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.”

It is?

“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.



27 thoughts on “Sports Media Musings: Dan Shaughnessy’s Beautiful Disaster Arrived Last Week, And It’s Glorious

  1. The latest leak by the NFL to Glazer about the “person of interest” means this nightmare will never end. It seems now that the NFL is determined, no matter what their findings, to make sure this remains a huge disctraction for BB and the Pats heading into Sunday. Go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but it’s been EIGHT FREAKIN’ DAYS since the AFC title game. How on earth could an “investigation” into something this trivial take this long to complete? I’m almost to the point where I want to see BB retire after the game next Sunday and then launch a scorched-earth campaign against the league and the media, even though his departure would mean the Pats would become just another NFL team sooner rather than later.


    1. Football manufacturer Wilson has jumped in and called BB’s explanation BS. Wilson factory in Ada, Ohio–140 miles from Indianapolis. just sayin’.


      1. I saw that earlier. Makes no sense for them to say this. The science that BB spelled out on Saturday is pretty unimpeachable (though certain “pop-culture scientists” have given the media an opportunity to at least print “refutations” since the weekend). Are they (Wilson) uptight about the notion that (GASP!) one of their products may not hold its form and all of its air under certain conditions? Really makes no sense……of course, they DO have a contract with the NFL, and you know the league is seething at BB for his “get out in front of this thing” attitude since he first took to the podium last Thursday. Planted story by the league to discredit BB? At this point, I’ll believe almost anything about that three-ring cirucs Goodell is running.


        1. Anyone know the chain of custody for the game balls once they leave the Wilson plant? Do they go directly to the NFL for distribution to teams or directly to each team?


    2. This “new information” was probably obtained last Tuesday or Wednesday. Why would it take you 8 days to zero in on the only person likely to have done anything at all to the footballs, whether at the order of Brady/Belichick/whoever or not? Not to mention that, if this is security camera footage and not some NFL stooge lurking around the inside of the stadium following around the ballboy wearing Google Glass, it would have been provided by the Patriots in the first place. And now we hear from Ted Wells that this nonsense is going to take “at least several more weeks”. I expect the final report will come out during training camp at this point.


  2. Good to see you here again Ryan.

    I must counter this opinion spouted by the CHB:
    “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.”

    Really Dan? Locally the Patriots are bashed 24/7 by the media and a large segment of the fanbase (thankfully not the fanbase here) has become so spoiled by the team that they actually believe in the “hot sportz takez” spouted by the media elite. The team gets treated like a 5-11 team around here. And the most unfortunate part of this matter is that if the Pats win on Sunday, effectively blowing up all the trolling over how they haven’t won a championship in 10 years and hence are no better than the Raiders, the CHB’s, F&M’s and so on will endlessly tell us that they cheated to get there even with no evidence behind it.


  3. Isn’t Shank one of the mediots that said the Pats couldn’t win this season, to begin with? i.e. Window closed, etc. etc.

    “We haven’t even gotten to Arizona yet and the mission is already lost.”

    If there are people that buy the Globe to read Shank or click over to boston . com in search of Shank, they surely must love to be abused.


    1. They stick the red-head behind a pay-wall, which means all his ‘work’ is seen only by the stooges who pony up the $$$.


  4. Holley: Gronkowski a ‘very difficult matchup’ for Seahawks

    Phew. I was worried I wasn’t sure what the Boston media was getting paid for. But with that kind of analysis going on at CSNNE, I rest assured.


    1. The only thing that matches up well with Gronk is the English language. In fact, it kicks his ass.


    2. Its kind of amazing considering he has had the benefit of unprecedented access to the inner working of the Patriots that resulted in two books. His lack of having anything insightful to say in any medium is truly mind boggling.


    1. Believe it or not, I’ve heard the conspiracy theorists (mostly the morons in the PFT comments section) suggesting that the Pats had a stash of deflated balls inside the bathroom and the attendant went in there to swap them with the properly inflated balls. Commissioner Incompetent must be proud of his guys in the league office whose leaks to the irresponsible assclowns in the media have allowed this non-story to deteriorate to depths previously unreached in the annals of sports journalism (which is saying a LOT); and all of this is taking place less than a week before the biggest event of the year; the effin’ Catalina Wine Mixer of the football season. Good heavens, for how much longer can that incompetent boob be allowed to keeps his job? In less than a decade he’s turned the best-run league in pro sports into the WWE.


      1. Ironically, WWE might be under more scrutiny than the NFL this week, for handpicking Roman Reigns (the rejected protagonist) as the Royal Rumble winner over the fan-favorites, such as Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and even Dean Ambrose.


