Thursday, September 13, 2007

Patriot Reign?

You know when you’re a kid, and you find out that there’s no Santa Claus and you become utterly disappointed? That sick in your stomach, my world is crashing down around me and everything I believed in is a bunch of crap feeling?

That’s how I’ve felt this week in light of the Patriots spying scandal. Disappointed, discouraged, and disgusted that my beloved Pats have become the Yankees of football.

I started to become interested in football when I was about 10 years old and watched it with my dad. He’d flip around through all the games that would occupy a Sunday afternoon. By the time I was 13 I had developed into a little Pats fan. I remember watching the ’97 Super Bowl at my ex-boyfriend’s house, squished on a couch next to his parents and just dropping my head as the Packers continually made cheese out of the Pats. I couldn’t stand Bledsoe as a QB before Tom Brady had even started in college ball. When I got to college, my friends and I would get together every Sunday and watch the games. I remember sitting in Joe Gregg’s dad’s house during the 2001 Super Bowl. I was on the edge of my seat – literally, and probably for the only time in my life – and covered my eyes as Adam Vinatieri stepped up for the game winning field goal. I didn’t open them again until everyone else in the room started cheering. The Snow game where “the Tuck Rule” became immortalized, sitting in the Leitch Lounge with Nate Bailey, Griff, and Tim Kalhert watching the game in disbelief. The Super Bowl that immortalized the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” in Steve’s Donahue Hall suite with Steve, Brendan Fayle, and Cathleen Spadea. Steve picking on Kevin Faulk every game we watch. Napping through almost every game against the Dolphins from 2001-2005 (no, I’m not quite sure why).

I have so many good memories surrounding Pats games. About a year ago, I heard someone say the comment about the Pats becoming the Yankees of football and brushed it off. People were just jealous because we were able to do well with the salary cap, dispose of players who wanted more money and were past their prime (what IS Ty Law doing these days…?), and were just a great TEAM – an anomaly in modern sports.

But recently I’ve started to see what other fans are seeing. Tom Brady is an unwed father who’s dating a supermodel, which makes him more of a pretty boy celebrity than a quarterback. You don’t hear about (shudder) Peyton Manning doing that crap… although, Brady IS a saint compared to Michael Vick. Rodney Harrison who I thought was one of the best defensive players of our time openly admitted to buying HGH. And now, Matt Estrella is caught crossing sidelines to videotape defensive signals against NFL rules.

The more I read about it, the more I get disappointed. I was a blind fan who thought that my team was just a good team; I had no idea that they had already been asked to stop it by the Packers last year. Belichick stands up there saying that he had a difference with Roger Goodell about the “interpretation of the rules” and apologizes to the staff, players, and ownership for everything… what did he think was going to happen? Next thing you know someone is going to tell me that Troy Brown is really just a robot and the reason he’s been on the PUP list is because he needed an oil change.

I don’t know. I’ve read a lot from the various sports writers and editorials and the general feel is “Bill, you’re too smart for this. You’re ruining your team’s reputation. Where did this ego suddenly appear from? You don’t NEED this crap!” And I have to agree. Now people are starting to question whether or not all of the wonderfulness of the last 6 years have been aided by cheating and whether or not the Pats are as good as they look. “Can they win without the help?” has become the question of the week.

I’d like to think that they can win without cheating. Even with all of the bad press they’re still showing as 91% likely to make the playoffs on some polls. There’s no way that AV could have made those kicks by cheating, and a lot of those games were too close to call cheating the means for the wins. Now, whether or not cheating made a difference in the 38-14 win against the Jets on Sunday we’ll never know. Or at least we won’t know until the NFL makes their decisions and releases their comments on the matter. All I know is that we play the Chargers on Sunday, and I don’t trust that they’re in the right mindset to win (although, I’d love to knock LaDainian Tomlinson down a few pegs, speaking of egos).

Am I still a Pats fan? Yes; there’s something to be said about loyalty to your team. No, my colleague who’s a Colts fan, I’m not going to start cheering for Peyton Manning to win every game. I’m still a Pats fan, and even if I moved to NY I’d STILL be a Pats fan (although I’d know how a Yankees fan feels in Boston, I’m sure).

But am I completely disappointed with the leadership on my favorite team? You had better believe it.


Kimberly Pye said...

I can't stop staring at that guy's ugly mug...

Missy said...

I'll just have to stick with my beloved Steelers :-)

James said...

I know what you mean, I fealt that way when Pavarotti left his wife of almost 40 years for a woman more than half his age. I think I'm all set with people showing just how human they can be.

Doug said...

Reading this blog (very interesting by the way) inspired a few questions in my mind. I would like to preface this with, this whole situation has be about at my boiling point, and the following is not directed at you,, but rather my general feelings on the whole situation.

Why exactly do fans hold the Patriots to a higher standard. Why do the fans and the media expect the Patriots to be different from every other franchise in professional sports. Has the organization ever actually said they are better than anyone else or that they do things the “right” way, while the other clubs do it the wrong way?

Lets examine, for the moment, who exactly perpetuated the "choir boy Patriots" image? The media and the fans would be my answer. Now, who exactly is tearing down this image?? Well, again, the media and the fans. The ownership, coaches, staff and players never claimed anything other than working their tail off, being accountable to each other on the field, putting the team first ahead of personal accomplishments. Never did they claim to be better than anyone else.

The Patriots steal the other team signals, there is no doubt about that. I am sure you were disappointed to hear that. But guess what. There is no rule in the NFL rule book that prohibits stealing the other teams signals. Stealing of signals has been part of the NFL for a 100 years. Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Tiki barber, Ronde Barber, Fred Smerlas, Steve Deossie, Mike Shanahan have all admitted to this…it is, and has been, a part of sports gamesmenship for, well, ever! Why do you think that Offensive Coordinators cover their mouths when they are sending in the play? Because there are people watching. There are always people watching their every move. When I was in little league, my coach would change signs every game for fear of the other teams catching on to what we were little league!

Last year, it was discovered that the dolphins that they bought audio tape of Tom Brady and his line calls (calls he makes to set up protection just before he snaps the ball) and they synched it up to game film. They KNEW ever call and guess what, the beat the Patriots 21-0 that day. The NFL looked into it and deemed it to be ok. Brady said that it was all part of the game.

You mentioned Green Bay in your post. What is interesting is that the GM of the Packers has stated on a couple occasions that they did not file a grievance with the league because “everyone does it” and there is a “code of silence” regarding these things..that says to me that all teams do it, and to blow the whistle on one team is to blow the whole league (*cough* like that little bitch Mangini did, but that is a whole other can of worms)

The realization that stealing of signals is a regular practice in the NFL shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, and if it does, then that is rather naive. The Patriots were caught, no doubt, breaking a rule and should be punished accordingly, but to hold them to a higher standard than the last 100 years of the NFL, is a little “pie in the sky” I would say.

These men are hired to win football games. The work 20 hours a day, for 365 days for sixteen 3 hour contests. It is such a competitive profession that they will ALL look for an edge. I look at Belichick as Col. Jessup from "A Few good men". I want him as my coach, I need him as my coach. I want him to bring me Superbowl championships, but will not question the method by which he brings them.

No doubt, the Patriots broke a rule. The used a camera on the NFL sidelines. If I’m disappointed in anything, its that they were dumb enough to get caught. In this case, I DO expect more from Belichick