FanDuel - WFBC

October 23, 2007

But Will It Be a Good Use of a Timeout : when ESPN has to sit Greg Easterbrook down again? Easterbrook was all over the Pats' camera scandal. Unlike the rest of mainstream sports media, he's still on about it, even accusing the NFL of covering up Superbowl cheating, all of which earned him a decent rebuke from ESPN's ombudsman. That didn't stop him from using this week's column to make an interesting comparison between the Pats and Colts before their Week 9 matchup. Even the less-than-serious quarters of Internet sports are taking notice.

posted by yerfatma to football at 06:22 PM - 70 comments

I kinda think Easterbrook has a point. The Pats and the NFL are acting somewhat shady about the cheating affair, choosing to sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible. They're an amazing team, regardless - but I don't think his characterizations are entirely incorrect or unfounded.

posted by gnutron at 07:58 PM on October 23

Sure, but there's a big distinction between suggesting something may be amiss and asserting it (as stated in the ombudsman link above) and Easterbrook seems to be purposefully ignoring it. He's got one of those weird personalities where he will engineer his own doom rather than back away from what he believes and this will definitely ruin his marriage. Or maybe I just think that and said it as fact because it sounds more impressive.

posted by yerfatma at 08:00 PM on October 23

I agree that he'd come off better or more even-handed if he wrote from more of a 'suggestion' vantage point rather than asserting his opinions as fact. But Easterbrook just does the sports writing because he likes to - it's not his main gig - so he has nothing to lose by defending his opinion to the death. I also think that his columns are the type of sports journalism we rarely see on a national level. Most of the really strong opinion stuff stays on the local level. I appreciate the fact that he's going against the mainstream and not letting the Pats off the hook for what he perceives as a serious indiscretion being largely ignored.

posted by gnutron at 08:07 PM on October 23

I kinda think Easterbrook has a point. You are making me laugh and laugh and laugh. I read that article and thought I was reading the Onion. A point? the only point Easterbrook has is the one on top of his head. (p.s. yerfatma, that's a FPP that belongs in the spofi hall o fame, truly)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:15 PM on October 23

Look Belichick is a jerk (aka cheater). Nobody going to dispute that as fact and maybe he is running up the score to prove some point however I just can't take away from a guy that gets the job done probably better than any coach I've seen in resent history. I don't like the guy (still bitter about Rams loss to Patriots in Super Bowl) but I'm a bottom line kind of guy. If winning is setting the standard does it really matter if your hated or not.

posted by brickman at 08:36 PM on October 23

I think his opinion of the Colts is dead on.....but his opinion of the Patriots is a little twisted....

posted by shudacudawuda at 08:44 PM on October 23

I almost posted that ESPN ombuds(wo)man's (who knew ESPN had an ombudsman?) article as an FPP; I would encourage everyone to read it in its entirety, as it makes a number of good points. As for Easterbrook, I'm on record around these parts as opining that the guy is a hack. His whole "Patriots are cheaters shtick" from more or less the beginning (when he came to the story a week late) struck me as the worst example of overblown, overreacting moralizing since Joe Buck acted like Randy Moss' mooning the crowd pantomime was the equivalent of wearing a Hitler mask to a Jewish senior citizens home. It's too bad, also, because there was one point Easterbrook made that was worth making but that got drowned out in all the shrill hysteria. That being that the whole "Patriots are justified in running up the score because everyone is down on them" line of thinking neglects to account for the fact that everyone is down on them because they did something questionable. It'd be like Brett Myers being a real jackass and feeling justified in doing so because everyone was down on him because he beat up on his wife in Boston. Brett Myers in that situation should do everything in his power to rehabilitate his image, not to act like a jackass. (Reading Comprehension Warning: Not trying to draw any false equivalence between stealing signs and wife beating here.) In other news, big blitz, big loss. In Miami on Sunday, Flying Evil Elvii leading one billion to negative four, male modelesque (and notorious smirker) Tom Brady drops back to pass and the Marine Mammals send 10 on a blitz. Touchdown to Notorious Awful Person Randy Moss single covered and the rout is on. TMQ writes "game over" in his notebook and moves on to ogling cheerleaders one third his age online.

posted by holden at 09:07 PM on October 23

You wouldn't consider doing that as a regular column, would you?

posted by yerfatma at 09:20 PM on October 23

re: "Running up the Score" All right, help me understand this. This is professional football where the players and teams are paid to win games. They are not paid to worry about the other team's self-esteem. At what point did it become "bad sportsmanship" to, you know, play the game and score a lot of points? In baseball, don't we call some hits "insurance runs?" What is wrong with "insurance touchdowns?" I don't get it. It seems like there is a growing attitude that we want teams to win, but not to win "by too much." Keep the score low so the other team has a fighting chance? Or so they won't be embarassed? I don't know, I find that much more disrespectful to the other team than just playing the game like crazy. I've seen my teams on the received end of some outrageous losses. I hate it, but I never thought "wow, how unsportsmanlike of the other team to thoroughly destroy my team." It just seemed like part of the game to me. Heck, I was on the receiving end (and the giving end) of some blow-outs when I was playing youth sports. It sucked, but I think learning how to deal with mega-loss was actually a good character building thing for me in the long run. I've been much better prepared for loss since then, for one thing. Meh. I admit, I have a bug up my ass about this subject.

