Which is why, per a request in an Anonymous comment from almost two weeks ago, I'm covering ESPN's Jackie MacMullan's SCORCHING HOT TAEK regarding The Incident from the AFC Championship Game Wherein the Patriots Were Found to be Using Underinflated Footballs. That is my super clever and catchy name for this "scandal." I hope you enjoy it. I couldn't think of anything shorter, or involving the suffix -gate or a reference to a political "scandal" from the last couple years involving an embassy in Libya.
By the way, let me also be abundantly clear about one thing: while I despise the Patriots, I don't give a flying rat's cunt about this whole thing. I just can't bring myself to care. The Patriots were obviously the best team in the AFC from Halloween onward. Beyond that, as that awesome story Brad Johnson told about paying guys off to tamper with the game balls before the Raiders-Bucs Super Bowl demonstrates, this shit probably happens all the time. Honestly: who really gives a fuck? Fuck the Patriots, fuck the NFL, and most of all, fuck the 24 hour sports news cycle that's obsessed with the NFL. Now let's go out there and write this dumb post.
We don't know for certain yet whether Bill Belichick had anything to do with the deflation of 11 of the 12 footballs
This was just another asinine facet to this whole thing--the repeated reporting that it was 11 of 12 footballs. Not all the footballs. Not almost all the footballs. Not all but one. Not "The Patriots were using a large number of underinflated balls." No--let me break out my Easterbrook impersonation and point out that 11 out of 12 is HYPERSPECIFIC and we don't need that much fucking information. Again, this is what happens when an NFL non-story breaks during Pro Bowl weeks. Sure, there are dozens of NBA and NHL games going on, but we need the Bottom Line ticker to let us know exactly what fraction of the balls were tampered with. I swear, the retards who inhabit this country love the NFL so much you could get great ratings on a 30 minute show that was just Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen going back and forth about what their sources have told them about that 12th ball that was actually within the league's rules.
the New England Patriots used in their trouncing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. In fact, we may never know.
We sure won't. Because this will all be forgotten about about four seconds after the Super Bowl kicks off.
Regardless of what the league determines, the Patriots' coach already has been declared guilty in the court of public opinion,
By the way, as we go through this piece, you'll discover that Jackie Mac says the league should come down HAHHHHHD on the Pats if they are guilty. This is a hot taek in so many ways-- 1) she all but conceded in her first three sentences that we'll never really know, therefore more or less saying that there shouldn't be any stiff punishment, but even better, 2) anyone who has seen her on PTI knows that just like every other knuckle-dragging sportswriter from New England, she's an unashamed homer who wears her Pats-loving heart on her sleeve. Meaning, of course, that this whole article is really just a trolling of other Pats fans who she knows will be totally offended by her position, thus generating BUZZ and CONTROVERSY and PAGEVIEWS. Somewhere, Mark Shapiro is smiling and nodding.
his football brilliance superseded only by his football arrogance.
Such a deft juxtaposition. Someone give this woman her own TV show.
Consider this tweet from Hall of Famer Jerry Rice:
11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! Saying
First of all, Jerry, ask your kids about how hashtags work. (Lol! Old people am I right?!) Second of all, wow, blazing taek right there. Thanks for the input.
Rice has no skin in New England's game.
Incredible analysis here. "This is a very simple story, but it is also a huge story in the world of the NFL. Here's someone from that world who has no connection to the Patriots, AND HE'S WEIGHING IN ON THE STORY WITH HIS VERY BASIC OPINION. Marvel at it, everyone."
He's not a former Raven or Colt, although he did play his final season in Seattle.
If you see some hipster kid this weekend with a bad mustache, a SuperSonics hat and a Jerry Rice Seahawks jersey, punch him in the face for me please.
He is a football legend with an impeccable résumé and he won't be the first or last to cast aspersions on the football team in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Again, here's Jackie: "Note that this person has an opinion. Really makes you think, doesn't it?"
On the surface, knowingly tampering with footballs just minutes before (or during?) the AFC Championship Game in which your team is heavily favored seems, in the words of former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, "laughable.''
Yeah, there's a guy who knew how to cheat the RIGHT way. None of this getting caught for him, at least for most of his career.
