Saturday, January 24, 2015

Awesome Old TV Clip of the Week: The Wonder Years explains #Deflategate

This is something I've been thinking all along, but after Bill Belichick's most recent press conference I'm now firmly on board:

"Of course the human throat is always red, but fortunately my mother never looked at it when I wasn't complaining."

I'm guessing no one has documented football air pressure during an NFL game before.  Other than people who may have done tests in the last few days, nobody has any idea what is supposed to happen regarding PSI.  Is it possible everything about the Patriots' footballs was totally normal, but this is the first time the NFL, the media and the general public ever cared to find out?

Also, this facebook comment adds another great argument I havn't heard anyone make:

Jay IsabĂ«ll People are in such a rush to convict that they're not looking at the logistics involved with carrying out this cheat. I think it's more magical that somebody could deflate 11 balls to exactly 2 lbs less without being seen. That is time consuming son. How does one avoid not letting out too much air or too little air, to exactly 2 lbs, 11 times in a row? It's WAY more likely that the balls showed up underinflated at the same pressure and refs failed to check them at all. Refs are BUSY in pregame and this regulation is so insignificant I find it hard to believe that all refs carry out ball checking every single football game. That's just me.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why I believe Tom Brady (and Bill Belichick)

I may be a slightly deluded Patriots fan on this one, but here's my thought process:

Prior to each of their respective press conferences, obviously Tom Brady and Bill Belichick talked this thing out beforehand.  It's not as if Bill just went up there on stage and said what he wanted to, then waited around to see what Tom would say.  The two of them made a plan, which in this case was to deny all knowledge of any wrongdoing.  That can mean two things:

1.  It's the truth.

2.  They decided to lie together.

They're not idiots.  Given all the garbage that's happened with the NFL lately, you'd have to think they're smart enough not to lie about this.  It wasn't going to be that big of a deal.  Either one could have taken culpability on some level and we all might have moved on from this absurd fiasco.  But if they are caught in a lie now, it's going to become a very big deal.  They must have realized this, right?

Either A) Brady and Belichick are supremely confident no one will every find out the truth (which seems extremely misguided), or B) they are telling the truth themselves.  I'm betting on option B.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

13 finals in 13 years for Boston's major sports teams

The Patriots won their first Super Bowl on February 3, 2002.  They'll attempt to win their fourth on February 1, 2015, just under 13 years later.  It's been a pretty solid run for the Boston area sports teams in that span:

Finals appearances by year (titles in bold):

2001 Patriots
2003 Patriots
2004 Red Sox, Patriots
2007 Red Sox, Patriots
2008 Celtics
2010 Celtics
2011 Bruins, Patriots
2013 Bruins, Red Sox
2014 Patriots (TBD)

At this point I can hardly even remember those dark days of 2005-2006...

*The New England Revolution have made the MLS Cup Final five times in this stretch (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014).  Sorry soccer fans, they just don't count.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How do we know what actually constitutes "cheating"?

I'm trying to do my best to wrap my head around this deflated ball controversy from an unbiased perspective.  I think when it's all said and done we're going to find out pretty clearly that the Patriots definitely broke the rules.  But what is "cheating" anyway?

What is the actual severity of this infraction?  As I heard from Neil Everett on SportsCenter, is it like having a bit too much pine tar on a baseball bat, or a hockey stick bent ever so slightly more than the legal amount?  A more accurate analogy might be a pitcher doctoring a baseball.  The Yankees' Micheal Pineda was suspended 10 games last April for having pine tar on his neck during a game against the Red Sox.  The equivalent of that for an NFL season would be one game.

But what we don't really know is whether or not messing with ball pressure is uncommon in the NFL.  Just because it's a big story regarding the Patriots today doesn't mean it's not something lots of teams do all the time.  Which brings me back to the question, what is "cheating"?

If during a game a player commits a blatant holding penalty that the refs miss, is that "cheating"?  Probably not, because it happens regularly.  And when it is caught, a flag is thrown and a penalty is enforced.  Similarly, in this case there is a fine that is supposed to be imposed.