posted by Joey Michaels at 09:40 PM on October 23

I know baseball isn't a timed sport but Whitey Herzog said it best about blowouts "If the other team doesn't score any more runs and tie or overtake us, neither will we."

posted by brickman at 09:49 PM on October 23

No score was run up in that Miami game. No pro team will take its foot off the gas before halftime: there's simply too much game left to play, and every crappy team in the NFL has the ability to find its way back into a blowout game. New England did the classy thing and put in their second-string in the third quarter. Putting Brady back in when Miami got back a little momentum was a no-brainer. And where were all these "running-up-the-score" complainers when Peyton Manning was going on his record-breaking score-running-up single-season touchdown run back in the day?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:57 PM on October 23

First, to say that one proven incident discredits an entire franchise and three Super Bowls is kind of silly in my opinion. And second you have to be good to run up the score, and I grew up watching a lot of bad football teams. The Patriots' worst season in franchise history a 1-15 record came under Rust in 1990. During the season, the Patriots were thrown into the middle of a sexual harassment scandal when Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson was sexually and verbally assaulted by several Patriots players in the team's locker room and was later labeled a "classic bitch" by Kiam.-wikipedia Does the ends justify the means? No, but the bitter pill of scandal goes down a lot easier when followed by champagne.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 09:59 PM on October 23

brickman: I know baseball isn't a timed sport but Whitey Herzog said it best about blowouts "If the other team doesn't score any more runs and tie or overtake us, neither will we." But why not? How does it honor your opponent to treat them like they are not a threat to you?

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:20 PM on October 23

At the risk of this thread becoming a digression on running up the score rather than a discussion of the lunacy of Gregg Easterbrook, I primarily had the Dallas game in mind when referencing New England running up the score. I believe New England could and should have run out the clock on its last possession (even taking a knee on fourth down if the timing required it) rather than go for a touchdown. The game was clearly out of reach (42-27 at the time with under two minutes left and Dallas out of timeouts). And that's not the only example of the Patriots doing something similar this season. If football didn't have a sporting tradition of teams taking the knee (or running straight ahead) when ahead by a reasonable margin late in the game, I guess I could see a stronger argument that it shows more honor to an opponent to play hard and try to score until the final whistle. But football, like any other sport, is a game of custom and tradition, of unwritten rules in addition to written rules, and I can't help but feel the Patriots are not playing by certain of those unwritten rules at certain times this year. And I like the Patriots as much as I like any non-Saints team in NFL football, so I don't really feel like I've got an ax to grind here.

posted by holden at 10:36 PM on October 23

JM -Whitey was answering a question about running up a score in game some years ago. Meaning, he'll continue to score runs until the final out. The quote is probably not completly accurate. I can't seem to find it at present, its strictly from memory.

posted by brickman at 10:44 PM on October 23

What I want to know is if the NFL caught a team like the Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals or another team with bad records in the recent past cheating, would the punishment have been worse. It seems to me that the Pats got a get out of jail free card just because they actually had the power to win games without cheating. Nobody really knows if what they did helped them win games or not. What if it did? To me, if a professional sports team is caught cheating in anyway shape or form, even if it's just the tiniest indiscretion you should get a hell of a lot more than a big dollar fine. Maybe they should be forced to forfeit games against the people they were caught spying on. Or something else worse than taking money from people who already have more than enough. I think in the end Easterbrook is just really pissed because they were caught spying and the punishment didn't really affect anything but their reputation so he's trying like hell to get something done about it. As for the running up the score, so what. It's not the classiest move but it's the safest.

posted by amatzek at 11:07 PM on October 23

And where were all these "running-up-the-score" complainers when Peyton Manning was going on his record-breaking score-running-up single-season touchdown run back in the day? Most of those games weren't blowouts. Their defense gave up a ton of points, which made for more opportunity for TD passes. One 5 TD game was a 45-31 game against the Pack, the other a 45-35 loss. The 6td game against Detroit was a bit bad, but he was out in the 3rd. Sorgi also saw action in the Houston, Chicago, and Tennessee blowouts. There were some questionable ones that year, but nothing downright nasty like throwing for the end zone on 4th down in a blowout with under a minute remaining (which the Pats have done this year). People are entitled to their opinion regarding how big a deal it is to run up the score, but it's pretty obvious that the Pats are doing it. Hell, even the biggest Pats homer you'll ever see acknowledges it. That said, Easterbrook's piece was ridiculous. I've always looked forward to his columns but he has really been a disappointment this year. You can call Colts-Pats good vs. evil and make a bit of sense, but his arguments were so outrageous that it even made Colts fans cringe.

