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Don Shula famously referred to New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick as “Belicheat” recently, and a host of NFL apologists dutifully lined up to downplay the New England fraud in three Superbowls, proved for all time by the Spygate cheating tapes and their destruction by Richard Nixon — whoops, I meant Roger Goodell.

What was on those tapes?

What was on those tapes?

A core part of letting New England off the hook is that old standby “Everybody Does It” (EDI), an excuse so powerful it has been trotted out to excuse all manner of infamies, including felony crimes committed by Bill Clinton, etc.

And so I enjoy when this monolithic “EDI” excuse is ripped apart, either vigorously, or casually, which is even better.

A recent case in point is from former NFL player Ross Tucker, who guest-hosted the Dan Patrick radio show last week. Mr. Tucker was an offensive lineman who played on several pro teams, including the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Ross TuckerBuffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and yes, the cheating New England Patriots.

And so, here was a back-and-forth between Tucker and Andrew Perloff on January 21, 2015:

Perloff: “Isn’t everybody guilty of something, Ross?  I mean all 32 teams, is it, as you said, it’s kinda, I don’t know…”

Tucker: “I don’t know the answer to that, and I can tell ya, most of the other teams I was on I don’t remember anything like that…”

Boom, there it is. But he left a little loop hole in his answer by saying “most of” instead of “all of”.

However, this get cleared up immediately by Mr. Tucker, who goes on to say

…although I do remember my rookie year that when were in Washington, we thought we knew some of the hand signals that the Cowboys had.  This should be noted, though, that’s not illegal, to try to steal signs.  It’s just illegal to videotape them.

Right, Ross Tucker, exactly: videotape them as the New England Patriots did throughout their “dynasty” years, which were actually their fraud years. What the Patriots did is illegal, and not something you saw when you played for five other teams.

What makes Belichick and Brady the frauds that they are is that the Patriots took an acceptable level of opponent espionage and pushed it past the boundaries into a destruction of the integrity of the game: one of their guys actually walked over to the opponents’ sidelines (!!!) with a video recorder and videotaped the opponents’ play books.

What was on those tapes?

We will never know, because Roger Goodell destroyed them rather than allow the ugly truth to become known: Brady and Belichick and Mr. Kraft’s football team are an elaborate hoax.

0 wins

2 losses

3 disqualifications

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Sports writers might even be more pathetic than political and celebrity writers, who are often in the bag for their subjects. Every year we are treated to the stooges and their editors who publish garbage about Tom Brady being a “great quarterback” and maybe the “best of all time”.

I used to be upset about this because it seemed that people who mattered might actually believe in Brady, and any fraud who clings to fame and fortune is most certainly a bete noir of mine. But since Spygate was exposed and the cheating tapes taken away from the Patriots, Tom & Co. have not been able to win an honest Superbowl and Brady deep down knows he must return the rings if he is ever to absolve himself of the stench of cheating. They weigh on him so heavily now….

Legends of the game have noticed this and their body language is increasingly negative towards Brady.

So at this point it almost evokes compassion when the media fan the flames of the fraud.

Brady has called Manning “the best quarterback of all time” while Manning has heaped similar praise on Brady. And more importantly, both men have supported each other following their significant injuries (Brady’s ACL tear in 2008, Manning’s neck surgery in 2011).

So we know that both men are solid competitors and classy individuals, but who will go down as the better player? Five or six years ago this question seemed like it could go either way, but now the answer is clear. It’s Brady. <source>

Brady? No, not by a long shot, and no more than Dan Marino, a legendary quarterback who never won a Superbowl.

Peyton Manning has phenomenal career stats and a Superbowl ring, which is more than Brady can boast (decent stats, no rings).

However, the King is not Mr. Peyton Manning, but Mr. Eli Manning.

He has won two Superbowl rings against the heavily favored Patriots — against Tom Brady, in fact — and has therefore demonstrated the heart of a true great champion.

Many people can do extraordinary things on the practice field, but it is only the Greatest who can do it under maximum pressure.

