Another Kick at the Balls from ESPN

At this point we can just admit that ESPN has giving up any hope of doing actual reporting, right?

They’ve just turned into ProFootballTalk when it comes to the Patriots.

Seriously, what is this junk?

Patriots locker room attendant tried to put unapproved ball into AFC final

There is nothing there. Absolutely nothing. All it is is red meat to dangle in front of the CHEATERS crowd. (and Kirk Minihane and Tim Benz.)

In fact, all this “report” does is muddy the waters even further, and directly contradict early ESPN reporting. What’s more, they cite within the story reports from Chris Mortensen, Jay Glazer and even ProFootballTalk, but completely leave out the report made by Ian Rapoport.

Moreover, this is from Outside The Lines, which is purported to be the last bastion of actual investigative, stick-to-journalistic integrity at the network.

CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley, who has done great work in hitting back at this entire under-inflated football scandal, has a good takedown of the report today:

New ESPN DeflateGate Report Paints Problematic Picture Of Entire Situation

It’s been encouraging to listen to Lou Merloni this morning, as well as the new Bertrand and Zolak pairing taking apart the report and exposing it for what it really is – sensationalistic clickbait.

More worrisome is the continued one-sided leaks that come from this “thorough and objective” independent investigation led by men with “impeccable” credentials, who “will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation.”

How’s that Revis tampering case coming along, anyhow?

Cabin Fever Setting In

After finally finding my way out of the snowdrifts and to the keyboard, I’m back to offer a few frostbite-influenced thoughts on the latest happenings:

It’s amazing how much has changed in ten years. When the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February of 2005, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram. There was no FOX Sports 1 or NBC Sports Network. We had ESPN and a young NFL Network to get the recaps, and reviews from. Locally we had WEEI and whatever minor league competitor was on the air at the time.

The growth of social networks as well as increased competition on the television and radio side, both locally and nationally has led to a constant saturation of highlights, views, reviews and punditry.

The difference between 2005 and 2015 is amazing, and for me, its another reason I’m glad the Patriots were able to get that Super Bowl win in this new era – in many ways we got to experience it in a whole new way.

But, it’s already onto next season, as we talk combine and franchise tags.

****

Can the Red Sox do another worst-to-first turnaround? Amazingly so, it seems that it’s not only possible, but many of the analysts out there are picking them to come out of somewhat weakened AL East. They’re also popular in Vegas and even in the UK where it looks like a tightly-contested season ahead with the Nationals and the Dodgers leading the MLB baseball betting markets at a price 13/2 respectively, with the Tigers next in-line at 7/1 from UK bookies Betbright.

Ben Cherington, after seemingly not  doing too much in the aftermath of the surprise 2013 World Series win got back on the horse this offseason and signing free agent bats and trading for starting pitching, while missing out on bringing back Jon Lester.

While there are still many questions around the team – young players, lack of an “ace”, the closing situation – the Red Sox figure to be much more competitive this season. Spring Training coverage should be announced shortly for NESN and CSNNE, and for once perhaps, the green fields and reporters having faux debates poolside at a Florida resort might actually be a welcome sight for the rest of us.

****

The NBA trade deadline is this week. Coach Brad Stevens has said he’d like to keep the group he has now somewhat intact so that they can develop some cohesion. That is completely understandable from a coaches perspective, but I suspect if Danny Ainge can get more assets for his rebuild, he’s going to make deals. It still doesn’t look like it’s time to begin adding the “keeper” pieces, but we’ve been surprised before.

This team has been pretty fun to watch in recent games, especially their west coast swing, and that game against the East leading Hawks. While wins might not be the best thing for draft pick positioning at this point, they’re nice to be able to enjoy.

Congratulations to CSNNE’s Tom Heinsohn who will be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame for his coaching career with the Celtics. Already in the Hall for this playing career, Tommy should be also considered for the broadcasting wing as well.

Younger viewers might scoff at that notion, but Heinsohn pioneered much of how basketball is produced for television. He’s a lot more worthy than many of the names that have been honored by that wing of the Hall.

