The International Writers Magazine: US Sport + Readers Responses
Cheating New England Patriots Befoul Super Bowl Again
Author’ Note: As a friendly disclaimer, the below is the rantings of an always-disgruntled NY Jets fan, whose disdain for the New England Patriots is profound, but, mind you, one that has always maintained that Tom Brady, while being a whiny fop, is the finest quarterback of his generation. Just saying.
So the NFL’s New England Patriots, 2014 AFC champions, are cheating again. What a surprise. One week from the sport’s biggest day and one of the teams appearing in its biggest game is tainted. Again. The Pats, who won three Super Bowls by spying on the teams they beat, which led to the league fining the organization a record half-million dollars in 2007, were busted this time for deflating footballs below league standards. This, according to players, especially quarterbacks, gives unfair advantage of accuracy and grip to the team using them. Or, more to the point, cheating. Again.
These shenanigans, referred to now as Deflate-gate, allegedly came at the behest of its star quarterback, Tom Brady, who has been on record declaring his preference for slightly deflated footballs and who may or may not have demanded before several games this year, including the championship contest, that game balls be illegally doctored. This allowed Brady to drag what by all measures was a mediocre team with a lousy defense and no running game into yet another Super Bowl.
As a matter of deconstruction, while it may seem completely insane to anyone familiar with “fair play” that each NFL team gets to choose the balls they use on offense, it is true. Apparently, and I was unaware of this (despite the ridiculous amount of my life wasted watching pro football), quarterbacks today can slightly (within reason) doctor balls to match their grips and have them ready for Sunday’s game. Another argument for why it is beyond stupid to ever compare today’s QBs to anyone who played when this was a completely different sport.
Be that as it may, the Patriots, and more to the point, Tom Brady, and by a buck-stops-here kind of justice, the head coach, Bill Belichick, took this rule-bending wackiness to another level, or, put more directly, cheated. Again. And it appears that no matter what happens in the way of a league investigation or fines or a suspension or more likely nothing considering the money and public relations involved here, this incident, still open-ended by the time of this writing, will officially put a stain on the big game and its multi-billion dollar sport.
To say this has not been a great year for the National Football League is a gross understatement. First, it bungled the lightly-suspended Ray Rice for beating his wife unconscious and then conducted its own a cooked investigation that shockingly cleared it from covering up. This was followed by the Adrian Peterson’s non-suspension for whipping his child black-and-blue with a stick until people were so appalled the league decided to arbitrarily ban him indefinitely. Then we have this year’s play-offs, which have displayed some of the most curiously abysmal officiating that anyone could remember, unleashing even the most impotent NFL media suck-ups to call into question the game’s legitimacy.
Now the almighty Super Bowl has been tainted by another underhanded ploy by Belicheat (a nickname that is so popular that when you begin typing “Beli…” into the Iphone, it finishes it for you) and his somehow clueless QB, Brady.
There is no getting away from this one: A team playing in America’s biggest sports showcase cheated its way there. And according to the latest reports, the championship game may have been the culmination not the origination of this cheating. The Baltimore Ravens, the team New England beat by a mere four points to get to that game, reported this behavior to the NFL, prompting the league to twice check balls two hours prior to the championship game (a once over is already standard procedure). However, once in the hands of the Patriots’ sidelines, 11 of the allotted 12 game balls checked at halftime of a game they were winning handily against the Indianapolis Colts, were somehow magically deflated to the requisite Tom Brady liking. The 12 Indianapolis Colts balls? Not.
The league is in a quandary on this one. The Pats, Brady, and their coach are the golden boys. This is not unlike Major League Baseball’s initial cashing in on the steroid-addled Mark McGuire vs. Sammy Sosa homerun chase that galvanized a dying sport in 1998 and then years later acting as if they had been conned and forced to treat juiced players as if pariahs.
It is also tough to see this being resolved with idiot league commissioner, Roger Goodell, who while having bungled everything in his path this year, is chummy with Pats owner and renowned Satanist, Robert Kraft, a man so patently hypocritical that while his team is pretty much known for having cheated in some form or other for over a decade possesses the gall to have the league conduct a tampering investigate for an off-the-cuff comment by the NY Jets owner regarding one of their former players, who now plays for New England. This would be like a man riddled with cancer upset that someone sneezed on him.
Of course everyone is denying everything. The coach, normally a monosyllabic mumble-machine, spent press conferences this week sounding as if he took a crash course in PR 101. Tom Brady, when asked if he is a cheater, responded with “I don’t believe so”, which is the kind of thing guilty people say in lieu of an answer. Innocent people get pissed at such an accusation and say, “Absolutely not!” But at least for those of us who wondered how Brady was so much better than everyone else, it has become obvious that it is merely because he plays by his own rules. Or, if you will, he cheats. Again. And this kind of revelation makes more sense to me, like when a guy dressed up in a gorilla suit debunked the famous Big Foot footage.
You see, in the end, what gets observers of such a stunt so ginned up is the arrogance; the idea that it is not good enough to be on the top of the world – ala Richard Nixon, Barry Bonds, etc. – you have to slant the playing field just a little bit in your favor. Gamesmanship? Sure. Necessary? Probably not. I guess maybe if we found out our lovable underdog 1980 Olympic hockey team had doctored their sticks or spied on the unbeatable Russians, we might be less pissed. David pulling a fast one seems less egregious than if Goliath had loaded rocks in his tunic.
