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NEW YORK — No doubt more than one coach has wanted to send Bill Belichick the same one-fingered message that Wyoming’s Joe Glenn relayed across the field when Utah went for an onside kick Saturday with a 43-0 lead in the third quarter of their college game.

Glenn got his wrist slapped for the gesture but at least he tried to stand up to a bully.

Unlike the passive public reaction displayed by Joe Gibbs and his fellow coaches after the New England Patriots kicked sand in their faces.

Tough to blame them. Unlike Glenn, the NFL coaches may have to play their tormentors another time this season.

Just how good these Patriots are is no longer a real question.

If anything, coming back in the fourth quarter against Indianapolis just added more ink to the stamp of greatness already bestowed on this team by everyone, it seems, except Don Shula.

They’ve still got seven games left in the regular season but, unless Tom Brady gets run over by a bus, it’s hard to make an argument for the chances of anybody left on the Patriots schedule stealing a cheap win and keeping the champagne usually shared by the 1972 Miami Dolphins on ice.

Sports historians can then begin the debate of where this team takes its place among the best of all time. Talking heads on TV can talk themselves silly about whether it can ever be done again in an era of parity in the NFL.

Right now, however, the best judges of this team can be found in the oddest of places — behind the counter in the sports books of the glittering casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

These guys have seen everything over the years, but they’ve never seen anything like this.

“You just don’t see these kind of numbers in the NFL,” said John Avello, who runs the sports book at the Wynn Las Vegas, where the Patriots are 16-point favorites over a team playing at home that has won four straight.

“Who knows what we’re going to see when they host the Jets,” said the Las Vegas Hilton’s Jay Kornegay. “It might be the highest point spread in the history of the NFL.”

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