Greg Bedard didn’t expect this, even if he probably should’ve known what parts of his story some of his belly-crawling colleagues in the sports media would pick up and sensationalize.
In an profile of new Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, the Boston-based Bedard painted a picture of Pettine as a hard-working, intelligent coach with a chip on his shoulder due to the fact that just 13 years ago he was coaching high school football.
About two-thirds of the way into the column, Pettine started to explain why he prefers to keep his initial playbook relatively thin and simple.
He then told a story about Tom Brady teasing one of the Jets coaches about having their playbook, and Pettine saying he wasn’t surprised because Rex Ryan gave out playbooks all the time, including to Nick Saban, who is a Belichick friend.
While Bedard thought the anecdote was innocuous, whoever laid out the page at MMQB saw the sensationalistic aspect to the statement, and thus created the pull-quote above.
Immediately Twitter and web headlines everywhere proclaimed the Patriots guilty of stealing playbooks and by extension – cheating.
Bill Belichick was asked about it at minicamp yesterday.
Have the Patriots ever had a copy of the Jets playbook? Belichick responds, "Go talk to Mike Pettine. I don’t know."
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) June 19, 2014
Rex Ryan was asked about it.
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) June 19, 2014
Nick Saban’s office was asked about it.
— Rick Karle (@RickKarle) June 19, 2014
This didn’t stop the freight train. Bedard went onto CSNNE last night to try and set the matter straight, and said if he knew the extent to which the anecdote would be blown out of proportion, he’d have left it out, because it wasn’t important.
Most people who know the NFL know that playbooks get passed around all over the league. Rex’s brother Rob worked for the Patriots – you don’t think he gave his brother one? You can download portions of the Patriots (and other teams) playbook on the internet.
Bedard is pissed that this has become the focus of his story, and I don’t blame him.
This was posted last night:
Ronde Barber on @AmericasPregame: "A lot of intel came into our building. I may or may not have seen practice of a team we were playing." Oh
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 19, 2014
So when the Patriots are mentioned with anything, it is a huge deal. Stuff like this comes out, and it is completely ignored.
David Ortiz was wrong to have a tantrum over an official scorers decisions week. It’s not the first time he’s done, and it probably won’t be the last. He’s emotional – for better or worse – but that does not excuse his behavior.
That said, Boston sports radio needs to save their hand-wringing and outrage for other things. They love to tell us how Ortiz gets a free pass for everything in this town, and put on their whiny-baby voice while they say but he won us three World Series when mocking fans. We’ve heard it a million times already.
It was bizarro Felger and Mazz this week, as I tune in one afternoon to hear Felger saying he made a bet that the Patriots would be a top-five defense this year, and that he feels that this team is championship-built.
Tony Massarotti then stated that the Red Sox aren’t out of it yet, and can still make a run to the postseason.
Enormous changes coming to ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ – Chad Finn details the upcoming changes to the ESPN flagship show which has a new 194,000 square-foot studio. If you’re a fan of “show the highlights and get out of the way” the new SportsCenter may not be for you.
Bengtson has used the phrase “talent forward, content back” — one of those buzzy sayings that if you hear enough might leave you with a hangover the next day — to describe a more personality-driven approach to “SportsCenter.”
NESN’s Tom Caron brings out best in all analysts – Bill Doyle looks at the Red Sox host’s ability to work with varied personalities like Tim Wakefield, Steve “Psycho” Lyons, Jim Rice, and Dennis Eckersley
Finally, a minor request to my friends on the Patriots beat. Can we dispense with the whole habit of including Matthew Slater in with the wide receivers on the roster? Every time a reporter lists out the wide receivers who will make the team, they usually list six, but with the caveat that one spot is reserved for Slater. Ben Volin does it today, most of the other reporters do it as well. It is tedious.
Matthew Slater is not a wide receiver. Does Danny Aiken get counted as a tight end or offensive lineman? No, he’s a specialist, as are the kicker and punter. Slater is as much a specialist as those guys. List him as one.