forget the swine flu; the foot-in-mouth disease continues to run rampant with Patriots opponents
Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former New England beat writer, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin here.
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