Thinking out loud: Spygate 2.0, we're really doing this again?

John Rooke
December 13, 2019 - 1:00 pm
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Thinking out loud…while wondering how I get sucked into watching Hallmark holiday movies…

 

  • Spygate, 2.0.  Really?  We’re doing this again?

 

  • Yeah, it’s a bad, bad look.  Now, we’re all being beaten over the head with an idiot stick.  Very easy to see why those from the outside would pose questions and cast doubt on whether the entire New England region cheats, while Patriot fans undoubtedly feel somewhat persecuted by this mess. 

 

  • After all, the team does continue to win…present two-game malaise notwithstanding.

 

  • But at what cost?  Your personal integrity?  Does that matter to anyone anymore?  We’re winning at what cost?  These clever “-gate” suffixes have become an albatross around the necks of an entire region.

 

  • The fuel for this fire is the inability of ‘mainstream’ media to understand the facts behind any Patriot misstep, if you will, because the Patriots continue to win.  Of course, if they could keep from misstepping in the first place, that would be preferable. 

 

  • But they have continued to win for an unprecedented number of years in an era of relative economic parity.  It’s only natural to react, “They can’t possibly be in the Super Bowl again.  They must be cheating.  What are they doing?”

 

  • The tales and rumors and falsities keep the team in the news cycle, and fresh on the talk show circuit.  Have you heard what the Patriots did today?  We’ll tell you about it coming up.  Nothing like trying to knock the king off his throne, ‘cuz the throne is where everyone would like to be.

 

  • You’ll recall, of course, ESPN continued to incorrectly report the team spied on the Rams’ walkthrough in 2002 as late as 2015. “Subjective reporting” has only fueled the perception of alleged Patriot dishonesty, which continues to grow like an unwelcome weed.

 

  • And of course, the Patriots are also guilty of a few weeds sprouting on an otherwise meticulous lawn, too.  No getting around that.

 

  • But in spite of wild (and clever) speculation, this was not some sort of scheme (the “Do Your Job videos on Patriots.com) by football operations to keep doing what they were slapped down by the NFL for doing a decade ago. 

 

  • Does anyone really think that diabolically?  Or are some in the media just stirring s*it?

 

  • Full disclosure – I work in content creation for the Patriots.  I’m at the stadium, a lot.  Seen a thing or two.  Heard more than that.  Nothing of a nefarious nature going on that I could tell, but then again, I don’t lurk in the corners or the hallways ready to say ‘gotcha!’ either.

 

  • This appears to be little more than a simple (and egregious) error in judgment within departmental hierarchy, when the Cincinnati Bengals were not notified of the video production team “Doing Its Job” producing a feature on an advance scout during their game with Cleveland. 

 

  • I mean, a guy wearing Bruins’ gear sits right in front of a Bengals’ staffer in the press box and starts shooting the sideline?  Is that an error in judgment. or in-your-face, try-and-stop-me arrogance…if, of course, arrogance was the intent.  Stupid is as stupid does.

 

  • Like I said though, it’s a bad look.

 

  • Sure, if I’m Cincinnati, I might feel slighted.  But I’m also 1-12, so get real.  The Patriots shouldn’t need sideline help to beat the Bungles.

 

  • Still, ignorance is no excuse for a severe lapse in judgement in shooting video of the sideline, which is a league no-no.  Given this team’s history, there’s no defense for it.  A fine might be appropriate. 

 

  • But there’s no master scheme here to make fools of the NFL, or the Bengals or anyone else, IMHO.  What’s the definition of doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result in the end?

 

  • Insanity.  And just who is insane?  The team, the coach, the media, the NFL or the fans?  We can move this along now, people, there’s really nothing to see here.  I’d like to keep my own sanity intact.

 

  • It’s still good to be King.  It just gets tough(er) the longer you stay upon the throne.

 

  • Tweet of the Week, from @koppen67: “Based on how the @Patriots played in the 2nd half of the #Chiefs game and now this BS story, I feel sorry for the rest of the @NFL. #dontpokethebear”

 

  • Looked to me like KC’s defense knew what was coming at them last Sunday.  Before ripping the refs – which was a huge part of it – credit is due the Chiefs’ defense.  Or the Patriots’ lack of offense, take your pick.

