Quite a night at the Razor (aka Gillette Stadium)!
The Tapegate thing? Bill Belichick had a touch of the hubris, all right, breaking a specific rule against cameras on the sidelines, but stealing signs is standard operating procedure in the NFL. Last night on Sunday Night Football, they showed the cameras in the press box as coaches filmed the opposing coaches’ signals, and lip readers and binoculars are employed, therefore why coordinators put their play sheets in front of their mouths when calling plays.
There isn’t enough time to take the signals the Patriots filmed and match them up in twelve minutes of halftime. These were for the files every head coach keeps on opponents.
However, if you listened to the national media, you’d think that Bill is on a level with dog-killer Michael Vick! And that’s why Vick was suspended, and Pacman Jones was suspended because he was involved in an incident at a strip club that left a man permanently paralyzed. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a new commish, wants to be a law-and-order guy, and decided to make an example of Belichick. Let’s face it, $500,000 is a lot of money for anyone unless you’re Bruce Wayne. :) And a first-round draft pick is gold currency in the NFL, and that was taken away, too.
It looks as if the players were fed up with the piling on, and their focus was superb. They came out strong against a team that had yapped all week against them, wanting revenge for last year’s playoff loss and mocking the Patriots for Tapegate. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson talked smack, but was held to low yardage the entire game. The Patriots don’t talk smack in the media. They let their play on the field do the talking for them.
Last night before the game, the fans gave B.B. a standing ovation, and toward the end of the game, the players hugged Bill on the sidelines. They gave him a game ball in the locker room, and B.B. was noticeably moved when he attended the press conference after the game.
Why so much piling on? Jealousy from other teams in the league, and apparently, not a good understanding of NFL practices from non-sports media types. The media loves to see B.B. taken down a peg, as he never gives them much and some are quite offended! :) Which the fans love, of course.
Some of the players speaking out had been soundly beaten by the Patriots. Ex-coaches, however, pretty much explained how stealing signals is SOP, though they agreed that B.B. had broken the rule against taping them on the sidelines.
I hope that Eric Mangini, head coach of the New York Jets, enjoys his one-upmanship. He turned B.B. in, causing eyebrows to be raised privately among coaches around the league. Not only did he turn in a fellow coach, he turned in the man who had brought him into the league and taught him everything he knows about coaching, promoting him while he was with the Patriots, and all this knowledge is being used by Mangini in New York.
I wonder how it feels to betray a friendship like that? I’m glad I’m not in his place!
Just goes to show you, don’t tug on Superman’s cape or take the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger! ;)