I missed a deadline and really hate to waste this one…
- The lead story on the national news has been Deflate Gate; a story that centers around under deflated footballs in the New England Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League’s AFC championship game. Stress put on the word game. This was/is the lead story on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, etc the past few days. Are there more pressing things for legitimate news organizations to concentrate on than a game?
Ok – so this is professional sports, but the lead story? One has to wonder how I.S.I.S., the Keystone Pipeline, and other world happenings feel about getting spiked. There must be many Patriots haters out there in the news industry. Let’s take a look…
- Now let’s get Spy Gate out of the way. The Patriots were found videotaping the opposing coach’s signals at games in September of 2007. Once caught the team proceeded to run the table and have an undefeated regular season, the first since the ’72 Dolphins who only played a 14 game regular season. (The Patriots lost to the Giants in the Superbowl in game number 18. The Dolphins are credited with a perfect 17 game season.)
Now seven years later retired NFL Bill Cowher on a national sports show admitted that The Patriots were not the only team used videotaping, they were the only team to get caught.
- The NFL changed the rules for Tom Brady. Several prominent journalists insist that the NFL rule changes regarding hitting the quarterback came in the wake of Bernard Pollard’s hit on Tom Brady at the start of the 2008 season. However we should note that concerns started to be raised in 2005 with a hit on Carsen Palmer’s knee. The rule was then changed to read “A rushing defensive player won’t be allowed to forcibly hit a quarterback below the knees.” The only change made after the Brady hit was to include “The clarification specifically prohibits a defender on the ground who hasn’t been blocked or fouled directly into the quarterback from lunging or diving at the quarterback’s lower legs.”
In other words, let’s have defenders avoid hitting quarterbacks in the knees. This really isn’t a bad idea considering quarterbacks are usually the face of a NFL franchise.
- Here is one I will give to Raider’s Fans yet the rule existed on the books far before the Snowball playoff game: the tuck rule. Fans of The Raiders, Redskins, and yes, the Patriots too, have had fumble recoveries over turned because of the tuck rule. The Patriot’s turnover in their favor, and some say the start of their dynasty, is the most prominent because it happened during a playoff game against the Raiders. One should note, however that in addition to The Patriots, both the Jets and the Broncos have taken advantage of this obscure rule during the regular season. So The Patriots have been both benefited and cursed by the tuck.
It is important to note that the NFL voted to eliminate the tuck rule in2013.
- Bill Belichick, a.k.a. the winningest coach in NFL history. If he hasn’t got the title yet he will have it soon. It is understandable not to like someone who avoids answering the questions he doesn’t want to answer. It is also understandable not to like someone who has a habit of winning. Think about Don Shula, Bill Parcells, and Tom Landry along with their respected teams of dominance. There is a reason Terry Bradshaw, Lawrence Taylor, and others are obnoxious – they are winners.
Belichick’s form of style is a combination of someone who is uncomfortable with small talk and the unintelligent. One cannot imagine him speaking about nothing and can understand why his response to ignorance is a glare, maybe a smirk, and then a non-answer.
Outside the required press conference Belichick is known to have a sense of humor. Those close to him claim he regularly will crack jokes and actually be personable. His players love him as do a lot of opposing team players. If one is observant before and after the coach’s handshake at the end of a game, viewers will see opposing team players seek out the hoodied one for a quick word or two. Why would a player seek out an opposing coach if they didn’t have some sort of respect for the man?
Winning is an expectation in New England and no one represents that expectation more than the head coach of The Patriots. Fans of opposing teams may hate Belichick yet given the opportunity to have him as your coach, I bet those fans would jump at the chance.
- Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady. Same as the coach – if he is your quarterback you love him yet if not…well there could be a bit of man envy going on. Why shouldn’t there be? He is part of the winningest coach-quarterback combination in NFL history. The guy has a supermodel wife, adorable children, three Superbowl rings, and let’s not forget the guy is pretty good looking.
