I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the odds that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl has dropped significantly. Bianca washed my Brady jersey. If you know anything about football, then you know the Pats success is due to the fact that I don’t wash my jersey during the year, only at the end. Let’s try and keep it together.
I know you may not believe me, but I’m happy to provide significant evidence to the case.
It was November, 24, 2013, and the Patriots were hosting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos along with the traitor Wes Welker. It was a cold night, but the fans were into the game, and I was watching another version of the epic Brady Manning saga from my friend’s apartment in West L.A.
Everything was normal and consistent except for one small detail: I was wearing a Randy Moss jersey. I have always worn my throw back Brady jersey, but tonight, I was feeling like I needed a bit of a stylistic change. So I wore the Randy Moss jersey.
I didn’t realize what I had done. I couldn’t have imagined what disturbance in the force I had caused, and as Peyton and the Broncos kicked off the game with a stampede of touchdowns, I looked up at the scoreboard at half time and realized that we were down 24-0.
How could this be? How could the Broncos slow down a dynamic offense like the Patriots? Something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
My friend, let’s call him Steve, was ready to quit and change the channel. The Chargers fan, let’s call him Jay, who was also in the room, started to say Brady was washed up.
But I couldn’t give up. No, I’ve watched this show too many times to quit.
That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t wearing my Brady jersey.
I told Jay and Steve I had to go, and I raced back to my apartment, desperately searched for my Brady jersey hanging in the closet with the rest of my clothes, looking forgotten and jilted. Heroically, I threw the jersey on and came back to the apartment. I pointed at the Chargers fan straight in the eye and said: This is far from over.
Well, I’m sure you know what happened. The Patriots came roaring back and won the game. But it was all because of my jersey. Not the play of the Patriots or coaching. It was my jersey that won the game.
Now, a dark cloud will roll over the Patriots 2017 season, because my wife, Heron, has washed my jersey. Best of luck Brady!
I can not believe what just happened. My heart is racing, and I’m still wearing the same Tom Brady jersey that I’ve been sporting all season. My wife is thrilled that I’ll finally wash the smelly thing. My dad and brother are at the Cask n’ Flagon just outside of Fenway Park, screaming and yelling with thousands of other Massholes. Somewhere Richard Sherman is crying over a bowl of Campbell’s chunky soup that his mom brought to him from a helicopter. My cowboys’ fan friend, Dan Stroud, is taking off his Seahawks jersey and wondering why he is such a fair weather fan and when the Cowboy will make the Super Bowl. (Never again!) Gronkowski is already dancing. Brady and Belichick are probably having a staring contest and then hugging after someone loses. Patriots nation is in utter pandamonium. And I’m just sitting here, completely amazed that an undrafted free agent from the University of West Alabama made the play of his life after he had a vision that he would play a part in one of the biggest moment in SB49. This is a Super Bowl that will go down in history, and because blogs are so much about the moment — almost artifacts of cultural consciousness — I wanted to share some of my rapid reactions.
For the rest of Pete Carroll’s career, he will be questioned and lambasted for his decision to pass on 2nd and goal instead of running Beast Mode up the the middle. It’s a silly call, and it probably cost the Seahawks the game, but after hearing what Carroll had to say about the decision puts the strategy in perspective. According to Carroll, the Patriots were in their goal-line defense, and the Seahawks had three wide receives on the field. In that formation, it makes sense to catch the Patriots off guard and pass for what would be an easy touchdown. Unfortunately for Pete and the 12, Malcolm Butler just made the play of his life, and he will always be remembered in Massachusetts and New England as long as American life exists.
