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

#DeflateGate is over. This Is The Smoking Gun.

So messing around with the inflation of the ball is something only cheating Bill Belicheat and the Cheatriots would do, right?

This is from the Packers/Patriots game earlier this season. (h/t to @pedroiar for the link)

Nantz: We talked to Rodgers about ‘How do you like your football?’ because you know, you can rub them up before the game, this is something you really kind of created this for everyone else in the league.

Simms: I don’t know if I did, because the quarterbacks got tired of complaining. But he said something that was unique. ‘I like to push the limits to how much air we can put in the football – even go over what they allow you to do. See if the officials take air out of it,’ because he thinks its easier for him to grip, he likes them tight of course he has very big hands and you can tell that by watching him play.

– Play call –

Nantz: …You’ve never heard of a guy really desiring the football to be fat and overinflated, correct?

Simms: Everybody wants it smaller and soft so they can dig their fingers into it. (More on Rodgers’ hands)

Nantz talks more about Rodgers’ hands

Simms: You know, the officials do check those footballs, and sometimes you can get lucky and put an extra half a pound of air in there to help Aaron Rodgers out.

Let’s just move on and talk about what should be an awesome Super Bowl, shall we?

Send In The Clowns. Wait, They’re Already Here.

“Shame” isn’t a word in the vocabulary of the seek-attention-at-any-cost segment of the Boston sports media.

They don’t care how bad or dumb they look, as long as you look.

Whether it is Dan Shaughnessy or Gary Tanguay or whomever, they’re going to do what it takes to get your attention, no matter how idiotic or stupid it makes them look.

Great way to make a living. I’m pretty sure if these guys had lived in the era before TV, Radio and the Internet, they would’ve been circus clowns. (Hey, doesn’t Shaughnessy….never mind.)

For the latest well documented examples:

The Boston and Indianapolis media are both going certifiably insane – Matt Yoder on Awful Announcing looks at the just…embarrassing antics going on this week.

People around the country hate Boston sports fans, and in many ways it’s because of the quasi-media types in that link.

Others who aren’t embarrassing themselves in that manner, aren’t really too interested in the AFC Championship Game taking place this Sunday at Gillette. Evidence of “meh” attitude manifested itself as I was in the car this morning, and each time I turned to one of the stations, there was talk of other things, notably, the Rt 93 protesters and the Academy Awards nominations. While I’m sure there was plenty of football talk, I didn’t hear it.

Andy Gresh is on the way out at The Sports Hub – Chad Finn confirms my suspicions of yesterday. He also reports that Gary Tanguay will also be out on the Patriots pre and post game broadcasts.

I can hardly wait to see what crew Jonathan Kraft trots out on the shows for next season.

Links.

New England Prepares for New Indianapolis – It’s easy to declare that since the Patriots dominated the Colts in recent matchups, not much is going to change, Matt Chatham explains why that is definitely not the case inside Gillette Stadium.

LaFell’s rise crucial to Pats’ success – Jackie MacMullan has a feature on the Patriots receiver, who last spring thought he would be playing in the AFC Championship this week. For Denver. Against the Patriots.

Once a forgotten man, Danny Amendola has risen to occasion for New England Patriots – Kevin Duffy with a piece on the oft-maligned receiver, and looks at his history with Julian Edelman and LaFell, which predates their time with the Patriots by years.

The Belichick-Brady Legacy Is Defined by Wins, Not Tapes or Tucks – Mike Freeman with a great column on the duo, and has some nice Spygate debunking.

Are the Colts 22 points better now? Here’s what the stats say – Alex Speier looks at whether the Colts can beat the Patriots simply by playing at the level that they’ve improved to in recent weeks.

Get everything else at PatriotsLinks.com.

This Week’s Meme: YOU People Think The Colts Have No Chance!

Given the relative ease in which the Patriots have dispatched the Colts as of late, it might be easy for some to dismiss Indianapolis’ chances in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

This attitude is now being transferred to the region as a whole. Shows are being introduced and based on the strawman of “Are we taking the Colts too lightly? Are we assuming too much in just saying the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl?