****

Are these the 2015 Bruins or the 2009 Patriots? Is Claude Julien standing next to Zdeno Chara saying “I just can’t get this team to play the way it needs to play.”

A 4-3 OT loss to the Flames last night was the Bruins latest poor performance, and it sure looks like some major changes need to be made to this roster.

The Ultimate Answer

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? It’s been awfully quiet on the national scene since about 10pm Sunday night.

It really is hard to believe just how many media-created storylines have to be scrapped following Sunday night’s Super Bowl win by the New England Patriots.

You will never again hear that the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spygate. (On the other hand, you can continue to point out that the Denver Broncos haven’t won a Super Bowl since they cheated the salary cap.)

You’ll never again hear that Bill Belichick could only win with Bill Parcells’ players. (A ridiculous notion to begin with. Bill Parcells couldn’t win with Bill Parcells’ players.)

You’ll never hear that Belichick didn’t win without Romeo Crennel or Charlie Weis.

You’ll never again hear that Tom Brady doesn’t have as many Super Bowl wins as Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw.

You won’t hear about what a colossal mistake it was to let Wes Welker go and have Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola instead.

You won’t hear that the team made a fatal mistake trading Logan Mankins. (By the way, weird coincidence – Mankins was drafted three months after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February 2005, and was traded away five months before the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February 2015. His Patriots career exactly spanned the gap between titles.)

No more “Gisele jinx” if that was such a thing. (From the above, it would seem more like Mankins was the jinx.)

That’s not even counting the endless stupid storylines that were generated just this season by no-nothing columnists and sports radio hosts. Brady’s finished! Rift between Brady/Belichick! Revis is disinterested! LaFell is a bust! Gronk can’t stay healthy for a full year! Browner is below average! Jimmy G! Broncos are ALL IN! WEAPONZ! Etc etc etc.

This was the Super Bowl that handled all family business. From the very start of the season this team was under siege. In intensified tenfold during the two weeks leading up to the game, thanks to whiny Ryan Grigson of the Colts.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Grigson was a scout with the Rams when they lost to the Patriots in 2001, and with the Eagles when they lost to the Patriots in 2004.

All Grigson has accomplished is making his team a target for the foreseeable future.

It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying win. Even the manner in which victory was sealed – snatching victory from what appeared to be heartbreaking defeat – was perfect. The rest of the country looking on, rooting hard against the Patriots, thinking they’re done, especially after the third unbelievable last-minute catch by the opponent in three Super Bowls, and an undrafted rookie intercepts the ball, crushing millions. The videos circulating of various Super Bowl parties are hilarious.

Coming into the game, I was glad it was going to be Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth doing the game. I’ve had issues with Collinsworth in the past, but I thought the duo was more than fair in the Patriots games they did this season, including the Cincinnati game when they spend a good chunk of the broadcast mocking those in the media who were calling Tom Brady finished.

It was disappointing then, for me to hear them throughout the night placing such a focus on the underinflated footballs, even as the Patriots took the lead late in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the day, Ian Rapoport of the NFL had provided the most details yet on the case, which pointed even more towards this whole thing being a witchhunt, yet it wasn’t mentioned at all.

It still wasn’t enough to put any sort of true damper on the night.

It was truly a game for the ages, in which a new generation of NFL fans got to see Belichick and Brady ascend to the top of the game once again.

I’m still trying to process it all.

Video: What Just Happened?

My one caveat on this video, is that the one “fact” isn’t even fully confirmed. The original Chris Mortensen report looks shakier every day.

Hugh Millen Drops A Bomb. No One Reacts.

On the Dennis and Callahan show this morning they had former Patriots quarterback Hugh Millen on as a guest to talk about the Super Bowl matchup, as Millen is working in the Seattle as an analyst of the Seahawks and Washington Huskies.

While they were discussing the inflation of the footballs, Millen dropped that he played for a coach with two Super Bowl wins who put together a huge scheme to install speakers inside the helmets of the offensive linemen so they could be given instructions remotely. He said they had it in place and working.

I played for a team, the coach has two Super Bowl wins, and there was an elaborate scheme to put speakers into the offensive lineman’s ears, and they had these custom made speakers, it was a covert operation, they would install it in a back room in the locker room on the road and what have you, and they did that week after week and presumably in the Super Bowl.

