David Kirkpatrick

February 17, 2008

Belicheat — Spygate, pt. 2

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:14 pm

Bill Belicheck offered the most lawyered-up explanation of taping, or not, the 2002 Super Bowl Rams’ pre-game walk-through.

This is from the AP piece published at ESPN.com, and linked above:

BOSTON — Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has denied suggestions by a former employee that his club taped St. Louis‘s walk-through before the 2002 Super Bowl.

Belichick told The Boston Globe that in his entire coaching career, he has never seen recordings of another team’s practice before playing that team.

Man. He’s never seen recordings of a practice before playing a team. Did any of his coaches see these tapes? He certainly didn’t say the tapes don’t exist, or that the Patriots didn’t use them in some fashion. And isn’t recording other team’s practices verboten regardless when those recordings are utilized?

If these allegations are true, Belicheck ought to be banned from the NFL for life.

This pussy-foot denial makes me tend to believe Belicheat’s doing a total CYA and deserves everything Goodell hands out. If Goodell has the cojones for it. My respect for the NFL’s front office has fallen by bounds and leaps this season.

(Find part one here.)

February 4, 2008

Is Spygate now Spyscam?

Filed under: Media, Politics, Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:41 am

Gregg Easterbrook drops the mask, so to speak. He writes the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column at ESPN.com (and previously at ESPN.com and NFL.com before again returning to the mouse) and it’s part funny, part satire, part pompously under-informed, part just a cool bit of sports opinion. I enjoy TMQ, warts and all.

Easterbrook is also a respected journalist and think tanker. The article linked above is Easterbrook writing as a journalist, and opening the notebook up a bit more than most journalists would reveal. Over this entire season he ragged the Patriots, and head coach Bill Bilichick, for the Spygate business. He also went after the league, his onetime employer.

This story covers the process of how and why Spygate became a story again right before New England tried to win another Super Bowl. The gist is the NFL, by choice, didn’t face any scrutiny before it had no choice at pre-game press conferences. The other point is evidence gathered by investigative reporting made it obvious there was more to the story of New England’s cheating.

At this point Congress is in the picture and things will not get any easier for a Patriot team that just lost a heartbreaker of a Super Bowl.

February 3, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Filed under: Business, Media, Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:58 pm

New York 17, New England 14

Wow, what a game overall and what a finish. Plaxico Buress even slipped an F-bomb into his post game interview. Two early, and two late scores pretty much sum the contest up. This game is all about the New York Giants, but you can’t shake the sense the Patriots are done.

The Pats failed in their quest for a perfect season, and now Spygate is growing and looming. My guess is there’s far too much smoke right now for there not to be a fire somewhere. If there is a fire the Patriots as currently constructed are toast. Bill “Bilicheat” will face far heavier sanctions than he’s seen so far. If everything broiling turns to a boil I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up banned from coaching in the NFL.

Back to the game — you couldn’t ask for more from either team. The Giants imposed their will with the opening drive, consuming practically nine minutes and Eli throwing more than one huge third and long pass. The drive ended in a field goal, but it set a tone for the game.

The Pats responded with a TD, and after a crazy end to the half led with the score New England seven, New York three.

The Giants’ defense was huge throughout the third quarter keeping the game in check. With less than three minutes in the game Randy Moss grabs a touchdown pass setting up what looked like a prototypical Tom Brady led fourth quarter victory. “Bad” Eli, as he’s been dubbed and I’ve been guilty of looking for, may be gone forever. Manning drove the Giants to take the lead with 35 seconds left in the game.

Brady couldn’t preserve the Pats bid for a perfect season. The latest Lombardi trophy isn’t gong to start tarnishing. The Pats “dynasty” is more than tarnished. It’s mottled, and maybe even rusting. I don’t think the team gained any significant advantage with the cheating, and probably other teams are doing the same. In the end it doesn’t matter in the harsh lighting of the court of public opinion. They cheated, and may have been doing so before this run of excellence began.

On a media note, did anyone else notice the lack of commercials during on-field timeouts in the fourth quarter? Obviously advertising America bought into the idea the Pats would be ahead in a blowout by that time and didn’t buy the super priced Super Bowl ad in the fourth.

One more reason to not pay attention to the line.

February 2, 2008

Super Bowl XLII preview

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:06 pm

Here we are a bit more than twenty four hours before kickoff and all is excitement and questions.

Will the game be another thriller like these teams came up with in the last game of the season? Will the Giants, and Eli, be overawed at the sheer spectacle? Is the current line of New England by 12 points to high? Too low? And about the Patriots, is Tom Brady’s ankle ready to handle full speed contact?

Here’s some of the facts. The line opened at the Pats by 13 1/2 and has only drifted down to the Pats by 12. The over/under is 54. When the ball is finally kicked off sometime after 6 pm EST tomorrow there’s a decent chance of rain, and the temperature should start in the high-50s and drop a bit from there as the game goes on.

