Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sport

(Source)
Well, it's been a couple of days since the event, which I did watch. Had a great post by Juvat on Monday and another superb post on Tuesday from my buddy Colin. Stories of great American warriors which we like to highlight here at The Chant. But I did want to talk about the "Big Game" which was played on the first Sunday of the second month in the Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Seventeen.

I will fess up right here and now that I am most assuredly a fan of the New England Patriots. Wasn't always the case as the Patriots were created back in 1960 as one of the inaugural teams of the old American Football League. At that time most folks who watched professional football followed the National Football League. Yes, that changed as time went on but it's also why you will find quite a few New York Giant fans in the New England area. Back in the day, the Giants were the only game in town, so to speak.

I started watching football right around the time I started playing football. That was, as near as I can recollect, in 1965. Who did I root for BITD? Wasn't the Giants, no sir. While nearly all of the Giants games were televised in New England, there were also a number of Green Bay game televised, especially during the playoffs. Why? Well, the Packers were simply the best team out there in the late '60s, bar none. They were coached by a fellow named Lombardi. There is a reason the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.

As time went by I had other teams I rooted for, not so much because of the team but because I liked certain players on the team. Green Bay remained, and still is, a favorite. But not the favorite.

I was a big Denver fan for a while, check that, I rooted for the Broncos for two reasons, one was access to team news and games and the other was John Elway. No matter what you might think of the man, he was an amazing quarterback. Living in Colorado as I did during the early days of his career it was hard not to like him. Of course, during the football season it was all Broncos, all the time. I think it was state law that if you paid in-state tuition rates (which I did for reasons not relevant to today's post) you had to root for the home team. Which I did until 2000. Make no mistake, I still love the Broncos and root for them. Most of the time.

In 1999 I retired from the Air Force and received a job offer to work in Little Rhody. Based upon what they wanted me to do, I jumped on it. At that point in time, the Patriots weren't an especially good team. But we were inundated with Patriots' coverage, they were the home team for most of Little Rhody, well, except for those old-timey Giants fans, they're still around. Gradually The Missus Herself and I became fans of the Patriots. It didn't hurt that they became a very successful franchise in the early years of our residence in the Ocean State.

Some folks may criticize my shifting allegiances over time. I don't care, I like what I like, tastes change over time. Exposure is important too. Though with the Web of World Wideness it's possible to follow any team on a constant basis, exposure through the local media, and interacting with the fans of the home team who might be neighbors or co-workers, really makes you lean towards being a "homer." If you will.

So there's that.

One phenomenon that I've been seeing lately in many walks of life that really bugs me is the openly expressed hatred from many people concerning certain people, places, organizations, and things. Whether it's the insane partisan politics, policies, or constituencies of one party or another, or the disdain and hatred of certain sports franchises. Here in New England I get to see it all. Being in a "blue" state I get to hear the hatred of all things GOP. I also get to hear the Trump-hatred from both sides of the political spectrum. The hatred of the New England Patriots is widespread. Outside of New England.

Baffles me really. Here's what General George S. Patton Jr. had to say -
...When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.

An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. (Source)
The New England Patriots are one of the most successful franchises in sports history. Their record of success under Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady has been amazing, and this in an era of free agency. Back in the day a player would stay with one team for nearly his whole career and play with the same other players year after year. While today's system of free agency is better for the players, it's rough to maintain a winning tradition year after year with an ever changing roster. Somehow the Patriots have managed to do just that. Those who wish to accuse them of "cheating" as the reason for their success have been watching too much CNN or ESPN. All teams bend the rules, it's documented, the Patriots, on average, actually bend the rules less than some other teams. They're about average.

What they do is win, consistently. If they are cheating than the rest of the NFL is apparently too stupid to catch them and/or stop them. Come on, on the field it's teamwork, execution and doing your job. Having watched another team's practice or filmed their signals isn't going to make your linemen tougher than theirs. You still have to play the game. On the field. Everything else, if I might steal a line from the general, is bullshit. (Pardon my French.)

Yes, I watched the game Sunday evening, I suffered through the first three quarters, amazed at just how fast the Falcons were as a team, and how precise Matty Ryan was at quarterback. I almost gave it up and went to bed. I'd seen enough beat downs in the Super Bowl, didn't want to see another.

But...

I like this team, I wanted to see how the Patriots handled the adversity. Would they fall apart completely? Would they quit?

No. And no.

They hung in there, they didn't quit. Eventually each man on that team stepped up and did his job. That's kind of a thing with the Patriots and their coach, don't worry about the problems, don't fret about what someone else is doing. Just do your job.

If you do, and everyone else does, good things happen.

Hate if you will, there's a lot of that going around, and not just for the Patriots. But hey, guess what, it's tough to argue with success.

