Mr. Brady Goes On Vacation (Maybe)

american-football-wilson

The whole circus that has become the Deflategate scandal took a step closer to conclusion yesterday when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court denied to hear Tom Brady’s appeal. Unless Brady and his legal team take the matter to the Supreme Court, he will serve his four game suspension during the first four New England Patriots games of the 2016 regular season.

It was one of the stories where no one, not Roger Goodell, Tom Brady, or the NFL itself, came away looking good from it. I’m just glad it’s over with, or at least almost over with. The reputations of Goodell and Brady took the most critical hits, in my opinion, even with “justice being served” if you believe the NFL propaganda here.

Funny how the league turned a blind eye when bounties existed in the NFL prior to the New Orleans Saints scandal, and turned a blind eye to football deflating when other QB’s other than Mr. Brady were doing such things. It seems that the higher the profile a team or player has, the higher the standard they are judged by.

It shouldn’t be that way. If you break the rules, you pay the price, no matter who you are.

 

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2016 Predictions!

baby-new-year-2016

For those of you that have started following this blog in 2015 (and thank you so much for doing so), I have this thing I do every year, either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day where I give predictions for the year ahead. Right now, I’m on a bit of a hot streak, having nailed at least one prediction in 2014 (Seattle over Denver in the Super Bowl that year), and again in 2015 (Mayweather over Pacquiao in the big prizefight of the year).

So here we go with predictions in 10 “areas” for the coming year.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Some of you are not going to like this first one, but not even his crazy commentary at times will be able to stop Donald Trump’s ascent to the President, as he easily beats a politically weakened Hillary Clinton in the fall and becomes the 45th US President. A weaker economy and ongoing terrorist acts pave the way for the Donald on his march to DC.

ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN: Much as was the case in 2008, there will be a brief but deep panic over the US economy that plays a big role into the coming elections. Stock markets will tumble a bit, unemployment figures will sharply rise by year’s end with a lot of people worried about what a Trump presidency will mean to them.

CUBS WIN IT ALL: The biggest sports story of the year is that the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Yankees in five games, spawning off massive celebrations at Wrigley Field. It’ll be their first World title since 1908, with Joe Maddon a unanimous choice for Manager of the Year honors.

SUDDEN DEATH AT THE SUPER BOWL: The New England Patriots shock the world by upsetting the heavily favored Arizona Cardinals (who themselves upset Carolina in Charlotte for the NFC title two weeks prior) 41-38 in overtime to win Super Bowl 50. The Patriots trailed the Cardinals 38-17 in the fourth quarter before Tom Brady leads the great comeback in what will be regarded as the greatest Super Bowl of all time.

BRADY RETIRES, (SO DOES GOODELL), AND BECOMES A BROADCASTER: A few weeks after the game, Tom Brady decides to retire on top, becoming an analyst for ESPN on Monday Night Football with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden.

At the NFL Draft, cameras catch Roger Goodell and a woman (who’s later revealed to be the widow of a former NFL player) in a spirited exchange over the ongoing concussions issue, with Goodell being dismissive of the issue not knowing cameras were running.

A noted second-tier broadcaster of NFL games retires, much like Howard Cosell stopped doing boxing in 1982, citing concerns for the well being of NFL athletes and that the league isn’t doing enough to protect players regarding concussions.

REALITY FADING: With American Idol leaving the air this year, two CBS staples, Survivor and Big Brother, also announce that their series will be ending by the end 2020, with BB making plans for their 20th season in 2018 to be their farewell.

THE NEXT BIG THING: Melissa McCarthy of Mike And Molly fame becomes a rapidly rising media mogul, launching a daily hour long talk show that becomes an instant hit while also drawing continued criticism of “selling out” the overweight community which proves to be a bit more hype than real.

WILD, WACKY WEATHER: The unusual weather pattern of 2015/16 continues, with areas of Texas through the Carolinas getting more snow than what the Midwest normally gets. Hurricane season will be another yawner, as 2015 was.

OTHER SPORTS PREDICTIONS: Alabama beats Oklahoma to win the national championship, while the Warriors beat Cleveland in four straight to repeat as NBA champs. Chicago again reigns on the ice, beating the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup. Ronda Rousey easily beats Holly Holm in their much anticipated UFC rematch by submission in less than 90 seconds. The US dominates the 2016 Olympics in Rio, with Brazil finishing third in medals behind Russia for their best Olympic Games ever. In soccer, England wins the 2016 European championships by stunning heavily favored Spain.

JUST ONE MORE THING: A woman wins the 2016 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in November.

Happy New Year!

The Sinking Ship

Roger Goodell, NFL commish.
Roger Goodell, NFL commish.

I made the comment on Facebook yesterday that the National Football League seems to be coming apart at the seams.

This new extra point rule: I don’t get it. It takes a lot of the element of surprise out of extra points. Say you have a team that wants to go for two points on a fake extra point. Now, they have to find a good fake extra point play that will gain 15 yards for the score as opposed to a play that could just gain a couple of yards. Yes, you’ll see a few more missed extra points as the season progresses, especially when they play in colder weather. However, I just think it’s one of the ways that Roger Goodell is ruining the National Football League.

And don’t get me started on Deflategate, and the sham that has become.

There was also the strange saga of Geno Smith. The New York Jets quarterback got punched in the jaw by one of his own players in training camp yesterday, breaking it. The offending player was quickly released from the squad, but the damage was done. Smith will now this somewhere between 6 to 10 weeks by damage inflicted by one of his own players!

