Thursday, September 10, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to the season

As many of you know, I was a pretty big fan of the Dolphins and started this site to pay homage to them. albeit in an amusing way.  

Then, I started to see things differently.  New ownership, poor play and bad coaching was enough to turn me off to the team.  And then between the big business, concussions, and other off the field antics, I lost interest in the product that is professional football.

And what I realized is that its about entertainment, and not about wins and losses.  Its not about a team, or a game, rather its about seeing some action. And watching certain players that are on my fantasy team. Enter RedZone, and I couldn't be more delighted. Its pure adrenaline for 6 hours on a Sunday. 

It spoiled me in a way. Watching a game, with its time outs and commercials, is painful, and I can't do it.  Night games where there is one game on is unwatchable IMHO.  Sure, at times, I'll flip by and watch a series.  Or some of the "extras" the networks offer (like NBCs online extras) make it more entertaining.  

But honestly, I'd rather catch the hilights on SportsCenter the next Morning than stay up and watch what often is a game that goes on too long, and typically isn't a great matchup - there are a surprising number of blowouts and snoozers.

And then there was a moment yesterday that reinforced that.  The Patriots story came out, and you had the camp that said "they're cheaters," the camp that said "we're the best, we won championships" and the camp that said "lets move on already, who cares."

I've said in the past that its impossible, illogical, and improbable - and there's no historical basis - for a team to be this good for this long.  Sure, coach and QB can make up for some deficiencies.  But between salary cap and player turnover, the patriots success has to be a result of some form of "bending the rules."  You can call it cheating or not; its unclear if they broke any real rules, though they did gain competitive advantages along the way.  

But I have to be honest with myself and say every team tries to do it.  But most try to stay within certain ethical boundaries.  The patriots did it better, and took it farther than everyone else.  And in a weird way, you have to tip your hat to them. 

It tainted the game, and made the playing field uneven.  Other teams couldn't (and surely won't be able to) overcome the orchestrated method of "cheating"...they will continue to do these things in perpetuity  And if other teams don't do the same (and more) the Patriots will continue to excel.  

The thing is, though, there will be no asterisks, no loss of wins or trophies, no changing things to actually stop them,  They will certainly be considered one of the best all-time, and the NFL will continue to grow because people love it.  

So, its not a fair competition, and wins and losses don't actually matter.  Unless your team is doing the same kinds of things, they will always be behind the patriots in the standings, and in Lombardi trophies.

It makes me a little sad that the integrity of the game is gone. The fun of simply playing, of watching athletes compete on the field where the rules are designed to keep things equal, is gone. 

And that's why I call it entertainment and not sport.  Its more like professional wrestling, where everything is scripted.

I'll watch some RedZone, because that's designed specifically to be entertainment.  You see scoring plays, and get some football, and can watch your fantasy team.  And that's what the NFL is really all about.

But I won't watch a game, nor spend any money on their product. Its the only way I can express my feeling about the way all of this has been handled.

The NFL made over $10 billion last year, and has a plan to make over $25 billion in 10 years.  Think about that.  They don't care if a team cheats or not.  This is about money, and nothing else. So what if guys beat their brains out?

And that, IMHO, just isn't right.
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7 comments

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I don't want to believe it - but my gut tells me you are spot on....

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Teams know what the Pats are doing, it not exactly a state secret. They should be using that information to their advantage and counter it. Football is a chess game, bring the right strategy for each opponent and you win games.
Getting sick of hearing about the Pats already. Its not the fact that they win that is annoying but that fact that they are so smug about it. Time has come for someone to use the Pats methods against them (there are many ways). Once you do that, you hit Brady a few times and all the sudden he hears the footstep and his play goes down hill fast, then you bury them.

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You are spot on, I remember as a kid, sitting infront of the TV so excited watching Miami, getting that jersey of guy like McDuffie, or Marino, not even thinking of them changing teams. The game has gotten to be so much about money it is saddening, your right in saying the NFL doesn't care about anything but money and they will do whatever they have to in order to sustain it. You can't even buy a jersey these days without the guy changing teams regardless of contract 2 years later, it's ridiculous. I used to defend the Patriots, but I can't anymore, it's time for someone to put them in their place within the rule guidelines or not because it doesn't seem to matter if you take draft picks away from or not, they still win, and to me that seems a little odd.

