Ok. I’ll admit it. I’m a lifelong New England Patriots fan, whose youth was filled with Pats ineptitude. More losses than wins usually had my dad pounding the arms of his uneasy chair. When I was a kid, they were known as the Boston Patriots, playing their games at venerable Fenway Park. As a sports journalist, one of my first jobs included covering the Pats in the Steve Grogan/Tony Eason era – an equally inept time. Eason never met a slide to avoid a hit he didn’t like, but I digress.
I covered training camps at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island, along with the sale of the Pats to Victor Kiam, the Remington Products CEO whose famous catchphrase, “I liked the (electric) shaver so much, I bought the company”, made him a household name.
Yes, I’ve been through it all with New England’s NFL franchise, which is why the events of the past four months are somewhat disturbing.
First, let me be clear. Name me one professional sports franchise that has not looked for ways to “skirt” the rules in order to gain even the slightest of advantages, and I’ve got stock in the next wave of 8-track tapes to sell you.
So, what’s MY opinion of what’s happening at 1 Patriot Place in Foxborough, MA?
*Disclaimer – The views, opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by Mark Edwards do not represent the opinions or policies of U/S Sports Advisors, the organization, office staff, management, sponsors, or clients…even interns.
I believe that Tom Brady prefers the footballs to be a certain way, and when the balls were handed over to Jim McNally by the officials prior to the AFC Championship game, McNally hightailed it into the bathroom and took air out of most of the balls. Seeing he was only in there 90 seconds, he realistically only had time to remove a little air from 11 of the 12 footballs. In the following news conferences by Brady, I believe he was trying to cover for McNally and fellow attendant John Jastremski, hoping to keep them out of harms way. Noble, yes. Smart, not so much.
The subsequent $1 million dollar fine, loss of a 1st and 4th round draft pick and four-game suspension of Brady (which I believe soon after this posting will be reduced or dismissed) is a rather steep penalty for something that, as proven by the second-half dismantling of the Colts, really had no bearing on the outcome of the game.
Team owner Robert Kraft’s five-minute presser accepting the Pats’ penalties, in my opinion, supports the Pats’ guilt. Initially, they all did their best to try and deflect this with everything short of gremlins disguised as Rex Ryan sneaking into the ball bag with a needle.
Tom, you were wrong. Bill and Bob, stick to coaching and ownership.
Now, go and do what everyone in “Patriots Nation” is hoping. March all the way to Super Bowl 50, and with all the proper pounds per square inch you’ve got, win a fifth title and shut everyone the heck up!