Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
NEW ORLEANS -- Football etiquette. What is it? I really don't know anymore. Is it simple joy to imitate another player's sack dance, or is it shoving it in the sacker's face? Is it over-the-top to stomp on another team's logo after winning a game, as the Patriots did in San Diego on Sunday?
I don't know. No one writes the rules for such things, but I do know this: It is absolutely insane that after the incredible weekend of football we just witnessed that the preponderance of stories in the local and national press is about the Chargers being offended that the Patriots stomped around and celebrated on their field after a highly emotional game. There is no doubt in my mind that the league will -- and should -- address whether it's smart to make another rule about on-field celebrations. Silly, yes, but necessary because there's just too much focus on 10 seconds of jumping up and down in vengeful glee rather than on the game.
I have read the dredged-up postgame comments from last year's 41-17 thrashing of the Pats by the Chargers in New England, the ones where defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was quoted as calling it "an ass-kicking'' and defensive back Drayton Florence said,"[Bleep] New England and their team. Get the look of shock off your faces. Don't be shocked. We beat your [butt]."
Funny. I was at that game, covering it for Sports Illustrated. I bet I talked to eight Chargers after the game and none of them trash-talked the Patriots. I remember walking out of Gillette that day thinking the players were almost honored to beat the Patriots and break their long home-field win streak. "I'll probably believe it when I wake up in the morning,'' tackle Roman Oben said. "I wish I could have watched this game from the stands. We give up no sacks, rush for 183, against the Patriots. Amazing.'' LaDainian Tomlinson said: "I'm on the sideline in the fourth quarter looking up at the scoreboard and I see '31-17,' and I think to myself, 'This is really happening. We're beating New England at their place, really beating them.' ''
My take? New England got ticked off that Shawne Merriman went on CBS at halftime of the Jets-Pats, with New England ahead, and predicted the Jets would win. "He really knows what he's talking about,'' one Patriot said disdainfully after the game. "The guy's never played in a playoff game.'' I hear, but don't know for sure, that the Patriots also were put off by Merriman reportedly saying he'd punch Tom Brady in the mouth during the game.
I watched last Sunday's game from my family room, so I can't swear that I saw everything Tomlinson saw as the game ended. I thought I saw a Patriot give the choke sign to the Charger bench, but the TV shot of it was so fleeting I couldn't tell for sure. I didn't see the stomping. I asked Drew Brees about it Monday, and he agreed with Tomlinson that imitating the Merriman sack dance was disrespectful. But you've got to take that with a grain of salt, because Brees is close friends with so many of his former mates.