Bill Belichick’s No Call
While Pete Carroll will forever be associated with his terrible call in the fourth quarter, I have a feeling that Bill Belichick will not receive the respect he deserves for his no call in that goal-line situation. After Lynch ran for a couple of yards on first down, the clock was ticking down, and I couldn’t believe that the hoodie wasn’t calling a time out to ensure that Brady had enough seconds to score a touchdown or at least set up a field goal. However, he didn’t call a time out. I was screaming at the television for him to call a time out, but he didn’t. He just left his players on the field. I actually think this was a legendary decision. By not calling the time out, which I’m sure the Seahawks were expecting, it caused indecision on the Seahawks sideline. They eventually called the play that would lead to the biggest interception of the game. At the end of the game, the hoodie said the Seahawk’s decision to pass didn’t surprise him. Could he really be that smart in that situation? He does always preach situational football.
Malcolm Butler is a Football Prophet
I’m so thankful that we’re talking about Malcolm Butler’s incredible interception on the one-yard line instead of Jermaine Kearse’s freakish catch. Butler’s interception was about preparation. In the post game, Butler mentioned that he had seen that play in film study before, and he read the play and reacted. That’s one thing about the Patriots that is often overlooked: They study harder than any team in the NFL. Butler said that he had a vision of a similar play, and this just goes to put more value in the idea of visualization in sports. He saw what he needed and followed through. What’s the most unbelievable part of Malcolm Butler’s journey is that he was an undrafted free agent. He turned heads on the practice field in the preseason, and he was recognized by the coach. That’s what I love about the Patriots: It doesn’t matter what your name is, it doesn’t matter where you were drafted, it only matters how you play.
Richard Sherman’s Face
The only reason I hate Richard Sherman is because he’s not on my team. If he was on my side, I would love him. I would love his swagger. I would love his skill. I would love his stupid commercials and his need for attention. But because he’s not on my team, I only have one question for you Richard:
In the end, this is one of the best games I’ve seen as a football fan. Just take a look at the difference in these two reactions. Congrats Patriots Nation. Now enough about football for a while. Back to writing a novel.
It’s been a week since the news that 11 out of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in their game against the Indianapolis Colts were reported to be under inflated. The New England Patriots’ footballs were allegedly filled to 10.5 PSI — two pounds below the league minimum. An uproar ensued and America demanded football justice. Bill Belichik and Tom Brady were seen awkwardly answering questions in front of a media that were firing off probing questions as if they were interviewing Obama after he announced that America was planning to invade Canada for their maple syrup. Now the Patriots legacy is under question, and the evidence seems to suggest the Patriots are a bunch of freaking cheaters.
So, yeah, I’m a Patriots fan. I’m almost an obsessed Patriots fan. I read more articles on the Patriots in a given day than any man should, and I study formations, bench players, and strategy as if I thought any day the hoodie would call me up on the phone after a key injury and ask me if I wanted to suit up. “I’m ready coach.” As my brother-in-law says, I’m almost as much of a homer as the guy in the Saturday Night Live skit below, Dougie Spoons. “You think you can do what Brady does?”
Here is why I’m a Patriots fan. I’m from Massachusetts, and while I can’t stand the winters or the short days and the cold, I love my home. I love where I’m from, but I haven’t lived there in almost ten years. I have friends there, and I am aware that I am who I am today because of Clinton, Massachusetts. It built me. So I root for the Patriots, because I’m cheering for my roots. The Patriots represent something about my hometown that sports teams like the Packers and Steelers accomplish for their respected cities. We’re a bunch of wicked hard-working people who battle awful weather. People in Massachusetts are rugged, strong, grumpy; we work jobs that put callouses on our hands; we drink Dunkin Donuts coffee instead of that Seattle crap; and we never quit. We never quit believing that life is about hard work, family, and showing up every day as if it’s our last. We are underdogs. (Of course, this isn’t all Massholes, but these are the ones I love.)
Enter Tom Brady. He’s a quarterback that was benched at Michigan. He was a player who showed up at the NFL combine who looked like he was actually about to be examined for scoliosis. He is an athlete who no one ever thought would be successful. He was a sixth round draft pick. Now, he is on his way to be the greatest quarterback of all time. He renegotiated his contract to give his team a discount in an era where free agents try to acquire the most money. He never quits. Every year, he leads a team with people like Julian Edelman, Alan Branch, Jermaine Wiggins, Shane Vereen, James Develin — football players who played different positions in college or couldn’t find a spot on any other team. He leads a team of people who were unwanted, undesired…cast off. And they play like a team. They preach team first. They are Massachusetts.