posted by Bernreuther at 12:23 AM on October 24

Derailing to discuss "running up the score" is perfectly valid, since that whole Easterbrook column is pure garbage. He's completely lost his mind, he's like Ahab with his red-blue-and-white-whale. Look, I'm with the people saying "Of course you 'run up the score'". Don't give me some bullshit about how there's a tradition of blah blah blah... fuck that. Doesn't every damn sports cliche tell us to "give 110%"... "play every minute"... "never give up"...? So why, then, should a good team spare your defensive line's feelings by apparently phoning in the second fucking half?! Why is it nasty to throw in the end zone on 4th down with a minute remaining- if the opposing defense is sloppy enough to allow it, then exploit it. What, if you're up 10 runs in the 8th inning, and the opposing pitcher is throwing meaty fastballs, should you swing and miss so the game will be over quicker?! Do you know why the Patriots keep beating other teams? Because they play all 60 minutes of football. They play as hard in the last minute of a blowout, so that they never develop bad habits like not giving it their all, or making mental mistakes, or taking their head out of the game. Maybe if your team showed up for all four quarters, they'd get closer than 17 points. This isn't little league, this is the NFL, they are professionals, and for them to give anything less than every bit of what they have is insulting to their fans and to the other team. I mean, should the Patriots just take a knee the entire first quarter, to give the other team a "fighting chance"? Would that more, or less, insulting than playing every quarter like it mattered, and treat the other team with the respect that they are viewed as a legitimate threat to actually come back from a large deficit? Take the Dolphins game: The Patriots won it handily, and BB was asked about running up the score. He noted that if the Patriots don't put Brady back in, the Dolphins are one turnover or Pats mistake away from making it a two-score differential. And really, if you look at the second half, the Dolphins kept the Patriots in check- they put up 21 in that 4th quarter, comparable to the 28 that the Pats put up in the 2nd. And that's an 0-6 team that did that; the Patriots were smart enough to keep playing hard, lest they be the losing half of an historic choke job. And to top things off, on the same freaking day the Titans demonstrated why you gotta play every fucking minute.

amatzek: To me, if a professional sports team is caught cheating in anyway shape or form, even if it's just the tiniest indiscretion you should get a hell of a lot more than a big dollar fine.
That's just ridiculous. Forfeit games? That's like saying "If you steal a stick of gum... off with your hands!". Look, the Patriots are CREAMING other teams, and have for several years now. If that one video guy was the heart of it all... then fuck, every goddamn team in the league would be videotaping. You think some 2-14 team wouldn't break the rules to videotape if they thought it would turn them into a 3-time Superbowl champ? Of course they would- that they don't is good evidence that the cheating was one of those "letter of the law" violations. The penalty was probably more than even necessary in terms of actual advantage- if any- that it conferred: a message penalty to show "seriousness" on the part of the Commish. The ESPN ombudsman links to two articles that discuss the violation, and why it's just not that big a deal- one of them by an NFL scout who notes that the advantage was probably non-existent. And their record in the six games since that story and the fine/confiscation pretty much shows how unimportant it was.

posted by hincandenza at 03:01 AM on October 24

I'm just fascinated by the assertion that other teams would have been punished worse than the Patriots. The only credible assertions I've seen is that lots of other teams cheat (steroids? hello?) and yet no other team has been punished at all. That definitely suggests the Patriots were treated differently, but not better. And even if you don't think other teams cheat, how do you know they would have been penalized more strongly?

posted by tieguy at 07:19 AM on October 24

This column really bothered me. Easterbrook's weekly column has been a go-to for me this football season, but I read the opening section of this one and immediately decamped to SpoFi for some relief...and now I find myself re-reading it for the purposes of discussion. Sigh. I won't knock the Colts - they're a great team and deserve a lot of the accolades that Easterbrook bestows. And I really don't mind that most of the country will see my team as the "bad guys" in that matchup; having witnessed what it's like to have millions of people jump on the bandwagon for one of my favorite teams in 2004, I'd actually prefer it. I would, however, like to address Easterbrook's denunciation of the Pats, in which he seems to play fast and loose to make all the facts fit his argument, and willfully ignores alternate explanations for the behavior he deplores. The Patriots have three Super Bowl rings, but that jewelry is tarnished by their cheating scandal. Admittedly I'm partial, but I just do not buy this. First, there is absolutely no proof that the Patriots' videotaping violation in 2007 had any impact on Super Bowls played earlier in the decade - suspicion does not equal proof, Mr. Easterbrook, and unless you or someone else does the spadework to uncover some convincing evidence, this charge is essentially baseless. Second, as the ESPN ombudsman makes clear, these videotapes hardly convey a deciding advantage in a football game. Third, observing opposing coaches' signals is a longstanding tradition in the NFL, and the reason the league repeatedly forbade videotaping them is because they knew the practice was going on. To descend to GE's level and substitute speculation for evidence, I've heard speculation that multiple teams were doing this; given the number of Belichick disiciples now working in the NFL, I have a hard time believing that they ALL eschewed this practice, if it is so decidedly advantageous. They run up the score to humiliate opponents thus mocking sportsmanship. This is an absurd and outrageous argument. Professional sports are NOT about "sportsmanship", they are about winning. This is especially true in the NFL, where the teams are so evenly matched and each game matters for so much. As many SpoFites have pointed out above, the idea that the Patriots should take their foot off the gas pedal to spare their opponents' feelings is laughable. To prove his point, Easterbrook mentions that the Patriots have passed in late-game situations and used the shotgun spread - but HIS OWN EARLIER COLUMNS explain how Bill Walsh, among others, proved that a short, safe pass could be as effective as a run, and document the widespread proliferation of the shotgun offense as a base set. Belichick explained on local radio that the only reason he sent Eckel in for a TD is that Dallas called a timeout with a minute left, taking away his ability to run out the clock; as for Sunday's game against Miami, he pulled his QB only to give up a pick-6 - the play Jason Taylor made forced BB to re-insert Brady. Easterbrook willfully ignores this because it doesn't suit his hypothesis. Their coach snaps and snarls in public, seeming to feel contempt for the American public that has brought him wealth and celebrity. This assumes that wealth and celebrity are goals of Bill Belichick, as opposed to coaching football at the highest level, which brings with it wealth, and celebrity as well, which I would never blame anyone for shunning. I don't think Belichick is obligated to do anything more than win football games - the desire to make nice with the media is not a requirement for a good NFL coach in my book. The team has three Super Bowl triumphs, yet its players regularly whine about not being revered enough. I just had to shake my head when I read this, and other slams on the Patriots for "whining." Anyone who has observed this team for the past decade knows that the Patriots are masters at turning the most innocuous comment into a festering slight for purposes of motivation. Staying on top in the NFL is nearly impossible, and staying sharp from week to week, when capable but weaker teams are constantly trying to upset the top teams, is even tougher than that. BB has taken his team's punishment and turned it into fuel for a truly great season - this is called effective coaching. Easterbrook apparently wants the Patriots to self-immolate for his own personal satisfaction. The team's star, Tom Brady, is a smirking sybarite...whose public charity appearances are infrequent. Citation, please?? The Patriots seem especially creepy at this point because we still don't know whether they have told the full truth about the cheating scandal -- or even whether they really have stopped cheating. Gregg Easterbrook seems especially creepy because we still don't know whether he has told the full truth about the missing spandex from the Redskin cheerleaders' locker room -- or even if he is wearing them RIGHT NOW. What makes me sad is that I agree with many of Easterbrook's football theories and find his analysis quite sound when it comes to Xs and Os. To watch him ruthlessly bend facts to fit his "Good vs. Evil" premise, and slander the team that best adheres to his football philosophy, is really disappointing.