He also said the same team had offensive linemen who were caught with a substance on their jerseys and that the coach just shrugged when they were caught.

Millen declined to actually name the coach, but he played for Mike Shanahan in Denver in 1995. Three of Shanahan’s linemen were caught with Vaseline on their jerseys during a 1998 playoff game against the Chiefs.

Millen did also have a brief stint with the Jimmy Johnson-coached Cowboys, (the Patriots traded him there following the 1993 season) so it’s possible, he was referring to Johnson, but Gerry Callahan made a “beedy eyes” reference to Shanahan and it seemed like Millen went along with it.

We know that the Broncos were also caught cheating the salary cap those Super Bowl seasons. So here are two confirmed and one alleged (very serious) cheating incidents that the media and public will never pay attention to.

Can you imagine the uproar if any of these incidents happened with the Patriots? We’re on week two of the world going insane over allegations that the footballs the Patriots used were a tick under regulation inflation.

WEEI Audio – Former Patriot Hugh Millen on deflating footballs and the Seahawks 1-29-15

Sports Media Musings: The NFL Is Insane; 3 Best Deflategate Pieces To Date

I woke up to a flat tire this morning, which was just great! So, I walked over to the local Dunkin’ Donuts (because I can’t afford to drop four dollars on Starbucks), and thought about a few things as I combed through my daily reads on my phone. Chief among these thoughts was whether or not Roger Goodell enacted the some form of the Patriot Act without anyone noticing? Was there a press release? Or, in reality, is the inconsistent way in which he operates just omnipotence masked by hilarious levels of incompetence?

If you’re on the fence about the idea, just see below:

The league was monitoring Marshawn Lynch’s responsibility to play nice with the media, I guess, because #MediaDay is an important event for the NFL (and its integrity, of course, because integrity is like the bloodline of professional American sports and stuff!). And Marshawn Lynch is not bigger than #MediaDay; despite the fact that, in actuality, he kind of is, because #MediaDay is horrible and mostly stupid.

I mean, the whole point of #MediaDay is so the wacky, fish-out-of-the-water media can interact with players. These idiots serve as tiny vessels that, through slap-stick comedy akin to “Dumb and Dumber To” (not a compliment), display the human side of robots like Kam Chancelor and Bill Belichick.

The end game works out well for nearly every party involved. The league gets stupid Buzzfeed articles (THE 27 CRAZIEST QUESTIONS ASKED AT #MEDIADAY!!!) that purportedly help build up excitement for the average non-football fan who watches the Super Bowl; the players get to field questions that don’t start with “Talk about” (e.g. instead of “Talk about that play where” … the wonky media outlets ask Jonas Gray about his favorite Power Ranger growing up or something); and the media gets what it covets most – content!! – all while the Jimmy Olsens out there still maintain their PROFESSIONALISM while cackling at the idea of Rob Gronkowski singing Katy Perry songs, like the rest of us.

All very serious stuff.

So, yeah, MONITORING. Totally necessary here. Fucking insane.

***

In other (non) news, Deflategate – finally, almost mercifully — took a day off yesterday. Like most, I’ve consumed way too much coverage of this ongoing topic. And despite the overblown hysteria that has surrounded each and every development, without question, it has been an interesting story from several vantage points.

So, with no clear advances in the story on the horizon, I picked out what I felt have been the three best pieces from this entire fiasco thus far. These columns don’t necessarily outline any resolution, but in a vacuum, they offer commentary about the story and the current state of sports (and the media who covers it):

“The Worst Question in Sports: What We Talk About When We Say ‘Talk About’” by Bryan Curtis

Ever wonder why reporters ask the same benign questions? Yeah, me too. And Curtis, who is excellent, writes a phenomenal piece about an oldie but a goodie: the “Talk About” question (that’s not really a question).

Pull Quote:

“This is perhaps the only defensible Talk About: The one that puts the athlete or coach at ease by showing him you’re interested in what he has to say.”

