NFL Super Bowl XLIX – FootballSunday, February 1, 2015 13:00
NFL Super Bowl XLIX picks and analysis.
NFL Super Bowl XLIX
MYTH VS. REALITY…CHEATING VS. GAMESMANSHIP…THE PATRIOTS AGAINST THE WORLD…THE ANNUAL SPYGATE RANT…
With the embarrassment of yet another cheating scandal tainting their organization, Patriots fans have retreated into the equally embarrassing and sophomoric posture of calling anyone who labels their team as cheaters, “haters.”
Theirs is a foxhole of delusion and denial in the name of revising history—and I’m sick of reading endless and wicked inaccurate commentary on the ‘net intended to exonerate the Patriots from their history of spying and more recently, deflating footballs below the limits proscribed in the NFL rule book.
We’ll burst that arrogant balloon by listing fanatical, commonly held myths regarding those two specific instances of cheating, then refuting them with facts:
“Spygate wasn’t about breaking any rules, it was about filming from the wrong location…”
Wrong. In fact, the scandal was only marginally about from where the Pats were filming, or even how long they were filming.
You can find all the quotes, sources and citations in the Wiki summary. I cross checked all the references for accuracy from Boston and other media outlets, found here:
Belichick’s Spygate defense was premised on his unique interpretation of the rule forbidding video taping of signals and their use during the game—
He believed he could film during a game as long as he didn’t use the film during the game; on that point, the rules were crystal clear.
Page 105 of the 2007 NFL Game Operations Manual states, “No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game…
I don’t know about anyone else, but to me “no video recording devices [are] to be used during the game…” is crystal clear. Any misunderstanding as to what those words mean is a contrivance and no reasonable individual, least of all, a genius, would interpret those words any other way.
Except Bill Belichick…or Wile E. Coyote…
The following is from the copy the Pats Head Coach & GM read very soon after Roger Goodell handed down his decision on what the correct interpretation was:
I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight’s ruling…As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week’s game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress. [...]My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect. [...]
Note the careful wording of the sentence in bold. It not only encapsulates the essence of the coach’s defense and the incorrectness of his interpretation but also opens the door for more fanaticism screaming for myth-busting.
“Spygate was an isolated incident of rule breaking; Goodell emphasized it provided no competitive advantage…”
Not quite…Again, in his ruling, Goodell was careful to state no advantage was gained for individual games—but in a meeting with angry Pennsylvania senator, Arlen Specter, who believed the Steelers were another victim of Belichick’s cheating, the Senator revealed the Commissioner also told Specter that Belichick privately informed Goodell during the initial investigation that the taping practices dated back to when Belichick took over as the Patriots head coach in 2000.
According to other anecdotal published reports, Belichick began illegally filming opponent’s signals when he started his head coaching career in Cleveland.
The practice of taping by Belichick was part of a long established pattern.
Still, the fanatics trudge on:
“Everyone was recording signals; they made an example of the Patriots because they got caught…”
Uh, no…Patriot apologists, on every comment board on the net will quote—it’s so cute they actually include the date and time—former coaches, Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson essentially saying they “Tried it…” but “…didn’t think it helped…”
The sanctions Goodell imposed upon New England have no precedent in the 94 year-old history of the league—and that punishment came after Pats videographer, Matt Walsh handed over eight tapes to Goodell, including the ’01 AFCCG New England played against the Steelers. Roger Goodell’s clandestine destruction of those tapes indicates how potentially dangerous the scandal was to the NFL and is precisely the reason the Spygate cloud will always darken New England’s legacy…
“You hate us because you ain’t us…”
To a certain extent that’s true. Since Spygate, the Patriots have won over 70% of their games and missed the playoffs once, with an 11-5 record. During Belichick’s tenure, his teams have played in nine AFCCGs, winning six, and have hoisted three Lombardi Trophies.
Folks, that is remarkable, taint and all. Maybe…
“Bill Belichick is a genius…”
To fully understand why intelligent, gifted, successful men like Bill Belichick cheat, we must understand their history.
I’ve always used Spygate as proof the man who, this Sunday, can tie Chuck Noll with four Super Bowl wins was not a genius.
After all, isn’t it stupid to cheat if, as BB told Pats owner Robert Kraft, the total benefit amounted to “one” on a scale 1-100?
Kraft famously called his coach a “schmuck” upon hearing that statistic.
I’ve always figured the guy was lying. His cheating HAD to help in a big way. Why else risk such a stain on your life’s work?
Then again, there is the post Spygate record, the consistency, the post season success…
Maybe I’m wrong—Belichick is a genius—until Deflate-gate he hasn’t been involved in any scandal right? Certainly not filming…
Then it hit me!
What if the cover-up, Belichick’s inexplicable “misinterpretation,” and the media mouths supporting the Pats were carefully placed camouflage to shift our focus away from the Real McGuffin…
It was right there in front of clowns like me; Spygate was—and still is—about hand signals.
I researched the structure of some common hand signals teams use and did some interviews with some football players I know…
Note how complicated some of these signals are; note how to change them in any major way would severely cut into a teams preparation and or in game concentration.
