A Game Behind the Game

Tom Brady is no cheater, or is he?
Tom Brady is no cheater, or is he?

As Super Bowl XLIX (49 for those of you who don’t remember learning roman numerals) approaches and the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks get ready to do battle on the field, we talk about what’s been going down prior to the game in Arizona. It’s no surprise that there’s off the field BS that everyone is having to deal with. It’s even less of a surprise because of the two teams playing in the game. You’re always going to hear things about Tom Brady and Richard Sherman and, of course, Marshawn Lynch.

Unfortunately, overshadowing what should be a pretty awesome game, we’re stuck talking in the media about Brady softening up his balls (yes Kelly Ripa, that joke is still funny) and what has become DeflateGate. But it’s always something with the Patriots. And you’ll also get my opinion on all of these matters. In this case, it’s the competitive advantage of being able to get away with things that aren’t 100% in the rules. It’s much like the issue that John Harbaugh had with the way the Pats lined up in the Divisional game (ultimately resulting in a big touchdown play between Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola). That situation was legal, but wasn’t dealt with well enough. The Baltimore defense should’ve been given the time to substitute based on what New England was doing.

Anyways, the way you grip the ball means a lot to how well you may throw and catch it in tougher weather conditions. Last week wasn’t a problem because of the final score, but what if the score had been closer? Roger Goodell has a lot of making up to do after somehow managing to keep his job. He should start by making an example of a team that consistently gets away with smaller infractions. Yes, the Pats gave up draft picks after SpyGate. But the Patriots front office is too smart. With a team of great players coming still in the prime of their careers, New England used their picks wisely and used the free agent market to their advantage (as they continue to do). Over time, they trade back in the draft with current and future picks to garner more choices. This time around, the penalty should be a little bigger. While the offense isn’t earth-shattering, it’s the idea internally and outwardly that the Pats can get away with most anything that most people believe.

Next topic. Richard Sherman playing with a jacked arm that has been hyperextended for a while. The dude is a warrior. He’s not my favorite, but he has heart and he cares enough to risk further injury by playing through the pain. Sherman is outspoken in the annoying kind of way, but this might be something worth commending the guy on. But speaking of speaking, Marshawn Lynch continues to have fun with the media and the policies for player-media interaction. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the NFL took that $500,000 fine and gave it all to charity, or if Lynch went ahead and did it himself. But this really isn’t much different than Josh Gordon smoking weed.

Why? Well, these guys are given a very specific gift when they are born. After some hard work and lucky breaks they become pros and get to play games for a living. All that is asked of these guys is that they follow some rules. If they’re really good, they get paid more than the league minimum (which is more than you’d think it is). They don’t play with guaranteed contracts, but having a fall-back that is potentially coaching in college or as a TV analyst isn’t the same as working at a fast-food restaurant. If someone told me they would pay millions of dollars but I couldn’t drink alcohol anymore it would be a pretty simple decision. Just speak to the f-ing press, dude. You look immature more than anything when you get up to the podium and say the same thing over and over.

If one thing can be agreed upon, it’s these two teams are likely the most arrogant of any in the league. I’m not talking about their fans or front office anything other than that. Oh yeah, I’m including their coaches. Bill Bellichick needs to throw that three-quarter sleeve hoodies in the fire where they belong and Pete Carroll just needs to calm down. Dude is way too hyper.

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