Friday, September 14, 2007
1. Red Sox Yankees this weekend with the Sox sitting pretty with a 5.5 game lead. They have Daisuke, Becks, and the Schill going this weekend. Personally, I do not know if I can stomach this and the Pats-Chargers. Something tells me that Monday morning is going to come early trying to stay up and stay tuned to all of the weekend.
2. My theory for this weekend is the Sox take two of three so that the season series with the Yankees ends with symmetry and both teams 9-9 against each other.
3. The Wanger is a heck of a pitcher. He reminds me of Derek Lowe with that heavy sinker. The Sox always have their hands full with him. That said, no one on the Yankees staff scares me more than Andy Pettitte. The guy just keeps going out there and mowing teams down. Someone explain why Houston jettisoned him? Heck, someone explain how the Yankees ever let him go in the first place. Roger Clemens versus Curt Schilling on Sunday Night? Hmm, I wonder if Frank Malzone will be there for the Old-Timers Game.
4. Oh my God, the Bruins training camp opened and no one noticed!!!
5. 101KGB in San Diego, some classic rock station, took out an ad in the Boston Globe on Friday saying: Go Chargers Beat Belicheat. Then they threw in their website (which I will not post as they do not need anymore free publicity) and said: Keyword CHEAT to post comments about your lame team. Maybe Pittsburgh will let you use the name Stealers. Hah-hah. My, no bitterness in Tijuana North is there from last seasons collapse in the Divisional Series, eh?
6. Lest I forget, the BC Eagles face the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech on Saturday night. Great, like I do not have enough sports to watch.
* * *
There were a few defenders (few and far between), such as King Kaufman at Slate.com who stated:
What the Pats are accused of doing is "spying" on the Jets coaches as they sent signals to the defense. My understanding of spying must be different from the NFL's. Watching a guy flapping his arms while standing in the middle of 70,000 people and in front of a national TV audience doesn't qualify. Even if you point a camera at him.
I mean another camera, aside from all the legal cameras that can be pointed at him.
For the price of a ticket -- assuming the Patriots as an organization can't find a free ticket somewhere -- the Pats can put a guy in Row 12 with a video camera and record the opposing team's defensive signals to their heart's content. But because the guy's standing on the sidelines it's cheating? Kinda nutty, don't you think?
The Patriots may have been trying to steal the Jets' signals for immediate or future use, but there's nothing wrong with stealing signals. It's a fine and respectable art. If it weren't, teams wouldn't need signals that are coded.
The problem is when teams get sneaky about it, hiding a spy in some cranny of the home stadium that the visitors don't have access to or using listening devices to spy on huddles or locker-room meetings. Where a team has an expectation of privacy, it should get privacy. A guy standing on the sideline and flashing semaphores to the
middle linebacker can't expect privacy. Again: That's why the signals are coded.
That's why the code should be changed every now and again.
The Jets and Patriots are bitter rivals who aren't shy about accusing each other of all kinds of dastardly deeds, so it's worth noting that this accusation came from the league, not the Jets, and that the Jets don't seem to be using it as an excuse for having their hats handed to them on Sunday. I don't think the Jets have a signal, after all, for "let Ellis Hobbs run a kickoff back 108 yards."
Then there was none other than the Hollywood Sports Guy who was so tied-up in knots over this so-called scandal that he needed to enlist help to get over it. Fortunately, he turned to an outsider. Aaron Schatz, the creator of Footballoutsiders.com to be exact. Schatz, Pats fan, set the record straight. He included in attempt to quiet some of the yahoos out there:
It will be a footnote to the dynasty, a funny story like when some guy from the 1967 Packers talks about how they gouged each other's genitalia at the bottom of the fumble pile.
Hey, remember a couple years ago when the Steelers accused the Colts of piping in crowd noise at the RCA Dome?
Remember when the Broncos broke salary-cap rules in order to build the 1997-98
Remember when Jim Haslett said there was rampant steroid use by the Pittsburgh Steelers during their dynasty years of the '70s?
Remember when Herm Edwards admitted to breaking NFL rules by using Stick-Um even after it was banned in 1980?
And remember when Lawrence Taylor said he used to send hookers up to the hotel rooms of opposing running backs while he sat at home doing blow? I mean, are we taking away the '86 Giants' Super Bowl championship too? Come on, already. This stuff happens.
