Red doesn’t like to talk much about the game with the oddly shaped ball, so it falls on me to interrupt coverage of the Winter Meetings to mention the Patriots. If their dynasty was lying on my operating table, I’d call the time of death at fourth and two.

Others would argue that it was the Superbowl loss to the Giants that was the beginning of the end, and they’d have a pretty good case. That was the first evidence of the fourth down decision-making problems that have plagued this team of late. In that game, they had two fourth down and short situations – one was two yards, the other three – and elected to punt the ball. Later they had a fourth and 23 and went for it (and this was not a late-in-the-game desperation fourth down).

In the two games since Bill’s Giant Ego lost to the Colts, not much good has happened. The team was manhandled by the Saints on both sides of the ball (the same Saints who couldn’t stop the offensive Juggernaut of the Redskins a week later) and beaten in suicide-inducing fashion by the Dolphins. And in the Dolphins game, it was the refusal to take a guaranteed three points to pad their lead which would contribute to their demise as they were unable to convert.

The complete lack of a red-zone running game and no defensive pass rush make a deadly combination when bad coaching is thrown into the mix. Yesterday, Captain Queeg sent home four veterans, not allowing them to practice, because they were late for an eight o’clock meeting. For those who don’t recall, it was snowing like a motherflipper yesterday morning. Not good enough – apparently Wild Bill perceived the mutiny was underway – no soup for you!

This has all the makings of an early playoff exit and a huge squander of a year with Brady, Moss and Welker in their primes.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled Winter Meetings…