Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Slate finds new ways to suck ass.

Slate is a piece of shit e-mag. Everybody knows it. I don't care that it has a large "liberal" slant; I just care that most of the staff are wannabe hipsters writing sensational crap in order to elicit strong responses. You may be asking why I bring Slate up, since this blog focuses on sports writing and not politics. Well, they have a story linked from their home page titled:

Win One for the Cheater
Why the enraged Patriots will go undefeated.
By Charles P. Pierce

Oh great, here we go. I thought that Slate always tried their hardest to go against the grain, but here we have it: an ESPN segment written in pretencious prose.

Before I even started reading what promises to be a vomit inducing, X-rated, deep-throating of Brady's/Belichick's/Kraft's collective cock, I had to read more about this Charles P. Pierce fellow. From his website:

Charles P. Pierce was born December 28, 1953 in Worcester, MA.

"Aha!" Exclaims our noble blogger eriz. "This is certain to be unbiased"

*throws up all over the floor*

Let's begin, shall we?

Perhaps the oddest thing about a very odd week in the history of the New England Patriots, a franchise that has known its share of very odd weeks, was the identity of the commissioner who finally brought the hammer down on the lawless regime of Bill Belichick (last seen stalking the sidelines dressed like he'd just knocked over a 7-Eleven while his enraged team performed public ritual murder on the San Diego Chargers). Way back in 1970, Sen. Charles Goodell, R-N.Y., lost his political career at least in part because he took legislative action to curb the unilateralist excesses of Richard Nixon. (Sen. Goodell lost to William F. Buckley's less-easily parodied brother James.) So, here's his kid, Roger, conducting himself in such a way that he probably should be standing on a balcony somewhere, his medals gleaming in the tropical sun. No wonder Nixon lusted after the job of the commissioner of the National Football League. Everything about the position would appeal to him.

I guess no Slate sports article would be complete without long winded correlations to American Politics.

Anyway, seeing a Goodell acting as the New Sheriff in Town—to use the John Ford-ism that's become trendy among America's sporty press—has brought out the latent authoritarian in everyone, it seems. He'd already knuckled Pacman Jones for gunplay, Michael Vick for aggravated Rovercide, and Dallas quarterback coach Wade Wilson for practicing pharmacy without either a license or a decent lie. Goodell couldn't very well have taken a pass on laying the wood to Belichick, who went out of his way to steal defensive signals on a sideline only 20 miles or so from Goodell's desk. In truth, he should have suspended Coach Beyond-The-Law for a couple of games, too, but a half-million bucks is a considerable fine, and the loss of a draft pick makes any football executive cry. People who have been waiting six years to see the Patriots get their comeuppance seemed generally quite happy with Goodell. And then the game started.

Quite simply, no NFL team in recent memory has played a game as well from start to finish as New England did Sunday night.

Oh really? You may have your opinion on this matter, but let's be honest here: You're wrong. What about the Tampa Bay's super bowl beatdown of Oakland? What about the Broncos' win over Atlanta in Super Bowl 32, where John Elway repeatedly picked on Eugene Robinson like (insert joke about cocaine and a prostitute here) ? What about JUST LAST YEAR'S Super Bowl when the Colts dominated the Bears in almost every way possible? I named three Super Bowls for a reason. First of all, the consequences of these games are exponentially more important than a week 2 matchup. Secondly, they are examples of two of the very best teams in the NFL (proven over the course of 16 regular season and 2-3 playoff games), where one team beats the crap out of the other team. Sure, we know San Diego is loaded with talent. But they struggled against the Bears a week before and they have an entirely different coaching staff from last year's 14-2 squad.

So before you start with the hyperbole (whoops, too late!) let's put things in perspective.

The 38-14 final is not even remotely a measure of it. Neither is the 407-201 margin in total offense, or the 35:46 to 24:14 gap in the time of possession. This was one football operation beating the other one into the ground.

Which never happens. Ever. Every single game played in the NFL is really even, except one team has to win in the end.

The Patriots built this lead in the offseason. San Diego canned head coach Marty Schottenheimer because he lost a playoff game to the Patriots, replacing him with Norv Turner, who has now coached 325 NFL teams in his life.

Actually, it's like 5 or something; good joke though. The firing of Schottenheimer was a monumentally stupid move, but I'm not sure how this makes the Pats better. Whatever.

For their part, the Patriots picked up receivers Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, and, most notably, Randy Moss to give Tom Brady some actual weapons to use. They also signed Adalius Thomas, a frighteningly athletic linebacker from the Baltimore Ravens. It was Thomas who broke the game open, stepping in front of a terrible Philip Rivers pass and outracing all of the Chargers more than 65 yards for a touchdown. By the time Thomas made his play, Brady already had used two of the other newcomers, Welker and Moss, to carve up the Charger secondary, the latter on a 23-yard post route that bisected two San Diego defenders and was as perfectly an executed football play as ever has been. Brady looked off the defenders and came back to Moss, who found the ball on his fingertips as he crossed the goal line at full speed.

Oh I didn't know that New England acquired all these players this offseason. Goddamn Sports Illustrated and ESPN, I wish they had filled us in on all of the Patriots' off season moves!

And everybody knows that the Chargers' biggest weak spot is the secondary. Joey Harrington and Rache Cauldwell could rack up yards against them.