Best single game performance I have ever seen. Bar none.

Anyhoo, that's how I see it.



38 comments:

  1. Watched the game with a group of Patriot haters. Not having a dog in the fight, spent the game verbally poking people in Mr. Maytag mode (always agitating). At the end the watchers grudgingly gave the Patriots credit. They proved the old cliche that you play all 60 minutes.

    Regarding Elway, who once owned several auto dealerships in Colorado, he has the reputation, among car folks, of someone who never picked up a check.

    67-69, worked security (tossing out drunks) at many Bronco games. Bunch of jerks, and I've never been a fan since then. Their polar opposite were the Raiders. Off the field they were gentlemen, made themselves available to the fans, never trashed the facility, and were always nice toward the "little people".

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    1. Elway, cheap?

      I had no ideer.

      On the field though, I liked him.

      Delete
    2. I've nothing bad to say about his on field performance. Hard to argue against someone who walked the walk.

      Delete
  2. NFL? Super Bowl? "If they won't stand, I will ban."

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    1. Not all of them played that silly ass game.

      I don't watch much in the regular season any more. Too many inane commercials, too few quality announcers, and some of the antics on the field distress me greatly. (How can allegedly grown men behave that way?)

      One thing about the Patriots is that the owner and the coach don't tolerate much in the way of nonsense. They mean it when they say "Do your job." Yes, there are occasions when a Patriot player will play the fool both on and off the field, but not for long.

      Delete
  3. My protest (FWIW) goes back even before not standing and has a lot more to do with a lack of graciousness on the part of far too many participants.

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    1. Sportsmanship is a lost art in most professional sports, many college sports as well.

      Delete
    2. The Red Sox equipment truck made a swing through Providence (McCoy Stadium where the Paw Sox play) to show the fans all the cool stuff that has to be shipped down to Florida.

      Soon we'll be hearing the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd.

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    3. Skip, mine also and for the same reasons (if vocalized differently, "grossly overpaid thugs").

      Delete
    4. Unfortunately, many are thugs. Which has spoiled my enjoyment of a number of sports.

      As to being overpaid? When you're career only lasts a few years, you do need to be paid more than, let's say, a plumber. But yes, many of the salaries are ridiculous, especially in baseball.

      But it's all entertainment, you pick and choose what you like, or don't like.

      I still watch, but not as much as I used to, for the reasons you both give.

      Delete
  4. As a lifelong Yankee fan, I put up with Yankee haters, every sport needs a villain, currently NE is it in the NFL. I feel about the Pat's like I feel about cats, don't like them but I sure respect them.

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  5. "Here's what General George S. Patton Jr. had to say -

    ...When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time."

    Patton didn't have to include that American hate cheaters and those who don't exhibit sportsmanship. The Patriots under Belichek do both.

    "If they are cheating than the rest of the NFL is apparently too stupid to catch them and/or stop them."

    The NFL has caught them. Repeatedly. They were warned by the league that they were breaking the rules and had to stop filming defensive signals. They continued to do it until the Jets caught them in the act and publicly turned them in. Instead of displaying some humility they went out and ran the score up on helpless opponents. They were up 24 points against the then hapless Redskins and they had Brady running a QB sneak for a TD late in the third quarter to win 52-3. Not exactly sportsmanship. And when the NFL investigated the filming violation they found a room full of video tapes that were made illegally, going back year. To make matters worse, Belichek was on the rules committee and worked to prevent adoption of radios for the defense like the offense had been using. After getting caught filming the signals he changed his tune and supported defensive radios. So he tried to prevent the use of a technology that would have prevented his cheating.

    When Brady and the Pats won that first championship in 2001 (was it?) I loved everything about them and rooted for them.
    Until 2007 when they showed us who they really were. Cheaters with no class. They are a big part of why I've lost interest in the NFL.

    DLM

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    1. I see you've bought into the whole "Patriots are cheaters that's why they win" meme.

      I have not as it's only partially true and ignores the fact that ALL teams do it. Except maybe the Browns, the Browns are pretty inept, even cheating wouldn't help them.

      But you're entitled to your opinion. And I respect that.

      Delete
  6. It didn't hurt their game to have poor, irresponsible play-calling on the part of ATL. Oh great, now we have Shanahan leading the 49ers. What ever happened to Y A Title? Where are ya, YAT?
    We need ya.

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    1. Yes, some of the Falcons' play calling in that second half was puzzling, to say the least.

      How he does in San Francisco will depend a lot on who his players are. His dad was very successful in Denver when he had Terrell Davis and John Elway. Not so much without them.