Or as Steve Buckley closes his column today:

You? You probably think the Colts can’t win.
You should worry a little about that.

Of course, it matters not one bit how the fans and media view the Colts. It’s how the Patriots coaching staff and players view them, and they seem to be taking them seriously.

While Dan Shaughnessy has made his annual proclamations about the opponent on the radio and on television, he hasn’t yet put them into column form. It’s probably only a matter of time. Each of the past two seasons, he’s made a similar proclamation about the opponent, which has generated all sorts of attention for himself, and gotten him booked on all sorts of shows all over the country. (Usually where he ends up saying something like “I don’t know a ton about football.”)

As I’ve said before, it’s genius, really. We should be honored to be in the presence of a trolling master. He’s the Tom Brady, the Bill Belichick of trolling.

Catch all the Patriots stories today at PatriotsLinks.com.

Let’s get onto the top five links of the morning:

Reversal of fortune: Why Tom Brady finally could be poised to post big numbers in an AFC title game – Christopher Price looks at Tom Brady’s historical struggles in the AFCCG, and why this time could be different.

Pastrnak’s love of game shines through – Joe McDonald with a look at the Bruins rookie, who has sparked the team with his scoring.

New Red Sox scouting director on lookout for next Kevin Youkilis – Alex Speier with a look at Mike Rikard, who will seek to find gems in the lower end of the draft.

Brian Bannister joins Red Sox analytics team – Scott Lauber looks at the hiring of the former pitcher-turned-advanced-statistics-analyst.

Remade Celtics turn it up a notch – Steve Bulpett examines how the remaining Celtics are still playing hard despite the non-stop personnel movement around them.

Onto Another AFC Title Game.

After Saturday’s epic 35-31 win over the not afraid Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots are set to host the Indianapolis Colts this coming Sunday in the AFC Championship game. This will be the ninth time the Belichick/Brady duo has played in this game. In a bit of symmetry, yesterday’s Colts win over the Broncos meant that Peyton Manning has gone one-and-done nine times in his career.

The Patriots/Ravens game had a bit of everything you could want in a game, big plays on both sides, stirring comebacks, and razzle-dazzle trick plays, and controversy.

We hear a lot in certain circles about Tom Brady’s performances in the postseason, but this one will certainly go down as one of this best, despite a baffling interception which led to a Ravens touchdown just before the first half.

The biggest conversation following the game has been the Patriots use of an offensive formation in which the Patriots had just four true offensive linemen in the game, and made running back Shane Vareen an ineligible receiver. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was caught off guard by the play, and protested vehemently, coming onto the field and drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The NFL has since stated that the formation was legal and all reporting requirements for the play were done correctly.

It didn’t stop the Ravens from complaining about it.

“They couldn’t just drive the ball down on us regular. They had to do something tricky,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said.

and

“They did a great job of running the tricks,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “They had to trick us to beat us.

That would be like the Patriots saying “The Ravens couldn’t beat us just rushing the passer regular. They had to disguise coverage and try to trick us.

Get all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

Hot Mess NFL Rulebook Strikes Again – Matt Chatham has a detailed look at the play, and uses it as an example to show how convoluted the NFL rulebook is.

Manning flames out, Patriots will face Colts – Tom E Curran wacks all the sports radio talking points about the Broncos going “all in” this season.

Announcers’ script sounded forced – Chad Finn looks at the awkward segment of NBC’s broadcast in which they showed Roger Goodell at the game and had Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth quickly review the Mueller report and praise Goodell.

TV guide for Oregon-Ohio State; Michaels, Collinsworth help out NFL – Richard Deitsch looks ahead to tonight’s College Football National Championship and also has more on the NBC script.

Boston Celtics Complete Three-Team Trade – Danny Ainge continues to wheel and deal and shuffle his roster. The team announced officially that they have traded Jeff Green to Memphis, and have received Tayshaun Prince and a future first round pick from Memphis, and also guard Austin Rivers from New Orleans. Rivers is expected to be traded again, on to the Clippers, where he will play for his dad, former Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

At some point I’d like the Celtics to trade for a player that might be worth keeping around, but other than possibly Jae Crowder, Ainge seems more focused on obtaining picks.