posted by Venicemenace at 07:44 AM on October 24

I absolutely agree with most of the comments leaning toward the Patriots aren't doing anything wrong here. They can use these situations as valuable skill building drills. Fourth and goal with little time left ... this gives a perfect chance to practice in a real game situation in case they ever need to go for this yardage in a game where it could make a difference. I think it is very gracious of a team if they do opt to sit on the clock and let up on the other team, but it shouldn't be regarded as poor sportsmanship if they don't.

posted by Ricardo at 08:38 AM on October 24

Suppose New England's version of events is true -- that Belichick is a fine person who made an honest mistake about rules that seemed clearly written to everyone else but somehow were confusing to him and that he regrets his honest mistake. If this were so, wouldn't Belichick be attempting to convince the world he is a good guy by showing sportsmanship at every turn? Umm, nice attempt at logic there, Gregg. Back to school with you. Also, this guy is a lunatic.

posted by fabulon7 at 08:53 AM on October 24

The team's star, Tom Brady, is a smirking sybarite...whose public charity appearances are infrequent. Citation, please?? I found this in all of two seconds on google. It's the fourth entry down for Tom Brady Charity Work -- that's generally not a good sign. I thought Easterbrook's story was crappy, but the Patriots rub me the wrong way, too. Mainly, though for reasons that have more to do with being a dynasty, which I automatically dislike. So, I will throw out a bunch of reasons and probably get criticized for them, but here they go anyway. The media (outside of Easterbrook) loves them so much it is sickening. Why do I have to hear nonstop about the Pats during a game they aren't playing. We are at week 7 and the media is talking about them going undefeated. Can't we wait at least until week 10? The constant talk that they are doing things the "right way." It's the right way because they win, but they (as most teams) have made shitty moves in the way they treat their players. But, they don't get criticized for it because they are winning, so free agents still want to go there. Finally, they have all this stuff going in their favor, the dynasty, the QB, the coach, the talent, and they don't seem to be enjoying any of it. The coach is still grumpy, the players never seem to be having fun. It's annoying. They should be the happiest bunch in all of sports, but they aren't. As to running up the score, I don't much care about such things, but NFL teams usually aren't throwing late in the game with a big lead. That's a reality. They run the ball over and over. It's not like they have a crappy defense that can't stop anyone. Throwing passes for TDs at the very end of a game that you are definitely going to win is the definition of running up the score.

posted by bperk at 08:55 AM on October 24

bperk, recently there is an article showing how even Randy Moss is happy as a Pat. While winning makes it easy to be cordial to your teammates, if Randy is feeling good, then it seems to me that it is pretty unlikely that no one is enjoying this year. They're probably just all business on the field. But being 7-0 probably makes for a happy locker room.

posted by brainofdtrain at 09:43 AM on October 24

You know what? Watching a team run out a clock by not ever passing is boring. Kudos to the Patriots for refusing to bore the crap out of me for the last fifteen minutes of every game. And in terms of Sunday vs. Miami -- didn't they only score 7 points in the second half? That's not exactly running up the score, is it?

posted by fabulon7 at 09:54 AM on October 24

On the running up the score topic, I think each person is entitled to his or her own opinion as to what constitutes good or bad sportsmanship and whether the accepted norms of the game (to the extent there is any sort of consensus) are based on faulty premises and should be challenged. I will make the point that I think Hal's baseball analogy is a bit flawed because of the fact that there is no clock in baseball, no concept of field position, and the percentages of a successful outcome are different (i.e., getting a hit/homerun in any given at bat v. scoring a touchdown when in the red zone). As to Venicemenace's comment about the Dallas game specifically, I wasn't aware that Wade Phillips had called a timeout during the last sequence. I think that was a dumb move by Phillips, but looking back at the box score, I don't know that a touchdown was the necessary response. The timeout was called at 1:48 after a first down play. If the Pats took a knee on the next play (2nd down), the clock would basically run down to just over a minute. If they took the knee on the next play (3rd down), the clock would be down below 30 seconds. Kicking a field goal there restores a three-score lead (I erroneously suggested above that the score was 42-27 at the time -- it was 41-27); otherwise turning the ball over on downs is probably not going to allow Dallas to get back in the game and Dallas would probably do an honorable thing by taking a knee itself. Also, putting Easterbrook aside, I don't think anyone in this thread has suggested that the Pats ran up the score last week against the Dolphins.