      It would be interesting to see how Bill Belichick fares without Tom Brady. The season when Brady was out for the entire season after being hurt in the first game showed that Coach Belichick can be moderately successful without Brady, but the Patriots did miss the playoffs that year even though they put together a respectable 11-5 record. Matt Cassell + Belichick does not equal Tom Brady + Belichick. Came close though.

      Y.A. Tittle, he retired the year before I became a fan. Every book I had on the NFL talked about him though, a hell of a competitor!

      Delete
  7. Oh, I don't think they win because they cheat. I think they are a very good, talented and well managed/coached team that doesn't need to cheat, which is why their doing so makes it so much worse. I also don't subscribe to the "every team does it" argument. But, if it's true that every team does it that's just another reason to not bother with spectator sports at all.

    DLM

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    1. I can't remember who did the study but cheating (at different levels of course) is pretty wide spread. After all, professional sports is a huge business. Anything for revenue seems to be the watchword at times.

      But you make a good point DLM, the Pats are good enough to win without cheating. So the accusations do get tiresome for the New England fan base.

      A number of people, myself included, have lost a lot of interest in spectator sports at the pro and college level because of what you point out.

      It's sad in many ways.

      Delete
  8. Thank you for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  9. Didn't watch the game and didn't miss it, but that's me. I understand that lady gag-reflex threw a big anti beyond-sense halftime that was highly thought of.

    That whole cheating thing is such horseshit. Cheating is part of the game, and it's disgusting when grownups go running to daddy goodell with big tears in their eyes. Hell, you're supposed to cheat back, and better!

    As for the homer thing, I'm ashamed to say I was a big apologist for bo pelini. Up to a point. I really like Mike Riley, but our "modern" cornhusker fans won't stand for integrity if it doesn't win lots of championships. So I follow but don't watch my beloved big red.

    But I'm olden, so... what the hell?

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    1. Oh dear Lord I had forgotten Cornhusker Madness. I remember when I was stationed in Omaha and Nebraska was to play Oklahoma (I think) that Saturday, one of my civilian co-workers came to work wearing a red shirt, red tie, red suit jacket with red pants. I think his socks and shoes were red as well.

      He didn't find it amusing when I asked, "So Lenin, are you and the Politburo in town for the game?"

      A sea of red it was, I felt I should be standing atop Lenin's tomb. But hey, sports.

      I was almost murdered in a store once listening to Nebraska playing someone I liked on the store's PA system. That other team scored a touchdown and I barked out "YES!"

      As people turned to stare at me I quickly looked at my wife and proclaimed, "It's on sale! YES!"

      They must have bought it for I'm still alive.

      Delete
    2. Now I don't care who ya are, that's some funny cornhusker stuff right there. Yep, Москва and Lincoln are sister cities. They have Красный квадрат, we have Memorial Stadium. And you can't tell our state legislature from the политбюро.

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    3. Heh, ain't that the правда?

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    4. На могиле Сталина я клянусь, что это так!

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    5. Ya'll stop that commie cussin' now, ya hear?

      Delete
  10. You may not have Tom Brady to praise or kick around any more. Word on the street is the Super Model Wife is urging (?) Tom to retire.

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    1. To the world he has said he'd like to play a few more years. But who knows what goes on behind the doors at Chez Tom et Giselle. After all, she makes more money than he.

      I hope he sticks around. If he bails soon, the Pats (for now) still have Garoppolo, who looked good early in the year. Damned good.

      Delete
  11. Not a fan, but only because I'd like to see somebody else win it for once. Dynasty for sure, but they get old after a while. Now if it was a local team I might feel differently of course. As for the "all teams cheat" that still doesn't make it right. And the others didn't get caught.

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    1. Actually those other teams did get caught, the Patriots make the news because of their success.

      The "I'd like to see somebody else win" has been going around. That only applies if your team doesn't win it all.

      So, now that Sandy Eggo doesn't have a team...

      No dog in the hunt? College football? (My alma mater, Colorado State was in the same division as San Diego State, some good games back in the day. Isn't that where Lex's SNO went? SDSU that is.)

      Delete
    2. SNO is a fellow University of Sandy Eggo alum, vice SDSU. Also not to be confused with UCSD. Have I confused you? I've always rooted for the home teams, but the Chargers? I hope they collapse, starting with Spanos. I've even abandoned my dislike of the Raiders.

      Delete
    3. Ah yes, University of San Diego. (We did some work with a fellow out of UCSD, so I get the difference.)

      I used to like the Chargers, back in the day. Another owner who sold his soul.

      Delete
  12. Sarge/

    You DO know, don't you, that ole' Y.A. was QB as an LSU Tiger?

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    1. I did not know that Virgil.

      A Tiger from Texas (he was born in Marshall), he was one of the old school. I regret not getting to see him play.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)