Eli passes this test. His brother Peyton did on one occasion, but failed on many others, meaning that EIi is the true king.

As for Tom Brady, he is a failure in honest competition. If I had had the defensive plays radio’ed to me before each snap of the ball, I myself might have won a few Superbowls.

But it’s much harder when you don’t know what’s coming, right Tom?

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The evolution of a career is always intriguing, and Dan Patrick’s career is no exception. I was not a big Sports Center watcher back in the days when he and a certain loony Liberal innovated the now ubiquitous sports highlights format, and I was not a loyal listener of his ESPN radio show (thought I flipped past it from time to time). When he left ESPN, and then launched a personal website foreshadowing his next move, I became interested.

In 2007 he launched his own radio show and in only a few years achieved broad national distribution along with a television simulcast. I have been a listener of this show from the very beginning and consider myself a fan; it has been a great ride. Lately, though, I feel like I am listening to a man who is losing his edge, specifically in two areas: laziness, and failure to ask the tough questions in interviews of his guests.

Dan is Lazy

I say “lazy” for several reasons.

The first is his over-reliance on certain callers to his show. As a listener to many radio shows (sports and political in nature) I understand the agonies that hosts must endure when taking calls from unknown people across the country: there are freaks and geeks and people who can’t get their words out; people who talk too long, too short, and everything in between. Fielding calls takes infinite patience and brilliance on the part of the host. Dan may be smarter than many, but he no longer seems to have the patience for this particular part of the game. So he cops out and goes to a roster of guys who are just not deserving of a daily or weekly spot on a national radio show. I should add that “Chris-in-Syracuse” gets an exemption from this criticism given his early claim to the real estate and because he is just weird enough to keep our interest, although at the same time he has lately been abusing the privilege and milking more time than he should be.

The second is Dan’s inability to come up with an interesting tid-bit of “what he learned on the show” each day (a nice piece of inventory for sponsorship that Dan created). “What he learned” is not so terribly interesting, mind you, but the fact that he asks one of his side-kicks to be the author of it is another example of his sloth.

The third reason is of far more importance to the declining quality of the show: Dan has chosen to replicate the Howard Stern Faux-Fighting-Family ecosystem that apparently earns big ratings in the culture but is an absolute bore to a thinking man’s sensibilities. This motif is one of a parental figure (Howard, or Dan in this case) playing favorites with certain “children” and chastising and scolding certain other “children”. Stern’s reliable doormat is Gary Dell’abate and Howard has earned more than $500 million yelling at him for his foibles (yes, with some naked women thrown in, but don’t underestimate the “family” vibration Howard has cultivated). Dan’s version of this is to chastise Andrew Perloff, a smart guy who apparently drew the short straw among his other “siblings” and has to ape that he is prone to making mistakes. The whole thing is asinine and an insult to the alleged superior quality Dan imagines that he offers to his listeners.

Why do radio hosts pursue this strategy, other than to attempt to earn Howard money? The human animal seeks the familiar, even if that familiar involves painful experiences. We all grew up in houses with occasionally angry parents, and so radio hosts either unconsciously or consciously try to recreate this emotional terrain for their listeners. There is no denying the power of the motif, but personally speaking I hate it and am not entertained by it. It is boring, predictable, and adolescent, and I expect a more sophisticated experience, especially from hosts who purport to offer one.

It is also the easy way out, and Dan is taking it now far more than when he started his show five years ago. He has become lazy.

Dan is Scared

I had begun to wonder a few years ago just how far beneath Dan’s lofty self-assessments he was getting in terms of his interview skills, and this really matters to him. I’m sure if Dan had to rank his professional attributes — the ones that really count for him personally — he would put interviewing near or at the top. Sadly, at this point, he has fallen into the middling crowd. I offer only one example, but it is comprehensive and effectively the death knell of a once-talented interviewer: his recent interview of disgraced former pitcher Roger Clemens.