posted by holden at 10:01 AM on October 24

I don't know that a touchdown was the necessary response. It depends on your definition of "necessary", and you're just not gonna get agreement on that. I would like to take the opportunity, however, to stick a pin in the notion of kneeling for sportsmanship. Since when does a quarterback take a knee (or get told to take a knee) out of a sense of sportsmanship? It's done to kill the clock and keep the ball safe, it's not some kind of magnanimous gesture towards a soon-to-be-defeated opponent. The "running up the score" stuff is what I'm accustomed to hearing at games at the high school level and below. There, it's perhaps a legitimate gripe; in the context of the NFL, it's just whining. Every team that plays the Pats is trying its best to win, or at least to take a chunk out of 'em. Every team is coming away with lessons learned that -- unless their heads are all the way up their asses -- will help them in the future. The closest contests so far have been won by the Pats by comfortable margins, but also with an absence of taunting or gloating -- in fact, now people are starting to get pissy about the Pats being ridiculously humble. They're riding very high, and I think right now their main focus is on managing and continuing their success, which means (among other things) not letting it go to your head, not making assumptions about your opponents, and not resting on your laurels. That's the formula for every team in the NFL, and because of the talent throughout the organization, the tightrope the Pats must walk is wider than that of other teams, but it still is a balancing act along a fairly narrow path. If it pisses people off that they seem to be able to walk it without significant stumbles, that's too bad, but I doubt they'll lose sleep over it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:38 AM on October 24

I don't agree with all of these (either in terms of them being good rules or necessarily still being adhered to), but I came across this list of unwritten rules in the major sports that I found interesting. On taking a knee late in a football game, the author is of the opinion that this is both good sportsmanship and good (safe) strategy.

posted by holden at 10:52 AM on October 24

I came across this list of unwritten rules in the major sports that I found interesting. If these rules are unwritten, what did I just read?

posted by tommytrump at 11:27 AM on October 24

An etching off the shadows in Plato's cave. I think the Simmons' article linked above is the best explanation: they are running up the score and they're waiting for someone to stop them.

posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on October 24

Y'know, I kind of like the whole good vs evil approach to the upcoming game. I think it gives a lot of us, who don't particularly care for either team, a bit of a reason to cheer for one team or another. That being said, enough with the hyperbole! It just sports, try to keep it in perspective. Just because a team can appear unlikeable to many doesn't make them a Nixonian epitome of deceit and bad will. I happen to be one who enjoys being a Pats hater (as I must confess I am of all Boston teams) but to characterize the team and their coach as harbingers of the downfall of the NFL is a bit much, no? Eaterbrook is much like me in his desire to see a Patriots downfall, but to publicly smear a team based on nothing more than rumors, conjecture, and things left unsaid is just irresponsible. Go ahead and hate, that's the nature of the sports fan, but to use a nationally syndicated column to attack a team in every possible way seems like a bit of an abuse. I like to think I hate the Pats for all the right reasons: they have enjoyed an amazing amount of recent success (including absolutely bitch slapping my Bengals at every turn), their coach's scowling demeanor, and the obnoxious nature of the inebriated Boston fan. But I don't think that makes them the pure refuse Easterbrook paints them to be. Just relax and enjoy the game, it's Bealzebrady vs. St. Peyton.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:18 PM on October 24

the obnoxious nature of the inebriated Boston fan Sure an' we've always been that way.

posted by yerfatma at 12:26 PM on October 24

Looks like my bar after a Sox/Yanks game, only our regulars are a bit more simean looking, and only 1/3 of them wear stovepipe hats.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:18 PM on October 24

I'd say you're hanging out in the wrong places, but that sounds decent to me.

posted by yerfatma at 01:22 PM on October 24

The rest of the nation turned them into a mutant cross between Cobra Kai and the Yankees, Instead of just shouting HA!, maybe A-Rod could sweep the leg of a third baseman trying to field a fly ball.

posted by HATER 187 at 03:35 PM on October 24

Well, I am going to put my two cents in as well. I liked the Browns when "Bad Bill" coached them and he stunk. Got fired. He was unable to get the team turned around and then he becomes a genius with the Pats? Maybe Robert Craft gave him more "groceries" as quoted by Parcells, but I still believe there is at least more to the spy-gate than has been divulged. He did receive the maximum penalty (as did the owner) and they were even stripped of a first-round pick. That is pretty heavy. So, if he was playing fairly and just make an honest mistake about "don't videotape other coaches signs during the game", then this would all have blown over by now. I believe the reason that this keeps surfacing is that people in the league (lets say Wade Phillips for example) say that they believe he was cheating. I believe that might have been (only maybe) the main reason he didn't take a knee in Dallas with less than 25 seconds remaining in a certain victory. I did think it was a bit classless, but only my opinion. It wasn't like there was any chance that Dallas could have threatened anyone at that point. But, the commissioner did get the tapes and other materials he requested. Supposedly an entire file cabinet worth. First, what was to stop him from making copies and keeping the material in another location. He did have time for that. This wasn't something (volume-wise) that you could simply acquire in the first week of the season. To destroy all of that as quickly as they did leads me to believe it could have tarnished the entire NFL and Pats. They happened to be the feel good story by beating an improbable Rams team and created the feel good story of the decade for the NFL - post 9/11. So, they destroy the evidence and burry the story quicker than they take to decipher and punish the Pats for the offense of one tape of the Jets game. I am sure that most of you will not agree with this theory and that is your right. I am only adding my opinion to the opinions of others. I will always think that he (Evil Bill) and others (how did the Jet coaches know he was doing this again?) was caught red-handed and I will never buy into the Dynasty they have. I believe it is tarnished and will be forever tarnished. They might set records and have their finest season ever, but I will always remember the coach that failed miserably in Cleveland and won by cheating in New England.

