After a week of talking heads discussing “deflategate,” essentially a week of lost preparation time for the Patriots, Belichick came to the podium on Saturday afternoon and told the assembled reporters and the NFL to take the whole story and stuff it. Yesterday, Radatz took the final word on the controversy - at least in my book - but I want to explore a couple of things about Belichick’s press conference because it was a prime time example of The Art of War. I loved it so much, I actually replayed it a few times.
At 2:15, the Patriots announced they would be holding a press conference at 2:30, essentially forcing the national media camped out at Gillette Stadium all week to scurry around like cockroaches when the lights come on to find a seat. At the appointed time, exactly nothing happened. Ten minutes later, exactly nothing happened. Nothing happened for 40 more minutes. There they were - assembled by the simple word that the Patriots had something to say.
They weren’t told who would be speaking, they weren’t told what the topic was, only that the Patriots had called a press conference. And there they were left to speculate - which only demonstrated how little any of them actually knew. There they were twisting in the wind - the lot of them - without anything to report, only their own speculation.
The local radio station in Boston went 90 minutes without a commercial because they didn’t know when someone would come to the podium and didn’t want to miss anything. Bill had them by the short hairs. I heard all kinds of wild speculation what may be said: he cops to deflating balls, Brady cops to it, that the Patriots and the NFL had reached an agreement whereby the league would give the team the chance to come clean first. Just wild stuff. These guys had no idea they were playing right into what the good coach wanted them to do. Twist in that wind.
40 minutes after the appointed time, Coach Belichick came to the podium and without an apology began his presser. Lesson one, young grasshopper, you need me and don’t you forget it. I determine your schedule, I determine what access you have to me, you jump when I say jump. Real Machiavellian stuff, but it was very clear there was a message being sent - funny thing though, I haven’t seen any of the talking heads talking about that: who reports when the media gets taken to school? Instead they talk Mona Lisa Vito and what a bizzare press conference it was.
He then asserted that the New England Patriots have played by the rules. Period end. He talked about the process of preparing game balls - more or less - and told the assembled that the organization had conducted its own study and found that the process artificially increased ball pressure. He then told us that the team presented the game balls to the officials and asked that they be inflated to 12.5 PSI - what they did with that he didn’t know, you’d have to ask the officials. BOOM. Someone get that? Right back on the game officials and the League. He essentially said the game officials determine the football’s pressure. Interesting.
Now, who knows if anything he said, or represented makes sense. What matters is he said something. Frankly I don't care if Bill Nye believes him or not, the key here is that Belichick specifically said that the officials were asked to inflate the balls to 12.5.Science or not, it would appear the expectation was that it was to the officials to ensure proper inflation. I don't know, frankly I don't care. The whole thing is ridiculous and a side show. If this were the Colts it wouldn't be an issue. (Beware though, when you're on Bill's S-list you will get cut - what's Mangini doing now a days? That's right, last year he was a Tight Ends Coach.)
So now that he’s told the press who is in control, thrown the officials under the bus, and flipped off the NFL, he would now take questions. So, of course, the number one thing on everyone’s mind is…”Spygate?” Yeah, he took that question and verbally undressed the guy who asked it - he said coaches put signals out there in front of 80,000 people, our camera guy was filming in front of 80,000 people like a lot of other teams were at the time, but we were wrong and we’re not going to do it again. Boom. Can we stop talking about this now?
In fact that’s what Belichick said. He’s not talking about it any more, he’s embarrassed at how much time he’s spent on this crap this week, and now it’s up to the NFL to talk to them about it. Interestingly enough, earlier in the day Patriots wide out Matthew Slater (the teams NFLPA player rep) announced that the NFLPA has now advised the players not to speak with the league regarding the investigation. Which played right into Belichick’s hands, as he likely knows what the league has, knows they’re not getting any more, and now he delivers the final thrust. En garde! If you’re just reading articles about the press conference, you’ll know he cracked a joke (“I’m no Mona Lisa Vito of the football world…”) and you’ll know that he denied any wrongdoing, and you’ll know he went into the evidence. But you won’t know why he’s a great coach. He spent 22 minutes ramming deflated footballs down the throats of the press, the league, John Harbaugh, Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ organization.
That press conference was the work of a master strategist and brilliant tactician. Hey, Goodell, here’s a free gift for you:
On Thursday, the assembled media took Tom Brady and tried to humiliate him. He was asked how he would explain the situation to the kids. I wish he had thrown the question back: “How would YOU explain all the ‘ball’ double entendres in the media?” Belichick, in one final flourish, showed his quarterback how to own the media. Saturday was one big STFU, one big, information dump and one huge challenge - if you’re gonna say we broke the rules, if you’re gonna say we cheated, PROVE IT.
The thing is the league won't be able to. The evidence was a deflated ball...that was summarily reinflated for the second half so far as I can tell. What the league has here is a ridiculously lax procedure for balls. The league will have to point their finger at someone and this time Bill has basically said they're going to have to point it at either themselves or at the officials. He's gotten his team fired up because he believes in them. He told the media who is their daddy. He told the league to prove it.