I consider myself an underdog. In high school, I couldn’t even spell, and I had no idea what a comma splice was. I received a D minus my freshmen year in English; I was told that being a writer is like trying to find a way to travel to the moon with a go-kart; and I’m trying to prove everyone wrong. I have a chip on my shoulder. I’m hungry, angry. So how do you think I took the news of deflategate?
It hurt. To think that the team I believe in is using a competitive advantage, one as bush league as deflating footballs, it was like someone just told me my best friend was spitting in my beer every time I went to the bathroom for four years. I wanted to believe that it wasn’t true. It had to be the weather. There had to be an explanation. I’m still a bit torn about this; Bill Nye the Science guy even came out and said Belichik was full of shit:
It’s a bit suspicious though that Bill Nye is a Seahawks fan. There are so many questions surrounding deflategate (Did the hoodie give the order? Did Brady instruct one of his ball boys to deflate the balls? Didn’t Brady look like he was hiding something in his press conference?) that led anyone with common sense to think that the Patriots are, in fact, a bunch of cheaters. The way that the evidence stands, right now, seems to me that someone in my beloved organization is cheating.
The worst statistic that I have found was a graph on fumbles. People are talking about how Brady was the one deflating the balls to ensure a better grip and a better quality ball, but if the Patriots are deflating balls, then it’s not for the aerial attack; it’s more for the running game and yards after the catch. Look at this graph on fumbles from Slate:
As you can see in the graph, the Patriots had far more offensive plays per fumble than the second best team in the NFL. It’s almost not even comparable. How could they be that much better at ball security. Granted, the hoodie does preach and practice ball security in innovated ways, and he even had a runner, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who went an entire year without a fumble. While this seems like a great stat, someone actually looked at his fumbles with the Patriots compared to his fumbles with his next team, the Bengals. From 2008 to 2011, Green-Ellis didn’t have a fumble once with the Patriots. In two seasons with the Bengals, he fumbled a total of five times.
When I look at whether or not the Patriots are guilty, I see a lot of data that suggests that they are, but it’s still not proven.
On the way home today, I heard Boomer Esiason on the radio talking about the Patriots and whether or not they were cheaters. He made an excellent point. In the game against the Colts, Tom Brady under threw Shan Vereen by about five yards. He threw an under thrown interception, where he had Gronk open over the middle. He wasn’t performing well, so if he did deflate the ball the technique wasn’t working. Also, why would Belichik call a second press conference and emphatically state that there was no wrong doing from the Patriots after his first press conference. He knows his legacy is on the line, and he knows that people are suspicious: would he really double down on his teams’ innocence, publicly and emphatically, if we was still cheating? Think about Barry Bonds: he ducked the media on the steroid question.
The answer could be yes, but we don’t really know.
I read another theory from the Boston Globe that was intriguing. Chuck Pagano was the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens with John Harbaugh, who was pissed that the Patriots used “trick” plays with ineligible receivers in the divisional championship round. People are starting to get suspicious of a revenge plot from Harbaugh. What I’m reading is that perhaps Pagano and Harbaugh were scheming together to make it look like the Patriots were deflating their balls.
Yes I know that I’m making some paranoid, Homeland type conspiracy theories here, but Harbaugh is pissed. Could it be possible that the Colts inflated their balls outside in the cold temperature, knowing that the balls would lose air if the balls were inflated inside, in order to make it seem like the Patriots were cheating? Could the Patriots actually be innocent? Well, in the words of the great Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett, anything is possible…Let’s go Patriots! Your comments are always appreciated. Hopefully we can start talking about the game this week.
