Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel wants to squash any talk about facing his former coach Bill Belichick during Sunday's game in New England.
"Bill and I won't be squaring off to determine this game," Vrabel said this week, via the team's official website. "This game will be won, like it always is, with the players."
Well, that's no fun, coach.
What am I supposed to do with all these facts compiled by NFL Research?
Like the one that says: Vrabel is 2-0 as a head coach versus Belichick (including playoffs) -- Week 10, 2018: TEN 34, NE 10 (at TEN, Marcus Mariota had two pass TDs and Derrick Henry had two rush TDs); 2019 Wild Card Round: TEN 20, NE 13 (at NE, Henry had 182 rush yards and one rush TD, Tom Brady threw a pick-six to Logan Ryan on his last pass attempt with the Patriots).
Or what about this stat? Belichick is 14-12 (including playoffs) versus former Patriots players/assistant coaches as head coach -- 10-4 from 2006-2017, 4-8 since 2018 (including 0-2 vs. Vrabel), and 0-1 in 2021 (lost to Miami's Brian Flores in Week 1).
Or with the backdrop that the Titans remain in first place in the AFC despite last week's loss, how about this doozy? Belichick has coached 12 previous games with the Patriots (including playoffs) against the team with the best record in the AFC outright entering the week. His teams have gone 1-4 in such games versus Peyton Manning and 7-0 against all other QBs. The Pats have won the last four such games (most recent: New England beat 5-0 Kansas City in Week 6, 2018).
I guess all that goes in the trash bin.
Coming off a horrific, turnover-plagued loss to the previously one-win Texans, the Titans now face the hottest team in the NFL, winners of five straight who have outscored their opponents by 125 points (25 PPG) in that span.
Vrabel knows Tennessee must have its best showing of the season to win Sunday in Foxborough, but it's not because of an aura-filled stadium.
"The tradition and history is not going to win or lose the game for anybody," Vrabel said, via NFL Network's Mike Giardi. "I think we all know where the banners are and the success that organization has had over the last 20 years. What will win or lose the game is playing sound, fundamental football, taking care of the football, penalties, playing with great technique. That is really what they have done, and it has been impressive the last five weeks."