It is also incredibly audacious, stupid and paranoid.
This was a single sentence paragraph in the article as published.
Bill Plaschke demands his royalty check.
Also, if the Patriots did this on purpose, it's a lot of things.
But I'm pretty sure it wasn't fueled by paranoia.
It's almost as ludicrous as videotaping the defensive signals of opposing teams after the league sent a memo specifically forbidding the practice and warning there would be serious repercussions if the decree was ignored.
This is more catnip thrown by a New Englander at all the Massholes out there reading this on their phones during their lunch break at the tuna cannery. "Hey everyone... remember when the Patriots cheated this other time? That got you good and riled up I'll bet. Mmm hmm."
Spygate, Deflategate. Connect the dots and it appears to be more of the same, a haughty coach obsessed with winning who will do anything to get an edge -- and will gleefully tweak the league office in the process.
Fuck Belichick, but the guy has balls. I'm almost starting to like him.
Therein lies Belichick's problem. A man who has made football his life's work, whose reverence for the game and its history is well-documented,
I love the idea that doing anything to win is somehow not in alignment with loving the game and knowing about its history. Why, it's almost like he wants to win so he can be a part of that history some day! Madness!
has forever forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his own integrity.
Guarantee you he doesn't give a shit.
Earlier this month, 85-year-old Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history and the only one to oversee an undefeated season,
with the Miami Dolphins in 1972,
Oh, is that when it was? I'm only reminded of that every goddamn 10 minutes during all NFL broadcasts in October/November when there are only a couple of undefeated teams left.
was asked about New England's coach. The congenial Shula replied: "Beli-cheat?"
RAZOR SHARP. WOW. EVEN AT 85, THE GUY HAS A FIRM GRASP ON SHITTY PUNS. THIS IS ALMOST AS CRAZY AS THE TIME JERRY RICE POINTED OUT THAT CHEATING IS THE SAME THING AS CHEATING.
It spoke volumes about the perception of New England's resident football genius. Shula is a man of character and credibility.
Oh my God. Holy shit. No, he's not. He's not Teddy Roosevelt. He's not Roberto Clemente. He's just a guy who was an awesome football coach a while ago. Of COURSE he's going to shit on Belichick. That's what all retired legends in every field do when asked about the then-current legends in the making in that field.
His words hold weight, far more than a blustery Ray Lewis embarking on a rant dismissing Tom Brady's career because of the tuck rule. That made no sense and had no merit.
Hahahahha. I didn't hear that. That's pretty great, though. Good for Ray. I like that taek.
This deflation controversy is a different case altogether.
Right--one is a case of potential circumvention of league rules. The other is a case where the league's referees probably did correctly enforce the league's rules, even though those rules are terrible. Where am I going with this contrast? I don't know, but fuck Tom Brady.
The Colts became suspicious about the footballs and asked the referees to check them during the game. An investigation was launched, and there is tangible evidence the balls were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what the league mandates.
2 POUNDS? ARE YOU SURE IT WASN'T 1.7 POUNDS? GET ED WERDER TO CAMP OUT OUTSIDE OF JIM CALDWELL'S HOUSE UNTIL WE GET SOME ANSWERS.
Obviously there are myriad unanswered questions. Were the balls properly checked by the officials before the game? Who monitored the Patriots' footballs on the sideline? When, if at all, were the balls that appeared underinflated then discarded or re-inflated? Is there any tangible evidence that someone on New England's sideline tampered with the balls?
That last one is a pretty relevant question, which I hate to admit, because the other three are so mind-numbingly stupid and 24 hour news cycle-y that I want to throw myself down a flight of stairs. WHEN WERE THE BALLS UN-INFLATED OR RE-INFLATED OR SOMETHING? WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE COW THAT THE BALLS WERE EVENTUALLY MADE OUT OF?
Let's dispatch one ridiculous notion: The deflated balls are not why the Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl next weekend. New England completely dismantled Indianapolis in -- as a certain coach likes to say -- every phase of the game.
A little nod and a wink to those Masshole ESPN readers I've been talking about. "Hey, just so you guys know, I love Belichick and the Pats just as much as you do. Stay with me here, I'm just trying to get paid."
