Who The Hell Is Bob Cook?

Bob Cook is apparently a freelance writer in the Chicago area, who occasionally contributes to MSNBC.com.

I can’t say that I recall ever having read anything this guy has written before, though I probably have and just don’t remember.

He made an impact today with his column Belichick’s track record of classlessness, a piece that is clearly screaming “LOOK AT ME” – and succeeding.

I thought we take a look at his column, “FireJoeMorgan” style, though I am not nearly as snarky or talented as those guys are.

Quotes from the column are in bold, my thoughts are plain text.

When you hear the New England Patriots are accused of sending a spy to videotape an opponent’s signals, do you think, “There is no WAY that would EVER be tolerated on a team coached by Bill Belichick?”

Thought not.

Actually, Belichick is known as a guy who respects the game and the history of it. It did seem out of character.

As his team gets further removed from its Super Bowl run,

…as is every Super Bowl champion since the beginning of time…

Belichick’s career as a Hall of Fame coach is quickly being overtaken by his career as a Hall of Fame jackass.

Well, if BOB COOK says so, this must absolutely be true.

Even though Belichick is far from being found culpable in the case of the Patriots employee wielding a video camera where none should be,

…that won’t stop Bob Cook from saying that he is a Hall of Fame jackass…

the coach’s long history of poor sportsmanship means it hardly stretches the imagination to see him being Dick Cheney in the NFL’s version of warrantless wiretapping.

The long history that the voices in Bob Cook’s head are telling him is there. Though we’ll soon see that the voices were misleading poor Bob.

If this is all just a big misunderstanding, all apologies to Belichick.

Well, gee, Thanks. That’s big of you.

If not, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to go all Pacman Jones on Belichick,

Let’s see, Pacman Jones is accused of having had his people, you know, SHOOT someone. Classy yourself, Bob, classy.

who is a repeat offender when it comes to the crime of sore winning and sore losing.

And kicks puppies, from what we’ve been told.

Forget losing a draft pick or two if the Patriots are found to have violated the league rule against videotaping another team’s signals. Belichick, if he is at any way responsible, should be suspended for a bad attitude that has played out in ways that makes Terrell Owens queasy.

Another great comparison. Terrell Owens. Bill Belichick. I see the connection immediately. Oh yeah, there’s that IF thing again.

Not only is it no surprise that the coach who Machiavelli thinks is a little too committed to winning at all costs would (allegedly) send a spy to steal signals during Sunday’s 38-14 victory over the New York Jets, but it’s also no surprise that, as a league source told ESPN.com, this is not the first time such an accusation has been made. According to that account, the Green Bay Packers last year kicked out the same Patriots representative being investigated by the league for the Jets incident.

Wait for it…wait for it…

Sign-stealing has long been a sports pastime, and often it’s seen as crafty gamesmanship to slyly figure out the opponents’ signals.

For everyone else, this practice is apparently accepted.

But only the sore-winning, sore-losing Belichick would be as ham-handed as to send a guy with a video recorder to stand on the other team’s sideline.

Naturally. The Miami Dolphins had two players tell The Palm Beach Post that the team "bought” tapes of Tom Brady last season. But only Belichick would go and send his OWN guy. Allegedly.

It shows the same brand of subtlety he displayed, say, brushing past someone trying to shake his hand after a loss.

Wow…right…it’s exactly the same. Can’t you see it?

Belichick has been on a particular roll since the last game of the regular season: shoving a photographer during a season-ending win over the Jets;

Trying to get through a mob to shake the hand of Mangini. An action for which the classless coach later apologized personally to the photographer.

having LaDainian Tomlinson question whether the Patriots who danced at midfield after a playoff win at San Diego took their cues on classlessness from their coach;

Yup. Belichick taught his players that very dance, in fact. The whole Friday practice was devoted to it, from what I heard.

and blowing off Peyton Manning after the Colts beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game,

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followed by Belichick giving CBS’ Solomon Wilcots a short, prickly interview that inspired network analyst Boomer Esiason to call the coach “unprofessional.”

More crimes against humanity here.

Then on a Sept. 2 radio show, Vikings coach Brad Childress revealed he had a tense conversation with Belichick when Childress wanted to claim a player Belichick had put on waivers in hopes of bringing him back to the practice squad. Childress said Belichick told him he wouldn’t claim a Vikings player if Childress backed off. When he didn’t, Childress said, Belichick claimed a Vikings player. “He was trying to leverage, but you always find out who is honest and straightforward,” Childress told WCCO-AM.

Later, Childress had this to say about the matter: “That’s a case of me being a little too colorful,” he said at his Wednesday news conference. “You guys wonder why I stand up here and go, ‘Yep, no, and maybe so.’ Bill’s and my conversation should stay between Bill and myself.”

Belichick and Childress actually have a pretty good relationship.

Of course, Belichick has a long history of manipulation.

Of course.

Look at how he works the weekly injury list so no one knows exactly who is hurt and how much,

No other teams do this! Only Belichick!

paranoia that runs so deep, Belichick ordered Steelers trainer John Norwig off the field in 2005 when he came to assist injured Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light. Actually, what Belichick was reported to have said was, “Get away from my [R-rated adjective] player!”

Actually, I didn’t want the trainer touching Light either.


If it weren’t for the reports that the Patriots had tried this before, it would seem natural Belichick would reserve his most dastardly schemes for the Jets, given the bad blood that started in early 2000 when he quit as the team’s head coach the day he was promoted to fill Bill Parcells’ absence, continued as he and the Jets filed grievances over his attempt to go to the Patriots, and continued further as defensive coordinator Eric Mangini took the head coaching job last year, reportedly over Belichick’s objections (so much so Belichick, like an angry father of a teenage daughter dating a newly released prisoner, was purported to have changed the locks during Mangini’s courting).

“Dastardly schemes” – great phrase. You really get the sense of Belichick being a villain here.

Who can forget such heart-warming images of tough but fair competition as Belichick brushes off Mangini’s handshake in their first game against each other,

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and Mangini grabbing Belichick’s right arm like Henry VIII locked onto a turkey leg to guarantee a handshake after their second meeting?

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Or was Mangini just really hungry?

Only Belichick’s lack of throwing furniture and his omnipresent monotone keeps his reputation from completely spilling over into Bob Knight territory.

Well, those and the fact that Knight was once arrested for assaulting a police officer, kicked his own son during a game, and had a “verbal dustup” with his University President in a supermarket.

He’s a jerk, but not one you hear screaming a lot.

So is that better or worse?

Belichick might not completely disdain the comparison to Knight, a good friend of Belichick’s former boss, Parcells. Knight was never one to rush to apologize for his actions, and Belichick doesn’t openly, Nixon-style, declare “I am not a jerk,” instead issuing vague responses that sound like they were written by Alan Greenspan.

But one other thing about Knight. For all of his flaws, he was all about fair play. Belichick is about gaming the system as much as you can.

So…in one sentence he’s being compared to Knight, and in the next he’s the total opposite of Knight? Good or bad? Knight’s a bad example in one and a shining one in the other.

Particularly if this videotape accusation holds up, the question becomes, with Belichick’s skill, and his players’ talent, why stoop to this?

Damn that word IF.

The answer: because Belichick’s attitude crosses the line from wanting to do everything possible to win to demanding to do anything possible to win. Belichick’s boorish behavior means the videotape accusation, if it sticks, isn’t a sign of some crafty mind engaging in a little gamesmanship. It’s a sign of an obsessed mind crossing the line from being a poor sport to being poor for his sport.

Did we mention that Bob Cook is a diehard Colts fan?

I’m sure that had absolutely no bearing on this column though. None. Not a bit.