 “Bill Belichick doubles down on Patriots’ innocence in deflate-gate, dares NFL to prove him wrong” by Dan Wetzel

For my money, Wetzel paints a setting better than anyone else in sports journalism. This piece, published hours after Bill Belichick’s defiant press conference last Saturday, does exactly that:

Pull Quote:

“Whether or not that’s enough to explain deflate-gate away for you, at least try to appreciate the situation:

This was straight Original Gangster stuff by Belichick, a full-on punch to the face of the league office he has long despised and believes turns nearly every molehill into a mountain either because of general football incompetence or to drive television ratings.”

“Deflategate: Some Perspective, Please?” by Don Banks

Every time this story jumps the shark – and I’ve counted at least four separate occasions that this has happened – go back and read this piece on SI from Banks. It was published just hours before Bill Belichick went AP Physics on us.

Pull Quote:

“I find it deflating that the NFL rule book has grown so complex and obtuse that it makes the U.S. tax code look like light summer reading.

Remember when the league’s biggest problem was mainly that the Super Bowl was overhyped and always sucked? Ah, the good old days.”

***

That’s that. As always, thanks for reading. More to come. @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: Bob Kraft Lectured the Media, NFL For Faulty Reporting; Prompts More Hawt Sports Takes

There was a moment, Monday afternoon, when the media collectively shrugged.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” conceded Michael Felger, host of the popular afternoon sports radio program “Felger & Mazz.” Ben Volin, who has penned stories with screeching headlines like “Bill Belichick throws Tom Brady under the bus” for the Boston Globe, sat alongside Felger, with co-host Tony Massarotti and update guy Marc Bertrand, and admitted that he didn’t even trust his own previous stories/sources.

(Glad he’s here!)

Never has the take “No One Knows Anything” seemed so genius.

This was all after the Jay Glazer story changed the Deflategate narrative, yet again, with news that the NFL had identified a “person of interest” and that it had obtained some sort of corresponding video evidence. By now, you know how the rest of this debacle unfolds: Robert Kraft, the suddenly embattled Patriots owner who the collective media demanded speak – that guy? – yeah, he spoke.

Kraft lit the NFL and the media who covers it on fire. 700 foot flames of glory. It was the HAWT SPORTS TAKE that the likes of whom he lectured wish they could concoct themselves. And we, the fans, the onlookers, the ones who DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THIS ALL WORKS!, gathered around and enjoyed delicious smores.

“…In direct contrast to the public discourse which has been driven by media leaks, as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jump to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.

If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular Coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they’€™ve had to endure this past week.

I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled, and reported upon. We expect hard facts, as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to draw the conclusion of this investigation.”

Shortly after, more reports leaked; this time, revealing that the aforementioned video evidence was of an equipment manager taking the game balls into a bathroom … for all of 90 seconds.

That’s where we are. But, of course, Kraft’s lecture only prompted more awful hawt sport takes.

Let’s start where this whole mess began, with Bob Kravitz:

“He wants an apology. That’s right, Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants an apology if the NFL’s investigation turns up nothing untoward in what has become to be known internationally as Deflategate. That’s precious. Truly, it is.”

I love when sports scribes write like they’re talking to infants. WHO’S A SILLY LITTLE OWNER, YOU ARE. YESSS, YOU ARE.

Let me say this: Whatever happens at the end of this investigation, nobody owes the Patriots or Kraft or the ball boys an apology. The league simply is doing what it’s supposed to do, investigating claims that the Patriots doctored their footballs in a way that circumvented league rules.

Yes, the league completely handled this the right way, protecting the INTEGRITY of the GAME. So what if they leaked reports that helped shape a pre-disposed outcome on the eve of the Super Bowl? No matter! No crying over spilled integrity.

Personally, I have no skin in the game.

Except for a few more TV and radio appearances; maybe a book.

When you get into journalism, you give up your fan card.

How tone-deaf are you, Bob? Really, we’re going over the pillars of sports journalism right now? Because this has been a banner week for modern-day journalism, ethics, and due process. Tool.

Speaking of aimless conjecture, drivel, and nonsense, we already discussed Dan Shaughnessy’s beautiful disaster yesterday, in which he claimed the Patriots “already lost the game that matters,” But Dan doubled down in today’s edition of the Globe.

