FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the topic of passing yards exploding across the NFL was brought up to coach Bill Belichick during his Wednesday news conference, it produced a notable exchange.
Reporter: With quarterbacks around the league throwing for so many yards this year, what really changed this year as opposed to several years ago?
Belichick: "Well I think we've seen production in the passing game. I mean, look at Marino's, that was 20 years ago, or whatever it was, and we're talking about that record now standing for quite a while. I think it's all a function of execution. There have been great passers in this league for a long time, great receivers, great tight ends, great runners, great defenders. So sometimes each year falls a little bit different. I don't have a great explanation for it."
Reporter: As a defensive coach, though, with all the rules that have been made the last few years, would Marino have thrown for far more yards [under the current rules]? If Marino was playing now, do you think he'd have thrown for 5,500 yards?
Belichick: "Yeah, I don't know. If if's and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. I don't know. I have no idea."
Reporter: Do those rules help though?
Belichick: "Which rules are you talking about?"
Reporter: The rules of not being able to hit quarterbacks, and how receivers you can't touch them further downfield.
Belichick: "Those rules have been in place for 15 years."
Reporter: But there's a bigger emphasis on them in recent years.
Belichick: "Look, talk to the people who make the rules. They do all those studies. Trust me. They do all those studies. They know how long each game was, in every year it was played, the length of time, the amount of penalties, the amount of yardage, the amount of rushing yardage, the yards-per-carry, the yards-per-completion. All that's been studied, very thoroughly, by people a lot smarter than I am. So I don't really know. I'm just trying to get our team ready for Buffalo, a team we didn't do very well against [earlier this year]. I'm just thinking about Buffalo. I don't [know about] all the statistics and all the rules, trying to solve all the world's problems in the passing game. I'm just trying to solve ours against Buffalo."
Reporter: But it's just interesting that Marino's record stood until...
Belichick: "Yeah, it's a great story. And I'm not really...I mean, last time I watched Marino throw, I don't know when that was. I'm just trying to concentrate on Buffalo."
Reporter: So you don't think there's anything to the fact that potentially three guys will break that record this year.
Belichick: "Do I think there's anything to it? What's that mean?"
Reporter: It stood for 30 years. No one's done that. Four guys are going to break 5,000 yards. The game is totally different, that's what [the reporter is] getting at.
Belichick: "If that's what you want to write, go ahead. I don't know."
Reporter: But you're the expert.
Belichick: "Look, I'm not an expert. I'm just trying to get ready for Buffalo. I'm not trying to analyze the passing game of the last 20 years. That's for people a lot smarter than me. Like you guys."
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