In a perfect football world, the Patriots
would not exist, or would go 0-16 every year.
would be riding high in the wake of a surge of creativity that has set them apart in recent weeks.
Nope, I like mine better.
The Brady-to-Edelman-to-Amendola touchdown, the four-offensive-linemen formation and the touchdown pass to tackle Nate Solder were all evidence that New England had rediscovered its innovative, edgy persona.
Hey, cheating is often innovative and edgy too. Let's not rule out the possibility of having it both ways.
Why can't the coach trust his players' talents and his own intellect and lean on the excellence of the organization
Fuck the organization and fuck Bob Kraft. There is no Patriot Way. It's a fucking team, and it will employ cheaters and murderers just as readily as any other team. It's had a lot of success recently because of Belichick and Brady. If those two guys died in their sleep tonight, they'd lose the Super Bowl by 30 and be irrelevant for the next 15 years. Let's stop patting "the organization" on the back for having generational talents (one of whom they stumbled ass-backwards into employing) holding the two most important jobs on a football team.
he has so painstakingly built into a sustainable football juggernaut?
Because he likes winning. Article over.
It's like a prizefighter pummeling his opponent for six straight rounds, then feeling compelled to throw a sucker punch after the bell has sounded. Why? You had the fight won.
No, it's really more like a prizefighter paying someone to poison his opponent's food before the bout even though the opponent was much weaker to begin with. See how my analogy works and yours is terrible?
I'll say it again: There's no concrete evidence yet that Belichick or the Patriots did anything wrong.
Yeah, we got it. Thanks.
But even the most ardent New England fan has to concede that when 11 of the 12 balls are discovered to be deflated, that's a mighty interesting coincidence.
You're doing that thing that all bad sportswriters do where you just start wandering off and either restating your old points or not making any new ones. Just finish up already.
If the NFL finds the Patriots culpable (and that is still a big "if" at this point),
HOLY FUCK, THAT'S THE EIGHTH TIME YOU'VE REMINDED US. WE GET IT.
it should lay the hammer down. If Belichick turns out to be a repeat offender in the skirting of the league rules, he should be suspended for the Super Bowl.
MOLTEN LAVA HOT. BE CAREFUL EVERYONE.
It's not about the deflated balls. It's not about how much of an advantage (if any) it provided the Patriots or Tom Brady.
Actually, had that laughably impossible outcome occurred, it would have been about exactly that advantage. What the hell else would it be about? The Patriots having insulted the league's officially licensed ball and pump manufacturers?
It's about the integrity of the sport
The integrity of the NFL
and the arrogance of a football coach who, if guilty, will have once again shown that he thinks he is bigger than the game.
Well, he probably does think that, and it's probably true.
For years the Patriots have fostered an "Us Against the World" mentality, whether real or manufactured (usually it was the latter).
It's always the latter. Drew Magary put it best in his Deadspin weekly column today: "The world doesn’t give a shit. Most of the world is just trying to fucking eat. Some farmer in Burundi isn’t gonna be like, “The Pats won? Well, they showed me!”" I don't adore Magary like some do (enough about your goddamn kids, holy shit, enough), but that's a pretty great line.
No one was better at inventing slights to motivate his team than Harrison, who is convinced Belichick and the Patriots will utilize the furor surrounding this controversy to their advantage.
No they won't. That is a dumb, cliched narrative. They will instead just ignore it and go out and try to outplay Seattle, same as they would have if the big story this week was that Spygate was a complete invention by the league and never happened.
"I can tell you, this is the last thing Seattle needs,'' Harrison said recently. "Those guys in that New England locker room are pumped. After all the hard work they've put in, after all they've accomplished, after all they've done, to have people doubt them?
Fuck yourself, Rodney.
"They're taking that stuff personally. They're fired up. Add the fact Seattle was favored in the Super Bowl, and look out.''
Yeah, and almost immediately after the books opened, the line swung around to favor New England, where it has stayed. THAT'S THE LAST THING THE PATRIOTS NEED. THE SEAHAWKS ARE PISSED OFF. IT'S THEM AGAINST THE WORLD.