If the Patriots are champions and did everything by the book, they have been unfairly targeted and characterized.

Characterized by whom? The lack of self-accountability here is astonishing. But go on ….

Sorry, Patriots fans, but what was true Thursday is true today. Locally, this could wind up being the favorite Patriot team of all time, but nationally their legacy is tarnished

So, the Belichick press conference on Saturday and Robert Kraft diatribe changed nothing? Really? OK. While we’re here, since the media loves to play the “IF-THEN” game, let’s play too: Presuming Kraft wouldn’t double down last night without some certainty that the NFL doesn’t have enough to overcome the burden of proof, then the media’s legacy is forever tarnished.

(To reiterate from yesterday: Shank telling us what the Patriots future legacy will hold is incredible. How will we remember Deflategate tomorrow is uncertain, never mind in 2022.)

But there’s more! Tony Massarotti, writing for CBS Sports, TAKE IT AWAY:

Let’s be honest, folks: a year from now, maybe two, maybe four … there will be another accusation. With Belichick, there always is.

Is there? Or is this the “The Scarlet Letter” and some twisted, hybrid version of Sports McCarthyism?

***

Let me pose the question to you guys, the readers: When it’s all said and done, do you think that Deflategate will have a lasting impact on the Patriots legacy or in the way in which the contemporary media covers sports?

More to come. @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: Dan Shaughnessy’s Beautiful Disaster Arrived Last Week, And It’s Glorious

Oh, hey there. So, it has been a while since I’ve written in this space, hasn’t it? Did I miss anything? Deflated balls, you say? OK. Well, then, I suppose now is as good as time as ever to BLOG IT UP on all things media and sports and the DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED????? hysteria that has consumed the Super Bowl coverage up until this point.

Programming alert: Wait a minute, no one wants to read any more coverage of this wildly overblown scandal?

OK, fair. Instead, let’s have some fun with it. Where should we look? (THINKING) How about Dan Shaughnessy? Has he weighed in yet? Oh, he wrote a column that can only be described as glorious for longtime readers of BSMW.? This should be fun.

But before we start, it should be stated that Shaughnessy is hardly the only “damage is already done” guy in town. Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, among others, have already managed to cast aspersions on Bill Belichick and the entire Patriots organization, proclaiming “IT’S OVER!”

Amazing. This is all happening, despite the fact that nothing’s officially been charged. Of course, when the Globe’s appointed “voice of the fan” puts down the tomato cans for a minute to make such denouncements, then we might as well start planning the funeral.

RIP Legacy. I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. Take it away, Shank:

“We haven’t even gotten to Arizona yet and the mission is already lost.”

Oh?

… Well, then: EVACUATE.

“Mike Wilbon of ESPN is calling for the Patriots to vacate the Super Bowl, Calipari-style.”

Which, given that the NFL has still yet to officially charge the Patriots with any wrongdoing, seemed like a totally reasonable Hawt Sports Take that was criticized by absolutely no one, right?

“… the most important thing — the Patriot legacy — is lost.”

A few things here: First, and this is a common theme, is that (again) no charges have been made. Nothing. No matter. BURN THE LEGACY.

Secondly, this may be the most prosperous statement ever written in the history of print publication. A legacy is a hackneyed term that refers to an “enduring image” of an entity. Naturally, this forms over time; yet, amazingly, Shank is letting you know how we’re going to discuss the Patriots in 2022 today. Moreover, that Deflategate, an ongoing story with no clear resolution, will DOMINATE any talks of championships and GLORY and happiness in the future. He is definitive. Which is so incredible.

Go on, how will this impact us, the fans, Dan?

“The Patriots and their fans will never win the “best ever” argument.”

Awwww! We’ll never win a completely subjective argument now??? Sad face ;-(

“Everything is tainted.”

Yet, nothing has been charged? So, how could this be?! I must know.

“Footballs (reportedly) have been doctored …”

Parenthetical salient point! (Dually noted!)

“… headlines have been written, and opinions have been formed.”

This is coming from the same guy who made a name for himself writing about a fictional curse. Methinks, since curses aren’t real, that most of his work around the subject was, you know, OPINION. And once the “curse” was broken, those OPINIONS changed.

