Deflating the game

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady faces questions from the media (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady faces questions from the media (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty)

Champions don’t cut corners. They don’t make excuses. Champions don’t sneak, spy, or steal. Champions push themselves, challenge each other, and elevate the game they love.

The New England Patriots were the better team in the AFC Championship game. It was apparent from the start. They dominated the Indianapolis Colts in every way. And they won by a large margin. 45-7 to be exact.

They didn’t need to give themselves an unfair advantage. But from all angles, it appears they did. Someone did. And now, with the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl upon us, football fans aren’t talking about the Patriots’ decisive win, the dramatic overtime victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the Green Bay Packers, or the biggest game of the year. They’re talking about deflated footballs. You can’t turn around without hearing a ball joke and “deflategate” has been the top news story all week.

The NFL kicked off the season embroiled in off-the-field issues surrounding Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the fallout from which called into question the integrity of the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Now, it closes the season with an on-the-field issue, which takes direct aim at the integrity of the game itself.

What did the Patriots know? When did they know it? And who was responsible? We may never know.

My brilliant and witty friend, Shandon, coined Patriots quarterback Tom Brady “The Blue Jasmine of football.” If you didn’t see the movie Blue Jasmine, the script was loosely written around disgraced financier Bernie Madoff’s (now estranged) wife, Ruth, an “innocent bystander” who benefited greatly from her husband’s greed. Bill Belichick in the role of Bernie Madoff doesn’t seem like a stretch. Except, of course, for his wardrobe.

The problem is, this Patriots plot has more holes than an adult film. Belichick, a notorious control freak, admits to scheming to make practice balls uncatchable, but wants us to believe he’s never thought about a football on game day. And Brady, who has a process for picking and preparing balls, has never actually squeezed one. For the record, my sister Jennifer (who is a Tom Brady fan) says even she can tell the difference in a fully inflated ball when she’s throwing it around the backyard with my nephews.

This franchise is no stranger to cheating scandals. In 2007, Belichick was imposed a $500,000 fine (the maximum allowable) for his role in taping the defensive play calls of the Patriots’ opponents, earning the nickname “Belicheat.” Now, with their team headed back to the Super Bowl, New England fans find themselves in the position of defending the Patriots and their accolades once again.

If the game isn’t fair, then the game means nothing. And this game means too much to too many people for that. The attention created by deflated footballs is not silly. As Tony Kornheiser said on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, “It shows you what the NFL means to this country.”

A strong stance is needed from the man in charge of defending the NFL shield. And with the game on the line, Roger Goodell can leave no doubt as to which team he’s on.

Time for a big play, Commissioner.

I hope you have it in you.

XO

Not your average Bill Belichick press conference

Patriots coach Bill Belichick breaks his silence (USA Today Sports)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick breaks his silence
(Photo: USA Today Sports)

This…was a different Bill Belichick. At least, from the one we see publicly.

Addressing the media for the first time since the murder investigation surrounding their former tight end, the head coach of the New England Patriots showed a side of himself we rarely ever see.

He was…human.

Belichick opened by saying he thought it was important to address the Aaron Hernandez situation before the start of training camp. It was the only time he referred to Hernandez by name. After that, he was just a “player.”

The coach called it “a sad day, on so many levels,” saying he found out about the investigation when he was out of the country and that it left him “shocked and disappointed.”

He reached out to the family of the victim, Odin Lloyd, sending thoughts and prayers to them and anyone else who had been impacted by the tragedy.

And Bill Belichick also took responsibility, saying that as coach he is “primarily responsible” for the players they bring in. He stressed the extensive evaluation process the Patriots use, but admitted it was “far from perfect.”

“We try to look at every single situation on a case-by-case basis and try to do what’s best for the football team and what’s best for the franchise. Most of those decisions have worked out, but some don’t.”  -Bill Belichick

Calling it a “terrible experience,” Belichick vowed the Patriots would learn from it and use it to become a better team.

This was a different Bill Belichick press conference. He admitted feeling personally disappointed and hurt. He showed sorrow and evoked sympathy. He was honest, humble, and straightforward throughout.

A different Bill Belichick…or a different Bill Belichick press conference?

That remains to be seen.

But, I know one thing…

I like this guy. I’m pulling for this guy…and his team.

And that’s something I never said about the old Bill Belichick.

XO

Belichick and Tebow…new NFL “Odd Couple”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tim Tebow as Broncos QB (Photo: espn.go.com)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tim Tebow as Broncos QB
(Photo: espn.go.com)

Mr. Sunshine…meet Mr. Curmudgeon. Yes, Tim Tebow and Bill Belichick are the NFL’s new odd “it” couple. And it’s official…Tim Tebow is a Patriot. It’s just so right…and so wrong. And it just might be crazy enough to work.