Today I’m beginning a new series called “My Thoughts on the Zeitgeist.” Let me explain. In my role as creative director at Circa Interactive, I have to stay on top of the media to create content that taps into larger trends. I have to remain cognizant of the broader narratives for journalism. I have to understand what’s ahead and building to a boiling point in order to create timely blog content. And I have to continue to find ways to keep my creative pieces relevant by following the world as closely as possible. At work, when we’re in that moment, in the spirit of the times, we call this tapping into the zeitgeist. So I’m always reading the news, and I figured I could use this strategy a bit more for my blog posts. I decided to start a series on my blog that examines a few stories in the media (sports, culture, law, finance, marketing, SEO, literature, etc) and comment on them. Simple as that. This will be the first week.
1. “Bipolar Wackos” in the NFL Playoffs
As you may know, I’m a huge Patriots fan. Tom Brady is a superstar that was once an underdog. I find the team inspiring, and in terms of digital media, the Patriots website is one of the leaders in advancing content marketing and sports business. Like most people, I was absorbed in the playoff game between the Ravens and the Patriots, and I must have read every single article on Twitter about the game and the strange formations.
While I was going trough my twitter feed this morning, a story on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s coverage that caught my attention. It was about a fight between Steve Smith, current Ravens wide receiver, and Jermaine Wiggins, former New England Patriot tight end who became a legend in the tuck-rule game. The big story was that Steve Smith approached Wiggins after the game to let him know that he was upset over being called a bully. Sure, this sounds like two middle schoolers fighting in the parking lot after a baseball game, but it’s sports. So I’m not expecting a conversation analyzing the plot of “American Beauty.”
Scott Zolak, a former Patriot who interviews Belichick on the Bellestrator (the hoodie breaks down film of previous games, and it’s incredible), starts to give a play-by-play of the incident. I’m listening and intrigued, but then he says this: “Steve Smith is a diminutive guy. He’s about as big as Bob Socci. Everything we talked about last week with Suggs being the nut job, the bipolar wacko…”
That’s when I stopped. Did he just say bipolar wacko? A journalist, a commentator, a respected professional in the media really just used bipolar wacko, the nut job, on the radio? Honestly, this comment shows ignorance on the part of Scott Zolak, and it’s a nuisance for anyone who has ever lived with someone with bipolar disorder. If you have needed to help someone who has bipolar, you know how difficult it can be show them that they have an illness, because it’s such a stigma, especially in their own mind. The illness is still viewed as a failure, and people with mental illness have enough problems in the world than to have ridiculous stereotypes and ignorance being shared on the radio.
Okay, I know what you’re saying. I’m being the PC police. Learn to chill out. Take a joke. Well, Scott Zolak is not a comedian. This is a normal conversation on sports radio, and a journalist is using such an ignorant and lazy description to describe one of the most unique characters in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong here, I still have a lot of respect for Scott Zolak and think he’s a great commentator, but I just wish people took more care for how they used the word bipolar and developed a better understanding of the nuances and complications of mental illness. Perhaps Zolak actually does. If so, I wish he would have shown it.
2. Obama Didn’t Show Up in Paris. So?
The terrorist attacks in Paris were atrocious. Je Suis Charlie. C’est vrai. The protection of freedom of speech is essential. I believe America clearly stands with Paris in terms of finances, policy, and security issues.
But Obama is taking a lot of heat for not being in Paris to join 1.5 million people, including many important global leaders, who marched down the Boulevard Voltaire on Sunday in a show of unity against extremism. We sent Eric Holder instead, and the world is insulted that Obama or Biden didn’t show up in person.
The White House has since acknowledged that they should have sent a higher ranking official. I just think this criticism is really unfair. Think about it: For one moment German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, French President François Hollande and other European and African leaders were in one spot. They were standing together. Yes, it was a great message sent to the terrorists that we were not scared, that we were not bothered by their terror tactics, that we would stand up to extremism everywhere we find it, but it was also like putting a target on the back of every one of those leaders and inviting an opportunity for disaster. In one awful moment, the world could have lost some of its best leaders.
