New England Patriots showed the ultimate respect for Baltimore Ravens on Sunday by using their most secret plays of the season on head coach John Harbaugh and his team.
The Ravens may have not liked what they saw - or didn't see - but rather than viewing the Patriots' trick plays as some kind of a disrespectful bunch of plays, what unfolded was quite the opposite.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is a great football mastermind. It's the ninth time the Patriots have made the AFC Championship Game in 14 seasons. And the way he has managed to do that is great offensive football and an ability to turn the ball over on defense.
What Belichick isn't necessarily known for is trick plays. Yes, they have them in their locker, but so does every team.
This is why the Pats' decision to use the best deceptive and creative calls in their playbook at the weekend was the surest sign of the Patriots' respect for Baltimore.
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- Tom Brady on Pats' trick plays: Ravens should learn playbook
Waiting a while
Those plays are important and can only be used during one game before teams adjust. The Patriots have been waiting a long time to give wideout Julian Edelman - a former QB - the chance to throw the first TD of his career for instance, while the ineligible WR plays were used for the first time under Belichick.
The Patriots were obviously planning on using these plays in a do or die game. A game which they felt they had to use them in or else they would lose, and end their Super Bowl hopes in the process.
Although the ineligible receiver plays, where Edelman was not able to partake, were incredibly deceptive and almost cruel on the Ravens, they were certainly the biggest form of flattery that the Pats could have given Baltimore.