Sunday, May 11, 2008

Everybody Loves a Winner

Is a crock.

The fans of a winner? Yeah. Bandwagon jumpers? Yeah. Fans of other teams? Not so much.

The more a team wins, the more others hate the team. Dominant teams get singled out for their faults, often in spite of the fact that there are things they do, or did, that are little different than the actions of the other teams.

Red Sox fans don't have a monopoly on loathing the Yankees. When the Mitchell Report hit there were a number of fans that were quick to point out that the Yankees Dynasty of the late Nineties was peppered from top to bottom with individuals named in the report. In the mid-1990's people reveled in the legal troubles of the various Dallas Cowboys.

That is precisely the reason why the Patriots are being singled out - and make no mistake about it - they are being singled out. Try to find out from Arlen Specter why he's making a big deal out of Spygate? Why he's continuing to do so, when everyone else seems to feel that it's a dead issue? Why the Patriots (who beat his Eagles in a Super Bowl) when no one has heard word one from him over -

  • Allegations in recent years that both the Colts and the Redskins artificially enhance the crowd noise at their stadiums - a violation of NFL rules, if they are indeed doing so?
  • An admission by the Dolphins' then middle linebacker Zack Thomas, after a 2006 21-0 victory over the Patriots, that the 'Phins stole the Patriots' offensive signals from tape?
  • Why a team (the Broncos) that won the Super Bowl twice while in violation of the salary cap by almost $30 million over the two seasons, wasn't more severely sanctioned?
  • Why that same team, caught taping an opponent's practice mid-week, once again, wasn't more severely sanctioned?
  • Why the Jets admitted to taping the Patriots, but received no punishment for doing so?
  • The 49ers weren't sanctioned more severely for their salary cap violations of the late 1990's?
  • Why more teams aren't sanctioned for tampering when signing players from other teams mere minutes after free-agency begins? Who manages to negotiate and agree to terms in mere minutes with contracts that often exceed 100 pages?
And all of this is just the recent history stuff. An article in the San Diego newspaper from when Spygate hit, outlines some of the things that went on in the 1960's and 70's with the Raiders and somethings even more recently with the Bucs in regards to stealing plays and signals.

All told, the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, and Broncos have been caught or copped to taping, or having tape of opponent's signals. The Raiders, and Buccaneers have either stolen signals, been suspected of it. And all teams must suspect other teams of doing so, or coaches wouldn't cover their mouths when relaying in signals. That's almost 20 percent of the league. Yet the Patriots are singled out by Specter..why? Because he wants to clean up the game? No.

Because of two things and two things only. It makes him feel better about the fact his team lost to be able to call the other team cheaters, and his biggest campaign contributor is Comcast, currently locked in a legal battle with the NFL in regards to the NFL network.

The Patriots cheated. But they did no more than any one of a number of teams.

And anyone that believes otherwise is being willfully ignorant of what goes on in the NFL.


Chris Stone said...

That 2006 Dolphins game was weird. I didn't realize Zach Thomas admitted that they taped the offensive signals.

Kevin Smith said...

Technically, if I remember right, what he said is that they got the signals from a tape the team bought. Somehow I don't see how that's really different from what the Patriots did.

Suldog said...

I remember being in Florida as a kid, and the Celtics were in the playoffs - Bill Russell era. I was absolutley shocked when I watched the game on a TV in the hotel lobby and people were booing the Celtics! I had no idea that they were absolutely hated outside of Boston :-)

Kevin Smith said...

The difference is amazing when you go out of the area. New Yorkers that never leave the confines of Manhattan would never have a clue as to how much people elsewhere hate the Yankees were it not for ESPN and the Internet.