Finally, as you knew they would, the tailgate superstars affectionately known as the AngryTrolls over at ColdHardFootballFacts.com weighed in with an extremely balanced view of what was going on.
My view? Simple. They broke an NFL rule. They should be punished fairly. They were punished justly (if not a little harshly), and now they turn their attention back to the season after the organization and Bill Belichick take their medicine like big boys. Now can we get past this crap and get back to wondering how the Chargers over-rated secondary is going to defend Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Dante Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Ben Watson when the Pats go five-wide against them?
* * *
I have read numerous times that Borges was one of the writers who were firmly entrenched in the Drew Bledsoe fan club. If someone searches around a Boston Globe archive, it should be easy to find some of his more salacious anti-Belichick rants. I, for one, do not have the stomach in these trying times in Foxboro to dig up the dirt on one my favorite boxing writers.
Some of my favorite punishments proposed by those who revel in Patriots misery as we here in the Northeast revel in the misery of the New York Yankees:
Suspend Bill Belichick / Ban Bill Belichick for life
Take away some draft picks / Take away all draft picks
Fine the Patriots organization big $$$ / Kick the team out of the league
Decrease the salary cap number for 2008 / Do not allow the team to sign free agents or make any draft picks
Fine Belichick/the organization up to a million dollars / Bankrupt Belichick and force him into debtors prison
As can be seen by the examples above, everyone has an opinion whether they are logical, non-sensical, idiotic, or occasionally intelligent. With the Boston Herald screaming BELI-CHEAT on the cover on Thursday, this is definitely an issue that no one is going to sweep under the rug anytime soon.
At this time, rumors seem to indicate the Patriots will lose their first round pick (and still keep the one they received from San Francisco for the #28 pick last year) as well as Belichick likely being suspended and fined.
What I really want to know, if how far down the organizational chart this cameraman was, when was this video being analyzed, and how much did Belichick really know about what was going on with the video. It seems to me, the Patriots would be smart enough to have the recording going to a closed-circuit TV or streaming on a secure site rather than fooling around with videotapes. That part alone makes me question how dirty Belichick’s hands were.
Look, I do not like that the Patriots got caught cheating (twice if you count Rodney Harrison getting busted for HGH while recovering from his injuries), but that just helps dispel the myth that they were smarter, better-run, and more gifted than anyone else. The Patriots won by being disciplined and working harder. That will not change with or without signal stealing accusations. Somehow, I do not see this information giving them too much of an advantage, and to the teams who were too slow to figure out that they were tipping off plays, well get smarter or more paranoid.
I think of how laughable it is considering all the hoopla last season about the Dolphins stealing audible calls from the Patriots by watching them on network TV. Uhh, time to switch up the calls Mr. Offensive Coordinator. EVERYONE is looking for that edge. Look at all the videotape digested by the pitchers, catchers, hitters, and coaches in baseball. Pitchers are found to be tipping pitches by where they hold their glove and other non-verbal clues. Cameras and microphones are everywhere in the NFL. Nothing is ever going to stop teams for looking for an edge. What is next, banning Polaroid pictures on the sidelines?
One point I have seen thrown around is the nobility of the boy-genius Eric Mangini. If Mangini was really the saint he is being portrayed as for blowing the whistle, then what took so long for him to blow the whistle? He should have stepped forward last season, or even when he was an assistant for the Patriots.
I think the funniest thing to come out is all the Eagles players whining about losing the Super Bowl two years ago. No, it had nothing to do with your quarterback puking his guts out on the turf and being battered and bruised by the unrelenting Patriots pass-rush. It HAD to be cheating. Well, everyone who has lost to the Patriots the last few years (which is everyone except recently the Colts) has their built-in excuses. What will be interesting will be seeing what the excuse is this season when the Patriots win.
Bottom-line, signal-stealing notwithstanding, the Patriots have always been built around their defense and the players on the field. Teams still have to defend Tom Brady and Randy Moss and stop Lawrence Maroney and put together a number of sustained drives against the Patriots defense.
ADDENDUM: Reports Friday AM say Belichick got fined $500k, the team $250k, and the loss of their number one pick, unless they miss the playoffs and then they lose a second and third round pick. Quick hit: Looks bad, but not too severe discipline.
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