I’ve read and heard a few media types describing the Randy Moss trade as the “biggest gamble” that Bill Belichick has taken here in New England. BSMW favorite Eric McHugh even made that characterization in his column on the trade, calling the risk “the biggest since he scrawled his resignation letter on a crumpled-up Denny’s napkin and tossed it at the flabbergasted Jets on the day he was supposed to be introduced as their head coach back in 2000.”
Is it really?
Is it a bigger risk than staying with 6th round pick Tom Brady over the $100 million Pro Bowl QB Drew Bledsoe, when the latter was ruled healthy enough to play after coming back from the Mo Lewis hit?
Is it a bigger risk than cutting team captain, heart and soul of the defense, safety Lawyer Malloy – five days before the season opener?
Is it even a bigger risk than taking with his first ever Patriots first round pick a defensive lineman “who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end.”
The stretching of the truth and selective memory of many media members just never fails to amaze me.
I got quite a bit of reaction to the post I did yesterday on how the Patriots stance on “character guys” has been exaggerated in the media.
Here’s an email from Chris, which is pretty typical of the tone and frustration that I’m hearing from a lot of people:
Just read your afternoon update and I’m emailing to say I couldn’t agree more.
This whole Moss reaction makes me sick to my stomach, particularly Jackie MacMullan — who I actually used to (as in last year) like — taking on the hatchet woman role with such vigor. I swear, she’s like Ron Borges in drag all of a sudden. Today — the very day she ran a column saying the Patriots were breaking from tradition … while completely ignoring Corey Dillon — on Around the Horn (I know, I know, but still …) she compared Moss to Christian Peter (a rapist!), said he has a worse track record than Dillon had ( a straight up lie), said Moss ‘ran over a meter maid’ (hyperbole of the worst kind … and even if he had, who could blame him?), and nodded vigorously when that moron Woody Paige said Bill Belichick has character issues himself. I swear to God the woman has lost her mind with hatred for Bill Belichick. She spoke with such conviction and outrage I thought she was going to burn a copy of The Education of a Coach (“you call this man a coach … or a man???”) right there! Seriously, do these reporters even realize how ridiculous they look when they grind their personal axes in public like this?
See, that’s what’s killing me about the whole Belichick thing, it so clearly has nothing to do with the standards we normally judge our coaches and athletes by. I don’t know about you but I assume most sports fans have made the same deal I have in order to spend such an inordinate amount of time following the games: I judge them by what they do on the field, not morally, not politically, not religiously, etc. If a guy can keep his **** together to where I don’t have to read about him beating women or killing someone then I’m okay with the athlete. I’m not saying I’m proud of it exactly, but it’s something I had to do as I’ve gotten older and have kept following sports so much. It is, for example, how I can stomach rooting for Curt Schilling … because of how he pitches, not the rest of it.
Anyway, all of a sudden (or all along, I guess) Bill Belichick is judged by standards no coach has had to endure. It can’t just be that he’s a great coach, evaluator of talent, and winner. Bill Belichick has to be a great guy and can only have great character players on his team (which — as you wrote — I never heard him trumpet, at least not nearly as much as the media that’s now killing him for adding Moss). It’s ridiculous! I don’t remember people dissecting Jimmy Johnson’s life when he was building the last NFL dynasty before the Pats. Bill Parcells was the biggest douche bag bully I’ve ever seen and I never read even one story about what kind of man he was. Those guys could coach, and that was the story. Of course, they were both media friendly too, and there’s the rub. The bottom line is if Belichick kissed media ass like Doc Rivers (the flip side of this coin) he’d be a God in Boston. I don’t know what kind of man Bill Belichick is (though I actually have the sense he’s a good guy) and I really don’t care. He’s a football coach, and football is a brutal game that it takes a lot of denial (of morality) to even follow. If people are going to start judging these things on moral terms, then they have to be consistent. Anything less isn’t journalism, it’s BS axe grinding.
Y’know, having (like most of your readers) grown up reading, and even admiring, most of these people I can’t tell if they’ve gotten worse and more egotistical or if they were always like that and I’ve just grown more cynical as Ive gotten older. Whichever it is, it’s sickening. I used to be proud of the Globe, now it’s a joke (save for Reiss and Ryan). Fire Jackie Mac!
Joe Strauss and Jake Wagman in the St Louis Post Dispatch report the latest in the investigation in Josh Hancock’s death, noting that the Cardinals pitcher had a close call just a few days prior to the accident that killed him.
Mike Reiss had a Patriots Draft chat on Boston.com
Mike Fine says that Curt Schilling’s “latest tirades against the media reveal him as a clueless hypocrite”
Rob Bradford’s former blog at the Eagle Tribune, Bradford on Baseball, now leads you to a terrifying new experience.
Shaun Powell says that the Patriots acquired Randy Moss because they’re afraid of the Jets.
Bob Raissman tears into Yankee broadcasters “Suzyn (Georgie Girl) Waldman and John Sterling” for placing the blame on the media for the Yankees slow start.
Neil Best talks to The Hockey Maven, Stan Fischler, who used to be a mainstay on the old Eddie Andelman shows.
Leonard Shapiro looks at Daniel Snyder making a rare media appearance, and weighs in on the draft and Gary Thorne.
Richard Sandomir looks at the Mets and the Yankees are racing to open their new stadiums by opening day 2009.
A last note on media accountability for today.
Peter King following the Super Bowl:
New England (14-5). On a serious note, you can’t tell me that the free agents New England tries to recruit this year aren’t going to look at Bill Belichick and wonder: “Are those charges that Ted Johnson made true … the ones about being coerced to play with a concussion?” – Peter King, 2/5/07
It appears that Adalius Thomas, Donte’ Stallworth, Kyle Brady, Sammy Morris, Kelley Washington, Tory James, Wes Welker and Randy Moss didn’t get the memo.
7:00pm, NESN – A’s @ Red Sox
7:00pm, TNT – Nets @ Raptors
7:00pm, Versus – Sabres @ Raptors
9:30pm, TNT – Warriors @ Mavs
10:00pm, Versus – Ducks @ Canucks