Bring on the Super Bowl. It's going to be a great one.
With the passing of baseball legend Ernie Banks yesterday, I did a brief tribute post to him. You can check that out HERE.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Yes I know, deflated balls and all that. I acknowledge the story but since it has been the main topic of conversation both here on YouGab and in the world at large this week, I'm burned out on it. So I have nothing more to say than I've already said.
And now for a recap of last week's AFC Championship game...
With the Patriots up 14-0 and driving for another score, Tom Brady threw another crazy interception. As soon as that happened (see below), I looked at my mother and said, "You watch. This is where the Colts will drive down the field and score a touchdown." Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. While the Patriots tacked on a field goal to make it 17-7 at halftime, the pick and subsequent score by the Colts had me ranting and raving. How little did I know? The 45-7 final score demonstrated why I should take time to sit back and just enjoy the game.
The Patriots first TD was keyed by a Darius Fleming fumble recovery (see below) of a botched punt catch by Indy's Josh Cribbs.
But it was the second half of the game where the Patriots machine like offense just ground down the Colts into so much horsemeat. Tom Brady finished with three touchdown passes in the game.
He hit James Develin, Rob Gronkowski and shockingly enough, a completely uncovered Nate Solder for the scores. (See below)
But the main cog in the offense in the second half of the game was running back LeGarrette Blount. If I were the Colts, I'd be trying to sign him or something because everytime he plays against them in the playoffs, he destroys their run defense. Last season it was 160 plus yards on the ground and 4 scores. Last Sunday Blount was slowed down a little, finishing with "just" 148 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense did their job, despite not really getting to Colts QB Andrew Luck for any sacks. They did pick him off twice thanks to Jamie Collins and Darrelle Revis (see below).
But everything came together for this game and resulted in seeing MY Patriots secure another berth in the Super Bowl.
It was a great thing to once again see photos like this:
And then came late Sunday/early Monday and Indy reporter Bob Kravitz...
While we are on the subject of the NFL, how freaking gutless is Green Bay? They have one of the best running backs in the league, fourth and inches TWICE and instead of running for a TD, they kick a field goal? And that is how you lose a football game, playing it safe or not at all in a win or go home game.
Someone should've reminded coach Mike McCarthy that fortune favors the bold.
A FUN THURSDAY NIGHT OF BASKETBALL
A bit of a departure this week from the topics of discussion being slotted into their usual standard categories. This is because there were a couple of basketball results that really got me excited.
The first was the Celtics game on the West Coast against the Portland Trail Blazers. The game started at 10pm EST so I was pretty much winding down my day and headed to bed so I could go to work the next morning. But when I woke up in the morning, I got to read all about and see the highlights for the Celtics 90-89 last second victory over Portland.
While the win left Boston with just a 14-26 record, the win was important to not only get their 6 game road trip off to a good start, but to show that the team can be resilient on occasion.
Avery Bradley's 18 points and Jared Sullinger's 17 points and 9 rebounds led the Celtics. Brandon Bass (pictured below) added a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards while both Tayshaun Prince and Marcus Thornton finished with 9 points.
But the #1 star of the game had to be Evan Turner (see below), who hit the game winning three pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the game. He finished with 10 points, 8 assists and 6 boards in all.
The one down note coming out of the game was the Celtics losing Kelly Olynyk. He left the game with a badly sprained ankle. One report I saw on a Celtics blog said that Olynyk would be out for the rest of the road trip and potentially much longer than that. I've said in the past that I like Olynyk as a player and think he can really be a valuable part of the Celtics return to prominence. However, this guy can't seem to catch a break. Just when it looks like he's going to turn the corner and jump to a level i think he can be at...BAM!...another injury. It is depressing as hell.
But I'm planning on focusing on the win rather than the loss of an injured player right at this moment and the win was a welcome turnaround, even for just one game, from how things have been going for Boston lately.
As happy as I was to read about the Celtics win, the reason I woke up so jazzed and full of unexpected carried over happiness on Friday morning was the Boston College women's basketball team.
On Thursday night, the Eagles hosted #15 Duke. On the women's basketball message board that I take part in, there wasn't anyone giving them a chance in this game. Perfectly understandable considering the recent history of BC against ranked teams from their own ACC conference. Hell, they'd just gotten whipped by nearly 50 points a couple weeks back by Notre Dame.
I had the game on via the computer streaming link and when Duke jumped out to a 9-0 lead in less than 2 minutes, even I was rather stunned and worried that this was going to be another blowout.
A friend of mine runs a website covering the Duke women's basketball team and we had talked about the game. He sent me the preview article they did on his site, which I mostly agreed with. But I still had hope.
