Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Tag: spygate

Report: Patriots taped earlier game vs. Giants

The New England Patriots taped their December game versus the New York Giants using the popular digital recording device TiVo, has learned.

The game was broadcast on NBC, CBS, the NFL Network, Animal Planet and Music Choice!: Jazz.

Three episodes of House, M.D. were deleted to make room for the game.


The worst day in Patriots history

I’m a Patriots fan, and have been back to the Hugh Millen days. Those were bad, but Saturday was the worst day in Patriots history. It’s one thing to have nothing; it’s another to lose what you’ve had at the worst possible time. I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes; if the Patriots are guilty of systematic cheating, it should be uncovered. I’m a journalist and stand by my peers doing their (incredibly difficult) jobs.

Spygate is now past the point where I can say, as a reasonable defense, that “everyone does it” — that may still be true, but it hardly matters. The Patriots being what they are, it’s only about what they have done. Sure, if it came out that Arizona and Tampa Bay and Oakland were also taping, it would look better for the Pats, but that won’t come out because no one is looking for it. The news media is a copycat business, and people are looking to bury the Pats. That’s the story. And now they have the shovels.

Last night, I lamented that Matt Walsh had copped to having inside information; today, it only got worse, with reports that the Patriots might have taped the Rams’ walk-through in 2002. Nevermind that the facts (that the Rams only practiced Red Zone plays) would indicate that the Pats didn’t gain much of an advantage from any supposed cheating (the Rams entered the Red Zone once, and scored a touchdown); perception is reality here. The Patriots have lost all credibility. In truth, they should have lost it months ago. The bad timing of this is entirely Roger Go0dell’s fault, as Gregg Easterbrook correctly notes. (Though it should be noted that Easterbrook basically congratulates himself for knowing this story months before it was broken, as if deserving credit for the non-scoop. Bravo!) The NFL had a chance to put all of this behind them, and didn’t. Now it will never go away. Not ever. Perception has a pesky habit of becoming reality, especially when feelings are so acutely involved like they are here. Try telling a Steelers fan that the Pats beat the on the up and up. See if they believe you.

The worst part is that I can do nothing about it. I just wanted my team to win, and more than anything else, wanted them to win Sunday. This was it. Now, who knows what happens? I mean, the Patriots will never be stripped of the Super Bowl wins. I know this. It would ruin the NFL to take the titles back. But I can’t be blanket proud of them any more. I know too much. I’m as realistic and pessimistic as anyone when it comes sports’ darker side, but this has shaken me. I hoped for a great Pats team for decades, nearly impaling myself on the ceiling when Drew Bledsoe orchestrated that win against Miami in 1998. Those were the days of limited potential. Our potential has changed. But at what cost?

Not Good


Don Shula

We all know what Don Shula said by now. He said the Patriots would deserve an asterisk should they go undefeated, right? Well, the answer is “kind of.” It’s certainly not “yes,” and it may, in fact, be “no.” Parse Gary Myers’ column on the subject, and you can see how Myers, and not Shula, inserts the topic of a Patriots asterisk and bait-and-switches Shula into supporting it.

To recap, here’s the first paragraph of the story:

Don Shula, the coach of the only perfect season in NFL history, believes the Patriots have a legitimate shot at running the table and joining his ’72 Dolphins in going undefeated in the regular season and playoffs. But if they can pull it off, Shula insists the NFL needs to place an asterisk next to the Patriots in the record books because Bill Belichick got caught cheating in the Spygate scandal.

Okay, so let’s now find where Shula “insists the NFL needs to place an asterisk next to the Patriots in the record book.” Here’s Shula’s quote:

“The Spygate thing has diminished what they’ve accomplished. You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They’ve got it. Belichick was fined $500,000, the team was fined $250,00 and they lost a first-round draft choice. That tells you the seriousness or significance of what they found.

“I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds’ home run record. I guess it will be noted that the Patriots were fined and a No.1 draft choice was taken away during that year of accomplishment. The sad thing is Tom Brady looks so good, it doesn’t look like he needs any help.”

Shula’s saying that he thinks the Patriots’ season is tainted, but he doesn’t mention slapping an asterisk on them — instead, he compares the situation to that of Barry Bonds, where an asterisk may be forthcoming. That Bonds has not yet been punished by Major League Baseball, while the Patriots have complied with their punishment, makes it a flawed analogy, but who cares? He never mentions putting up an asterisk against the Pats. Why might we think he did? Here’s the next paragraph:

Told that he might get support in his desire to have an asterisk placed next to New England’s potential perfect season, Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, said, “I don’t know how people can’t agree with that.”

Wait… what desire for an asterisk? Where did that come from? It looks like Myers is using Shula to support his desire for an asterisk. Shula might agree with the idea for an asterisk, but it’s fairly clear from reading the above that it’s not his campaign. If Gary Myers thinks the Patriots should have an asterisk, he shouldn’t put words in a Hall of Fame coach’s mouth.

And it’s worth noting that the Patriots aren’t even halfway there yet. Can we calm down, please?