The news story here is obviously way out in front of anyone's knowledge of the situation.  Until we have a more solid idea of exactly how rare and significant this ball deflation thing is, "cheating" might not be the best term to use.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Fans" who leave games early and try to get back in really, really irritate me

I'm a sports fan who doesn't leave games early.  I won't say that I haven't ever, but on the rare occasions that I do it's for the most meaningless of meaningless games.  I would never leave a playoff elimination game early, no matter what the score.  In those situations, serious fans stick around to support their team to the end as the season comes to a close.  And who knows, sometimes even in defeat you are treated to amazing things--like a 20-0 run, or an emotional four-minute chant from the crowd (both of those I stayed for).

But, I'm not judging the leave-early people.  If that's who you are that's fine, as long as you own up to it.  When you make the decision to leave the game you're giving up.  Witnessing the final minutes of action is not your priority.  And like I said, that is OK.  However, do not, under any circumstances, whine and try to get back into the building when the club you claim to be a fan of rallies.

Everybody knows the "no re-admittance" rule.  It's been in place at all major sporting events in this country for quite some time.  And in the case of the Seahawks "fans" pictured, it even says it right above the doorway.

Before Seattle's incredible comeback in the NFC Championship Game, the "fans can't get back in" storyline was last a big deal when the Miami Heat pulled off a similarly miraculous recovery in the last minute to stay alive in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals (ugh, that stupid Ray Allen three-pointer).

I don't believe this is a reflection of either fan base as a whole, honestly it's ridiculous to make any broad generalizations about one team's supporters.  But anyone who leaves a game of their own free will, then complains about how much they paid for their ticket when they can't get back in, should be embarrassed with themselves.

In fact, if it were up to me (and if it were possible) I'd take it one step further.  These people should be banned from all future games.  Let the fans who actually care buy the tickets, or at least the ones who are self-aware enough to admit they don't really care.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tom Brady is the NFL's all-time playoff leader in just about everything

After yesterday's 45-7 dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game, Tom Brady is now No. 1 all time in each of the following career postseason categories (second place in parentheses):

Completions: 646 (Peyton Manning, 598)
Attempts: 1,035 (Manning, 935)
Passing Yards: 7,017 (Manning, 6,800)
Touchdown passes: 49 (Joe Montana, 45)
Wins for a quarterback: 20 (Montana, 16)
Game-winning drives: 8 (John Elway, 6)
4th quarter comeback wins: 5 (Montana also 5)

February 1st will be Brady's sixth Super Bowl appearance, the most ever for a quarterback and tying him with defensive tackle Mike Lodish for the most by any NFL player.  If the Patriots win, it'll be Brady's fourth Super Bowl victory--Montana and Terry Bradshaw are the only QBs to do that.

Here's my favorite stat of all: Only eight other NFL teams have more playoff victories in their history than Brady (20) does, just 25 percent of the league.

RELATED: Patriots' Dynasty: 4 years or 14 years? Tom Brady best QB ever?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Awesome Old Video Clips of the Week: 1994 Patriots' postgame coverage and Police Academy 6

January, 1994
The Patriots' dynasty will be remembered for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  But in reality, it all began back in 1994 when Robert Kraft purchased the team.  We forget now how close they were to being moved to St. Louis.  Kraft shocked the world by buying one of the league's least valuable franchises for a then-record $175 million (read the details on wikipedia).

In response to Kraft keeping the team in New England, fans bought every ticket to every game that year, the first sold out season in club history.  They've sold out every game since.  The Patriots also closed that year on a seven-game winning streak to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs for the first time since 1986.  Ironically they lost the Wild Card Game to the Cleveland Browns, who were coached by Belichick.

There's not a lot Patriots stuff on YouTube from 1994, here's the most entertaining clip I could find:

It's a good think Jim Lampley rushed through that close to make sure Police Academy 6: City Under Siege could start on time...

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