And down 9-0, that hope took the form of one Nicole Boudreau (pictured below). I think very highly of Boudreau and love to watch her play. But she's been in shooting slump for most of the season so when she spent the first half of Thursday's game just tearing Duke apart, you can imagine how big the smile on my face got. The Eagles rallied back to tie the game and then went so far as to build a 12 point lead with Boudreau leading the way with 18 first half points. She was burying three pointers from all over the court and just annihilating Duke's defense.
Duke rallied back and were down just 5 points at the break. In the second half, they put a box and one on Boudreau and shut her out of the scoring column in the 2nd half. This enabled Duke to take the lead back but in a fantastic change of pace, BC didn't crumble. Instead, they rallied back. With Boudreau serving as a decoy, it was time for both Kelly Hughes (see below, 1st) and Emilee Daley (see below, 2nd) to shine. And shine they did. They started launching from long range and they were hitting nothing but net. Daley ended up hitting 3 three pointers in the last 3 minutes of the game to give BC the lead and they eventually went on to a stunning 60-56 upset.
As the clock wound down to zero, the players and coaches weren't the only ones celebrating. I was screaming my head off with shouts of "WHOO HOO!" and "HELL YEAH!". It has been a long time coming and the win was the biggest in the three years under Erik Johnson. BC is now 9-10 for the season and 1-5 in the ACC.
Besides Boudreau's 18 points, Daley finished with 17 points (including a career high 5 three pointers) and 5 boards. Hughes had 11 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
The win saw the Eagles minimize their turnovers better than they have been (just 13 in the game) and shoot 13-35 from three point range. And while they got outrebounded 45-34, BC did manage to track down a lot of their rebounds at just the right critical juncture in the game.
Oh, and I wouldn't want to forget mentioning one player who had a huge game for herself. The biggest knock on Boston College is that they do most of their scoring from three point range. This is a pretty accurate description of their offense. They don't get a whole lot of drives to the basket unless it is a fast break and their post production is generally abysmal. But on Thursday, freshman Katie Quandt had probably her best game of the season. She scored 8 points and while you may not think that is all that much, her baskets were clutch shots that she made just when the Eagles need a bucket. Quandt (pictured below) also had 2 huge blocks in the game as well. If the Eagles can ever figure out how to get more out of the post players they do have, they would really start to be a dangerous team.
In the meantime, the scenes below really brought a smile to my face. MY BC women's team really worked their tails off and it is nice to see that hard work result in a much needed win over a ranked opponent.
You can read a game recap article (and a statistical analysis) from my friend's Duke site and see highlights of the game and the postgame press conference with coach Erik Johnson and Emilee Daley below.
When you add in the fact that the TV show Elementary had a really good episode, my Thursday night was a particularly happy one. And how was yours?
After their Thursday win, the Celtics turned right around for another game on Friday. Thanks to two big shots in the last 1:24 of the game from Avery Bradley, they dumped the Denver Nuggets 100-99 for their second win in a row and a 15-26 record. It doesn't sound like all that much, but believe it or not that poor record is just 2 games out of the playoffs. You gotta (NOT) love the quality of the Eastern Conference of the NBA.
Bradley led the Celtics with 18 points, but Brandon Bass (see below) made a lot of noise for the second straight game. He started once again and this time finished with 17 points and 9 boards.
Jared Sullinger (see below) had 14 points and 8 rebounds on the night. Tyler Zeller added 11 points and 6 boards while Evan Turner dished out 6 assists to go with his 10 points.
The win demonstrated once again that the Celtics are starting to show some resiliency. They trailed by 12 points halfway through the 3rd quarter but bounced back to tie the game up at 67 all.
Oddly enough, Jameer Nelson, the guy the Celtics traded to Denver just a couple weeks ago, led the Nuggets in scoring on the night with 23 points.
Hartford - The Hawks forced 19 turnovers against New Hampshire and scored 24 points off those turnovers, but it wasn't enough and they got edged out by the Wildcats 65-63. The loss puts them at 10-10 with a 4-2 conference record.
Deanna Mayza (see below) led Hartford with 19 points and 6 assists. Amber Bepko added 15 points and Cherelle Moore had 13 points and 8 rebounds.
You can see game highlights and the post game comments below.
Catholic - The 7 game win streak for the Cardinals came to an end when they lost a 77-76 squeaker to Juniata. Amber didn't play in the game.
On Saturday afternoon, the team squared off against Merchant Marine and ended up running away with the game 71-34. The team's record is 13-5 (7-2 in conference). Amber did see some action in this game. She played 7 minutes, missed her only shot attempt, grabbed 2 rebounds and had one foul and a turnover.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - After losing on Monday night, the Lady Vols got back on track by knocking off LSU 75-58. The win improves Tennessee to 16-3 and they are 6-0 in the SEC. Isabelle Harrison (see below) scored a season high 25 points (one off of her career high) and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead the Lady Vols.
Andraya Carter hit for 13 points and Jordan Reynolds (pictured below 1st) scored 9 points. Cierra Burdick tallied 8 points and 6 assists while Alexa Middleton (pictured below 2nd) chipped in with 7 points.