Therefore, pro coaches and players who dismiss BB’s taping as having very little practical application, or “same game” use give credence to Bellichick’s repeated qualifier that “none of the information was used during the same game.”
So, let’s accept that Belkchick’s defense is truthful…
Then, why tape? That is the only question that demands an answer…
A NEW THEORY OF WHY
After all the warnings, all the derision, all the potential scarlet lettering as a “C”heater—why would a man of Belichick’s exceptional skill set risk his reputation on an end-product he couldn’t utilize?
It just doesn’t make sense…unless it does…Stay with me…
One of the tapes Matt Walsh gave to Goodell –remember, he destroyed them very quickly–was from the ’01 AFC Championship game…
Again, the central question is, if we take Belichick at his word and accept he never used the tapes during a game, why would he feel it necessary to tape his AFCCG opponents?
He won’t play that opponent until the following season, if then. All teams change signals at least once a year, but remember most teams’ signals are not drastically changed –so the question goes begging…
If not to be used during the game, why record any signals–ever?
The only logical answer is, if you had enough tape of a given teams signals you could discern the different SETS of signs or markers that particular team employs. Call it a “signal tree.”
If you had a library of your opponents’ signal trees, all your video guy would have to do is figure out what set the opponent is using that day and you could, at the very least, make quicker, smoother more effective in game adjustments.
The result is a tangible competitive advantage.
An advantage that would help explain the Pats continued success since the initial Spygate revelations..
Bill Belichick enters the every NFL arena with a 7-12 year library of an opponent’s hand signals—don’t forget with today’s technology recording signals could be done in virtually total secrecy—it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Maybe the guy is a genius…
You don’t receive unprecedented punishment, face public humiliation, and are compelled to apologize to 31 other teams because you had some intern stealing random signals from the bleachers.
Bill Belichick knew exactly what he was doing.
Which brings us to Super Bowl week and…
If we’ve learned anything about Belichick, we must accurately conclude he is the consummate, obsessed micro-manager.
If he combs the rulebook to figure out how to secretly tape teams hand signals or exploit substitution procedures, is it too far of a stretch to imagine him trying to find ways to make ball handling easier for the greatest quarterback of all time?
Remember it was Brady and the Pats who, in 2007, lobbied the league to change the rules about the home team providing game footballs to the visitor.
2007—the year the Pats went 18-1, a rat’s nose-hair away from a perfect season.
Is it that far of a stretch to imagine Belichick wondering how much easier it might be for receivers to catch a softer football?
How running backs can more tightly secure those same softer pigskins?
The analyses found here indicate the Patriots have been enjoying a clear competitive advantage in terms of total fumbles:
Let’s couple that competitive advantage with that well established library of NFL teams’ offensive and defensive signals and maybe the Pats record since Spygate is remarkable for other reasons than Bill Belichick’s genius.
Next thing you know, the Pats will pin Deflate-gate on a rogue ball-boy, demand an apology from the league and insist the head coach has much too much geniusing to do to worry about the PSI of Tom Brady’s footballs.
Somewhere in a remote cartoon desert, Wile E. Coyote is smiling…
THE FINAL TALLY …ALMOST
Well, you must admit I am consistent—at losing just enough money to convince myself I can do 10% better next year and beat the Gangsters.
I’ve been saying that for the last four years…
Like I said, I’m consistent…
Here’s the full tally for the 2015 NFL campaign…
REG. SEASON CUMULATIVE ATS = 126 – 126 – 4 .500
POST SEASON 5 – 5
CUMULATIVE SPECIALS = 37 – 35
GAME OF THE WEEK 9 – 11
LOCK OF THE WEEK 8 – 13
UPSET SPECIAL 7 – 13
O/U OF THE WEEK 17 – 3 PS WEEKLY O/Us 2 – 8
PREMEIRE PARLAY 2 – 1
RS CUMULATIVE O/Us 41– 39
If NASCAR were to name a race after me, it would be called the Gairzo .500…
SUPER BOWL XLIX
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +1.5 [47.5]
We’ve heard all the breakdowns and analysis…
Brady gives the Pats the edge…Belichick’s a genius…The New England corners will neutralize the pedestrian Seattle receivers…Gronkowski will have a big game because Kam Chancellor is injured…Legarrete Blount will run on the vulnerable ‘Hawks defense…
Pete Carroll will keep Belichick on his toes…The Pats won’t keep Russell Wilson from running all over them…Same thing for Marshawn Lynch…Seattle is uncreative on defense…
In the end, with two talented, supremely coached teams, both of whom have played on this grandest of stages—who the hell knows?
Here’s what I think I know: Tom Brady looks kind of ill to me…The Pat’s are chomping at the apple to get the Spygate albatross off their necks…I don’t think Chancellor or Sherman are hurt nearly as bad as Pete Carroll lets on…Both coaches will pull off some kind of unique special teams play…Carroll might try too hard to outsmart Belichick…LeGarrette Blount will fumble…Darrele Revis will not have a great game…Gronkowski will dominate the second half…Russell Wilson will score on a long run to make it a 10 point game late…The Seahawks defense will stop Brady’s comeback cold…
But really, who the hell knows…
Seahawk 27 Patriots 17
Luke Wilson MVP
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