DeflateGate, the Patriots, and the Steelers – NFL FootballWednesday, September 9, 2015 8:00
NFL 2015 is here. Reflections on DeflateGate and a look at the Steelers.
NFL 2015…ARE YOU READY FOR SOME PROPERLY INFLATED FOOTBALL?!!
Since your humble columnist has recently been hired to write a couple screenplays, my weekly posts will be different in 2015. Usually we go in depth on pre-season predictions, then, about mid-year we laugh at how mostly wrong we were and gloat at the rare prognostications that became reality…
This NFL campaign we will wing it and see if our predictions make any more—or less—sense.
Before we get to that bit in Wednesday’s column, I have to put my two bits in on the Brady decision and discuss a development in Pittsburgh that may portend an uncertain future at the Confluence.
The owners and their wooden dummy, Roger Goodell, blew what should have been an easy win in their quest to suspend Brady…
What kills me about lawyers is they too often don’t subscribe to the fundamental dos and don’t of their profession. I mean, it usually helps to read the legal document governing your actions.
Instead of pointing to the section of the relevant manual, document, or rulebook and focusing on how Brady was generally aware of the deflation and insisting on hearing from the Deflator and his partner; concentrating on Brady’s lies about his undeniable contacts and their purpose with his “Co-conspirators”; or, better yet, sanctioning the Patriots based on the culture of cheating—“pushing the envelope” if your from New England—created by Bill Belichick and docking New England the entire 2016 draft instead of one pick and a fine, the owners go after Tom Brady…
Proof even billionaires, lots of them running a monopoly, can be blithering idiots.
My readers know I hate the Patriots. Bill Belichick is a disgrace to coaching and punishing him for being the guy in charge, the guy who was behind Brady’s push to change the rules governing footballs in ’07, and the guy whose team’s fumble numbers since ’07 are off the charts, would have shown the deluded, arrogant Patriot fan base and the rest of the world who gives a damn that the man is a cheater and his trophies tainted.
Instead the owners, via Goodell, launched an independent investigation targeting Tom Brady—who proved he could throw properly inflated balls in the AFCCG’s second half—the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Even Patriot haters could see the legal maze the owners were navigating…They punish Brady for “not cooperating,” yet, when his turn came to have his say, Goodell denied Brady access to documents and wouldn’t let Jeffrey Pash testify why and how he—NFL chief counsel—was involved in Ted Well’s “independent” investigation.
It was three weeks ago when Judge Berman asked Goodell and his minions: “Are you aware there is a CBA?”
I’m no lawyer, but common sense tells me that may have been the perfect moment to intensify negotiations with Brady’s team, take their best offer, and get the hell out of Dodge.
If the owners would have made Kraft and Belichick pay for fostering a culture of cheating, they could have made Belichick do a 50 yard-line striptease prior to Thursday’s opener.
They could have made the Pats play their opener at 1:00pm on Sunday against, say, the Jaguars.
They could have suspended Belichick for a year—the punishment he should have received when he got busted the first time.
All of the above could have been a quickly done deal for the two cheaters who deserved whatever they got because NFL coaches and Kraft’s partners are not governed by any CBA!!!
Problem was, the NFL has, for the past eight years, invested a lot of money, media manipulation and PR to rehabilitate and elevate Belichick’s status to absurd heights. One of the first NFL approved moves after the AFCCG was to exonerate the Patriots Coach/GM from any involvement in deflating balls.
Only a blithering idiot would believe that.
Judge Berman didn’t rule on Brady’s culpability with The Deflator or any other personnel.
He didn’t rule on the validity of Brady’s ridiculous statements or the nature of the quarterback’s contact with the Deflator.
He didn’t rule on the compelling evidence indicating, for the last seven years, the Patriots have indeed enjoyed a competitive advantage as clearly reflected in their fumble statistics. (Any coach, player or GM will tell you, slightly under inflated balls are significantly easier to throw, catch, and secure.)
Judge Berman ruled on the NFL’s biased investigation and fundamental procedural unfairness based on a collectively bargained agreement.
His honor’s decision was not only well reasoned and eminently fair, but also brilliantly written.
Proof positive some law degrees are worth the money.
Since the merger in 1970 no team can boast about defensive greatness like the Pittsburgh Steelers…
Defensively, the Steelers have been the most dominant team in NFL history:
Top 10 Defenses = 30 Seasons
Top 5 Defenses = 21 seasons
Top Three Defenses = 17 Seasons
Number 1 Defense = 8 Seasons
In 2014, Pittsburgh ranked 18th in total defense. This pre-season, new Defensive Coordinator, Keith Butler, and Head Coach, Mike Tomlin seem intent on utilizing Tampa Two or Cover Two schemes with the 3-4 personnel they’ve been drafting for eight years.
Just this week, I was mortified to hear the sports editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jerry Micco, state with conviction that the Tampa Two or Cover Two defense was invented in Tampa under Tony Dungy—who we will now cite as our resident horse’s mouth:
“Chuck Noll,” says the Colts coach, who played for Noll’s Steelers in the late 1970s and later became his defensive coordinator. “He’s the one who first played it, and he’s the one who taught it to me.”]
Given all of the above, I am compelled to write two sentences I could never fathom—until I watched the Buffalo Bills offense play “Deliverance” with the Steelers defense…
As presently constituted and coordinated, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense absolutely sucks…In her prime, Linda Lovelace would have marveled at how deeply they suck.
Second and third string Bills’ QBs pulled the ears off the Steelers defenders and the Black & Gold were squealing like sacrificial pigs in tighty whities—ALL DAMN DAY! It turned into unbearable screeching after RB, Fred Davis slashed his way to a 40+ yard run on the games first play and TE, Cameron Clay, snared a bullet down the middle seam for a Buffalo touchdown.
The Tampa Two is specifically designed to thwart long pass plays and stop the run.
Butler, Tomlin, and the Rooneys better pray their defensively dismal pre-season was the result of trying new schemes or holding back…
Unfortunately the ineptness of his defense isn’t Mike Tomlin’s biggest worry. The recent signing of Michael Vick on the heels of choosing Ryan Shazier—a Derek Brooks clone and Tampa Two prototype—number one in 2014, ends the debate as to who has the final say in Steelers personnel matters.
The Pittsburgh brain trust can feed their fans crapola about consensus and how everyone has equal input all they want. History tells the tale:
- Myron Cope didn’t dub Chuck Noll The Emperor because he liked Penguins. The Rooneys deferred to the only legitimate four-time Super Bowl winning coach since the day he was hired.
- They refused to accept Bill Cowher’s resignation after his infamous late ‘90s stand-off with, then, defacto GM, Tom Donahoe…
- They accepted Donahoe’s resignation immediately…
Now, it seems, the Rooneys okayed the signing of Michael Vick.
He and Tomlin are from the same Virginia hometown.
Bottom line: This is Mike Tomlin’s team, more specifically, his defense.
Pittsburgh over performed last year with a third place schedule. This year, the Steelers have the NFL’s most difficult slate of opponents, a new defensive philosophy, injuries, suspensions—and the baggage of an animal abuser to distract them from playing fundamentally sound football.
Critics who point to Tomlin’s teams as undisciplined don’t seem as misguided as they used to be, if the 2015 pre-season is to be believed. Illegal procedure, late hits, blown coverage’s…It was painful folks…
Steeler Nation might want to join their team, coaches and owners in praying for a good year…
And they better pray good…
I’ll be handicapping again this year, beginning with a my post on Wednesday…
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