Sunday, November 11, 2007

A fine line

Many years ago, I used to lament the fact the Dolphins wouldn't run up the score on any opponent. I rationalized it by saying "they're all professionals, and if any team is able to score that many points, they should. After all, its an even playing field." And to me, it was different than in college, where teams often run up the score against lesser opponents.

Flash forward to the end of 2004. The Patsies had already won a couple of superbowls. Miami was in search of a head coach. Why not the guy who was college's best and who was a friend of Bellicheat? After all, the win at all costs attitude would be good. Right?

Now I see the other side. Saban fizzled and was never worshipped. He did more harm than good. And we see Bellicheat for what he really is: a SFB.

Shula critized the Patriots, then backtracked. The Patriots fans (and team, predictably) all cried foul. Sal Palantonio just published a book about how the 72 team was over rated, and won lousy against mediocre opponents (while the Patriots are a great team!!!!)

I've heard people saying all kinds of things on both sides. And the reality lies somewhere in between. For whatever its worth the 72 team went 17-0 and won playoff games on the road. No one else has accomplished that feat since. And Miami never cheated in that time. Their games were legit.

Bellicheat is on the other side of the line. Yeah, they're beating quality opponents *and* running up the score. But, his legacy will forever be tainted by his pushing the rule envelope. Maybe they cheated before, maybe since. Who knows?

The debate will rage until someone comes out with the real truth.

But here's my real truth: The 72 Dolphins were more fun. They had more character. Heck the whole NFL was more interesting. There may have been "better" teams by some measure, but they won them all without the need to cheat. Or be bad sports.

I'm glad Saban was here to open my eyes to the reality of just how bad things could have been. We may be 0-8, but we have self-respect. That's something that the Patriots fans can never have now. I don't care if they go 19-0 and have an asterisk or don't have an asterisk. I care that the game has been changed as a result of the actions of one organization. (I know the argument, it was dealt with, and is over, right? NOT!)

I'm just glad it wasn't the Dolphins. I betcha Bellicheat will want to run up the score against them because Shula said something perceived as derogatory about them. Oh, the truth is hard to hear! Should they do so, it only underscores just what this team really is.
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