David Kirkpatrick

January 10, 2010

Doesn’t it seem like the Pats have been a bit star-crossed …

… ever since Spygate broke a couple of years ago? Defensive leader, linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffers a stroke about three years before the story comes to light as an opening karmic salvo against the cheating team by the gods of football. Then last year the franchise, quarterback Tom Brady, loses just about the entire 2008 season to a major knee injury dooming the team to missing the playoffs. Last week star wide receiver Wes Welker blows a knee right before this year’s playoffs. And now today’s display.

What if Spygate went much, much deeper than anyone realizes. Here’s one scenario:

(Note for conceptually and hyperbole challenged readers: the following is satire [see definition number two from the link] and not actual conjecture, analysis or inside information,)

Recall back in the summer of 2005. Patriots owner Bob Kraft meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and hands the world leader his ring from the recent Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles for examination. After looking the ring over and trying it on, Putin calmly and smilingly slides the ring into his pocket saying nothing. Essentially daring Kraft to protest this blatant and public theft, and act of total disrespect.

What if, instead of some sort of cultural misunderstanding or just simple robbery by Putin, this act was Putin’s gangster way of exacting a little more flesh from a business associate. Very possibly beyond simple in-stadium cameras trained on opposing sidelines, the New England Patriots engaged the services of Russia’s spy apparatus — namely spy satellites engaged to not only catch signals called, but possibly even sideline conversations through lip-reading technology coupled with real time satellite images capable of pinpoint resolution.

Of course, once you go down that particular rabbit hole, where does it end? Black ops agents infiltrating other NFL teams? Subtle disabling hits (think poisoning — we all know post-USSR Russia has experience and expertise in this field) against opposing players and coaches?

And consider the bitter irony of a team named the “Patriots” getting into bed with the United State’s bitter cold war foe. No wonder the football gods frowned, conferred and rendered a dark judgement asunder.

May the fall of the cheating, and possibly traitorous, New England Patriots be cold, bitter and very, very long.

(Yeah, I know I used “bitter” a lot there in the last two grafs. Maybe it’s the bitter taste in my mouth from these dark revelations.)

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…)