Oh, hey there. So, it has been a while since I’ve written in this space, hasn’t it? Did I miss anything? Deflated balls, you say? OK. Well, then, I suppose now is as good as time as ever to BLOG IT UP on all things media and sports and the DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED????? hysteria that has consumed the Super Bowl coverage up until this point.
Programming alert: Wait a minute, no one wants to read any more coverage of this wildly overblown scandal?
OK, fair. Instead, let’s have some fun with it. Where should we look? (THINKING) How about Dan Shaughnessy? Has he weighed in yet? Oh, he wrote a column that can only be described as glorious for longtime readers of BSMW.? This should be fun.
But before we start, it should be stated that Shaughnessy is hardly the only “damage is already done” guy in town. Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, among others, have already managed to cast aspersions on Bill Belichick and the entire Patriots organization, proclaiming “IT’S OVER!”
Amazing. This is all happening, despite the fact that nothing’s officially been charged. Of course, when the Globe’s appointed “voice of the fan” puts down the tomato cans for a minute to make such denouncements, then we might as well start planning the funeral.
RIP Legacy. I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. Take it away, Shank:
“We haven’t even gotten to Arizona yet and the mission is already lost.”
… Well, then: EVACUATE.
“Mike Wilbon of ESPN is calling for the Patriots to vacate the Super Bowl, Calipari-style.”
Which, given that the NFL has still yet to officially charge the Patriots with any wrongdoing, seemed like a totally reasonable Hawt Sports Take that was criticized by absolutely no one, right?
“… the most important thing — the Patriot legacy — is lost.”
A few things here: First, and this is a common theme, is that (again) no charges have been made. Nothing. No matter. BURN THE LEGACY.
Secondly, this may be the most prosperous statement ever written in the history of print publication. A legacy is a hackneyed term that refers to an “enduring image” of an entity. Naturally, this forms over time; yet, amazingly, Shank is letting you know how we’re going to discuss the Patriots in 2022 today. Moreover, that Deflategate, an ongoing story with no clear resolution, will DOMINATE any talks of championships and GLORY and happiness in the future. He is definitive. Which is so incredible.
Go on, how will this impact us, the fans, Dan?
“The Patriots and their fans will never win the “best ever” argument.”
Awwww! We’ll never win a completely subjective argument now??? Sad face ;-(
“Everything is tainted.”
Yet, nothing has been charged? So, how could this be?! I must know.
“Footballs (reportedly) have been doctored …”
Parenthetical salient point! (Dually noted!)
“… headlines have been written, and opinions have been formed.”
This is coming from the same guy who made a name for himself writing about a fictional curse. Methinks, since curses aren’t real, that most of his work around the subject was, you know, OPINION. And once the “curse” was broken, those OPINIONS changed.
In short, “opinions have been formed” is never a good argument. Never mind that lesson, though; because, if the Patriots are exonerated, the comedic mileage out of this entire column could have a longer-lasting legacy than Deflategate itself.
… And, suddenly, this piece is hilarious. Regardless, tell me more (about your opinions!).
“Locally, the Patriots are revered. Nationally, they are loathed and branded as cheaters, and once again they have handed the hammer to their legion of enemies.”
Translation: You love the Patriots, people of New England, because of your insular, small-minded viewpoints. But, oh boy, lemme just tell you something! If you could just see what kind of talk is going on Out There, you’d change your tune. Mark Brunell’s spilled TEARS OF ANGER over this. And Wilbon??? It’s worth repeating that he wants to kick you out of the big game all together!
“We still don’t know where “Deflategate” lands. The NFL has yet to disclose its findings and announce penalties (if any) against the Patriots.”
This just feels like it should be mentioned before the fifth paragraph of this missive. Moving along.
“But the ballgame that matters is over.”
“And the Patriots have lost.”
Quick aside: we managed to find exclusive deleted prose from this Pulitzer shoe-in, straight from the cutting room floor over in the Globe offices. Be excited:
“You may think Wilbon, or Brunell, or Ray Lewis, or Troy Aikman are being unreasonable. Maybe you feel their suggested punishments are far too extreme. But do me a favor, will ya? Listen to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica on repeat until the Super Bowl.
I’m serious. Listen to it when you wake up, and then as you’re falling asleep. Listen to the classic hit in the shower, as you brush your teeth, and during your commute. Don’t talk during dinner, instead listen to the song again while eating (that is, if you can hold your dinner down).
And when you think you’ve had enough … then listen some more.
As you start to understand, let James Hetfield’s words take affect: Never cared for what they say/ Never cared for games they play/ Never cared for what they do/ Never cared for what they know.
Feel the hopelessness. Let it sink in. Then think about what the Patriots (reportedly!) have done. Now look in the mirror. Face yourself, your inner demons. Watch your face morph into sad despair (AGAIN). Why is this happening?
It’s simple: Because you can’t rig the real game – no, peasants, not that whole Super Bowl thing — the game of sports debates about legacies. That’s truth.
And nothing else matters. Fin.”
“At this hour, even if the Patriots are cleared of wrongdoing, they are the modern-day sports equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, Ray Donovan, who asked, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?’’ after he was declared not guilty in a corruption case.”
It’s exactly like that!
“There doesn’t seem to be much dispute that footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship were doctored. By somebody.”
Except for the Bill Belichick press conference that took place a day after you published this column. But that doesn’t count, because this came first, and it had an OPINION and a HEADLINE. Both of which were formed. Too little, too late.
“The Patriots could beat the Colts in a game played with Wiffle Balls, bowling balls, or medicine balls.”
You know what? I’ve heard this point made before, and you’re completely right, so what’s the big deal?
“If you walk into your local 7-Eleven and see the back page of the New York Post screaming, “CHEATERS,’’ you cannot make it all go away by claiming jealousy.”
OH NO, THE HEADLINES again! I almost forgot. And the opinions too – shit, Dan! — THEY HAVE FORMED.
To be completely fair, I know that whenever I need research to debate who the greatest of all time is, I immediately run to the New York Post archives for ammunition and insight. Who doesn’t? Fine journos, over there at the NYP!
And hey, on the plus side, at least Shank’s not being condescending about this.
“How does the legion of Patriot toadies defend this?”
Scratch that. VOICE OF THE FAN, everyone!
“Belichick has already said he did not know anything about the deflated balls until he was told about them Monday. Could this possibly be true?”
It’s possible, yes.
“The next 48 hours will be interesting.”
+1,000 for Dan. Nailed this. All the way.
“By any measure, this is a colossal embarrassment for Kraft.”
Are there measurements for embarrassment?
“He loves the journey and the Klieg lights, but now his franchise has been tainted again. It matters greatly to the Patriots’ image-obsessed owner.”
Let’s stop here, because I love this. To review, Shank spends hundreds of words on how important Deflategate is, not just in the here and now, but also in the future. The team’s legacy is destroyed – NOTHING YOU DO FROM NOW ON MATTERS — then takes a pot-shot at Bob Kraft for caring about the situation and his organization’s image. Like Oh, THE AUDACITY. He cares what the entire world thinks of him. He’s so superficial.
Dan, this whole thing – literally the entire column – is about caring what other people think of the Patriots. And that, as fans, we don’t get the hatred that exists outside our bubble; that the important thing here – one’s LEGACY — is formed on OPINIONS. And then, you wag your finger at Kraft for being “image obsessed.”
More to come. Happy Super Bowl week everyone.