Missouri State - The Bears picked up their 3rd straight win by beating Southern Illinois 61-57. Things started out badly for Tyonna Snow (pictured below) in the game. She missed her first 8 shots, her first three foul shots and had three turnovers. But much like her team, she bounced back from that bad start and helped lead her team to the victory. She finished the game with 11 points and four steals (5 turnovers). The steals helped move Snow into the team's all-time top 10 in that statistical category.
Stealing the ball played a big factory in how the close win came about. The team had 12 steals in all, the biggest on coming with just three seconds left in the game. You can see that steal by Kenzie Williams in the picture below (she's #4 in white).
Missouri State was actually outrebounded in this game, 39-35. It is the first time in their last 10 games that the Bears didn't win the battle of the boards. The game victory raises MSU's record to 7-10 (4-2 in MVC play).
Before the game, the Springfield News-Leader had a brief preview article heading into the Friday night matchup that talked about the team's return to a more healthy lineup after going 3-8 to start the season and being knocked down by a series of injuries. You can read that article HERE.
Boston College Women - Sadly for BC, the momentum from Thursday's upset didn't carry over to their Saturday afternoon game against Pitt. They sure had their chances but simply couldn't put away the Panthers or even pull away from them for too long on their way to a 78-70 loss.
In the first half, the Eagles built a 27-18 lead but saw Pitt close the half on a 21-7 run to leave Boston College down 39-34 at the break.
Karima Gabriel had a big game for the Eagles with a career high 14 points and 9 rebounds. She scored 8 of the first 10 points for BC in the second half.
The back and forth nature of the game saw BC take a 67-62 lead and then watch their offense go nearly non-existent as Pitt closed out the game on a 16-3 run. The loss leaves BC at 9-11 and 1-6 in the ACC.
Pitt's Briana Kiesel (shown below 1st) scored 29 points (1 off her career high) and dished out 8 assists. Yacine Diop (shown 2nd) had 18 points and 11 boards and Monica Wignot (shown 3rd) added another 18 points and 9 rebounds. If BC had been able to contain even one of the three players, they would've had a better chance to win the game.
Instead, I watched as the team reverted back to making a lot of the same mistakes they've been making all season. Poor decisions and turnovers (17 in the game) that included an inexplicable number of travelling violations are the two biggest things that stuck out to me. More than once, there was also a seeming inability to get out to defend perimeter shots or to slide over with some help defense when a Pitt player beat their individual defender.
The most galling thing about the way BC lost was they got another game where they had some rather unexpected low post support in their offense. Katie Quandt added 4 points, so for the Eagles that gave them 18 points down low. And how does that get offset? Late in the game, the guards (Ashley Kelsick in particular) try to drive the lane against Wignot, who blocks the shots so casually (see below), you'd think she was back playing volleyball (as she did for four years).
Kelly Hughes led the Eagles with 18 points and 6 boards, but she also had a team high 5 turnovers. Nicole Boudreau added 15 points. Emilee Daley scored 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Martina Mosetti started her third straight game at point guard. She finished with 3 points and career high 7 assists.
Video of some brief comments from coach Erik Johnson is below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Wareham Boys Varsity vs. Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - One other basketball game helped make my Thursday night and it was this boys game that featured players I coached in their youth league days on both sides. Wareham came out on top 71-64. Mark scored 3 points for them. Meanwhile, Jake (photo below, he's in red on defense) scored 6 points for Stang.
While Josh didn't find his way into the boxscore in the Stang game, he did make contributions defensively. You can see a pic of him (on the left in white) below. Photo by Mike Valeri of the Standard Times.
Wareham Boys Varsity - On Friday, the Wareham boys were back in action where they beat Fairhaven 55-41. Josh scored 3 points in the game as the Vikings moved to 11-3 overall with a conference record of 8-2.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans also played back to back games. After losing a relatively close matchup to Wareham, Bishop Stang faced off against Sandwich on Friday night and got utterly annihilated 99-68. Jake (seen below on defense in red) had 6 points in the game but the team (now 7-5) had no answer for the Sandwich offense.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm got blown out 61-24 by Falmouth Academy. Isabella scored 3 points in the game. On friday night, the game was a lot closer, but Sturgis East still came up short as they lost to Whitinsville Christian 43-39. Isabella scored 2 points in that game.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - Savahna's team ended up losing to Blue Hills 45-34 on Friday night.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The Vikings annihilated Fairhaven on Friday night by the score of 58-23. Tieyanna scored 13 points and Gabby added 9 points. Erica finished with 6 points as Wareham improved to 9-7 on the year with a 6-4 conference record. The team's next game is on Tuesday and I may be going to see them play that game if it doesn't get postponed by the bad weather reportedly headed my way on Monday through Tuesday.
TV - A couple of my current favorite shows came back from their winter break with new episodes this week. You can check out the Pop-topia recap for the new Arrow episode HERE. The recap for the new episode of The Flash is available via this link.