He's right. There's nothing like controversy to band a team together and provide them with the extra resolve to prove their detractors wrong.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz God I hate football culture and the journalists who enable it.
But here's the hitch: Even if the Patriots beat the Seahawks 60-0 in Super Bowl XLIX, the win will be declared a tainted one by many.
I know, it's going to be so fun to use this complete non-story as ammunition against dumb Patriots fans for decades to come. "Sure, eventually they won another Super Bowl without being able to illegally tape other teams' practices, but that's only because they found a DIFFERENT way to cheat. Smh." (Last part should only be used if you are giving your snarky anti-Patriots hot taek in an online environment.) Seriously, it's going to be great.
The noise will continue, and the chants of "Beli-cheat" will endure.
As they should, as long as we all promise to brainstorm a better and more insulting nickname.
The coach probably won't care, but it's not just his legacy that will be stained. His players also are saddled with the perception that something far more unseemly than their preparation and sacrifice were the reasons for their success.
I'm sure they'll really care while admiring their Super Bowl rings and cashing their bonus checks.
And that's the most deflating reality of all.
OH WOW. I spent all this time making fun of this article, and then she drops a KILLER closing line on me. God, I look like a fool now. Should have just turned this post into a bunch of deflated/soft/mishandled balls (haha balls) jokes.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
As Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa sink slowly in tandem toward steroids oblivion, reprising their relationship in their electrifying home run derby of 1998 but in a different direction, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens run slowly in place, doomed to their personal Groundhog Day in baseball cleats.
That, in brief, sums up my view of the results of this year’s voting for the Hall of Fame,
[Dumb summary of the vote totals of McGwire and Sosa, who are TOTALLY GETTING WHAT THEY HAD COMING TO THEM MUHAHAHAHAHA ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD, omitted]
Bonds and Clemens aren’t in danger of falling off the face of the earth, but they aren’t in danger either of reaching the doors of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Voters have been remarkably consistent in their treatment of the pair. In their first two years on the ballot, Bonds and Clemens each received votes in the mid-30 percent, and that’s precisely where they wound up this week, 36.8 percent for Bonds, 37.5 percent for Clemens. Each actually went up 2.1 percent, but with seven more chances, at that rate they won’t very likely get where they want to go.
There would seem to be a hardcore group of voters and no one else who ignore the steroids/HGH elements of their careers and believe Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame even if they cheated and used illegal substances.
What puzzles me is the different vote totals for the pair. If a writer opts to ignore the cheating aspects of their careers, why doesn’t he or she vote for both?
Tim Raines’ vote total also was cause for excitement for some analysts. The outfielder went from 46.1 percent to 55.0, but a year ago he tumbled from 52.2 to 46.1. He has two more chances.
I think the primary reason for the excitement for both Schilling and Raines was that they rank high on the lists of the practitioners of the monster metrics,
Interestingly, while watching one of those shows, I saw a film clip from another show, in which Brian Kenny of MLB.com was arguing with Chris Russo, a talk show host, about which players belong in the Hall of Fame.
Getting nowhere and becoming exasperated with Russo, Kenny, a major proponent of monster metrics, said, “Well, what basic methodology do you use to rate players?”
“I watch the games,” Russo said.
I have always avoided listening to Russo, who screams too much and too loud for my liking,
How should we judge Piazza, whose 69.9 percent puts him on the brink of walking into the Hall a year from now? Based on that vote, most writers don’t believe or even suspect that he used steroids. That is probably naïve of them.
Using the New York newspapers as a barometer, the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro wrote a column about Piazza in which he didn’t mention even the possibility of the catcher’s use of performance-enhancing drugs.
John Harper of the Daily News did not duck the issue.
“The problem is we can’t know for sure and there was so much whispering about Piazza and PEDs during his career that you can’t help but have at least some reservations about voting for him.
If you're dumb, yes.
“I heard some of it myself over the years from people in baseball, but in the end I don’t think it’s fair to deny a player the highest honor in baseball without more proof than there is on Piazza.
