The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots have a history of huge games over the last decade, but the rivalry doesn't feel the same since Peyton Manning left town. Perhaps offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's words Thursday will spice things up.
Hamilton, fresh off a stint at Stanford, has his own history against the Patriots as an assistant under former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards from 2003 to 2005. Hamilton was asked about what he expects when he faces the Patriots.
"I do know for a fact that it was always a 60-minute chess match. It was ever-changing looks and disguises and they always tend to find ways to figure out some of your signals," Hamilton said.
The crack is in reference, of course, to New England being punished for stealing opposing signals in 2007 through illegal videotaping methods. Coach Bill Belichick was punished with a $500,000 fine for the infraction.
Hamilton went on to say what an honor it is to go against Belichick, whom he called one of the "greatest coaches in NFL history." We fully expect this quote to make the rounds, especially in New England.
Is it a big deal that Hamilton took a light crack about the Patriots' history? Of course not. Two of the most fascinating quarterbacks in the NFL are about to face off, and that's the real story.
Based on Belichick's history, though, we can fully expect Belichick to privately make a big deal out of the quote as he prepares his team for the game. Belichick never says anything in public, but the Patriots love using minor slights as added motivation before big games.
No one can convince me that these added motivational gambits actually make a difference on the field, but football coaches much smarter than myself seem to disagree.