Books - I took a quick break from my mystery novel reading this week and instead started trying to catch up on the bevy of Star Trek novels I have stacked up. I finished the first book in the pile. It is written by David R. George III. The book is called Star Trek: The Fall - Revelation and Dust. It is the first in five book story arc and the novel focuses mainly on the Deep Space Nine characters. The book was a bit slow with not nearly as much action as you might expect. While it didn't bother me too much because I'm heavily invested in anything related to Deep Space Nine, I would venture to guess this would not be a very good book to introduce a newcomer to the Star Trek prose novel universe.
And while it isn't like I'm short on new books to read, I did end up picking up a couple more mysteries this week. The first book is the new Molly Murphy novel City of Darkness and Light by Rhys Bowen. The series is set in the early 1900's with Murphy a female detective. It is a brilliantly done series and I can't wait to get my nose into this new installment.
The other book I got is the second Veronica Mars prose novel Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. This is based off of the TV show and movie of the same name and set following the events of the movie and first novel. I'm also invested in my Veronica Mars fandom and love the opportunity to read more of her adventures.
Music - I've got a trio of new songs for you to check out this week. The first is the brand new single from Motley Crue called "All Bad Things". For my own personal tastes, I thought the song was pretty mediocre. I've liked Motley Crue since their Theater of Pain album but as they've progressed, I've kind of moved away from them. The band's Doctor Feelgood CD was the last album of theirs that I actually purchased. As they wind down their days as a touring band, I had hoped they would release a really go for broke song here, but I don't think they hit the bulls-eye at all.
song is the new U.D.O. song "Pain" from their upcoming CD Decadence. I haven't yet listened to this song because I'm waiting to listen to the album in full for a review I'll be writing, but I wanted to share it here this week.
Finally, there is the song "Way To The Sun" by Revolution Saints from their upcoming self-titled debut album. While the song isn't bad, there's something missing to make me really rave about it.
So once again the media have turned sports into the National Enquirer with the help of a rat and a commissioner.
I can't begin to describe to you how disgusted I am at the media, the NFL, John Harbaugh, maybe the Colts, and the legions of litiginy-lovers who drool at the prospect of more 24/7 celebrity justice.
Halfwits like Jerome Bettis have stated that it's an open-and-shut case because the Patriots are 'proven felons'. Gee, would that be the same Jerome Bettis for whom officials fixed the Super Bowl a few years back (against Seattle, in fact) so "the Bus could get his ring?" It would indeed. Now, everyone's piled on to the ratings bonanza. Even Sesame Street. MSN is running articles poking fun at Giselle. What a knee slapper.
Some perspective? Just recently a guy from my old home town, working for a New Hampshire defense contractor, was murdered in Saudi Arabia under curious conditions even for murder. He was happily texting the day before, looking forward to his return. He called (or texted?) on his cell the next day pleading for help. About 15 minutes later he was dead. The regional newspaper had it on the front page; my Ex saw it and called me. Happened to coincide with a budding 'regime change'. I had learned about it from Facebook when an old hometown friend (now a retired cop) posted the viral version. Heard about it? Bet not. Bet you heard about deflated footballs though, from a town 50 miles away. Let's get our priorities straight, after all.
Of course "Deflategate" is all nonsense. For that matter, despite the fact that Belichick did break a (new) rule, Spygate was all nonsense. The league put in said new rule saying that taping the other team from the sideline (common practice) on a visiting field now required permission from the other team. Belichick scoffed and taped anyway. Mistake. He got ratted out by friend-turned-foe Eric Mangini. It had repercussions Mangini himself didn't foresee, and which he publicly regretted. As punishment, the Patriots got the full fury of the mainstream media, otherwise known as New York. Besides money and picks, all of their game tape (including legal tape IIRC) was confiscated. No one else's was ever even examined. Sort of like a corporation that finds out there's a heinous drug problem in engineering and assumes sales, marketing and manufacturing are all clean.
The revised historical perspective was that the Patriots "were taping other teams", as if no one else was. What crap. Every team has a tape (or disk or flash) library on all its opponents. They'd have to be incompetent not to. It was a technicality. But it was one Mangini was technically justified complaining about, and one Goodell had to deal with once the New York media got involved.
And of course it was and is an absurd rule. The entire field can be recorded in HD by any one of about 70,000 attendees with the wit to buy a minicam at Walmart. With zoom. And it is. What can happen will. That djinni was let out of the bottle long before 2007.
As a result of losing this critical advantage, the crippled team won 18 games in a row.
Now we get this nonsense, the brain child of one John Harbaugh. His team couldn't beat New England despite two crucially timed gift calls against Darelle Revis, so he decided to shaft them instead. He complained about 'illegal substitutions'. The league replied that they were perfectly legal, and New England put an exclamation point on the subject by using the same plays against Indianapolis. Try #1 didn't fly, so instead, probably knowing no football would measure the same air pressure in the middle of a game that it had in the locker room (duh), Harbaugh suggested to the Colts that the Patriots were using deflated balls. Or so we're told. Maybe.
