"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Belichk as Nixon?

Now, I'm much more of a college football fan, but I've been pretty interested in the cheating scandal surrounding the NE Patriots. People may differ on how serious this is, but Greg Easterbrook, writing over at ESPN's TMQ, has to take the cake when he makes Belichik out to be a "Nixon," throwing all sorts of wild (and entirely unsubstantiated in the column) claims about "secret" information and spying and so on. And then suggesting that the Patriots' coach might not last the season because he has raised the specter of "cheating" in the NFL.

Well, excuse me if I remain unpersuaded. It's quite true that the Patriots cheated by filming the Jets' signs and it's likely they've been doing it for a while. What's more, it's likely that they have in the past tried to pump former players for information and engaged in all sorts of skullduggery. Can we ask: so what? What team doesn't try to figure out what plays their opponent will run? Is there really a difference between peering over to the their sideline to see what kooky arm signals are being used versus looking at their player packages? It's only an unfair advantage to the degree that no one else can do it? Besides, *of course* teams cheat in the NFL. Teams teach their linemen to go as far as they can (and a bit over the line) in using their hands illegally. Defensive backs grab, pull and bump so long as they think they won't get called for a penalty. C'mon, if stealing signs is going to bring down a league, then it's not much worth defending in the first place...

3 comments:

John H. Watson said...

The Sports Guy at ESPN.com, a die-hard Patriots/Red Sox/Celtics fan, also compared Belichik's actions to Nixon, so I wouldn't find that too far-fetched. For him it felt like a betrayal (what that says about how important sports are might be another story).

What's disturbing here is that there are rules and the NFL was explicit about this rule, and the Pats went out and broke it. Should there be no rules? Granted, teams do encourage their players to push the envelope, but eliminating envelopes hardly seems like a solution . . .

Michael Simpson said...

Oh, no, I'm happy to see 'em punished - if you violate the rules, then you should pay the penalty. But all this huffing and puffing about the evil Belichik is a bit overwrought, don't you think? My guess is that the media really, really doesn't like Belichik - he's probably a jerk, he doesn't say much of anything to the media, etc. And so they were ready to pounce when they got the chance...

John H. Watson said...

What are you saying?! That I might be a bit biased because the cheater-Belichik-cheater beat my team in the Super Bowl in 2001?

Well, I guess you didn't really say that. But it's probably true. I agree it's a bit overblown.