With the release of the Wells report by the NFL today, my otherwise normal afternoon has now become one of ridicule and harassment from my friends (non Patriots fans that is). So with that in mind, it’s time for some reflection on this matter. No comedy this time…just the 5 stages of grief:
(1) Denial (2) Anger (3) Bargaining (4) Depression and (5) Acceptance (honestly not promising that there will be a step #5 at any point in my life, let alone this blog post). Let’s get to it…
This can’t be happening. The NFL doesn’t have any concrete evidence to go off and that’s why all they can say is that the Patriots “probably” tampered with the footballs after they were inspected by the referees. After all these months that’s all you can come up with? What’s the burden of proof here? I know this isn’t a criminal proceeding, but you are talking about the result of this report causing public humiliation, potential fines and/or suspensions and irreparably tarnishing legacies. To me, that should then require the highest burden of proof: ’beyond a reasonable doubt’. The NFL clearly doesn’t have any evidence to reach that type of decision. If they did, they wouldn’t have released a report with a finding that is so wishy-washy it makes the handling of the Adrian Peterson situation look decisive. Just ridiculous.
More importantly…Tom Brady would never, NEVER, do something like this. C’mon…have you seen those baby blues? He’s not capable of breaking our hearts like this. It can’t be true; he had nothing to do with anything shady that went on with those footballs. All Tommy boy does is throw missiles to Gronk with that golden arm of his and then go home to make sweet love to that gorgeous supermodel wife. Plus, I’m pretty sure if he was involved in the Pats cheating and G found out, she would kick his ass. Let’s be serious, she obviously runs shit in that house and there’s no way he’d risk getting on her bad side (just image how much being blue-balled by her would suck). No way he’s risking that. Say what you want about that sketchy locker room attendant…throw him and the equipment manager under the bus. But Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. (never knew his full name before) aka Tom Terrific, is INNOCENT!
This is bullshit!!! My anger here is split in two directions: 1) at the NFL; 2) at the Patriots (if this is all true – my first instance of even considering that they could be culprits here).
The NFL – WHAT THE FUCK?!? Without hard evidence you’re going to drag down arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time? I cannot fathom how that is good for the sport. Tom Brady will be enshrined in Canton someday and belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of greatest NFL quarterbacks, yet you’re ready to drag his reputation through the mud without any proof that he altered those footballs or specifically instructed the attendants to do so. There are major holes in that report, including a lack of any testimony from Brady himself. Seems like the NFL knew what they wanted the findings to be and conveniently left out anything that didn’t help their agenda.
The Patriots – this can be sub-divided as well but almost all of my anger is directly at Belichick. If, and I say IF, the Patriots intentionally deflated those footballs, there is NO WAY that Belichick didn’t know about it. You’re telling me that the same coach who one week prior had utilized a major loophole in the NFL rulebook to trick the Ravens defense with a 4-man offensive line and barely legal formations, had NO IDEA what the rules or procedures were for the footballs? Nice try…not buying it. He might not have been standing over their shoulders while they deflated those bad boys, but you bet your ass he knew what was going on IF this was does intentionally. The other frustrating part of this is how Belichick through Brady under the bus here. It’s as if he said “You know what Tom, I took the hit for SpyGate and now it’s your turn. Good luck”. How do you leave him out to dry like that? And IF this is all true, then WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?? You don’t need deflated footballs to beat the Colts. You had more talent, a better defense and a better quarterback. You beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl with footballs that were obviously within the NFL guidelines. So you embarrassed yourselves, the franchise and your entire fan base. Left a giant stain on your legacy and asterisk by your Super Bowl Title. Why? So you could prove that you’re smarter than everyone else? Because you thought you would get away with it? WOW, maybe that’s why the Pats loved Aaron Hernandez so much…in the end they might have had the same moral compass.
Simply put, I would do just about anything to make this story go away. You know that Family Guy episode where Peter buys the footy pajamas and hands the guy a blank check?
That’s where I’m at right now. If I could hand Roger Goodell or Ted Wells a blank check, I would. I think a blank check from Robert Kraft would ultimately be more effective…but I’d be more than willing to empty my savings account to make this all go away. Name your price. Want the naming rights to my first born child? No problem – we all saw how that turned out in ‘The League’ and Chalupa Batman is an AWESOME name. Seriously Roger, Ted, let’s talk. We’re all somewhat reasonable men here, we can find an arrangement that works for everyone.
This also got me thinking…the only reason the Colts were able to make the accusation about the footballs is because they got their hands on one of them when D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Brady. So maybe this IS all Brady’s fault. DAMN IT! If you hadn’t thrown that stupid INT none of this would have happened! We would have gotten away with it!
This is the most accurate portrayal of my current emotional state. I should be riding high. I was counting on that Super Bowl victory carrying me through the summer. Who cares if the Red Sox pitching is terrible? Not this guy. The Patriots are reigning Super Bowl champions and all is good in the world. That’s how it SHOULD be. I should be able to wear my Patriots jersey with pride and flaunt it in everyone’s face.
Hell, I sent two of my friends (a Giants and Cowboys fan respectively) pictures of the Malcolm Butler interception when I paid them their winnings for our NFL Pick’em pool. Couldn’t pass up an opportunity to throw it in their faces. And that was supposed to only be the beginning. I was going to enjoy every minute of this offseason knowing full well that when I saw all my buddies for our fantasy football draft in late August, that I could stroll in with my Brady jersey and talk all I wanted. I mean what’s the point of winning if you can’t gloat about it, right?
Well that’s all for naught now. Instead I’m considering changing my cell phone number so I can avoid the constant text message barrage from that same group of guys. I’m already tired of the “Deflatriot” jokes and jabs at another tainted title. My summer of reveling in victory has instantaneously transformed into embarrassment. I’m depressed to once again have to defend my team…after they just won a championship no less. They achieved greatness, in what was one of the best Super Bowl games, and I can’t even enjoy it. Don’t be surprised if you find me curled up in the fetal position crying myself to sleep.
I warned you that this wasn’t likely to happen before I finished this post, and I wasn’t lying. I’m still leaving the window slightly open for the remote possibility that this is premature and the Patriots will be exonerated. Or the possibility that in the end they’ll at least say that Brady wasn’t involved, it was just the two equipment guys and they’re both canned and never working in the NFL again.
But in all likelihood the report is true and the Patriots did in fact alter those footballs to gain a competitive advantage. In which case, I’m utterly embarrassed as a Patriots fan that this is what the organization is known for. For being those sneaky bastards who always bend the rules and have to cheat to win a championship. More than anything I hate that people have every right to say it because for most of my lifetime I’ve been blessed to watch arguably the best quarterback of all-time and arguably the best coach of all-time lead my favorite team. It’s been an honor and a privilege to watch them on the field for the last 15 years, and in turn I should feel lucky to call myself a Patriots fan. Instead, I feel ashamed. I defended the Patriots with every ounce of energy ever since the SpyGate allegations came out. The irrational fan in me will still defend them now. But honestly, it’ll be less adamant, less steadfast. I feel betrayed. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and well…I feel like a dumb jackass. I want an apology from the Patriots…one I’m sure the fan base will never genuinely get. I just feel like Patriots nation deserved better, which if you had asked me this morning I would have said was impossible.