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Very Good Post Dave.

$$$ makes the world go round and lest we forget the NFL is a business. A BIG BU$INE$$!!

As a kid, we didn't have jerseys to buy so I took a magic marker to a white tee shirt to make a Csonka jersey. That only lasted a couple games of tackle and then my friends ripped it to shreds. And then you made a new one!!

Dave, you may consider my approach to football, if you have the time. Officiate High School games!! You are in the mix and make a few bucks. It is pretty cool. Reffing has been a blessing in my life. Great friends in refs and coaches. Great games. Free hotdogs at halftime. Cannot be it. And then just watch the Dolphins game on Sunday. By then I am footballed out and just check in here and there to other games.

Fantasy is a blast if you have the time to do it right. That means checking matchups, weather, waivers, schedules, trades, etc. Time consuming if done correct.

In any event, come join the blind, stupid guys with no souls. You will find us on the field at any organized game at all levels. We wear stripes and love the game for the game and don't get involved in any of the politics or situations beyond the game itself. In and out. Have fun and take a check home.

Don't forget the hotdogs!

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"You can call it cheating or not; its unclear if they broke any real rules.... "

No Dave, it is absolutely clear they broke the rules. The first time, the commissioner rolled over because he had pressure from some owners to sweep it under the rug. The second time, the commissioner realized that he no longer has the power to enforce the rules. It turns my stomach, but this all goes back to Goodell. The game changed under his leadership and not for the better.

There are a few ways this I can see this play out:

1. Other teams begin and get caught cheating, and the whole game becomes a complete farce. People then stop betting on games - a death null to the NFL. Massive change comes, and this gets branded a "cheater era", just like baseball had the "steroid era". (The thing is, steriods at the time weren't actually cheating in baseball. In fact, we all knew it was happening and it wasn't swept under the rug as much as ignored.) Either way, guys like Brady will get an asterisk just like Bonds and Sosa and McGuire do.

2. Other teams will figure out what the Patriots are doing and get better defending it. Confusing signs, better headset encryption, selective passing along false plays and formations. There are ways to beat this, I just don't think some coaches are sophisticated enough in these type of techniques to figure it out.

3. Goodell will leave, and a guy with better character like Rozelle who will stand up to owners that are pressuring him to make bad choices for the game.

I don't know how this will play out, but the NFL is already losing a lot fans. Not so much from the cheating as much as from the wife beaters/murderers and the fact that many parents now avoid having their kids play organized football for fear of concussions. The NFL really needs to clean up its act. I don't think Goodell can do it - he has no legitimacy.

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One more thing. I remember how pissed Bellicheat looked when the Dolphins rolled out the Wildcat. His face was classic, like someone stole his dog. He even stopped watching the game.

Yea, it was a gimmick that had no staying power... but it was awesome because Bellicheat had no idea. The Dolphins had kept the whole thing under wraps, and the Patriots obviously prepared from some tape of a different practice with different signals.

That proved to me what Bellicheat was worth as a coach, because no self respecting NFL team should let the option beat it that bad. I mean, that was a college offense with a backup QB wiping the floor with the "great defensive masterminds" defense.

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Linearz, good call on the wildcat. And it reminds me that bellicheat was a failure his first time out as a coach, and early on in New England. Then, he got Brady and used his smarts to figure something out.

I still stand by the comment that they didn't technically break any rules. For example, the teams were warned that no team could tape signals. So bellicheat/Kraft created a production company that was "separate" from the team to tape signals. That company then provided the tapes to the team, so by the letter of the rule they didn't break it.

Yet of course they did and they knew exactly what they were doing.

You are quite right that Goodell is the real issue here.

There are a couple of other options for the way this plays out: Vegas decides that there is something amiss and it affects their bottom line and they charge after the NFL. Or congress starts grandstanding and gets involved.

It ain't pretty in either case.

I meant to also add: how convenient that the headsets went out Thursday night in New England and the NFL leapt on it is as its their fault and it was weather related or whatever jibber jabber they want to give.


It would be easy for a stadium staffer to overcome whatever the NFL put in place. So it's another round of silliness and collusion. The patriots were at it again, and will be until someone stops them.