Chaucer circa 1380
The New England Patriots have a lot to be angry about. Why would a team who is 8-0, leading the league in scoring, 4th in the league in defense and about two wins from wrapping up a fifth straight AFC East Championship and a playoff birth be angry? Let me enlighten you.
The Patriots pummeled the J E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets, Jets on opening day at the Meadowlands 38-14. Eric Mangini, the Jets coach ( who was a Patriots bench coach two years ago) reported to the NFL that the Patriots were videotaping, not from the coaches booth high above the stadium, but from the sidelines. This video was most likely being used to decipher the Jets signal calling on offense and defense in order for the Patriots to gain an advantage over the Jets the next time they faced them. This videotaping from the sidelines is against league rules and the Patriots received one of the harshest, if not the harshest penalty of all time. They lost their first round draft choice in 2008, the team was fined $250,000 and Coach Belichick was fined $500,000 personally. The media was in an uproar and dubbed the Patriots cheaters along the same line as the 1919 Black Sox, Rosie Ruiz, Danny Almonte and Barry Bonds.
Many coaches came to the defense of Belichick stating that the videotape gained from the sidelines is of almost no better use than the videotape gained from the press box. Many coaches stated that the coaches who give the signals change them often enough that any info gained from quarter to quarter is only relevant for a short period of time. Many coaches stated that the Patriots didn't do anything that all 31 other teams in the NFL don't already do. Because of the severity of the fine and the media blitz that dubbed the Patriots "cheaters", the football public, at large, has vilified the New England football franchise, especially the head coach, Bill Belichick.
Enter Week 8 of the 2007 NFL season. The Pats were leading the Washington Redskins( who many in the media thought had a good chance of upsetting the Pats) 38-0 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. At this point in the game it is customary for the offense to run the ball on three plays, punt the ball to other team and play tough "D" in order to preserve a shutout. The Patriots chose instead to try to score again. It is within the rules of the game to try to score when on offense. The Redskins offense was still trying to score and did get one touchdown. The Patriots scored 2 touchdowns in the last quarter to win the game 52-7. Did the Redskins "give up" and put in their second string players? No. Then why should the Patriots? To show mercy? Last I looked there is no mercy rule in the NFL; it is not Little League. How much mercy did the league, media and other "haters" show the Pats mercy for a minor rules infraction? None.
Around the league players, coaches and fans are once again vilifying the Patriots, but now for running up the score. They are talking revenge and talking about retribution and veiled threats (intentionally hurting Brady). The Patriots are sticking it to the NFL within the rules of the game. Mr. Belichick is proving the point that all of those conspiracy theorists who tried to equate videotaping some coaches signals with the success of a franchise that won 3 Super Bowls within four years is ludicrous. The Patriots turned over all their tapes the week after the Jets game to the NFL and have played every game since under incredible scrutiny. They have gone out and, with in the rules, embarrassed the rest of the NFL and won each of their eight games by a 25 point margin on average. This trend will continue. Many of the same players and media types who called the Patriots out for being cheaters are the same players and media types whining about the Patriots putting a beat down on the rest of the league.
One has to think, would this unsportsmanlike display of taking no prisoners by the Pats be taking place if the league and the media had not treated the Patriots like Hitler invading Poland? The punishment outweighed the crime in the case of "Spygate". The league wanted to make an example of someone , the way a teacher sends a kid to the principals office the first day of school. The problem is that commissioner Goodell picked the smartest, wittiest kid to send to the principals office and now that kid is going to torture that teacher all school year long. When you humiliate someone by questioning their integrity, ability and accomplishments, then what do you expect? One answer. Pain.
Real Football fans know that videotaping has little to no bearing on the Patriots former and current success. The game is played on the field and the Patriots have few equals when it comes to performance and execution on gameday, as evidenced by their play over the last six years. As one never afraid to make predictions, I told my brother Mark minutes before the San Diego game which was played the week that "Spygate" blew up that San Diego would get blown out and that the theme would continue through Super Bowl Sunday. The NFL and the media has given Coach Belichick an invaluable gift, incentive. In the Pats locker room its us against the world. This is a war and everyone is the enemy. There will be no mercy, there will be no prisoners, everyone will pay and everyone will suffer.
Thank you Roger Goodell, Chris Collinsworth, Wade Phillips and the countless other "Patriots Haters" who have added fuel to the fire. I made my preseason predictions before "Spygate" was an issue, so I couldn't factor these issue intop the equation. If I may add-on to my earlier predictions: Pats 19-0, 4th Super Bowl in 7 years.
If your team is not the football franchise from New England then God have mercy on you and your team. Its gonna get uglier.