Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I am still in shock that the Patriots who managed to survive so many negative stories and stave off a few big upsets in the making this season haven't found a way to reverse the outcome of Super Bowl XLII. I am also in shock that I managed to walk the tightrope between implying that the Giants could actually win the game without harnessing the awesome power of this blog's jinx.

I can't remember the last time I actually called something before hand and had it come to pass. It may never have happened, I just don't feel like going back and looking through my posts to find it, on the off chance that I was ever right. I get the feeling that I was right in picking Dallas to beat Indianapolis in Dallas last year the week before Thanksgiving. And I think I picked the Bears to win against Seattle and New Orleans last year in the playoffs. But since then, it's been a bad, bad, bad run.

Unfortunately, I think that the NFL will be forced to find a way to have this game replayed until the Patriots can find a way to win. If not, then so many of our most respected sports journalists will continue to look even more foolish than they ordinarily do. For instance, Bill Simmons compared these Giants to the 1985 Pats. The podcast is still up on his site at ESPN, in case you don't believe me. If Roger Goodell and the league office allow this to stand, it might bring down the sports media as we know it.

Meanwhile, I got an email on Saturday from the guy I go to for my Red Sox info. He was out in Arizona for the game. And he had his picture taken with Jim McMahon. It seems very funny in retrospect, to have him out there with the QB whose team devastated, humiliated and set the Patriots back ten years with the savage beating the Bears inflicted that day. And all the while, Simmons is out there comparing the Pats opponent to the Pats of yesteryear. Although, I have to say Tom Coughlin is a lot like the evolutionary Ray Berry in the sense that he's kind of a tool.

This retrospect on what it felt like to see the undefeated Patriots fall apart in Arizona has to be my favorite Simmons column of all time now. One thing I'm not entirely sure of, as I talk about this loss with my friends who root for the Patriots, is whose fingerprints are on this spectacularly offensive offensive collapse. It's easy to blame McDaniel, but didn't Belichick promote him because he was an unknown and could serve as a strawman enabling Belichick to have even more control over the team? It seems like the arrogant game plan that seemed to be governed by the premise that all the Pats had to do was show up would bear this out, but then I might just be blinded by my hatred for Belichick.

It wouldn't be a normal day for Sedition in Red Sox Nation if Jay Mariotti hadn't found his own way to taint what should otherwise be as nearly perfect as a moment can be in sports fandom. The notion that the Patriots should be further punished for the report that came out of Saturday's Boston Herald claiming that the Pats cheated by videotaping the Rams pregame walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl is absurd. If they did cheat, it was dirty, shameless and beat. But it's also fairly unprofessional to punish a team now for what they did six years ago.

Professional sports aren't the real world. In a sense, it's not that different from punishing baseball players who took performance enhancers that were banned by other sports but not banned by baseball at the time the players took them. The NFL came down hard on the Patriots when they were caught red handed this year. If it happens again, they ought to come down harder on them. But if six years intervene between that incident and when the story came out, then it's St. Louis' tough luck. Maybe they should have had a guy make sure the stadium was empty if they didn't want people checking out their walkthrough.

The one good thing about this whole episode is that it reminded all of us that Arlen Specter is still alive and kicking in the US Senate. But as for this silly little story, I have a pretty solid record for disliking and ripping the Patriots, their coach and their owner. That said, I have no empathy or sympathy for Kurt Warner and the 2001 Rams. They had every chance to beat a team that was markedly inferior on paper. Knowing the Dick Vermeil/Mike Martz offense, I'm sure they had practiced other plays enough over the season that they could have made adjustments.

The real story is that those Rams didn't treat the game as seriously as they ought to have. They came in as a big favorite, having beaten the Pats on the road earlier in the year and playing in a dome against an outdoor team. They were the greatest show on turf and they failed to show up. It's not Roger Goodell's problem. Nor is it the problem of Congress. Taping other teams' signals isn't right, but neither is a retroactive investigation that really can't culminate in an appropriate or effective punishment.

In general, I try to avoid commenting on specific political candidates in this space, mostly because I realize that none of you give a damn what I think about a particular candidate. But I think we need to throw a tool of note award in Mitt Romney's direction. Romeny's campaign came out today and claimed that John McCain and Mike Huckabee made some sort of illicit "backroom" deal to deny Romney the delegates from W Va. To me, it seemed like more than a little sour grapes from Romney. Or perhaps a sense of frustration because he didn't think of it first, if in fact anything untoward was done.

In case you care, in the interest of equal time, Sedition in Red Sox Nation is forced into an anti-McCain stance because he is supported by Curt Schilling. Mike Huckabee is out because he reminds me of the Homer Stokes character from O Brother Where Art Thou. Fred Thompson is out because he was in Die Hard 2. And Rudy was out because he has a bad comb-over, although I defy anyone to show me a good comb-over, and he did a terrible cameo in Anger Management. Kind of funny, isn't it, the thought process through which we here approach the democratic process.

1 comment:

TheKobraKommander said...

I was certain the Pats were going to win, not because of anything they had done, but because you were so dead set against them. I'm not sure what to do now. My world is turned upside down now that I can't count on your bad luck.