Catch up with the Celtics at CelticsLinks.com.

BREAKING: Ravens Are “Not Afraid” Of Patriots, Source Says.

If there has been any more recycled theme this week than “John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs and the Ravens are not afraid of the Patriots and of playing in Gillette Stadium.” I don’t know what it could be.

Great analysis, guys.

Is it just me, or has almost all the local “analysis” this week been about how the Ravens can beat the Patriots rather than how the Patriots can beat the Ravens?

(Eagerly awaiting the “you’re a admitted Patriots loyalist!” emails like the one that came yesterday.)

I, for one would like to hear just how the Patriots can beat the latest incarnation of the ’85 Bears that will be invading Gillette Stadium tomorrow. Yes, these Bears Ravens are NOT AFRAID of the Patriots. Have you heard that? I didn’t know that. I thought all teams were scared of the Patriots and just bowed before them.

It’s ridiculous. Moving on.

herald-usoc

The only thing worse is the amount of kvetching and whining about a possible Olympics in Boston for 2024, after the USOC picked us as it’s candidate to host the game. Guys, you’ve got nine years to figure out how to avoid the city that month. I think you can handle it.

Some links? OK, Five.

What if Bill Belichick said no? Meet Bob Kraft’s second choice, Gary Crowton – If I tell you who wrote this, you won’t click on it. But if I don’t tell you, and you click on it, you’ll probably be pissed at me. OK. It’s John Tomase. It’s a good story, with details I haven’t heard before, such as that Crowton was told by Bob Kraft that if they couldn’t get Belichick from the Jets, they would hire him. And that Crowton probably would’ve brought Chip Kelly with him. And that he wasn’t impressed at all with Tom Brady at the combine.

Facing playoff opponent for first time doesn’t faze Patriots – The Patriots haven’t played the Ravens yet this season. Alex Speier looks at whether that means anything for tomorrow.

Darrelle Revis covers all the bases – Jackie MacMullan with a feature on the well prepared cornerback.

Rob Gronkowski able to join fun – Karen Guregian has the All-Pro tight end looking to make a healthy contribution to a postseason for the Patriots.

ESPN was a ratings hit during a sad week – Chad Finn looks at a record week for the cable giant, and also has some criticism for Mike Felger for the Pedro Martinez allegations earlier this week.

The Media And That “Wacky” “Jokester” Terrell Suggs #NoMore

During Saturday night’s NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Ravens and Steelers on NBC, you could hear Cris Collinsworth signing the praises of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. In addition to praising his play on the field (which was sensational) Collinsworth also referred to Suggs as a “jokester” off the field at one point.

During commercial breaks, NBC (and all networks carrying the games) are running NFL PSA spots on domestic violence under the slogan NO MORE.

This week, Suggs will be in demand from many in the media as they hope to get juicy quotes from him in the run up to Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the Patriots. They’ll laugh at his proclamations and say how great he is. They’ll call him “Sizzle” and the Ravens notoriously tone-deaf Twitter account will continue to deify him.

Meanwhile, “Sizzle” is playing in the NFL despite having a much worse track record in the domestic violence department than former teammate Ray Rice, who lost his job this season following a well-publicized disgusting incident at a casino in which he knocked out his then-fiancee.

Back in September, Josh Levin in Slate had a column entitled Why Is Terrell Suggs Still in the NFL?

Dennis and Callahan and Minihane spent a good deal of time this morning going over the details in this column, specifically the 2009 incident in which Suggs pinned his then-girlfriend, now wife to the floor and poured bleach over her and their son.

    When she turned around, according to her complaint, he knocked her to the ground and sat on top of her, grabbing her neck and holding an open bottle of bleach over her.

Williams wrote that Suggs used an obscenity and said he was going to “drown [her] with this bleach.”

She put her hands over the cap, but the cleaner spilled onto her and their son, she wrote. He then told her to get out of the house, dressed and left for the game, she wrote.