 

  • But the officiating?  May have been the single-worst officiated game these eyes have witnessed in nearly 40 years of covering the NFL.  I can’t recall another game during this time where the errors were so numerous and mind-numbing, and the result so damning.

 

  • And unless ownership decides to tear down the current system and simplify the rulebook, along with easing the pressures of officiating-through-technology, history will definitely repeat itself. 

 

  • Ask the Saints and their fans – they were up first.  The Patriots and Pats’ fans were merely next.

 

  • Booooo!  No problem with booing the home team, or professionals expected to do their jobs to the best of their ability, when they fall short of expectations and they’re handsomely (obscenely?) paid to do so.  Sometimes though, those expectations are overly inflated.

 

  • But booing the Patriots off the field Sunday at halftime?  When your team is (or was) 10-2 and a defending Super Bowl champ?  My first thought – Patriot fans are perhaps the most-entitled, most-privileged, most-spoiled in the history of sport.

 

  • And then I remembered Yankee fans.  So, there you go.  Entitlement comes with winning.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but signing Gerrit Cole to his multi-year, umpteen-hunnerd million dollar deal this week doesn’t exactly make me all warm and fuzzy for the Red Sox self-imposed budgetary restrictions, or their chances on the field in the spring.

 

  • Back to the Bengals for a moment…nah, fuhgeddaboudit.  On to Buffalo.

 

  • If you need to worry about something else, try TB12.  If you’re a conspiracy theorist – and I am, but not really a believer in this one – Brady’s stepping down from his Grand Poobah position with Best Buddies is a sign he’s all-but-out-the-door. 

 

  • He is stepping up, however, as a Global Ambassador for the charity.  Global = Mobile?

 

  • The Giants’ Eli Manning is a career-losing QB after subbing in and losing last week.  Think about that for a second and get back to me on the Hall of Fame thing.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he was waiting at the tee for his friends to arrive a few weeks back when four women played through, each taking their time.  When the final lady swung, she hacked her golf ball about 10 feet.  She then swung again and completely missed it.  Another swing, and it moved about five feet.

 

  • She looked up at “Big E” and laughed out loud, “Guess all those (bleep)ing lessons I took over the summer didn’t help one bit!”  “Big E” responded with “well, there you have it. You should have taken golf lessons instead.”

 

  • Friar Hockey got into their semester break last week with a nice win over 16th ranked UMass Lowell.  PC, as a result, climbed back up to 13th nationally in the USCHO.com Top 20 this week.

 

  • The Friars’ failures on the basketball floor so far this season are confounding, true.  This team had all of the ingredients needed – or so we all thought – to compete at the top of the Big East, including experience.  Except one.

 

  • Shooting.  It wasn’t really there last season, it’s not really there this season.  Compounding the issue is the lack of finishing skills around the basket. 

 

  • Ed Cooley told listeners to his radio show this week he still believes he has a team that can compete at the top of the Big East.  This season, too.  No time like the present to prove it.

 

  • Meanwhile, the Big East is largely thriving on non-league foes again, with two of the last 10 unbeatens in the country (DePaul and Butler, and it’s now down to five) and four teams ranked in the current Top 25.  Butler is the highest ranked of the four…and they were picked for eighth – in the conference – by the coaches.

 

  • Georgetown jettisons two of their best players, and sophomore guard Mac McClung takes over for the Hoyas as last weeks’ Big East Player of the Week.

 

  • Commissioner Val Ackerman spoke with the Sports Business Journal this week and mentioned the league’s media rights coming up again in a few years.  Which is precisely why, she said, the Big East added UConn to the conference – with a future eye already looking at renewing old acquaintances, and the value TV will eventually place on them.

 

  • URI’s big challenge from here, of course, is not to let one win over Providence define their season.  It has happened before, you know.  Can the Rams get their dander up for St. Bonnie, Fordham and George Mason, too?

 

  • Fatts Russell asking the media in the post-game aftermath if they thought this (PC-URI) was a rivalry?  Loved it.  Full of moxie.  But I don’t know, Fatts.  You probably need to win more than two times out of the last 10 to make it so, don’t you?