Tom Brady cannot help how much media attention he gets. If you ever wonder how often his name is mentioned during non-Patriot NFL broadcasts, play the Tom Brady drinking game. (To play the game, one would take a sip of an adult beverage every time a broadcaster says his name. If watching a national sports show on ESPN or Fox Sports, even outside of New England, one could become quickly intoxicated. 21 and older please to play.) The man-love this man gets can be nauseating for the non-Patriot fan. (Pats fans think Peyton Manning try to play the same game.)
The one fact most sports fans will admit to is he is one of the best to ever play the game. Brady’s name is spoken with the same reverence as Montana, Elway, Marino, Unitas, and in the modern football era, we must of course add Manning (Peyton, and maybe Eli too). The future Hall Of Famer is on his way to a sixth Superbowl appearance, most in the NFL by a quarterback and will certainly hold other records before his playing career is complete.
- Deceptive formations and other such feces. Isn’t the entire point of football to out maneuver your opponent in order to score more points and win the game? After the Raven’s lost to The Patriots in a playoff game Raven’s coach Jim Harbaugh claimed that Belichick used deceptive formations to win the game. Harbaugh went on to say that having a player who is usually eligible to catch a pass signal ineligibility is not a legal maneuver. Come to find out this tactic has been used several times by NFL and college teams and the technique is completely legal.
Doesn’t one find this interesting that only the losing team complain about these things?
- Speaking of loser’s The Indianapolis Colts have to be the biggest bunch of poor sports on the planet. First a bit of history – way back in Brady’s early years he and Belichick schemed to beat then quarterback and NFL pretty boy Peyton Manning on a regular basis. When The Patriots started to employ the no huddle offense, Indianapolis complained to the league that they didn’t have time to react with substitutions and it wasn’t fair. The league’s response was to create a rule that stated both teams must have time to substitute players. Now let’s jump ahead to Deflate-Gate. Which NFL team cried to the league? Could it be the one who lost by 38 points to The Patriots the day prior?
Former Colts G.M. and now ESPN commentator Bill Pollian cannot even enunciate the word Patriot correctly, let’s not even go into the snide comments he usually makes following this mispronunciation. We can also look to owner Jim Irsay’s recent Twitter campaign and wonder if this is just his way of getting back at the organization his teams have had little success against? Can you say poor sports?
- Since we are on the subject of poor sports, there are too many ex-NFL players turned commentators to list here who have suddenly become ball experts. They can’t get over their losses, whether it is a regular season, divisional, or Superbowl game. This goes back to The Patriots first Superbowl victory and although I refuse to give the guy any ink here – “Dude, you lost the game. Build a bridge and move on!”
Whiners of course are not limited to former opponents. Both broadcasters and institutions known for exceptional journalism have jumped on the anti-Patriot bandwagon. We will skip over ESPN for now, although their lines between commentators and journalists have pretty much disappeared, and look at a sports magazine tradition: Sports Illustrated. Recently S.I. ran a piece by Michael Rosenberg that claimed other teams have complained about the Patriots cheating for years with some coaches going as far as putting padlocks on the visiting team’s locker room at Gillette. He also went on to accuse The Patriots of still videotaping, cheating by using a giant television outside the stadium (which contents are blurred from a sideline view), and Robert Kraft getting a favorable schedule from the NFL every year. When pushed on a Boston radio show Rosenberg could not name a source and kept answering any questions with “Well people say.” Mr. Rosenberg, people say a lot of things.
Journalists are supposed to get as close to the truth as possible before publishing. “People say” just doesn’t cut it. Sports Illustrated readers deserve better.
#1. This is easy. The haters exist because of jealousy. All The Patriots do is win consistently. They have a team first approach with players putting egos aside for the betterment of the organization and they get rid of their embarrassments (Aaron Hernandez was let go before his fingerprints dried.)
Haters will hate because at some point this country switch from getting excited about winners, to finding excuses for why they win. Hard work and dedication isn’t enough in our “everybody gets a trophy” world.
We will see what is said after Sunday – Go Pats!