I’ve actually managed to avoid a lot of overwrought hype these last couple of weeks, but a few things made it through the stranglehold this political cycle has on my imagination. (more…)

January 20, 2008

Pats and Giants head to the Super Bowl

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:25 pm

New England 21, San Diego 12

The Patriots cracked but didn’t crumble. The high-powered offensive passing attack disappeared, but was replaced by a grinding running game featuring two, and three, tight end sets.

A huge part of New England avoiding an upset, and overcoming offensive mistakes (like Brady’s uncharacteristic interceptions), was the defense. Holding San Diego to three field goals in three first half trips to the red zone proved the difference in this game.

Trading field goals for touchdowns is a winning formula.

Any pressure New England felt as an undefeated team is now almost completely blown out the window. The Super Bowl is its own animal all together, and the entire Pats organization understands that unique pressure.

New York 23, Green Bay 20

An amazing game. Early on Joe Buck kept reminding the viewer this was the third coldest game in NFL history and later noted it was only the second overtime game in NFC playoff history.

I was amazed at the short sleeves on both sides and dismayed by another playoff game full of bad calls. Maybe it’s a function of better taped coverage available to the TV viewer, but just wow, calls have been so bad for so many games this postseason.

In the end the Giants continue. As is seems right now sacrificial lambs to the Patriots. We will see two weeks from now in Arizona.

January 19, 2008

NFL conference championships — the AFC

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:30 pm

San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots 

In the early game tomorrow San Diego travels to Foxborough to face the undefeated Patriots. The weather looks to be 30ish and possibly fairly windy. Even though the Pats are double-digit favorites in this game, the conditions would normally help the Chargers.

Strong San Diego pass rush and running game, New England’s offensive reliance on a passing attack — but a few things come into play. The Patriots are playing great and not showing any cracks under undeniable (whatever else they may say publicly) pressure to get this far and fail to win the Super Bowl.

Maybe more importantly, the Chargers are really banged up. Does anyone really expect to see a 100% LaDainian Tomlinson tomorrow? And would anyone trust Phil Rivers or Billy Volek to take over the game? Tough questions both for San Diego.

The wild card here is Randy Moss’ off field trouble this week. Might be nothing, but who knows and things like this can be deadly to a playoff football team.

January 12, 2008

NFL — the Pack and Pats advance

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:05 pm

Green Bay 42, Seattle 20

You couldn’t ask for more. A super fun snowy Lambeau Field, Favre doing his Favre things and a goat turned hero.

Well a Packers loss might be better from my perspective as a Dallas fan since I think the Seahawks would be a weaker conference championship game opponent if the Cowboys win tomorrow, but what a job by Green Bay.

Ryan Grant fumbles twice in the first handful of minutes. These miscues lead to a 14-0 Seahawk lead. The other three and a half quarters he does nothing more than chalk up 201 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

New England 31, Jacksonville 20

In a hard fought game, the Pats were ruthlessly efficient. Both teams looked good. New England looked better. And the faked RB direct snap was a thing a beauty. The call was great, the execution was great and Tom Brady couldn’t have done a better job selling the play. 

I still think the Pats are playing pretty jacked up (read: multiple personal fouls), but it is the playoffs so now’s the time to do it.

January 8, 2008

NFL round 2

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:41 pm

First, a congrats to LSU for its second BCS title. I’d prefer some sort of playoff system, but hey it is what it is and the Louisiana Tigers won the big game.

On to the real games. I enjoy the NFL more than any other sport and even helped develop and served as editor for the NFL Core section of the defunct BootlegSports.

The NFC features Seattle in Green Bay and the NY Giants making a second trip to Dallas to try and erase being swept by the Cowboys in the regular season. Conventional wisdom holds it’s difficult for one pro football team to win three games against the same opponent in one season.

As a Cowboy fan I expect CW to go down in flames when “bad” Eli makes the trip to Texas Stadium. After two pretty solid games he’s due for a crash.

I also think Mike Holmgren won’t enjoy his trip back to Lambeau.

Over at the AFC, the Colts should easily handle San Diego at home. The defending champs are just too solid this year.

The Jacksonville/New England matchup is interesting. I’ve believed all year the Patriots were playing too jacked up throughout the regular season in response to Spygate. Their production trailed off toward the end of the season, and I think it could be attributed to mentally and physically wearing down after going full-bore to crush each opponent, no matter how weak. Plus the game-planning has not been well suited for inclement weather.

This weekend could be the test that busts up the unblemished record. I don’t think the Jaguars are the better team, but they have a dangerous air. If the weather is bad the Jags might even have a slight edge. Something to ponder for Pats fans out there.