Anyone past the third grade probably knows that if a football leaves the laboratory and goes outside, being manhandled, crushed and bounced in the process, it's likely not to measure exactly the same air pressure. Temperature change is in effect. Atmospheric pressure is in effect. Then there's the crushing. Guess what, it has a hole in it. Rubber nipples don't leak? My tires have real Schraeder valves and they leak all the time.
All this so the New York media can try again to assassinate their favorite whipping boys and generate monster sales and ratings doing it? It's the same morally void New York that produced the Black Sox, with an interesting twist. You may recall that despite playing in gangland Chicago, the team was bought off by Arnold Rothstein, the king of gambling in 1919. He was in New York. Everything is routed through New York at some point.
The feeding frenzy has been loathsome.
Then suddenly, without warning, Bill Belichick steps to the podium and tells everyone his own staff has conducted experiments with their footballs, prepping them as they do before games to be sent to the officials for final checks, measuring them at 12.5psi (Tom Brady's preferred pressure), taking them outside, roughing them up, and measuring again. The balls tested had lost an average of 1.5psi of air. What a shocker.
Once they had warmed back up to lab conditions, they had gained back 1/2 psi. So some air was lost while they were in use. Another shocker. Ever own a ball that didn't lose air? He suggested that anyone who doubts him try it himself. The league 'investigators', for example.
He also mentioned, perhaps significantly, that the league may have 'some other matters' to look into. I wonder what he could possibly mean?
Conveniently lost in this one-sided lynch party has been the fact that the 'smoking gun' presented, that being the delay in the 2nd half when the officials swapped a ball for Brady, was the result of Brady being handed a kicking ball after the regular game balls had been removed from play. Kicking balls are slick. Ask Tony Romo. He wanted a game ball. He got one. The clip has been run disingenuously over and again as proof of shenanigans.
By the way, he got one of the replacement balls which the NFL tells us were tested at 12.5psi. With that ball Brady crushed the Colts with a flawless aerial display to complement a bruising running game in what had turned into a driving rain/windstorm. "Deflation" had absolute zero to do with it. Asked about the situation after the game, Pagano stressed that it clearly had no effect on the outcome of the game. Pagano acted a lot like someone who had been talked (or coerced) into doing something he hadn't wanted to do and wanted out --- or perhaps just someone who had heard about it for the first time. Now D'Quell Jackson says he had nothing to do with reporting an underinflated football. This gun seems to have multiple smoking barrels that were never fired. We probably will never know, but it all smacks of a bungled frame-up. What a tangled web.
The assassination attempt we've been watching panders to Hangem High graduates who love every minute of someone else's misery. It panders to those who sanctimoniously wax indignant at "these cheaters ruining the integrity of the game," probably just as they place their bets. In short, it panders to the lowest common denominator. Always plenty of those to go around. Not just in the general public, but in the media which sell them copy. It's the worst form of populism.
The biggest irony is that the Patriots are examplary of what's good about a game gone rotten on and off the field lately, 'spygate' notwithstanding. They run great plays. They execute. The cultivate smart players. They develop skills. And they do it all with very hard work, harder than anybody else in the game. It's how they rack up unprecedented wins (and injuries), all the while constantly drafting down. No, Virginia, Santa doesn't give you what you need to win games. You have to try. On nearly every Sunday fans can expect to see a competitive team playing its hardest. Sometimes it doesn't work. Most of the time it does.
If you can't beat 'em... sue 'em or screw 'em. That's what we've degenerated to. Sports imitate life in these hard-to-recognize contemporary United States.
That it should happen at the Super Bowl break is unfathomable. Even if it were true, the violation carries a stipulated penalty of a $25,000 fine. It's officially considered minor stuff. Up until now, of course. To turn it into major stuff you have to pump raw sewage down the throats of the public, faux indignation against 'these arrogant bastards who think they can piss on our game one more time' or something similar. That's a bunch of ad-hominem BS of course, but it works on the Great Unwashed and the media weasels know it. The scam of manufacturing a story to fill a traditionally dead media week has never been more transparent, damaging or ugly.
That Goodell should have let this bubble up as quickly as it did and when it did by staying quiet makes no sense unless he wanted his 'investigation' determined by the court of public opinion, which means by the media. If he's really unable to find out the truth (and clearly if the truth he wants were evident it would have been found by now) then it's probably not worth the witch hunt. What's next, DNA? Ultimately there will be no real evidence of course, just a few photographs, perhaps some drummed up 'data', and some staged testimony for a predetermined conclusion. Unless, as Belichick seemed to allude, there is more to the story and the NFL is exploring that. Wishful thinking. The Patriots have exercised a lot more patience than I ever could show.
