Friday, January 23, 2015

Sorry folks, I don't buy it.

People keep asking if I’m anti-patriot.

Listen, I’m a die-hard Patriots fan. I’ve watched every game since I could understand the game of football; I watched the Patriots before CBS even had a contract with the NFL. I have video of Drew Bledsoe beating the Miami Dolphins on a bomb to Shawn Jefferson on a cold Monday night and video of Bledsoe dropping one over the top to Ben Coates to beat a rejuvenated Buffalo team after the Jim Kelly era with Doug Flutie at the controls. I taped every game, analyzed it, watched it, and kept it. I have a bar in my house filled with thousands of dollars worth of Patriots memorabilia for Pete's sake. I'm as die-hard Patriots fan as they come but what I’m not a fan of is cheating. I don’t support the Patriots when it comes to stuff like this and if that makes me anti-patriot so be it. I don’t trust the organization. In fact, I think they've lost all integrity, especially after Tom Brady’s presser. I think that’s pretty unfortunate considering a lot of people in that organization including some players probably didn't even know about the deflation of the footballs.

If you’re going to sit there and tell me that Bill Belichick didn't know about any of this I'll disagree one-hundred times out of one-hundred. If you as so much to say Tom Brady didn't know it about it, now you're just telling yourself a lie. First of all, Bill Belichick is known for being the most iconic coach in the game because of his education on the rules of the game and that includes knowledge of the football operations manual which isn't a public document like the NFL rule book. If Bill really didn't know than he just made himself look even worse. He controls every aspect of the team he's not just the ole ball coach folks, he runs the whole football operation down there in Foxborough. So, let's not kid ourselves here, Belichick knew what was going on it’s just a matter of how long did it go on for and how many wins did the Patriots get because of it in close games? None you say? Everybody’s doing it? Show me the proof. Oh, and good for everybody.

It’s cheating.

As far as my favorite quarterback of all time, Tom Brady goes, unless somehow the NFL comes out and says the Colts sabotaged the Patriots and somehow deflated those footballs, Tom Brady knew about it. I put a post-up after Tom’s presser which read, “Brady owning this press conference #balls” and he did. He stepped up; more scared to death than I've ever seen him before, voice shaking in his first answer, and delivered one of the best pressers I've seen in a long time in front of a lot of people. He owned it. The problem? I don’t believe him.

I find it shockingly hard to believe that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick didn't know about this until Monday morning. The game had to be stopped for nearly a minute because the officiating crew had to replace twelve footballs. Nobody told Belichick there was a problem with the balls? The guy under center didn't notice? You were that wrapped up in the game that you didn't notice a 2 psi difference on the football? That's a big difference. Blow a ball up and deflate it yourself,  you can tell.

I’m scared for Tom Brady right now.

Tom came out and said all of the right things and it scares me to death. A week ago, I was rooting for Tom to win his fourth Super Bowl and put himself up there as the best of all-time. Today, I’m worried that he may not even start in the game. If the NFL finds out that the Patriots were responsible for this Roger Goodell needs to lay down the law and, he will. Goodell's job is on the line after all because of the Ray Rice scandal. He has no choice but to come down hard. Brady should be benched for the game for lying to our faces and Belichick should be suspended. If I was Robert Kraft I'd fire Bill and release Tom. Will it happen? Probably not, there's too much money involved. Tom stood at the podium for over thirty minutes telling us about how important the situation was, how he tries to play the game fair, how the integrity of the game is important, and how he did not know what happened with the footballs. The only way Bill and Tom come out of this on top is if we find out the Colts were responsible and the likelihood of that is about the same as the Colts chances of winning that football game.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s over. The organization has lost all integrity here, not that they had much to begin with but I think most people were finally over spy gate. I've heard excuses from Pats fans all week that “every team does it”, “cheating is part of the game”, “they only hate on us because we win”, “nobody likes Bill”, “the refs should be to blame” etc, etc, etc. How about the reason people hate on us is because we cheat more than other teams—did anyone ever think of that? How about not blaming anyone but ourselves? How about we stop watching videos of Fitzy to justify why in our heads this is okay? Let’s stop pointing the finger at other teams like the Ravens or the Colts for being “sore losers”. Where is our moral real? Folks, I’m a realist. I wouldn't support my kids cheating in any way and you probably wouldn't either. So, why accept it from this team?

I don't blame the Colts at all for bringing this to the league's attention. It doesn't matter to me that the Patriots could have won that game with a bar of soap, it's still cheating. What fun is that if you're the opponent and you know the other team is cheating? That's not competitive. Michael Wilbon from ESPN said on Monday that if they find the Patriots guilty of this they should be kicked out of the Super Bowl. Now, he changed his stance today because he's a bit softer than I am but I agree with his initial assessment. If the Pats are guilty and especially if it comes out that Bill and Tom knew, kick em out.

Look, just because I’m a die-hard fan doesn't mean I have an obligation to defend this team. Just because "I’m from New England" isn't a reason either. If it was any other team you probably wouldn't defend them either. Does that mean I’m not a fan anymore? No. It just means I don’t buy the story and this Super Bowl, right now, doesn't have a whole lot of meaning. At least not the meaning it had last week when I was hoping to see Tom Brady become one of the all-time greats. It's deflating, I know. Deep down, you probably agree with some of this even if you can't bring yourself to admit it. I know how disappointing this is, I know. It sucks. Let's face it, Tom Brady has now positioned himself to be one of the all-time liars and cheats similar to that of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

If taking the high road of seeing through the hoopla makes me anti-patriot in your eyes, so be it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

RIP Stuart Scott

I was very sad to hear that Stuart Scott passed away this morning. Stuart was an inspiration to me growing up as I always wanted to be a sports broadcaster. Scott anchored Sports Center for so many years and he really redefined the way sports were brought into our living rooms. I had the privilege of watching Stuart's Espy's speech live and when I think of Stuart Scott for the rest of my life the words "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live" will always come to mind. That and maybe the comment he made to Kiefer Sutherland about him being in front of Peyton Manning and others but "who cares about that, Jack Bauer saved the world." His humor and hip hop take on Sports Center and in other roles on the network will always be what I remember.

He certainly was the best and he certainly will be missed.
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