posted by Mickster at 03:47 PM on October 24

Right, Mickster. It's a big fat conspiracy between the NFL and the Patriots, that's why the commissioner destroyed the tapes so fast. I hear they were in on the JFK assassination too. I will always remember the coach that failed miserably in Cleveland and won by cheating in New England. Not one of you opinionated people has shown one bit of evidence that any of the information gathered benefited the Pats in any way. That being the case, I say that you've got not only an opinion, but a uselessly vague definition of "cheating". You can screech, "Cheater, cheater, cheater!" forever, but after a while you're like the boy who cried wolf. Unless you can point to a wolf, and you can't, the only effect you'll have is to make people yawn whenever you yell, "Cheater!" at someone.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:20 PM on October 24

lbb- Of course your right, no one can prove the Patriots gained any advantage by stealing defensive signs however "cheating" is the correct term to use for the Patriots behavior. I'm not going to belabor the point about cheating. It's in the eye of the beholder but, if I'm losing a first round draft choice and paying alot of fines/penalties, the beholder better be right or I'm going to be pretty pissed off. Suppose your playing poker and get caught cheating before spending your ill gotten gains. Does cheater still apply? Of couse it does. The mark is there and can't be erased. So don't yawn at the word cheater-just the implication that some advantage was gained.

posted by brickman at 04:40 PM on October 24

Why does somebody have to show proof that the Pats benefitted in any way? They were caught. Black and white. You can defend 'em all you want, but they cheated, and they got caught, and no matter how big your blinders are, that's the fact. I know how you get, LBB; your teams can do no wrong, and whenever anybody dares to suggest that they can, you instantly go into she-beast overprotective mode. Admirable in some cases, but in others, you just come off like William Kristol. Completely unable to believe for a second that your boys might be -gasp!- wrong. Everybody's favorite fucks up now and again. Accept it. It's better for you in the long run, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Damn if I ain't tempted to say 'NUFF SAID right about now.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:46 PM on October 24

LBB; your teams can do no wrong, and whenever anybody dares to suggest that they can, you instantly go into she-beast overprotective mode. STFU with your personal vitriol. They got caught doing something other teams do. No one seems to know what kind of advantage it confers. It's really just a wedge for fans of other teams to get a small measure of satisfaction. Do you honestly think the Dolphins were cheated out of something last week? Even with the Pats' D signals I think it might have been a bit of a problem; would it have made a difference if they knew to double-cover Randy Moss? Hang on a tick . . .

posted by yerfatma at 09:41 PM on October 24

STFU with your personal vitriol. And that's not personal?

posted by tommytrump at 10:07 PM on October 24

Maybe I'm not as hip as the younger generation but what is STFU?

posted by brickman at 10:24 PM on October 24

They got caught doing something other teams do. Source please?

posted by brickman at 10:30 PM on October 24

Do you honestly think the Dolphins were cheated out of something last week? I don't think this discussion has anything to do with the Dolphins, who suck something awful this year, and probably the next couple of years. Nice try at deflection, though. One might get the impression that you're a Pats fan if you keep that up. They got caught doing something other teams do. As soon as you can get back to me with the story about all the other teams in the NFL using a camera to record other teams' sidelines, I'll certainly agree with you. STFU with your personal vitriol. Thanks, Miss Manners. I'll keep you close to my heart always.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:15 AM on October 25

You caught me. I don't have a Youtube link that shows other teams taping. Any number of stories have quoted the always-reliable unnamed sources saying other teams do similar things and there's got to be some reason coordinators cover their mouths when they talk, right? And that's not personal? I suppose it is. Sorry.

posted by yerfatma at 06:17 AM on October 25

Not one of you opinionated people has shown one bit of evidence that any of the information gathered benefited the Pats in any way. Easterbrook makes the point that the destruction of the tapes makes it impossible to draw any conclusions about what benefit there may have been. The Pats were certainly in a position to explain what was contained on the tapes if those chose to do so. They didn't, so Pats fans are also unable to show any bit of evidence that the tapes didn't confer a benefit. That being the case, I say that you've got not only an opinion, but a uselessly vague definition of "cheating". From Goodell's letter to the Patriots: "This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field." I don't know what more you need to make the case that this is cheating. Regardless of whether you believe there was an advantage, it is still cheating. Copying off someone else's paper in school was cheating even if that someone didn't have the right answer. there's got to be some reason coordinators cover their mouths when they talk, right? It is not cheating to have a dedicated person (or 40) watching the other team's signs for clues, only to videotape it.