And that's all the patience I have for this sickening topic except for a few last observations. Unless I misjudge them, I doubt Seattle wants to be known as the asterisk champions, the team that beat a harassed, distracted and depleted opponent. It's a disservice to them too. Nor, one would hope, do they want to be the team that was served the big game by officials on a silver platter as Pittsburgh was the last time Seattle was there. Keep those antennae up if you really are concerned about the game's integrity. Tom Brady's footballs are, whatever the facts we'll never really know, a red herring, a lightning rod to take the heat off a beleaguered commissioner or a team that embarrassed itself and the league during the Ray Rice incident. It's all just too cute.
And finally, now you'll know what to think when the league/media complex decides to ruin someone's career and uses bullying as an excuse.
The footballs? I'll care when somebody examines every team's game balls at halftime. Until then it's an uncontrolled experiment.
So when the deflated football controversy first hit, I was like “give me a break…” I mean the Colts got pounded and we’re gonna say the footballs were a little soft? Puh-lease. Then the details started to sift down…that the Colts had notified the NFL of a similar infraction in their game against New England earlier in the season; that the Colts had put the inflated pressure of game balls on their pre-game “list” for the NFL to be aware of and check for this game; etc.
I get it--we're all worn out. And I don’t want to rehash this ad infinitum. But while I've heard a lot of whining about it I really haven't heard any "rational human thought" on the whole thing. And not that I'm rational, but I thought I'd share some of my random thoughts on this weird, controversial, and in my mind ridiculous on so many levels, issue.
First off, as I posted on an FB thread earlier in the week: if the specs for the football—ie make, model, air pressure standards, etc—are so critical (and they should be, by the way) then why the hell does each team have their own balls? In baseball, the baseballs are inspected and brought to the game by the umpires…the Cardinals and Cubs don’t each have their own baseballs for a game they are contesting. In basketball, my understanding is that the home team provides the basketballs, but again they are delivered to the officials pre-game for inspection, then secured, and administered by the officials during the contest; and they are identical in terms of specification to those used elsewhere around the league.
In a league as buttoned up as the NFL, why in the world is this even protocol? One ball, one spec, the officials bring ‘em to the game. Here you go boys, play. Simple, no? Why even create this opportunity for controversy?
Second, I do think the inflatability of the ball is a fairly significant item. Reduce the inflation of a ball by 15% and grip it. If you don’t think that two pounds less inflation makes a ball easier to catch, grip, etc., you are not being honest with yourself. On a cold, wet and rainy night, or a freezing one where a properly inflated ball feels like a cement block, it is a huge advantage. I don’t think it makes up 38 points of deficit; but don’t play it off like it’s nothing.
I’m reminded of when I was a kid: I had a German Shepard named Casey who to this day is the smartest dog I’ve ever known. If you played baseball with a tennis ball, he could play the outfield and would not only catch the ball on the fly but could field it off a hop and run it in. Casey, on a grounder to the outfield, was faster and much more reliable than many of my friends who would field, bobble, and errantly throw into the cornfield. Likewise, if you played with a slightly deflated football he could play receiver—because the ball was easier to catch. True story. Anyway…
Third we have rules. So you break a rule that potentially improves performance. Suspend someone for a game? Lose a couple of draft picks? It’s cheating. Whether you think it’s significant or not, it’s important enough that there’s a rule about it…you need to enforce it. The entire universe has gone nuts over steroids in baseball and the “advantage” it afforded—and yet that was at a time when the league didn’t have a policy against it and a huge majority of the league was doing it. But people want to laugh about this; they’re ok with a team breaking the rules like this to gain an advantage. This would be like some aerodynamic advantage in NASCAR but you still get to win the race. I mean it was ONLY half an inch difference. Wrong. You cheat, you lose.
Fourth—if the Colts really did report this back in November, was the NFL pulling a Ray Rice on us and pretending it didn’t happen? Did they do that because it was New England, because they thought it would go away, or because they think Jim Irsay is a league rogue and an idiot? This represents a huge credibility gap for the league if it’s true…and these guys are experts when it comes to credibility gaps.
Five: minor in context—but again, these are just the things that pop up in my mind—why in the hell do kickers have a separate ball? Don’t give me the rhetoric about kicking, the ball being slippery, etc. I get all that. But part of the game is the ball. Wouldn’t the assumption be that you have to kick the same ball that this guy just threw and that guy had to catch? If you really want to laugh your ass off…think about fake field goals. (Better yet--that ill fated Garo Yepremian pass in SB VII. Actually, HE could have used a deflated ball there...) Hey, let’s have separate balls for free throws! Different hockey pucks for penalty shots! Let’s change the baseball when relief pitchers come in! Good grief…
If you’re a Colts fan, give up the “We were wronged!” approach. If what I’ve heard is true, the balls were checked and thrown out at halftime—and the Colts balls were used in the second half. So your team got waxed the worst with New England using the good balls.