By Dan’s own admission, he failed to ask the tough questions or challenge Roger’s obvious lies. After the interview was over, we were treated to more than ten minutes of a supposedly brutal self-assessment by Dan: “I should have asked him this, I should have followed up with that…”.  I say supposedly because after awhile it seemed to me that he was beginning to imagine that a self-critique would restore some credibility, as if the display of his knowledge of how he should have done it were an achievement in and of itself.

Sorry Dan, you ran scared and screaming from mr. Clemens, a man whom you disagree with on so many levels. I could make the analogy of Matt Lauer throwing soft balls to Hillary Clinton in 2008, but you were worse. You were worse because Matt Lauer does not pretend to be a tough interviewer.

You will say that “Hey, keep comparing me to Howard Stern and Matt Lauer, I’ll be king of the hill at this rate.” And I will say, sure, go ahead and use such defense mechanisms to mask the decline in your professional integrity.

Will the money be worth it? I think you know the answer.

UPDATE: Nov 14, 2013

Dan this week gave Jay Glazer of ESPN heaping piles of grief for not asking tougher questions of Rich Incognito, the football player embroiled in controversy over bullying a team mate.

Sorry Dan, but your interview with Roger Clemens was so pathetic — you were so scared, and so mute on all the important issues — that you have no standing whatsoever to give Jay or anyone any grief.

Man-up yourself first, and then critique your colleagues.

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David Stern, NBA Commissioner and verbal jouster extraordinaire, just amused himself by beating up on another radio host (not that I have sympathy for sports radio hosts, mind you):

“Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” NBA Commissioner David Stern asked sports talk radio personality Jim Rome during a contentious interview on Rome’s nationally syndicated radio program on Wednesday afternoon. <source>

The comment was in response to a fair question regarding the widely held belief that the 2012 lottery for draft picks was rigged in favor of the winning team.

Rome asked Stern about the belief held by some — including, as Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported immediately following the lottery, multiple NBA executives — that the league office put its thumb on the scales and rigged the lottery drawing in favor of a team still under its stewardship and that it just sold, as a favor to its new owner.

David Stern has been very effective in deflecting attention away from the fact that his league appears to be a monumental fraud on many levels in my opinion, and what I find annoying is that the story today about the latest episode of Lottery-gate (remember the alleged “chilled” envelope that awarded Patrick Ewing to the Knicks?) neglects to mention the central fraud in the Stern-era NBA: referee Tim Donaghy, who was convicted of the crime of taking cash payoffs from professional gamblers in exchange for making calls that would favor one team over another, and also of betting on the games himself (where he could heavily influence the outcome).

On July 20, 2007, columnist Murray Weiss of the New York Post reported an investigation by the FBI into allegations of an NBA referee betting on games to control the point spread.[19] It was revealed that Donaghy, who has a gambling problem, placed tens of thousands of dollars in bets on games during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 season and had been approached by low-level mob associates to work on a gambling scheme.[20] Mike Missanelli of The Stephen A. Smith Show suggested that Donaghy had gotten himself into debt and tried to make it up by betting on games. <source>

How real was this? Very, apparently.

Donaghy resigned from the league on July 9, 2007[5] before reports of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegations that he bet on games that he officiated during his last two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games.[6] On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two federal charges related to the investigation. <source>

If you have ever watched NBA games you know that foul calls control the flow of the game, and often-times the outcome of the game (who wins). Fouls result in free throws, and on some nights Team A is awarded dozens more free throws than Team B, a lopsided outcome that is often hard to explain. NBA officials are a bigger part of NBA game than are other officials in their respective sports.

Which is why the Donaghy scandal is so devastating: the man was fixing games for years. And lopsided officiating is still prevalent in today’s NBA.

But after his conviction, Donaghy was not done revealing, in a letter filed in the U.S. District Court in New York, just how many shenanigans he observed and was a part of during his NBA career:

• “Tim gave information on how top executives of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees to boost ticket sales and television ratings,” the letter reads. “He also described how nepotism played a far greater role than qualifications in a number of referee hirings.”

