FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Peppered with questions about the Indianapolis Colts' record and how he will motivate his team against a winless opponent, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick adamantly suggested that records are irrelevant every week in the NFL.
"[The players have] heard me talk about it every week, so they really don't care about their record," Belichick said. "And we really don't. What difference does it make? How somebody played two weeks go against somebody else -- I mean, who cares? Us or anybody else. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is how we and the Colts perform against each on Sunday. That's all that matters. Who cares who won three weeks ago in some game with some other players? It doesn't matter.
"And we look at tape and learn about our opponent, scout them, and pick up tendencies -- their strengths and weaknesses, all that. But how we match up against that team that day is all that matters. The rest of it, it's a bunch of garbage."
With Peyton Manning sidelined by his neck injury, the Colts have gone from a 10-6 team a year ago to 0-11 this season. The Patriots, who are 8-3, are favored by almost three touchdowns.
Near the end of a nearly 21-minute news conference, it was suggested to Belichick that it must be more difficult to gauge his own team against a weak opponent as opposed to one with a better record. And that really set off the coach.
"I don't agree with that," he said, interrupting the question. "So, keep going on with your soliloquy, but I just don't agree with that. You don't think you can gauge a team based on how a player blocks Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? I mean, who else would you gauge it against? Are you kidding me? Covering Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garcon -- you don't think you can gauge your coverage based on those players? I don't care what their record is. You think there's better receivers around than them? Better pass rushers than Freeney and Mathis? I'm not sure what games you're watching here."
Chris Forsberg covers the Patriots and Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.