In short, “opinions have been formed” is never a good argument. Never mind that lesson, though; because, if the Patriots are exonerated, the comedic mileage out of this entire column could have a longer-lasting legacy than Deflategate itself.

… And, suddenly, this piece is hilarious. Regardless, tell me more (about your opinions!).

 “Locally, the Patriots are revered. Nationally, they are loathed and branded as cheaters, and once again they have handed the hammer to their legion of enemies.”

Translation: You love the Patriots, people of New England, because of your insular, small-minded viewpoints. But, oh boy, lemme just tell you something! If you could just see what kind of talk is going on Out There, you’d change your tune. Mark Brunell’s spilled TEARS OF ANGER over this. And Wilbon??? It’s worth repeating that he wants to kick you out of the big game all together!

“We still don’t know where “Deflategate” lands. The NFL has yet to disclose its findings and announce penalties (if any) against the Patriots.”

This just feels like it should be mentioned before the fifth paragraph of this missive. Moving along.

“But the ballgame that matters is over.”

It is?

“And the Patriots have lost.”

NOOOOOOOOOOO.

Quick aside: we managed to find exclusive deleted prose from this Pulitzer shoe-in, straight from the cutting room floor over in the Globe offices. Be excited:

“You may think Wilbon, or Brunell, or Ray Lewis, or Troy Aikman are being unreasonable. Maybe you feel their suggested punishments are far too extreme. But do me a favor, will ya? Listen to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica on repeat until the Super Bowl.

I’m serious. Listen to it when you wake up, and then as you’re falling asleep. Listen to the classic hit in the shower, as you brush your teeth, and during your commute. Don’t talk during dinner, instead listen to the song again while eating (that is, if you can hold your dinner down).

And when you think you’ve had enough … then listen some more.

As you start to understand, let James Hetfield’s words take affect: Never cared for what they say/ Never cared for games they play/ Never cared for what they do/ Never cared for what they know.

Feel the hopelessness. Let it sink in. Then think about what the Patriots (reportedly!) have done. Now look in the mirror. Face yourself, your inner demons. Watch your face morph into sad despair (AGAIN). Why is this happening?

It’s simple: Because you can’t rig the real game – no, peasants, not that whole Super Bowl thing — the game of sports debates about legacies. That’s truth.

And nothing else matters. Fin.

 “At this hour, even if the Patriots are cleared of wrongdoing, they are the modern-day sports equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, Ray Donovan, who asked, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?’’ after he was declared not guilty in a corruption case.”

It’s exactly like that!

“There doesn’t seem to be much dispute that footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship were doctored. By somebody.”

Except for the Bill Belichick press conference that took place a day after you published this column. But that doesn’t count, because this came first, and it had an OPINION and a HEADLINE. Both of which were formed. Too little, too late.

“The Patriots could beat the Colts in a game played with Wiffle Balls, bowling balls, or medicine balls.”

You know what? I’ve heard this point made before, and you’re completely right, so what’s the big deal?

“If you walk into your local 7-Eleven and see the back page of the New York Post screaming, “CHEATERS,’’ you cannot make it all go away by claiming jealousy.”

OH NO, THE HEADLINES again! I almost forgot. And the opinions too – shit, Dan! — THEY HAVE FORMED.

To be completely fair, I know that whenever I need research to debate who the greatest of all time is, I immediately run to the New York Post archives for ammunition and insight. Who doesn’t? Fine journos, over there at the NYP!

And hey, on the plus side, at least Shank’s not being condescending about this.

“How does the legion of Patriot toadies defend this?”

Scratch that. VOICE OF THE FAN, everyone!

“Belichick has already said he did not know anything about the deflated balls until he was told about them Monday. Could this possibly be true?”

It’s possible, yes.

“The next 48 hours will be interesting.”

+1,000 for Dan. Nailed this. All the way.

“By any measure, this is a colossal embarrassment for Kraft.”

Are there measurements for embarrassment?

“He loves the journey and the Klieg lights, but now his franchise has been tainted again. It matters greatly to the Patriots’ image-obsessed owner.”