On the other side of the ball, Thomas has given Belichick so many options on defense that the coach's creativity is at floodtide, and the team doesn't even feel the absence of all-pro defensive lineman Richard Seymour and explosive safety Rodney Harrison, the latter of whom Goodell earlier busted on a banned-substances rap. The beating was so obvious and thorough that the postgame commentary from the Patriots had more to do with the vicissitudes of the previous five days than it did with the problems inherent in beating a team that went 14-2 last season. There was all manner of chortling and gloating about how the team had managed to overcome the stigma of the media's pointing out that its head coach had gotten caught behaving like an arrogant jackass. A team this good, this dominant, got to cast itself in its own mind as outraged innocents battling to stick it to The Man.

I just wanted to put this paragraph in so I could point out that our dear writer used the word "vicissitudes."

It was like watching conservatives talk about how Michael Moore was picking on them while they were running the entire government.

I don't get it.

So at this halfway point of the article, Pierce has told us about how Goodell is actually his own father, Belichick is Richard Nixon (who wanted to be Goodell all along), the Chargers did some stupid shit in the offseason, the Patriots signed a bunch of good players, and the Patriots beat the Chargers by a lot of touchdowns.

I thought he was gonna tell us why the Patriots are going undefeated.

It's why, absent catastrophic injury, New England can win every football game it plays this season.

Ohhhhhhhh. What was the title of this column again? Let's scroll up... Ah here we go.

Win One for the Cheater
Why the enraged Patriots will go undefeated.

So which is it? They will go undefeated? Or they can? There are lots of teams in the past twenty years you could have said the latter about during the first few weeks. The 2004 Colts. The 1998 Broncos. One of the 49er teams of the 90s. These teams all had the ability to run the table. But there are a bunch of reasons why it hasn't happened, and likely won't, for a long time. The NFL is a super competitive league. The talent separation between the top team and the bottom team is arguably the slimmest of any professional American sport.

The Patriots are quite possibly the best team in the NFL right now. But they will lose at least one game this season. I'd bet my firstborn child on it.

For years, the rest of the NFL has chafed at the ability of the Patriots to play Poor Widdle Us while pushing the envelope of league regulations on everything from the injury list, to media obligations, to what you can and can't do on the sidelines. If, ironically, Goodell is Nixon as "the president," then Belichick is the Nixon who hired the "plumbers," right down to the ludicrous written statement that remains his only public comment on the affair and which lacks only a reference to his mother, the saint, to match old Tricky's farewell speech for unmitigated smarm. When Belichick finally got caught this week, you may have noticed that the rest of the league wasn't exactly rallying to his side. Jerome Bettis grabbed onto a retroactive alibi for having been whipped by New England over the past decade, and Tony Dungy offered a plaintive "what-about-the-children" rumination that was just inches from actual sincerity. This was not an accident. In many ways, everybody in the NFL is against the Patriots, and a lot of them have damned good reason for being so.

I'm glad Pierce hasn't pulled out the old "the patriots are a classy organization" zinger yet. He admits that they are kind of scummy and everybody hates them. But, once again, what does what he has written have anything to do with the Patriots going undefeated?

However, the only thing that New England didn't pick up in the offseason was a cause, and now it has one, especially if the investigation is as thorough and ongoing as Goodell seems to be saying it will be. It is possible that we will have a revelation a week in which, as New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi put it after Sunday night's game, New England's "integrity" comes into question. More ill-feeling. More bad blood. More grist for Belichick's endlessly grinding motivation mill. Moreover, the players seemed all week to resent most that their work in winning three Super Bowls suddenly had been devalued by their coach's misbehavior. That's the obverse of a general feeling that has arisen among Patriots in recent years—that their own talents have been made subordinate to their coach's alleged genius.

So apparently the desire to win championships by itself isn't enough for the Patriots? They needed a cause, i guess. sort of like when Tom Brady pulled out the old "we don't get any respect" card two seasons ago before their divisional playoff game against Denver. I guess Brady's motivational tool didn't work too well for him when he threw a terrible goal line pick to Champ Bailey that was returned 98 yards. On a side note: I was at that game, and man was it fucking awesome.

One of these is inspiration enough. Both of them together is a volatile mix. If more sordid details come out, and Goodell feels obligated to suspend Belichick for a week, the New England players themselves might beat some team 100-0.

No they won't. It's not possible. I can guarantee that they will lose at least one game. I also assure you that they will not win in a shutout all season. Their defense gave up a ton of yards and touchdowns last season. They added Thomas at linebacker, but it's not like a good NBA team signing Michael Jordan at his prime. They have a mediocre linebacking corps after Thomas and an atrocious secondary save for Asante Samuel.

The whole mishegas puts the 1972 Miami Dolphins' distinction as the only team to play an entire NFL season undefeated in serious jeopardy. Roger Goodell did the right thing last week, but he also created a situation in which, come February, when the Patriots win the Super Bowl, and he has to hand the trophy to Bill Belichick, it's perfectly plausible to wonder if it shouldn't be the other way around.

*eriz bazooka barfs all over his keyboard*

6 comments:

bosstone said...

Charles P. Pierce is one of the most radical left jizzbag columnists in the country.

He once wrote a column about how Mary Jo Kopechne (The woman that asshole Ted Kennedy killed) would be proud of Kennedy for all the "work" he has done since he killed her.

His hacky political jokes in that column are an embarrassment to the human race.

eriz said...

Yeah, after I wrote this one, I went back and read some other stuff he wrote this year. What a shitbag

pnoles said...

What a pompous douchebag....

Chris Hart said...

You guys just aren't sophisticated enough to really understand Slate.

dan-bob said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

Turned out he was really wrong, hunh?