She also reference a history of previous incidents. Over the next few years there were at least two protective orders filed against Suggs. In 2012, Suggs was ordered to hand over his seven guns, including an AK-47 after the following incident:

Terrell Suggs’ longtime girlfriend claimed in a protective order filed last month that the Ravens’ Pro Bowl outside linebacker punched her in the neck and drove a car containing their two children at a “high rate of speed” while she was being dragged alongside.

The Levin article shows that no action was ever taken by the NFL despite their assertion that they would “look into it.”

Despite this history, Suggs continues to be popular with many in the media, who run to him for quotes and look forward to what he’s going to say next.

Not all media seem to be as enamored with Suggs and how he is regarded, especially by those in Baltimore:

It’d be refreshing if some might actually use their influence and position in the media to tamper down the glorification of such a man. Are they afraid of him?

If Dan Shaughnessy is actually the bravest columnist around, as his boss claims he is, maybe he can ask Suggs why he is free to play in this game while Ray Rice sits at home unemployed, and Greg Hardy (whose history is very similar to Suggs) sits out while the Panthers head to Seattle this week.

If Shaughnessy wants to make himself a national story as he often does, this is the perfect opportunity for him. He won’t though. He loves Suggs, as evidenced by this line in his column today: Wacky Terrell Suggs loves to get in the face of Brady…

Yeah, wacky. That wacky, jokester Terrell Suggs.

I’m sure Shaughnessy would rather sit back and take shots at the likes of the menacing Rajon Rondo instead anyway.

********

A few media items:

Inside ESPN’s tribute to late SportsCenter star Stuart Scott – Richard Deitsch looks at the ESPN staffers who worked on the tribute they hope would never air to the iconic anchor who passed away from cancer yesterday at the age of 49.

ESPN feels the loss of Stuart Scott – Chad Finn looks at the heartfelt tributes from Scott’s colleagues.

Stuart Scott’s Legacy is Far Greater Than Just Memorable Catchphrases – Finn also blogged about Scott and his legacy.

Rondo Returns, 2015 A Fresh Start For John Tomase?

Rajon Rondo returns to the TD Garden tonight for his first game against the Celtics, following his trade last month to the Dallas Mavericks.

Celtics set to welcome Rajon Rondo back to Boston – Mark Murphy has former teammates emotional to see Rondo again.

Rondo’s return makes for emotional night for Celtics – A. Sherrod Blakely has more from the current Celtics.

C’s in for a bittersweet reunion – Jackie MacMullan has the good and bad on Rondo, including his lack of defense while with the Celtics.

Rajon Rondo’s return: One last gasp for the ignorant – The best Rondo column today might be from John Tomase.

Yes, John Tomase. I was all ready to go scorched-earth this morning after his WEEI debut column yesterday entitled I’m Not Here To Be A Fan.

To me, the title just hits all the wrong notes as a reader. Regardless of what the column inside says, when you declare yourself to not be a fan, the implication is that being a fan is a lower form of life. When you even jokingly make reference to footie pajamas, and then cite among your role models as a writer Ron Borges and Kirk Minihane, it doesn’t bode well. (and no, John, we don’t “love to hate” them. We just hate them.) When you humblebrag about some of your takedowns in the past (like on Manny Ramirez) and fail to mention at all the one thing you are most known for in your career, it seems just…dishonest. How can you “introduce” yourself to your audience without addressing that?

Even if this bit is encouraging:

And so I will never, ever write something I don’t believe, or play the contrarian just because. Most attempts at “hot takes” end up tepid, brackish and tasting vaguely of urine. That’s not my scene.

It doesn’t ring true. Tomase is asking for a chance, but doesn’t tell us why we should believe anything he says.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to look past what was done in the past. If you or I did something that forced our employer to issue a public apology, would we still be employed there? Would we likely be able to even get a job in the same industry?

Media is funny. They demand accountability yet, people like Tomase, Borges, Mike Barnicle, etc etc, are all able to move on, get new and better jobs, and pretend that what they did never happened.