I’m wondering about Baltimore. If New England were using the balls indoors in November and in their second outside playoff game in January, you’d certainly be using it outside in your first playoff game in January. Baltimore didn’t get blown out, and the balls weren’t switched at halftime. Probably no way to go back and check after the fact, but it would sure be interesting to know. I’d kind of like to watch that game again now, and look for dropped passes by the Ravens, or one handed grabs by the Pats.
Last, but most certainly not least, can the NFL and Roger Goodell have possibly strung together a worse year? Would you like to be their PR firm about now? Cheating, wife beating, child mistreating. What, they ran out of hookers, handguns and heroine? What would you give for the Super Bowl story line to be that Max McGee was out all night and played drunk? Woo hoo, controversial stuff that. Oh for the good ol’ days. This league, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, has a problem; and it’s like a snowball rolling downhill at this point.
In conclusion, I don’t have an axe to grind, and I’m not particularly a fan of either team. But stuff like this is what makes you sick about sports. If you play, stick to the rules; if you’re the league, enforce them. And in the meantime, please try not to put the two teams I like least in your biggest game of the year. Ack. For truly the first time in the history of this grandest of NFL games—I could care less if I watch a down. Tell me more about this Lingerie Bowl…
The Patriots are in the Supebowl and they have another gate to hurdle. They got by Videogate and David Tyree made sure they paid for it. After all they were videotaping a New York Team the wrong New York team. Ok CSI Fans we have a Mystery what happened to 12 Footballs in the ten minute time between the Officials weighing them and handing them to the ball boy and the start of the game. Incidentally all balls were removed in the second half and a new 12 were put in play.
This is the way I understand it the equipment guy and the Quarterback pick the balls out. Then the Quarterback tells the equipment guy what to do with them rubb them scuff them kind of like a good Pitmaster preparing Ribs or Brisket. Then 2 and half yours before the game. 24 balls go to the officials 12 from each team for all the math majors out there.
The officials inspect them and gauge them. The penalty for an illegal ball is it is removed from the game. Kind of like baseball an illegal bat is removed from the game. That’s the penalty. The penalty for tempering with the balls in that ten minutes is some disciplinary action fine or suspension or both whatever the league warrants as the right penalty. Knowing the NFL they will come down harder on the patriots then they did on Ray Rice and Adrian Petersen. Combined. Then again the Patriots have been clean for more than 32 games so that have to start fresh like Domincan Suh..
My guess like spygate this is a common practice that there is a wink and a nod with both teams and the Officials kind of look the other way even though they weigh the balls nothing is said until it’s brought up. Sort of like an Illegal stick in Hockey.You don't tell the Ref to measure it until your down a goal and need a powerplay.
From my experience handling footballs you know if the thing feels over inflated or under inflated and yes I have thrown balls out of games because they are weigh under inflated but then again the equipment managers we deal with are usually 15 and will forget their heads if they weren’t attached. I know, I have two of them.
I think they will be enough blame to go around for everybody from the Hoodie, to the equipment guy to the officials. I think the NFL doesn’t like a blackeye a week before their premiere event. Yeah! You are all going to watch anyway despite your protests against the Patriots and you will overcome your hate of Dick Sherman and watch anyway.
This should be a great game better than the Packers giving away the game to the Seahawks. Who seem to be getting the breaks at the right time. The little mishaps and miscues that fall in place for Championship Teams. Yeah the Patriots have gotten their breaks as well despite what people here in New England think. It all balances out. You know who I want too win I won’t bore you with that.
I also think the Patriots played better in the second half with the regular inflated balls then they did in the first half with the under inflated ones after all it was 17-7 and No rain at halftime. The rains kicked in at halftime and it poored. Laser and I got a couple of rainsuits before the game at Wal-Mart I felt like the Hoodie makng a great call .
As one of the Colts twitted they would have beat us with a bar of soap.
I can hear the 9000 press conferences Belichick will require to attend over the next week. His answers will be something like this. “Just getting ready for Seattle, You’ll have to ask the league about that. Ask the officials. Just getting ready for Seattle”. Marshawn Lynch will be taking notes on how to give the media nothing as he will watch the master at work.
Here is the other part of the story kind of an ethical thing. A Colts player intercepted a ball and knew it was soft. he did his job told the coaches who told the officials. The coaches also told it to the GM who called the league . he also tipped off an Indianapolis reporter The ethical part was tipping off the press and knowing they would run with the story.Maybe it gets out anyway but I see it as it was calculated.
What can I say they played a USA Hockey playdown tourney last Saturday and got smoked they played decent for 2 periods but couldn’t capitailize on multiple scoring opportunities. Lil Lanz had a break away shot Glove side about two feet of the ice. Goalie snagged it like Dustin Pedroia going to his right. Lil Lanz didn’t play well in this one he was kind taking a lot of the blame they scored 4 times when he was on the ice in the third as they switched him from Forward to defense. Coaches kept telling him it wasn’t his fault. I love these coaches. I hope coach Dennis recovers from Elbow surgery soon.