posted by bperk at 06:42 AM on October 25

It is not cheating to have a dedicated person (or 40) watching the other team's signs for clues, only to videotape it. It's not cheating to block an oncoming rusher, only to hold him. Yes, these distinctions are made for a reason and if you violate the rule, you take your 10-yard penalty or lose your 1st round pick and a boatload of dollars and we all move on. What I don't understand is the gaps in logic that I see in Easterbrook's column and in many of the comments on this thread. The Patriots were caught taping signals in 2007 and punished to the fullest extent allowable, and in fact were dealt the harshest penalty in the history of the league. Yet now somehow the infraction is telescoped backwards to "taint" the Super Bowls won earlier in the decade, and although there is no actual evidence to indicate that the Patriots gained any advantage at all in those games by videotaping signals, Easterbrook and sidekicks simply say "Well, the evidence that would prove our point has been destroyed," but they don't actually know that because they never saw this "evidence" in the first place! How can a guy of GE's intellect not see how specious this is? The real hypocrisy is coming from those who claim the Patriots Super Bowls are tainted and then demand evidence from people who allege that "everybody was doing it." Both claims have an equal basis in hard, substantiated fact - that is to say, neither has any such basis at all. STFU with your personal vitriol. And that's not personal? Actually, it isn't personal, just uncivil. Calling someone out for making personal attacks is not itself a personal attack. TBH dismissed LBB's comments on the basis that they were coming from LBB - when his other, more substantive objections really could have stood on their own without that personal slight. Yerfatma went after TBH for that move. Perhaps a lighter touch might have been preferable, but that doesn't mean it was a personal attack.

posted by Venicemenace at 07:19 AM on October 25

Easterbrook is no doubt missing a few screws. I think the four letter network keeps him around as an anti-Bill Simmons in order to keep the universe in balance. This good vs evil garbage is nonsense brought on by wrestling fans who want to hijack the NFL and turn it into a soap opera. Or is it the media? All I know is when you get to the bottom line the players and coaches don't view other teams as villainous...the NFL is their profession and at most they will develop a good rivalry. Pats fan: The league has brushed off the video tape incident as have the Pats organization. The punishment has been doled out and your superbowl legacy isn't being questioned by anyone other than WWF fans posing as NFL fans. The four letter network still talks about your team with its collective mouth full. So rest easy sports fans.

posted by curlyelk at 08:50 AM on October 25

Do you guys think I'm to gentile or what? STFU, please?

posted by brickman at 10:15 AM on October 25

"Shut the fuck up"

posted by apoch at 10:33 AM on October 25

Dude, let me introduce you to Google search.

posted by Venicemenace at 10:37 AM on October 25

Do you guys think I'm to gentile or what? Do we think you're too non-Jewish? Now that is a question that needs to be answered.

posted by tommytrump at 10:47 AM on October 25

Yet now somehow the infraction is telescoped backwards to "taint" the Super Bowls won earlier in the decade, and although there is no actual evidence to indicate that the Patriots gained any advantage at all in those games by videotaping signals, Easterbrook and sidekicks simply say "Well, the evidence that would prove our point has been destroyed," but they don't actually know that because they never saw this "evidence" in the first place! The evidence is that there was a file cabinet full of such tapes. Obviously, they weren't collected during one game. Further, since the NFL destroyed the tapes and the Pats never revealed what was in them, why should the inference as to whether they received a benefit be construed in the Pats favor? I do think there is an element of wanting to see the Pats downfall in all of this. But, the reluctance of Pats fans to admit that their was anything wrong with what the Pats did despite the loss of a draft pick and the record fines is bordering on being as delusional as Easterbrook.

posted by bperk at 11:00 AM on October 25

apoch-thank you. I was beginning to think nobody liked me. Treating me like a pork chop at a Jewish wedding.

posted by brickman at 11:23 AM on October 25

the reluctance of Pats fans to admit that their was anything wrong with what the Pats did despite the loss of a draft pick and the record fines is bordering on being as delusional Who is arguing they didn't do wrong? It was a complete embarrassment and I would have hoped it was beneath them. I'd still like to hear some explanation for why anyone would do it.

posted by yerfatma at 11:33 AM on October 25

Original discussion.

posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on October 25

I'd like to hear some explanation for why anyone would do it. Write a letter to the Patriots organization and ask them. They probably will answer ALL your questions. Hell, Belichick will most likely invite you to sit on the bench with the team because of your search for the truth.

posted by brickman at 11:50 AM on October 25

Who is arguing they didn't do wrong? It was a complete embarrassment and I would have hoped it was beneath them. I'd still like to hear some explanation for why anyone would do it. I think the responses have been to the below statement by lbb, which might be read to suggest that it wasn't cheating because no one can prove that the Pats benefited from the ill-gotten gains. I'm not sure that's actually what lbb was saying and her statement is susceptible to different interpretations. At least that's how I interpreted some of the statements about the Pats fans not admitting the Pats were wrong.