Yes, I get it. That’s the point. Show them we’re not scared. I love the idea. It was a momentous occasion that will definitely go down in the history books, but should Obama ignore his intel? Should Obama ignore the threat? Should he wave the middle finger in front of killers and dare them to kiss his ass?
We were there. Obama was there. I am there. Anyone who believes in human rights was there. I don’t doubt that about Obama. I just believe his staff made a decision they thought was right based on the information they had.
I mean, look what Ted Cruz wrote: “The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values.”
3. Now Time for Something Funny
Pope Francis is kind of rock star. He’s seen as a man of the people, and he rides buses and drives old cars instead of going for a spin in a fancy pope mobile. ABC News even reported that he sneaks out of the vatican in tattered clothes as a disguise to treat the homeless and sick. He sounds like a hell of a guy, honestly, and I’m not religious at all.
What’s fascinating about Pope Francis this week is that he’s due to visit the Philippines. When the Pope shows up in Manila, he’s expected to draw an enormous crowd that will put security and facilities at capacity. This is forcing many people in Manila to, well, flip a shit.
“About 2,000 traffic enforcers who will be on duty during the Jan. 15-19 papal visit will be required to wear adult diapers, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino,” reports the AP.
That’s 2,000 government officials in diapers. When I see images of that crowd all I’ll be able to think about is 2,000 people potentially pooping in their pants. It’s not just traffic enforcers either. The people attending the event are also encouraged to wear diapers.
Well, that’s it for my thoughts on the media this week. I’ll probably try this again. Finally, I wanted to leave you with something Aziz Ansari recently tweeted at Ruport Murdoch.
.@rupertmurdoch, you’re already a vaguely evil media conglomerate guy and THEN you’re ALSO racist? FOR REAL?! You’re an evil overachiever!
This past weekend I went to watch the New England Patriots take on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, and it was a game that put the Patriots one step closer to a first-round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs. I had the hook up with the seats, and I was sitting at field level, where I could see just how big Rob Gronkowski looked next to Julian Edelman. (It was like looking at a hobbit standing next to those giant walking trees in Lord of the Rings.) The game was unbelievable, and the Patriots took control in the fourth quarter. But for the people who couldn’t make the game, I wanted to share my observations. These aren’t the type of observations that would show up on ESPN; it’s just the way I experienced the game. Hope you’ll enjoy. Your comments are always appreciated. (By the way, I took the following photos on my phone, so they’re not the highest quality.)
5. Qualcomm Stadium is a Disaster
I heard that Qualcomm Stadium was a disaster from many people, which is probably why there are so many rumors out there that the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles. They haven’t put money into the stadium seemingly since 1992. We heard the traffic was awful too, so I had my wife drop us off at IKEA, and we walked over to the stadium, cutting through corporate industrial parks and trails on the side of a steep hill. It was hilarious because at the end of the night there were so many drunk fans trying to scale the hill that it turned into a traffic jam. At the same time I’m bashing the Chargers’ stadium, it really reminded me of being a kid and going to the original Foxboro Stadium. The seats were all metal, so you would freeze your ass off in the middle of the game. I loved that stadium and hated it at the same time.
4. Chargers Fans Secretly Love Tom Brady
This guy was sitting behind me. He was holding this photo up real proud. I’m not really sure what he was trying to accomplish here. Yeah, I get it; he’s trying to say that the Patriots are cheaters because of Spygate, but what’s up with putting Tom Brady on a poster hugging a ball with his shirt off. This guy secretly loves Tom Brady. The fans were screaming, “Tom Brady runs like a girl.” I saw someone had taken an image of Brady and put a wig on him. Even girls were yelling he runs like a girl, and I was just sort of questioning the root of all this “shit” talk. They were really trying to emasculate Brady. That’s fine. But don’t you kind of look silly with signs like this? Continue reading “Five Observations from the Patriots Chargers Game”→