Lates Links

September 19, 2007 at 8:53 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel | 16 Comments

At least Jesus Christ would approve. Greg Barnes is crushing. David Glenn answers the question nobody is asking..and then doesn’t. Missing Mack Brown? Good thing we are playing USF. We’re #1! Preschooler to announce for Carolina? Heels soccer at home this week.

I hope not. TMQ with an extremely convincing argument. Week 2 DVOA. Finally over. Are Mod and Ric scared? Cash Cup previews and recaps.

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  1. While, the Nixon analogy is juicy it’s contextually and ultimately completely misleading.

    The rest of TMQ was this argument — “It could be worse!!!!” Well when it is then he should write about instead of using scurrilous and hypothetical slander.

  2. I think the best part of the arguement was:

    The weasel wording of Belichick’s Nixonian statement shows the New England coach full of contempt for the NFL fans, and the NFL enterprise, that made him a wealthy celebrity. Belichick declared that his super-elaborate cheating system was only a “mistake” caused by his “interpretation” of the league’s rule. Wait, “interpretation”? The NFL rule bans teams from filming each other’s sidelines. There’s no room for interpretation, it’s a ban! Here’s the NFL policy, from a memo sent to all head coaches and general managers Sept. 6, 2006: “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.” Prohibited. There’s nothing there to “interpret.” Videotaping opponent’s signals even after getting this warning isn’t a “mistake,” it’s cheating. Belichick’s cheating was not some casual spur-of-the-moment blunder but rather an elaborate staffed system that took a lot of work to put into place and that Belichick worked hard to hide. And you don’t hide something unless you are ashamed of it.

    At any rate..if you are going to call an argument made by a contributing editor for The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Monthly and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution misleading you should explain how, no? Where is the slander? Why shouldn’t those questions be asked? What about the Patriots’s past actions should lead one to give them the benefit of the doubt? Belicheat’s stonewalling certainly doesn’t make him guilty of more than we know, but it also doesn’t put the issue behind the league and beyond further questioning by intelligent writers.

  3. A writer’s credentials does not mean his arguments makes sense.

    I wrote a long one but it disappeared and was not posted– here’s my argument again.

    1. The Nixon/Belichick comparison is not well drawn. Nixon was a public figure and thus has accountibility to the public for his actions. Belichick has some accountability but far far less, a sports team being a psuedo-public entity at best. Plus Nixon was known for manupulating the press for his own needs (see my friend’s book Nixon’s Shadow for more detail). Belichick is *always* tight lipped with the press. The “stonewalling” is how he runs his press conferences. Good or bad issues.

  4. “A writer’s credentials does not mean his arguments makes sense.”

    Granted, but if you say he’s misleading and slandering, than you should explain how.

    I don’t recall reading Easterbrook write that Belicheat has the same job or accountabilty to the public. Certainly breaking into the DNC HQ is worse that taping linebackers signals…doesn’t mean the analogy breaks down. If you assume and acknowledge coaching an NFL team is not the same as ruling the United States then the analogy still holds. I’d say Beli-cheat’s tight lip strategy is easily a manipulation of the press.

    TMQ handles the issue pretty reasonably in my book. He’s always admired and praised the Patriots and he’s genuinely disgusted by the cheating and response to being caught. As he should be. If they do find more, will Kraft fire him? Should he? Or should we just focus on how dominating the Pats were against SD as the sportz putz wishes?

  5. 2. Easterbrook is presenting as *fact* that this is going to lead to bigger things. Here’s the quote, “Belichick’s cheating was not some casual spur-of-the-moment blunder but rather an elaborate staffed system that took a lot of work to put into place and that Belichick worked hard to hide. And you don’t hide something unless you are ashamed of it.”

    First off, where’s the proof that this was an elaborately staffed system? The 26 year old filming? And FFS the cameraman was not hiding — he was in plain sight. GE’s words are not a question, they are a statement of fact. One that has not been proven. And really “you don’t hide things unless you’re ashamed of them”?? huh? Why do coachs hide their signals? Because they are afraid that people will see them. Information is the key in coaching and that’s WHY Belichick does not offer more than he’s asked.

  6. 3. Usually Easterbrook is better than this. I am really surprised he did not ask this: what is the true effect of breaking the rules like this?

    If stealing signs is legal without a video cam — then does taping this effect the *integrity* of the game. That’s key in GE’s analysis. He’s stating that folks won’t like the game if they question its intergrity. I agree but this videotaping does not effect it. Teams are quite often trying to steal each other’s signs. It’s common practice. The net effect was that Belichick *might* have been able to do something everyone else does better. If no one ever tried to steal signs then we’d have a different context.

  7. So you think it was a casual, spur of the moment blunder to have a paid head coach clearly tape Jet’s defensive signals?

    Just what we know WAS elaborate, staffed, and intended. The coach may not have been “hidden”, but the Patriots were anything but forthright with the initial evidence, apologizing after the fine, not when allegations were made.

  8. I completely disagree….Easterbook gets it right and many NE apologist are missing the point. It’s not cheating to try and identify opposing team’s signals, it’s cheating to use videotape to do so. The NFL decided that taping was illegal.How does this distinction elude so many?

    The arguement is not “does this really have an impact?” either. That’s Nixonian, fox news spin. The rule was broken, the Pats cheated. You can make it more complicated by bringing up what other teams do, or even all the other scandels in sport. If moral relativism is your game, you can even say winning trumps all. I’d be on Easterbrook’s side though…

  9. 4. Which is not to say what Belichick did is ok.
    He broke the rules. He was caught. He is paying for it. If they find out more — then he will pay further. I think Kraft will fire him if it goes further.

    GE is far from reasonable. He’s a polemicist. I don’t think he wants to be reasonable. He tries to fight the “common wisdom” And in general it’s interesting. This time though I think he’s not being all that insightful. Of course if the dirt goes further it will get worse — but the facts need to come out before we go there.

  10. The disinction is not right from wrong.
    It’s wrong. But you can’t lump all wrongness in one bucket. There are degrees of wrongness — I don’t think this affects the integrity of the game which was GE’s argument.

    There’s not moral relativism here — it’s putting what he did in context. Comparing it to a President who had his re-election staff break into a rival’s HQ and then covered up the crime to a point where he would risk flauting the Constitution is massively overstating the wrongness of what Belichick did. Both things were wrong – one far more so than the other.

  11. This is a far more reasonable assessment of the event to me. Without the polemics.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/extras/askreiss/09_18_07/

  12. So if Belicheat isn’t comparable to Nixon, who would you be more comfortable with? Alexander Haig? Andrew Jackson? Charles DeGaulle? Pol Pot?

  13. Easy.
    Abraham Lincoln.

  14. I’d considered making the Pol Pot analogy, but I just can’t see him in a hoodie. We should but Bill under house arrest though.

    I think mod and I can agree to disagree on this. He thinks the cheating was a minor violation of the rules that the punishment was fair, and I think it was more serious and should have been treated that way by Polpotichick.

    As for Easterbrook, no denying he’s go some weird religious ethics, but I don’t think he is countering common intuition for shits and giggles, but rather because his convictions are legitimate. The not all that interesting charge is just not fair.

  15. To correct how I feel — it was not a minor incident of cheating. It was major. But then no one has lost a 1st round draft pick ever before. And the fines are very large.

  16. Francisco Franco…….

    is still dead.


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