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There are plenty of reasons for praising the New England Patriots, a team vying for a Super Bowl berth Sunday when they take on the Denver Broncos.
But the Rhode Island Senate may have gone just a bit out of bounds on Jan. 15 when, without dissent, it passed a resolution lauding the team for its accomplishments and wishing them well against the Broncos.
The resolution, sponsored by Paul Jabour, D-Providence, and Roger Picard, D-Woonsocket, states that, "The Patriots were led by an explosive offense that scored the second most points in the NFL and a tough and stingy defense." The resolution was read aloud.
We won't get into the debate over how tough and stingy New England's defense is, especially during recent games. But the point total claim raised the hackles of one of our sports gurus, who said the Senate had made a rookie mistake.
When another reader started raising questions about the Senate resolution on Twitter, we went to the official statistics page at NFL.com.
According to the site, New England scored 444 points during the regular season. That put the team in third place, one point behind the Chicago Bears (with 445 points) and the Broncos (with a whopping 606).
Third place isn't second place, so the claim seems to be False.
But the resolution doesn't specify regular season. If you include postseason play, which purists are loath to do when comparing all the teams in the NFL, New England does rank second. (The Bears didn't make the playoffs.)
By that measure, the resolution is correct. Denver has logged 630 points, New England 487 points, and Kansas City 474 points.
(If you want to look at the postseason alone, New England ranks fifth out of 12 teams on point totals. San Francisco and San Diego have scored more points, but each team has played two games, while the Patriots have played just one.)
In sum, the claim can be accurate, but only if you combine regular-season and postseason play, which means comparing teams that competed in 16 games with those that have played 17 games (or in a few cases, 18 games). That's a sizable caveat.
Because the statement needs clarification or additional information to be correct, we rate it Mostly True.
(With research by Michael McDermott, sports editor of The Providence Journal. If you have a claim you’d like PolitiFact Rhode Island to check, email us at [email protected] And follow us on Twitter: @politifactri.)
RILIN.state.RI.us, "2014 -- S2047; Senate Resolution Congratulating The New England Patriots On Their Sterling 2013-2014 NFL Season Thus Far And Wishing Them Good Luck In Their AFC Championship Game Being Played On Sunday, January 19, 2014, Against The Denver Broncos," Rhode Island General Assembly web page, passed Jan. 15, 2013, accessed Jan. 16, 2013
NFL.com, "Statistics by Team Category," accessed Jan. 16, 2013
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