Could you see this happening in any other era but the present? Whatever happened to being part of a team?

For me, it was just another sign that the National Football League is spiraling out of control with Roger Goodell as Commissioner. The game has become somewhat dysfunctional, and while Goodell did not throw that punch at Geno Smith yesterday, it’s just a sign that this season is going to be one of the craziest seasons we have ever seen in the NFL.

Perhaps that’s just the way the league wants it, no?

Everybody Loses

The verdict came down for Tom Brady today: a four game suspension commencing with the start of the 2015 season.  The New England Patriots were fined $1,000,000 and will forfeit two draft picks in the next two NFL drafts.

It left me furious and conflicted, for reasons I laid out last week, and it left me with the impression that no one will come out looking great after all of this.  Not Tom Brady, not Roger Goodell, not the NFL, not sports in general.

Mr. Brady’s legacy was secure before he got caught in this scheme to deflate footballs, which he wasn’t alone in the history of the NFL in ever doing.  But because he refused to answer questions, or to cooperate in an investigation into his actions that OTHERS have also done, he got punished, much like Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints did a few years back.

I’m not saying Tom Brady is innocent in this, far from it.  Like I said last week, the NFL, instead of looking at the core issues of why teams put bounties out to injure players (to win games, duh!) or deflate footballs insure that these villains have one face.

Roger Goodell, after all, has a tidiness urge.

Number 12 of the New England Patriots gave up his integrity and possibly a road paved in gold to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to get an unneeded edge in an effort to get into his sixth Super Bowl.  That’s tragic and laughable at the same time.  He has stained his game, just like the juiced up home run hitting baseball players did the past two decades.

Pete Rose was a pariah to baseball for over a quarter century because he bet on his baseball team and used his knowledge of the game to make bets, a “crime” for which he’s finally getting back on his feet for, landing a FOX analyst gig.  Tom Brady gets four games for deflating a football.  He should have gotten more games, and he should have been suspended for the Super Bowl which he wound up winning in a fluke of a finish.

Sometimes (and only sometimes) there is no justice in the world, and as long as Roger Goodell is the NFL commissioner, those injustices will outweigh the justice.

Burn The Witch!

The NFL released their findings on that whole Deflategate debacle last January, saying that Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and even owner Robert Kraft more likely than not knew about it.

I don’t deny that the Patriots probably did what has been alleged.  My problem with all of this is, just as was the case with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, the NFL wants you to believe that the villain only has one face (or, in this case, a handful of faces) and thus must make an example of the perpetrator.

The Saints weren’t the only team to place bounties on other players, but the only team who got caught, ditto the Patriots and their heinous deeds.

My point is: how convenient for the NFL to figure all of this out now, three months removed from the Super Bowl, a week removed from the NFL draft.  They should have acted sooner, not later.

A Large Dinosaur

The National Football League is a dinosaur.  There, I said it.

It may never get as better as it was Sunday evening, with the Seahawks one yard away from back-to-back NFL titles, which would have been the eighth such occurrence in the Super Bowl Era. We all know what happened after that, with the Patriots, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady now anointed onto the NFL holy grail.

But I also see a ship beginning to sink that is the NFL. As Keith Olbermann points out in the above clip, is it usually tradition for the commissioner of the league (in this case Roger Goodell) to be interviewed by the anchor of the pregame show of the network hosting the Super Bowl on TV, which this year was Bob Costas. Goodell declined to be interviewed, something that escaped my notice because I don’t usually tune in to the pregame show for a football game until about 15-20 before the game’s scheduled start time. I didn’t turn NBC on Sunday until 5:40 or so, Eastern time.

Think about that. A network that pays 640 some-odd million dollars to air NFL games got snubbed by a commissioner who makes $44,000,000 a year.

The owners of the NFL need to think about ditching this guy, for their own sake, if not the future of the league. All the talk about concussions will drive America’s parents to decide their children are better off in other sports, like soccer, baseball, and basketball. The league will survive next year, the year after that, and the few years following, but what about 10-20 years from now? Will there still be an NFL? A Super Bowl? Will the game be as big as it once was back in 2015 when NBC aired it and broke the record for the largest audience of all time?

On the path they are on, I doubt it. They seem more interested in the here and the now then their futures. They pillage the present and bleaken the future.

Football Blues

I like your product, Roger...I just don't like you.
I like your product, Roger…I just don’t like you.

It wasn’t a weekend entirely football free, but it may as well have been.

With the Buccaneers playing (if you could call it that) Thursday night in Atlanta, and with my favorite college football team (Notre Dame) not playing this weekend, I watched very little pigskin. I caught the tail end of the FSU-Clemson game (which FSU won in overtime without a QB embroiled in a scandal of his own doing) and that was about it. I watched the Rays games and the playoff contending teams in baseball, and Netflix. I didn’t know until I woke up this morning what happened in the big Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl rematch game yesterday afternoon, or the Steelers-Panthers game last night.

If you’ve been reading my last few blogs, I think I’m footballed out as a result of the Roger Goodell-Ray Rice scandal. It ripped the scab off of the NFL for me, and the pus is flying everywhere. If a guy gets paid $44,000,000 a year to do a job that poorly, his product shouldn’t be watched or bought.

I found other things to do this weekend. I imagine some of you did too. I don’t know if my quasi-boycott is going to last once baseball season ends in about a month, but as long as the “Jolly Roger” is commissioner, I will do my damnedest to find other things to conquer.