• “Tim explained the league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so would hurt ticket sales and television ratings,” the letter adds. “As an example, Tim explained how there were times when a referee supervisor would tell referees that NBA Executive X did not want them to call technical fouls on star players or remove them from the game. In January 2000, Referee D went against these instructions and elected a star player in the first quarter of the game. Referee D later was privately reprimanded by the league for that ejection.”

• In addition to game-altering allegations, Donaghy’s letter claims that many officials carry on “relationships” with team executives, coaches and players that violate their NBA contracts. For example, it said, referees broke NBA rules by hitting up players for autographs, socializing with coaches, and accepting meals and merchandise from teams.

“Tim described one referee’s use of a team’s practice facility to exercise and another’s frequent tennis matches with a team’s coach,” the letter says.

• The letter also alleges that during a 2005 playoff series, “Team 3 lost the first two games in the series and Team 3’s Owner complained to NBA officials. Team 3’s Owner alleged that referees were letting a Team 4 player get away with illegal screens. NBA Executive Y told Referee Supervisor Z that the referees for that game were to enforce the screening rules strictly against that Team 4 player. Referee Supervisor Z informed the referees about his instructions. As an alternate referee for that game, Tim also received these instructions.” <source>

 I don’t believe that these allegations were proven, but I find Donaghy’s reporting on what he saw (and was a part of) far more credible than any of David Stern’s rebuttals.

The bottom line is that it is impossible for me to watch the NBA and take it seriously as a professional sport in which teams are allowed to compete fairly and in which we can trust the winner’s superiority.

The fact that Stern has kept the NBA rich and popular in the sports industry is a credit to his brilliance: he’s as good a front-man for a league as any that have ever attempted the job. However, he has had huge help from something that is other than himself: the human desperation to avoid painful realities and indulge fantasies and illusions: we fall in love with a sport, and we refuse to fall out of love with it, no matter how many lies come to light.

NBA fans want their NBA, just as NFL fans want their NFL — another league built on scams such as a Spygate, in which the New England Patriots “won” three Superbowls with illegally procured video footage of opponents’ play calls and strategies.

Every year we hear debates about Tom Brady versus Joe Montana, as if Tom Brady has ever won a Superbowl (he has not: all three rings were procured in a fraudulent manner).

The human desire to indulge illusions is powerful, but the Patriots video tapes might have been even more powerful — actual cheating video reality might have broken through the illusion and made a big dent in the NFL’s credibility…which is why I believe Roger Goodell destroyed the tapes (yes, he did).

But human beings gotta have it, and commissioners of sports leagues have been able to make great use of this human foible.

If only such men could transcend this mud pit and put a legitimate product on the field; now that would be Christmas early.

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Let me first say that I am a Dan Patrick fan. I have followed his radio show since the day he launched it from the attic of his house, and it’s a great program.

Tonight he presented the Superbowl trophy to the New York Giants, including the MVP Eli Manning, and he couldn’t resist pushing the Peyton Manning issue with brother Eli.

It was inappropriate and crass on several levels, all of which Dan must know. And this is why I am disappointed: Dan is a smart man, yet he did this, which reveals him to be just another guy who’s success has gone to his head and who thinks it’s all about him.

How long before the infidelity and then the divorce, Dan? This is the pedestrian trajectory of the substantial majority of successful men.

You think you are different? We shall see, but tonight you took a step towards the dark side.

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As I get older I appreciate more and more the relatively peaceful state of the modern world when compared to the carnage of the early 20th century and despite the powerful biological forces that keep the human animal not much evolved from the consciousness of savage predation.

I have come to view sports, and more broadly, competitive games of all kinds, as a vicarious and safe acting out of the urge to compete and dominate in order to survive. We need to exercise these predatory muscles, but without destroying civilization, and playing the role of spectator in the sports arena provides a way to do that. In a world kept largely at peace by the enlightened United States (which chose not to annex 100 countries after dropping nuclear weapons on Japan), global professional sports are more popular and wealthier than ever before in history; this makes perfect sense in the Pax Americani.