THERE IS NO PROOF. NONE. THERE IS ONLY RETARDED-ASS SPECULATION BASED ON ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE THAT AMOUNTS TO JUST AN ASS HAIR ABOVE "FUCKING NOTHING."
“So after withholding my vote for his first year of eligibility, as a statement of sorts on all the suspicion, I’ve voted for him the last two years. And it seems there are other voters taking a similar tack, feeling more compelled to vote for Piazza with each year that passes.”
Harper quoted from Piazza’s 2013 autobiography, which in itself was controversial.
When Piazza was writing the book with Lonnie Wheeler, I asked their Simon & Schuster editor if Piazza would include steroids in it. He said Piazza would cover the subject. He, of course, did not admit to using PEDs, saying training and diet were responsible for his bigger, more muscular body.
Had he acknowledged a use of PEDs, he would have killed his chances of making the Hall of Fame, which he desperately wanted to do and now is in position to do.
The New York Times mentioned Piazza and steroids in the same story, and that was by far my favorite. On at least two occasions, maybe three, during Piazza’s years with the New York Mets (1998-2005),
However, I was told I could not because Piazza hadn’t tested positive for steroids use and hadn’t been named anywhere as a suspected user.
An article in the Times Wednesday cited Piazza’s 427 career home runs and .308 batting average and said, “Those are standout numbers. But in an era in which the voting is shadowed by baseball’s entanglement with steroids, Piazza has suffered from the perception, among some writers, that he might have been a user, although no evidence has emerged that he was.”
The article was written by Jay Schreiber, who was the editor who said I couldn’t write about Piazza and steroids.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Seems like the "wrongest thing that has ever been said about baseball" label could use another entry
Thursday, January 8, 2015
First of all, I guess everyone is saying this but I might as well too: rest in peace Stu Scott. I'd be lying if I said I thought he was the greatest, or if I tried to pretend like I never wrote anything mean about him on this blog. But when push comes to shove, he was an entertaining dude who made sports fun. That's all that really matters.
With that out of the way, let's get back to the important task of hating everything. I'll comment more about the Hall of Fame election next week, and how dumb it is that Piazza and Bagwell are still not and (and not even good bets to make it next year--watch the voters only put in Griffey and no one else).
For now, though, let's get back to sports gambling savant Bill Simmons, who has a well-refined manifesto that is perfectly internally consistent, and who is apt at spotting a Vegas line that is a point too high or too low. I lost track of his total numbers, but when we last left him a month ago, I had him at 59-61 plus some pushes. He claimed at the end of last week's wild card round picks that he finished the regular season at 101-93 (after subtracting out the perfect 58-0 score he gave himself for the time he was suspended). Something went awry in there, because at that time there were only four regular season weeks left for the NFL, and he has himself having picked roughly 75 games, or roughly 19 per week. I dunno. I'm not going to check his work, I'm just going to reiterate that he's a fucking dumbshit, and let him back that up as I analyze his wild card picks below. He did the never-entertaining "Things about both teams that could make you regret picking them" format, and I'm commenting just on his logic for the teams that ended up winning, because, come on, isn't it great that when he publishes a set of picks in that format he's spoon feeding us a well-developed line of idiotic thinking that, if he followed it while placing bets, could have him going 0-for on the week?
He went 1-3 against the spread and 2-2 straight up. THANKS FOR THE FREE MONEY, VEGAS!
PANTHERS (-6.5) over Cardinals
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Panthers: You laid nearly a touchdown with a lame division champ that went 64 days between wins.
The Pick: Panthers 23, Cardinals 7
Not bad. And it's all way, way, way downhill from here.
STEELERS (-3.5) over Ravens
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Ravens: You ignored the probability of Baltimore’s putrid secondary getting overpowered by the NFL’s most dangerous passing attack.
The Pick: Pittsburgh 37, Baltimore 24
Bengals (+4) over COLTS
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Colts: You forgot that the Colts were 2014’s Good Bad Team; they got destroyed three times in the last nine weeks.
The Pick: Cincinnati 23, Indianapolis 20
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Cowboys: Tony Romo. Jason Garrett. Tony Romo AND Jason Garrett.
The Pick: Cowboys 33, Lions 14