Not one of you opinionated people has shown one bit of evidence that any of the information gathered benefited the Pats in any way. That being the case, I say that you've got not only an opinion, but a uselessly vague definition of "cheating". You can screech, "Cheater, cheater, cheater!" forever, but after a while you're like the boy who cried wolf. Unless you can point to a wolf, and you can't, the only effect you'll have is to make people yawn whenever you yell, "Cheater!" at someone.

posted by holden at 11:54 AM on October 25

Hell, Belichick will most likely invite you to sit on the bench with the team because of your search for the truth. Do you think? Gosh, that would be dreamy!

posted by yerfatma at 12:51 PM on October 25

holden, what's a "cheater"? Someone who breaks the rules? Okay, if you want to say so, but the NFL has rules against excessive profanity or wearing the wrong socks. Is it therefore "cheating" to use excessive profanity or wear the wrong socks? Give me a definition of "cheating". People keep saying that the Patriots "cheated", but they're not saying what they mean by that. So is "cheating" just a rules violation, or what is it?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:52 PM on October 25

holden, what's a "cheater"? Someone who breaks the rules? Okay, if you want to say so, but the NFL has rules against excessive profanity or wearing the wrong socks. Is it therefore "cheating" to use excessive profanity or wear the wrong socks? Give me a definition of "cheating". People keep saying that the Patriots "cheated", but they're not saying what they mean by that. So is "cheating" just a rules violation, or what is it? I wasn't actually picking on your statement, lbb, so perhaps your query is misdirected. I was trying to get at how I saw others interpreting your remarks. Personally, I would probably define cheating in the sporting context broadly as an intentional rules violation undertaken with an intent to gain some sort of advantage. This definition would perhaps be too broad, in that a holding penalty, for example, could fit as cheating under that rubric -- but I think people can reasonably draw the line in those situations (particularly as the sport of football already has a defined term "penalty" for certain types of infractions that might otherwise fit that definition of "cheating").

posted by holden at 02:24 PM on October 25

Give me a definition of "cheating". A calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field.

posted by bperk at 03:25 PM on October 25

Okay, so we've got two different definitions of "cheating" -- close, but still different. If you took every person who's used the word "cheater" in this thread and had them write down their definition, you'd find still more different definitions, not all of which would fit what the Patriots have done or even are alleged to have done by their worst detractors. That's fine, I have no problem with that. I'm just saying that because of this divergence, I believe that the word "cheating" is being overused as a tarbrush in the world of sports these days. Other people will react differently, but when I think a term is being overused, and particularly when I suspect people are using a term to elicit an emotional response rather than to be truly descriptive, that's when I start asking for a definition of terms (and before anyone plays the homer card, this has been my same feeling and same reaction in the PED threads). I think what we're seeing is that there is a common emotional response to something that we believe to be "cheating", but we've drifted away from a consensus as to what "cheating" actually is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:43 PM on October 25

llb- Please tell me which word to use and I'll comply with reference to cheating-Distort, fake, color, falsify, twist ........I,m not being a smart ass. Give the word and I'll use it in furter comments. If any word is not suitable I'll take suggestions from LLb or anybody else however doesn't cheating have a certain connotation?

posted by brickman at 04:28 PM on October 25

It's like a barbershop in here, what with all the split hairs. LBB, let me just ask, in all seriousness, and with no personal rancor involved at all: do you believe what the Patriots did was cheating? Yes or no. I only ask because I don't want to be guilty of misinterpretation. In my mind, cheating is cheating, whether you directly benefit from it or not. If I perform a chop block or a leg whip on a defensive end or linebacker, and he still manages to make the play, I cheated. Even though I didn't benefit, I still cheated. So, with the question of benefit or no benefit put aside for now, do you believe that what a Patriots did was cheating?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:32 PM on October 25

As if it's not bad enough that the Patriots are clearly conducting themselves in an evil manner on the field, now they are sending their fans (or maybe smirking sybarite, serial impregnator, and all around bad actor Tom Brady himself -- after all, the article doesn't say it wasn't him) to attack opposition players? Advantage Easterbrook. A Colts fan or Peyton manning never would have done that.

posted by holden at 04:53 PM on October 25

You guys are nuts - Easterbrook is a lunatic to be griding this axe. He's treating it like they faked a fucking moon landing. And I have to say - I am really enjoying watching this villainous Pats team. It's good to have a little evil in the league again.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:39 PM on October 25

Your right Weedy-Pats did replace the dreaded and evil Raiders.

posted by brickman at 10:38 PM on October 25

I am really enjoying watching this villainous Pats team. Makes three of us.

posted by yerfatma at 06:29 AM on October 26

LBB, let me just ask, in all seriousness, and with no personal rancor involved at all: do you believe what the Patriots did was cheating? Yes or no. I only ask because I don't want to be guilty of misinterpretation. In my mind, cheating is cheating, whether you directly benefit from it or not. If I perform a chop block or a leg whip on a defensive end or linebacker, and he still manages to make the play, I cheated. Even though I didn't benefit, I still cheated. I'll have to come down on the side of yes. They knew it was a violation, and I don't believe they collected the footage with the intention of using it in the 2007 end-of-season souvenir vid. I'm not so sure that they had a specific use in mind, though. A lot of questions have been raised about how much benefit they could get from that vid, given that signals change from game to game and that halftime would be very little time to do the kind of analysis they'd need to do, so I do get the funny feeling that it was almost a reflex action, like "gather all the information you can and maybe we'll get something out of it". So, in that it was intentional, a knowing violation of the rules, and done with some vague thought of getting an advantage, yeah, I'd say it's cheating. I don't know that I'd put it alongside a chop block, or to use a better example, tapping directly into the other side's communications, but it's cheating of some sort. And, with regard to the villainy...villainy is good, it helps you get through a long New England winter, but I think it'll be a while before we fans are up to Dog Pound standards. Clearly we have work to do.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:29 AM on October 26

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.