Let’s end the speculation on whether Belichick did this for fun. The only thing Bill Belichick does for fun is…kill fun. There will be no circus. There will be no Tebowmania. Unfortunately for us ladies, there will be no Tim Tebow running shirtless in the rain. Bill Belichick only wants one thing from the media…to be left alone. If you don’t believe me, google his press conference. It’s so uncomfortable, I’d rather have a root canal than even watch it on TV.

On a positive note…Belichick vs. Tebowmania just might make my 2013 NFL season.

But make no mistake, when Patriots training camp rolls around it will be all about one thing…business. The business of winning a Super Bowl. And clearly, Bill Belichick (or someone in the Patriots organization) thinks Tebow can help them accomplish that.

As head coach of the Denver Broncos, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted Tim Tebow with a first round pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Belichick is tight with Tebow’s college coach, Urban Meyer. Tebow comes to New England with the playbook (if you can call it that) of the Patriots’ divisional rival, the New York Jets.

There is not a more competitive coach than Bill Belichick. Not in the NFL. Or anywhere. If he can take Tebow from the non-season he had with the Jets, and turn him into a playmaker of any kind, Belichick will further cement his legacy as one of the most creative, innovative, and overall best coaches in NFL history.

Signing Tebow as a Patriot…$1,360,000.*

Buffered fortress at training camp…$250,000.

Schooling your divisional rival…Priceless.

Tim Tebow is a Patriot.

Let the games begin.

Oh, and watch this.

XO

*Two years, no guaranteed upfront money.

Anna Burns Welker makes debut as spokeswoman for Patriots Wives Club

Anna Burns Welker(Photo: USA Today)

Anna Burns Welker
(Photo: USA Today)

Looks like Mrs. Brady handed her position as spokeswoman for the Patriots Wives Club over to someone else…Mrs. Welker.

Gisele Bundchen, wife of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, was overheard criticizing her husband’s teammates following last year’s Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.

While being heckled by fans, Bundchen was overheard saying, “My husband can not F***ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.” The exchange was caught on camera by theinsider.com.

This time, it was Anna Burns Welker, wife of Patriots Wide Receiver Wes Welker, who went on a rant following the team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game on Sunday night. Mrs. Welker took to her Facebook page, where she posted the following statement (via thebiglead.com):

“Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids, 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”

For the record, the Ravens linebacker does have six children by four women, but has never been married. Not sure if that makes a difference, but if you’re going to judge…at least start with the facts.

And by the way, Anna Burns Welker does not have a Wikipedia page. But she is listed on her husband’s…as Miss Hooters 2005. A true role model, indeed. Be careful, honey. It’s dangerous to judge wearing six-inch platform heels. Wouldn’t want you to fall down and hurt yourself stepping off that pedestal.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick took some heat for refusing an on field interview following his team’s loss. He did the obligatory uncomfortable press conference, however…full of awkward silence and yes and no answers.

Here’s an idea…how about we spare the coach and let the Patriots wives handle the press from now on?

They always seem to have something to say.

XO

Bill…we need to talk. It’s about The Hoodie…

Dear Bill,

I’m going to call this tough love.  Because even if we don’t love you, we certainly love to hate you.  See…the thing is, we need to talk.  It’s not me, Bill.  It’s you.  And specifically, your wardrobe choices.

I was encouraged at the start of the season.  Week one you debuted a short sleeve windbreaker that, coupled with the visor, gave you a great golfer look.  Well done.

Bill Belichick, Week One

You carried the windbreaker into week two and by week three, you unveiled a smart mock turtleneck that was both professional and sporty.  And the khaki pants were a nice complement.  A good look on you.  Very good.

Week Three

And then came week four.  Or as I like to call it, The Return of the Hoodie.  Why, Bill?  Why?  What happened?  Did you just stop trying?

Week Four

It’s a look you’ve stuck with…the hideous grey Hoodie with the cutoff sleeves.  Not a good look.  At all.  In fact, last week you made Jets Coach Rex Ryan look stylish in his Dockers and grandpa sweater vest.  Well, somewhat stylish.  It was a low bar.

Week Seven

I know it’s football.  And I know no points are awarded for style.  And I don’t want to offend anyone, but quite frankly, you look like a homeless person.  And it’s the homeless I’m worried about offending here.

You are a professional, Bill.  And you represent The New England Patriots, one of the classiest teams in the National Football League.  I mean…Robert Kraft.  Does it get any classier than that?  I know he had that thing where he read the porn script, but everyone gets a freebie.

You, on the other hand, are out of free coupons.  This has gone on too long already.  My mother is downright offended by your look.  She thinks it’s disrespectful to the game.  And I think she’s right.  She usually is, you know.

What happened to dress for success?  Let’s go back to week three.  Didn’t you feel classy, sophisticated, when your team…lost?  And then…week four, when you slummed it?  Didn’t you feel like a loser when your team…won?

Forget it.

Maybe it is me.  I guess I should just be grateful you don’t complete the cutoff grey hoodie with cutoff grey sweats.

At least, not on game day…

As you were.

XO