Let’s stop here, because I love this. To review, Shank spends hundreds of words on how important Deflategate is, not just in the here and now, but also in the future. The team’s legacy is destroyed – NOTHING YOU DO FROM NOW ON MATTERS — then takes a pot-shot at Bob Kraft for caring about the situation and his organization’s image. Like Oh, THE AUDACITY. He cares what the entire world thinks of him. He’s so superficial.

Dan, this whole thing – literally the entire column – is about caring what other people think of the Patriots. And that, as fans, we don’t get the hatred that exists outside our bubble; that the important thing here – one’s LEGACY — is formed on OPINIONS. And then, you wag your finger at Kraft for being “image obsessed.”

***

More to come. Happy Super Bowl week everyone.

@Hadfield__.

Media’s Legacy Is Forever Tarnished

Doesn’t anyone want to talk football? – Bill Parcells.

Apparently not this week, Bill. Most people would seemingly rather speculate on a topic in which not one single confirmable fact has been released.

They’d rather use unconfirmed and unsubstantiated reports as a means to declare the reign of the greatest head coach and quarterback combination of all time a total sham.

They’d rather rush to judgment, declaring the parties GUILTY without having any idea what really happened.

They’d rather mock the efforts of actual explanation instead of trying to understand the possibilities.

When they get any pushback, they hide behind the “covering the story” explanation.

Have you ever seen a more condescending Tweet than that? “Covering it?” I had to respond.

I’m blown away by the idea that these people think that what is going on right now is simply the media “covering” a story.

Consider. In a column published last Thursday, which was entitled Arrogance demands consequences, Jackie MacMullan used the following phrases to describe Bill Belichick.

  • “arrogance.”
  • “incredibly audacious, stupid and paranoid”
  • “ludicrous”
  • “forever forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his own integrity”
  • [NFL] “should lay the hammer down.”
  • “he should be suspended for the Super Bowl.”
  • “about the integrity of the sport and the arrogance of a football coach who, if guilty, will have once again shown that he thinks he is bigger than the game”
  • “the win will be declared a tainted one by many. The noise will continue, and the chants of “Beli-cheat” will endure.”
  • “not just his legacy that will be stained”

Keep in mind, at this point, the only thing that had surfaced was rumors, a report from Chris Mortensen which had still not been confirmed by anyone, and is in fact being countered in some circles.

As many times as MacMullan stated “if” in the column, it was also clear that not for a second did she doubt that Belichick was guilty.

On the national level you get articles like from Mike Freeman – Is the NFL Going to Let Brady and Belichick Play It for a Fool? written the same day as the MacMullan column.

Here are some clips from that:

  • No one believes any of this except Patriots fans. No one. It’s a joke. It’s worse. It smells like a cover-up. 
  • This was a chance for Brady to come clean. Instead, he pulled a Lance Armstrong.
  • Not a single, objective soul believes them.
  • The Patriots just aren’t believable, and for that reason they deserve the same type of suspension the New Orleans Saints received post-Bountygate. Because if you believe the Patriots, the footballs deflated themselves or some poor ball boy or equipment person did this on their own. Both things are total science fiction.
  • What the Patriots did was sleazy. No, it doesn’t compare to football players abusing women or other malfeasance, but it does compare to one of the league’s most infamous cases, Bountygate.  For that reason, the NFL needs to suspend Belichick for a season, the way Sean Payton was, and Brady for half a season.
  • Those spy cameras didn’t turn on themselves, and the footballs didn’t deflate themselves.
  • The punishment needs to be harsh and swift because there’s a lot at stake here. There is plenty of evidence for the NFL to act now. Those suspensions should begin immediately. Yes, for the Super Bowl.

Is there any going back from a piece like that?

No. This whole thing has been disgusting from the get-go. We still don’t have any facts that have been confirmed, but the scientific analysis of what could’ve happened, as well as the whisper mill have turned the situation much more into the Patriots favor over the last couple days.

