Thursday, January 29, 2015

This blog has always been known for its timely analysis

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?"


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.


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),


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.


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


That's wonderful

I'm crying

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.


Day Late Dollar Short said...

What could have been the most satisfying Super Bowl ever ruined by Dumbass Pete Carroll. When Seattle went up by ten I couldn't believe how Carroll seemed to be following Ultraclod Mike McCarthy's zero imagination play-calling that let Seattle back into that playoff game but he was. Now I'll have to listen to how Brady is the greatest drivel forever, man.

Anonymous said...

The funniest part of this was when Larry B assumed this blog was "known" for anything. Go back to your parent's basement, cake eater.

Anonymous said...

I'm that anonymous! This is probably my peak right here.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm that Anonymous! Stop taking credit for my work, you darn Wannanonymous!!!

Larry B said...



Clearly Larry is jealous of Jackie MacMullan, otherwise he'd be doing something productive with his life instead of obsessively criticizing her all the time.

dan-bob said...

Lookit Larry B, standing up for his nuclear family.

Anonymous said...

Jack MacMullan sucks. Larry B is doing the world a service.

Alex said...

I wonder if she shouted 'Yes!" followed by a satisfactory grin and nod after coming up with that last line.