Many of you will not be able to move on. I’ve gotten many comments, tweets, emails, from those who say they will never read anything Tomase writes again. I understand that point of view. I largely agree with it.

I’m willing to monitor Tomase for a bit though, and see how things go with this new role. Even that is not easy for me to do with any sort of bias creeping in. It’s a new year though, so maybe, just maybe I can give it a shot.

***************

A few other top links:

ESPN finally gets a shot at NFL playoff broadcast – Chad Finn writes about ESPN making their NFL postseason debut with tomorrow afternoon’s broadcast of the Panthers and Cardinals at 4:35pm.

For the Bruins, it’s now win or go home – Joe Haggerty looks at the current state of the Bruins.

Bruins hoping for happier New Year – Joe McDonald has more on the Bruins trying to turn things around in the new year.

Right balance of player ages give Red Sox better chance in 2015 – Also making his debut in a new role is Alex Speier, who provides exactly the next-level type of analysis we’ve come to expect.

Dont’a Hightower lives up to number, Pats’ LB lineage – I enjoyed this piece from Jeff Howe yesterday on the third year Patriots linebacker.

Arrogant Bill Finally Listens To Omniscient Media, Sits Gronk In Finale

FINALLY!

For once, Bill Belichick humbled himself and listened to the sport talk radio hosts and sat fragile tight end Rob Gronkowski in the season finale yesterday against the Buffalo Bills.

Now if he would just say things to the media like, I just want to apologize to everybody. I didn’t want to hold anybody up here today. or Thank you. Again I apologize for any inconvenience here. I hope I’ve taken care of everything for you.

Wait, what?

What is happening here? The Patriots coach must’ve been really been running a high fever yesterday or something.

The Patriots finished their season with a 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Having already wrapped up the top seed in the AFC last week, the Patriots sat many of their key players, including Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Browner and Dan Connolly. QB Tom Brady played the first half before giving way to Jimmy Garoppolo in the third quarter.

Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

The Patriots next game will be on Saturday, January 10th at 4:35pm on NBC.

A few Celtics/Bruins links from the last few days:

Kevin Garnett Talks Rondo Trade, Retirement, and His Appreciation of Boston – Brian Robb has the Big Ticket’s thoughts on Boston on perhaps his last visit here as an NBA player.

Pierce’s future plans include visiting Celts – Steve Bulpett has the former Celtics captain talking about his future with the club.

Crowder house: Newcomer looks to distinguish himself on C’s crowded roster – Chris Forsberg has Jae Crowder as perhaps the player from the Rajon Rondo trade most likely to stick long-term with the team.

Milan Lucic’s future with Bruins a difficult call – Fluto Shinzawa looks at what the next few years could hold for the bruising forward.

With Denver Loss, Patriots Back Into #1 Seed in AFC

The Patriots backed into the #1 seed in the AFC last night as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

It wasn’t anything the Patriots did, the other teams just collapsed and laid down, gifting New England the number one seed and home field advantage through the AFC playoffs.

OK. OK. Some people don’t like it when I play the role of certain sports media members before they get a chance to use the same hot takez.

The painful part of the next few weeks will be the focus on not how the Patriots can win their next game(s), but rather how they can lose them. I should be used to it by now, I guess.

Get all the Patriots coverage from PatriotsLinks.com.

If you’ve got time to kill today, I highly recommend a trip to Dan Shaughnessy Watch. Some great riffs on Dan’s Twitter feed.

Four links, one for each team:

Do the Red Sox really need to get an ace pitcher? – Paul Swydan in the Globe has a really interesting look at how Rick Porcello could actually rank among “ace” pitchers.

Film review: What happened to the New England Patriots offensive line versus New York Jets?  – Kevin Duffy looks at why the O-line struggled so much against the Jets.

Bergeron: Bruins need to stay hungry – Joe McDonald has the Bruins veteran speaking about his team needing a wake-up call.

New Celtic Jameer Nelson must adjust to lower expectations – Gary Washburn has the veteran point guard sounding thrilled to be here.