By: Ian Logue
Good Lord. It begins again.
Superbowl XXXVI seems like so long ago since the Patriots won their first ever championship. It was an exciting game that featured a fantastic performance by New England’s defense, culminating in a clutch drive by Tom Brady along with an electrifying kick by Adam Vinatieri which sent all of us into a frenzy when we became world champions for the first time.
Now on the eve of Superbowl XLII and the possibility of an undefeated season, here we are again listening to alligations of more “spying” by the Patriots.
All I have to say is you have got to be kidding.
For anyone who hasn’t heard, the Boston Herald reported Saturday morning that a former member of the Patriots’ video department filmed the Ramsâ€™ final walkthrough before that 2002 game. Apparently after New England completed their walkthrough, they had their team picture taken and left the field, with the Rams taking the field for their own walkthrough. According to the report, a source told the newspaper that a member of the teamâ€™s video staff stayed behind after and filmed St. Louisâ€™ walkthrough. The cameraman then reportedly rode the media shuttle back to the hotel with the rest of the news photographers when the walkthrough was completed but there is no knowledge of what he did with the tape when it was over.
I first heard this was coming last night on my way home from work after hearing on WEEI that someone had contacted the local sports talk radio station here in New England saying there would be a story breaking in the morning about another potential spying incident regarding New England’s victory over the Rams nearly six years ago. I shook my head and shut the radio off and turned on my CD player to drown out the thoughts I had of having to listen to this nonsense again.
Then I wake up in the morning and there it is on ESPN. Unbelievable.
|Belichick’s team is facing more ridiculous allegations heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Giants|
The timing of this story made me question its credibility. Part of me initially felt that the fact they’re playing a team with one of the largest media markets is partly to blame, including a market that still hates head coach Bill Belichick. After all, Belichick turned down the head coaching job of New York Jets and obviously went on to lead New England to three championships while the Jets (with Mangini the rat at the helm) are a team in complete disarray. Needless to say he’s not exactly a favorite with the New York media. But seeing this story reported by the Boston Herald (John Tomase isn’t making any friends here with this one) is just aggravating, and now ESPN is all over it so who knows what else we’ll hear in the coming days.
Part of this saga began yesterday after the New York Times published a story reporting that Senator Arlen Specter is going to call NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain why the league destroyed the tapes from its investigation into spying by the Patriots. My feeling is, what business is it of the government of what happens in a professional sports league? I understand it to a certain extent with the steriods and illegal substance investigation, since steroids are obviously illegal. But what business is it of theirs to butt-in on the business of the NFL? Last I checked, other than IRS or tax matters, I’m failing to see where the government has the ability or the right to get involved and have a say with how a business operates as long as they’re not breaking any laws.
Besides, don’t they have anything else to do?
Which leads me to my next point. Belichick is obviously an intelligent guy, and whatever things the team has done throughout this whole “spying” ordeal, I’m guessing he’s not exactly a pioneer nor the leader nor the innovator behind these so-called tactics.
It amazes me that there was no fallout after the Patriots were caught and punished back in September when this whole thing occurred. I honestly expected to see a domino effect and have other teams named as the season went on and investigated for similar tactics, especially considering the fact that everyone knows that this was somewhat of a widespread occurrence. But it never happened, and instead the rest of the league has used it to get even with an organization that has dominated this decade.
After their win in Superbowl XXXVI the Patriots were called by many as, “America’s Team” and it seemed like fans across the country embraced the team and a young Tom Brady who at the time was a great story. Now it’s six years later, and Brady has two more rings and a supermodel girlfriend to go with it. Unfortunately he also has an ex-girlfriend who was also a model/actress, but is now the unmarried mother of his child. This is a fact that let’s face it, in real life (outside of a professional sports league) would be none of anyone’s business.
For fans like us in New England, we realize this. But to the average fan who doesn’t live around here, all they have to go by is the crap like that which ends up written in the media, along with the stupid pictures of him, “walking” around New York City.
Needless to say he’s not quite as likeable to fans that if they live outside New England, have no idea of the type of person he really is. Let’s face it, the majority of those fans have seen their teams having been beaten at least once by Brady & Co, and you can definitely tell that the Patriots are starting to achieve the same hatred that the Yankees have by fans around the country.
This newest allegation just adds more fuel to the fire, and just leaves me shaking my head. But one thing is for certain: Sunday is now about finishing what the first “spygate” started. The team has rallied around their coach and has managed to silence their critics with victories. One more tomorrow will add an exclamation point and cement their place in history.
And should they win, other than watching the parade, I plan on shutting off my TV and avoiding the nonsense that will probably go on after this is all over. I’m tired of hearing about it, and before anyone out there questions me on this I’ll be honest with you. If this was Indianapolis being investigated (which is a team that I truly do hate), I would shake my head and laugh, but I’m smart enough to know that they weren’t the only ones behind this. Apparently all the fans that are ready to crucify New England feel that Belichick is so smart, no one else could have possibly thought of this, and he’s the only one who could have come up with this idea.
If that’s what you think, then I have a bridge in Boston to sell you.
Needless to say I’d love to see the league investigate other teams who everyone knows were involved in similar tactics, and put an end to this one-sided ridiculous witch-hunt. But as much as I’d like to see it, I’m guessing it’s probably not going to happen.
So as we’ve seen this season, winning is the only thing that can quiet those critics. A camera didn’t help Brady throw 50 touchdowns. A camera didn’t help them run off 18 straight wins to this point and a camera won’t help the outcome of Sunday’s game.
But should they win cameras will capture every moment of when it’s over, and hopefully they’ll spend some time focusing on that. Because this nonsense is getting old.