 

  • Although, in the interest of truth, justice and the Rhody way, Russell is 2-1 against the Friars.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Brown traveled to Queens this week for a meeting (and a loss) with St. John’s.  And why is it again, exactly, Providence doesn’t play Brown, but the Johnnies will?

 

  • Late in the second half of SJU’s 82-71 win, lone senior guard Mustapha Heron was carted off the floor with what looked like a pretty serious ankle injury after landing on the Bears’ Brandon Anderson.  The 9-2 Red Storm won’t play again until the 18th, Heron is out for about two weeks.

 

  • Don’t look now, but Bryant has a little mo’ gaining steam on their side…beating Fordham this week was the program’s first-ever win over an Atlantic-10 team.

 

  • And did anyone else notice UMass-Boston – a Division III program – beat Holy Cross 69-66 this week?  Not just the epitome of brutality…but it’s why the games are played in the first place. 

 

  • If you’re the big boy, pull your big boy pants on.  One leg at a time.

 

  • Not sure I can add much more than has already been said about Pete Frates and his passing this week at age 34, following his well-documented struggle with ALS.  But I will echo what several have said about him – he gave an insidious disease a face, after Lou Gehrig had originally given it a name.

 

  • 17 million people have taken part, all over the world, in Frates’ creation of the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014.  More than $220 million has been raised for ALS research and care.  The Pete Frates Center is under construction at Boston College, to serve the baseball and softball programs at the school…but it will stand for so much more.

 

  • The winter meetings for the Red Sox have been quiet – unless Martin Perez and Jose Peraza float your boat – with the notable exception of Xander Bogaerts already complaining about missing Mookie Betts and/or Jackie Bradley.  Seems to me he’s simply preparing us for the same thing.

 

  • YAWN.  Rick Porcello also made good on his threat to leave, signing a one-year deal with the NY Mets as reported Thursday by Ken Rosenthal.  Bye, Rick.  He did eat up innings, though, and won a Cy Young.  Up and down like a thermometer. 

 

  • The Sox also made it official on their hierarchy.  Cumberland, RI native and URI grad Raquel Ferreira is part of the team that will oversee baseball operations – as Executive VP/Assistant General Manager.  She’s still just the third female in MLB to hold a baseball ops job.  Ferreira’s overall career with the Sox has covered 21 seasons, and four world titles.

 

  • That marijuana is being removed from MLB’s list of ‘drugs of abuse’ is a telling sign that we don’t live in Kansas anymore, Toto.  Nor are we close to the 20th century, either.  Somewhere, Bill “Spaceman” Lee is smiling…and pay attention, NFL.

 

  • Awesome to see the late Nick Cafardo receive recognition from the Baseball Writers Association of America in winning the 71st J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.  His official recognition will come in July during the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY.

 

  • Nick was a Hall of Fame writer, sure…but he was also a Hall of Fame person.  If you knew him, you miss him.

 

  • Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Wishes.  A Christmas Scavenger Hunt.  A Merry Christmas Match.  The Christmas Club.  Picture A Perfect Christmas.  I am actually doing that last one, and it doesn’t include watching as many of these Harlequin-romance-novels-made-for-TV as I have been.

 

  • Noticeably absent from these tear-jerkers is ex-Hallmark mainstay Lori Loughlin, aka Aunt Becky from the TV sitcom Full House.  She’s, um, occupied at the present.  Trying to decide which color prison stripes she looks good in, I guess.

 

  • Next holiday season, I vow to stick with the basics – A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Maybe Miracle on 34th Street, too.  But that’s it. 

 

  • @FriarFrenzy tweeted this week: “This team has played its best when pressing hard and forcing tempo…is there a plan to do more of this?”

 

  • Frenzy:  Ed told us on his radio show there is a plan to do more of this.  The issue here, however, is the back end of the press and allowing easy runs to the hoop.  There needs to be a better effort in getting back and getting set defensively – like teams are doing against PC.  And, they need to eliminate unforced turnovers and poor decision-making.  Those things are killers.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.