In almost every country, a significant portion of the population demonstrates an intense loyalty and attachment (emotional, financial, and otherwise) to various teams and leagues. Such is the near-universal vicarious participation in rivalry and competition. Some are shocked when fans riot after their chosen team loses an important match, and even when their team wins a championship. This happened last night in Vancouver in the wake of the local hockey team’s loss to the Boston Bruins.

But I am not shocked, because I have come to see how close an approximation sports is to the exigency of predation that informs every cell of our bodies.

I am in no way condoning such violence and in fact see it as a failure of the cultural pressure valve that sports is unintentionally designed to be; it should be prosecuted with vigor. I am merely offering that such violence is not confusing when seen as part of a continuum of psychological participation in tribal humanity. The vicarious can become the real at sufficient levels of intensity. We are all struggling to regulate the beast within, and if we are lucky and blessed, civilization will help us get through the night.

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Every culture, including our own, possesses a cadre of politicians and performers and a class of commentators and critics who chronicle their exploits, presumably in the service of the common man. As one matures into adulthood, once starts to realize that these supposed critics are actually bought and paid for by the people they purport to critique. At first, this revelation provokes outrage and anguish — How could it be? But then it starts to make sense: If Matt Lauer skewers Hillary Clinton, he won’t get the interview the next time around; if Roger Ebert pans Hollywood’s blue chip efforts, he won’t be lionized and held up as a pillar of the community; and so on, and so on. Anguish turns to understanding, and even forgiveness.

However, understanding and forgiveness don’t solve boredom, which is what we are left feeling when one more talking head washes the dirty laundry of one more fraud.

It is therefore a near-religious experience when a commentator pierces the veil of incestuous “Quid Pro Quo” and bites the hand that feeds him. Many in the business tell themselves and their audiences that they do this on a regular basis, and without fear (are you listening, DP?). But they are kidding themselves, and us, for they hardly dare utter a peep unless and until it is safe to do so.

In the midst of this carnival of chicanery comes two towering acts of rhetorical violence that fill me with wonder and awe and admiration.

The first is by sports radio broadcaster Mike Francessa of WFAN in New York. Mike is a big fan of the National Football League and, in addition to his daily radio show, has for many years hosted a weekend football-specific radio show that is nothing short of adoring of the NFL and all its cast of characters. He is famously friendly with Bill Parcells and is no doubt firmly entrenched in the NFL community.

And yet, he had this to say regarding the league’s owners, who have locked-out the players in a bid to renegotiate player revenue sharing:

That’s right, the NFL owners are PIGS, as he reiterated no fewer than six times, and their actions are a DISGRACE or an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE (eight times).

WOW.

So pay attention all you other sports radio broadcasters: this is what a man sounds like when he is unafraid to speak his mind and give the listener something authentic. This is what a man sounds like who has reached a level of success where he is nobody’s bitch. (All he has to do now is call Tom Brady the Charles Van Doren of our time and my man-crush will be complete.)

The second is NYT columnist Maureen Dowd, who had the guts, as a Catholic, to write a piece that is strongly against the beautification, and eventual Sainthood, of Pope John Paul II. Remember that the deceased Pope is held in glowingly high esteem by legions of Catholics whose affection for him seems to grow with each passing day. Pope Benedict has fast-tracked the Sainthood path for Pope Paul and been met with resounding support.

But Maureen will have none of it:

John Paul forfeited his right to beatification when he failed to establish a legal standard to remove pedophiles from the priesthood, and simply turned away for many years. Santo non subito! How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children? <source>

WOW. Crying foul against the Sainthood movement for John Paul is beyond gutsy, but there you have it.

So let’s all tip our caps to Mike and Maureen, two people who just put the hammer down hard for their beliefs in a world where commentators pretend to pound nails with spaghetti, and not the al dente kind, either.

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