So what does all this mean? Well, it means that if the Patriots win, they lose. Everyone now knows they didn’t actually earn this Super Bowl appearance. So there’s that. And it certainly puts into deeper question many of the previous football deeds Brady and Belichick accomplished as legitimate. But mostly it means you need to put all your money on New England for the Super Bowl. Why? Because they are really good at cheating. And cheaters win.
This is the NFL brand for 2015: Beating women and children, fixing refs, the governor of NJ humping Jerry Jones after Dallas Cowboys wins, and stealing championships.
READERS RESPONSES Jan 31st 2015
Once again you prove why I am a huge fan of your work. (I CAN’T BREATHE – Issue: 12/10/14) Twice in nearly as many weeks you have hit it out of the park. I supported the Wilson Grand Jury’s decision because the evidence supported that decision. Here in Staten Island, it is gruesome, it is ugly and it is wrong. I understand policing is a tough thing, I get it. I really do. This unfortunately does not meet that bar. This was murder, pure and simple. A man died over selling “illegal" cigarettes. I want people to say that slowly back to themselves once or twice and let it swirl around their mind for a moment and let the outrage build. This is wrong and the fact that the officer will face no retribution for this is almost beyond comprehension. If Garner had killed Pantaleo there would have been wall to wall coverage, a full pomp and circumstance cop funeral and Garner would be looking at a sentence that would make Mark David Chapman say “DAYAM”. But no, Garner is dead, Pantaleo is free, and the world goes on. Something doesn’t sit right with that.
I had always said Ferguson was not where we should be aiming our outrage as the evidence didn’t support it. THIS is where we should be making our stand and being unified because this incident has folks from both ends of the spectrum pissed off and wanting answers. This is the incident that will unite us, we can’t waste this opportunity.
Again dude, great column.
I think your narrative here is missing the point. It is classic liberal ranting with only half the facts. Pre-agenda outrage is what this is. Sad.
The officers accused did their jobs. It is not their fault this man was morbidly obese and as a result in ill-health. Are cops, thrust into a dangerously threatening situation supposed to treat every potential criminal with the same force or in this case controlled-force because of their weight or condition? Sure, if he were elderly or affirmed in some way, but he appeared to be fairly healthy and quite threatening in his demeanor. I think it is easy for columnists and protestors to just assume that there was ill-intent every time things go awry with police officers. And while I admit the timing after Ferguson was bad, you yourself admit that Ferguson was a completely different case. Conflating those makes no sense and is lazy reasoning.
I also realize my opinion is likely in the minority, especially for Aquarian Weekly/Hackwriters readers, but I feel safe responding this way to your column, because it is usually not biased ideologically. Except this time. I just think you have overstated your outrage here based on flimsy evidence. We cannot break everything down by merely seeing it. There are extenuating circumstances. Always.
Nice article, really sums up my feelings as well.
The real problem is that the DA and these half-assed, quickly thrown together grand juries are never going to convict cops. It is a set-up and this is why there are a lot of people rightfully pissed off. And this is in a city that only recently got rid of that insanely unconstitutional “stop and frisk” law. And I love how conservatives are all about the constitution unless it “protects” the citizenry from themselves, of course unless it involves some kind of sane gun laws. Nope. Need all the guns everywhere. Assholes.
How is it that every jerk-off with a typewriter can now comment on police work? What do you know about what police have to deal with everyday? And don’t give me your history defending cops. Good for you! You should defend the cops! Especially in New York City! If not for the Blue Line, then where would you be? Fucked, that’s where. This column is outrageous. Not the acts of the police.
My favorite thing is how the police union (another shitty union fucking everything up) has now taken it upon itself to turn their backs on the mayor and stop policing. Arrests have gone down incredibly in the weeks following this murder (and make no mistake it is murder) and then because of this some lunatic shoots two cops! I ask you; who is really at fault? The protestors? The media? The mayor? Or is it the police who refused to do their jobs, because they were throwing a convenient hissy fit.
I like also how we’re not supposed to criticize police. Then why criticize anything you don’t do professionally? No one can criticize sport figures unless you play pro sports and no one can criticize the president unless you have been a president, and not the vice president, like that lump of shit, Cheney, and unless you have produced, directed or acted in a blockbuster movie keep your fucking mouth shut!
Here’s the deal – once the cops go crazy, there is anarchy, and that is what has befallen us.
Nice job, Daniel Pantaleo.
The real problem is this police state we have accepted since 9/11. This is what we wanted and when it goes too far, which it most assuredly will do eventually, we’re surprised. We asked for this. We voted for this. We want to be controlled. We are afraid of Muslims, yet our police force is killing us.
As usual, New York is the place where the future of this nation will play out. It is the place where diversity and money and poverty and generations clash. It is a microcosm of our country. Look at that video again. Watch it and wonder if this is America we are seeing? Unfortunately this question will be answered yes, because it is hard to deny it. Watch it. Watch it again.
© James Campion January 2015
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James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”.
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