Jets connection appearing in Deflategate probe – Tom E Curran

Did NFL run sting operation on Patriots to trigger deflate-gate? – Dan Wetzel

Mike Tanier’s Monday Morning Hangover: Caught Up, Pumped Up for Super Bowl XLIX

There’s more, here and there, while we still can’t say what actually happened, what we can say is that once again, the media completely embarrassed themselves in trying to rush to judgment.

Media Hypocrisy, Cowardice, Never Bigger Than When Patriots Are Involved.

Big Bad Bill Belichick.

He really does bring out the absolute worst in the media. Things that would be ignored, or laughed off if they were done by any other team, result in hysterical, hair-on-fire denunciations if the Patriots are involved.

He causes the media to become unable to think for themselves, and become subject to a mob mentality in which they are all sheep, following along with the loudest voices, afraid to produce an original thought.

The NFL, specifically its Commissioner, is a laughingstock in all of this, while pledging a transparent investigation, they instead allow late night leaks of salacious details to good ol’ boy reporters. They pledge to get all the details and facts from Foxboro when they can’t even ascertain whether a video was received by the league office showing a player knocking a woman unconscious. They want us to trust their investigation when they hire a former associate to investigate (and exonerate) themselves over said video incident.

As usual Roger Goodell has lost control of the situation, and will be in full reactionary mode once he decides to take action.

For Goodell, he can get himself into the good graces with the media by inflicting the harshest possible punishment upon Bill Belichick and the Patriots. This satisfies the bloodlust of the media and the public outside of New England, and gets Goodell back into the good graces of the media after his PR fiascos earlier in the season.

What I’m saying is be prepared for the worst possible outcome from this.

Belichick suspended for Super Bowl? Entirely possible. Suspended for next season? Entirely possible. Multiple first round draft picks taken away? Entirely possible.

If, after all of that Robert Kraft kowtows to Goodell and tells us all what a great job he’s doing one more time, I’m going to be gravely disappointed in him and what he stands for.

All of this for making the football a bit softer so the QB could grip them better. (and that’s even speculation, we don’t actually know the facts here yet, just that the balls were under regulation by 2 PSI.)

It doesn’t matter that the best quarterback in the NFL told CBS earlier this season about liking to overinflate balls and pushing the limits and seeing if they can fool the officials, all so he can grip them better.

It doesn’t matter that a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback insists on his footballs being doctored for months before he will use them in a game because he wants to be comfortable gripping them.

It doesn’t matter that a Super Bowl winning quarterback has admitted to paying $7500 to have the 100 footballs used in the Super Bowl he played in altered  so that he could grip them better.

It doesn’t matter that the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers were using heaters to warm up footballs on the sidelines this season. (which would impact the hardness/grip of the football, by the way)

Nothing matters other than the fact that the Colts were getting their butts kicked and wanted to find a way to try and get in the Patriots heads. They didn’t actually anticipate it going this far, very similar to the Jets when they reported the Patriots for taping in an incorrect spot.

Nothing matters other than the fact the owner of the Colts, coming off a season in which he was suspended for six games, gave a crony columnist a middle of the night tip, which initially the columnist thought to ignore, but instead realized that since it was the Patriots, he’d get a lot of play out of it, and ran with it, and now says Belichick should be suspended for the Super Bowl and for that is a national star.

Nothing matters other than the fact that Belichick isn’t cuddly with the media, and most out there would like nothing more than to see him fired and disgraced, so they’re put aside any objectivity they may (unlikely) have possessed and have gone all-in on the idea that this is a huge cheat masterminded by Bill Belichick who personally oversaw the deflation of the footballs. (also unlikely) That’s the true endgame here.

The national media, in addition to the piling on of Belichick also goes after the fans who make the points above. They call it excuse making, and saying that those incidents don’t matter because the rules were broken here, and the Patriots were caught. OK. That’s legit. Punish them according to the severity of the alleged crime. But why can’t the hypocrisy be pointed out at least? We’re supposed to take this incident seriously – to the point of huge suspensions/punishments – but it’s OK to completely ignore the other incidents that have taken place?

 sometimes you can get lucky and put an extra half a pound of air in there to help Aaron Rodgers out.

Hypocrites. Cowards. Frauds.

*******

Related: The Ballghazi Takes Are Here, And They Are F****** Insane