        1. I’d still take Vince McMahon over Goodell at this point. Vince actually built his own wrestling empire; Goodell is in the process of bringing down the one his three predecessors (Bell, Rozelle and Tagliabue — especially Rozelle, of course) built.


  5. I love how people are still calling the Patriots cheaters, in spite of more and more news coming out that says otherwise. I have laughed at some of the outrageous things reporters, journalist, fans analysis, you name it, have said about this allegations, because their comments exposed them for being an absolute moron. Troy Aikman, Sal Paolantonio and Mark Brunell should never show their faces on TV again for the absurd comments they made, not to mention these “objective” New York journalist, who tried taking all the Patriot’s accomplishments away.

    This is larger than just fandom or hatred. There is a difference between love to hate than hate to hate. People genuinely want to see the Patriots’ legacy from the bottom up be tarnished and destroyed forever. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who are unanimous Hall of Famers, have put in more time and dedication to their quest than any one of these so-called journalist or fans ever have in this organization. Yet, there are not only fans but entire station called ESPN that wanted to stain their legacy and talk down their achievements because of alleged (not even proven) deflated footballs in a 45-7 blowout.

    But yet, if the NFL found the Patriots guilty (which now seems to be a pipedream for these haters), they would have to apologize to lots of people. Will these accusers apologize? I am sure some of the classier ones will but most of them will not.

    People say that Patriot fans are the most insufferable fanbase in the world. Surely, some can be arrogant and over-the-line. However, the anti-Patriot people exposed themselves as being the bottom of the barrel, the lowest of lows in terms of sports “fans”. I’ve read some of most disgusting columns and comments this past week, and that is saying something.


    1. I think Tom Curran said it best when this “scandal” first broke: the Patriots had the misfortune of being the first NFL dynasty of the internet and social media age. So not only do the haters number in the millions, they also have an affordable global communications platform available to them. That platform allows them to spew their venom at will (anonymously, I might add, so there’s no threat of being sued for slander, etc.); venom that some guy sitting in his kitchen in Budapest can read within 20 seconds of it being posted to the web. Moreover, while there have always been biased journalists with agendas (95% of them, if you ask me), the internet/social media age has allowed THEM the very same opportunity to spew their silliness and venom all over the place. That media venom, in turn, further fuels the hatred and outrage among the “fans” out there who would be naturally inclined to dislike the Pats anyway. Belichick’s less than warm and fuzzy approach with the media certainly doesn’t help matters. In a fair and just world, his attitude wouldn’t matter because journalists, in theory, are supposed to leave their personal feelings and biases at home when they go to work every day. But, we all know that it is virtually impossible for ANY human being to do that. Given the insulated, cocoon-like world most journalists inhabit, a world in which narratives are established and then dusted off and reused over and over; and given the human nature factor about biases and personal feelings being injected into stories, it’s not hard to see how things like hating a football team and its coach can spiral out of control, and quickly.

      The internet has changed everything.
      Sure, there was plenty of hate for the Cowboys back in the day, especially during the Landry years, when players from other teams would bristle at the Dallas players’ “air of superiority”, but back then, you pretty much had just the big three networks and the daily newspapers, and it was much, much harder for stories of any stripe (sports stories or otherwise) to gain any momentum with the public. The Broncos won two Super Bowls when the internet was still in its infancy as a mass communication system, but they quickly faded from the scene after Elway retired and Terrell Davis wrecked his knee — both of those things happened just about immediately after they won the second Super Bowl. The Patriots have been winning like this for 14 years. There are kids graduating high school this year who have never seen the Pats have a losing season. They are to this era what the Landry Cowboys were to the immediate post-merger era: a perennial playoff team that always finishes with a winning record, even if they don’t make the playoffs (this happened with the Cowboys once or twice between 1966-85), and that always has at least a shot of making it to the Super Bowl in any given year.


  6. So where are we this morning. To recap. The Patriots escaped NE before Snowbola (name coined by my kids last night because they thought Snowmeggeden was overused and each storm needs its own unique disaster name). Upon landing Bob Kraft gave a direct and spirited defense of his organization, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick while putting the NFL on notice. This followed Bill Belichick’s press conference where he stated the Pats did nothing wrong and showed how the balls likely lost a little bit of pressure. Between Belichick and Kraft they clearly put the ball back in the NFL’s court.

    The NFL to its credit decided to volley back by having Ted Wells announce that his investigation will take forever, while anonymous sources leaked that a ball boy was now a person of interest. Evidently said ball boy took the balls from the Refs room and while walking down to the field made a 90 second stop in a private room (this is all on video I kid you not). In that 90 seconds he either expertly let less than 2 lbs of pressure out of each ball (without washing his hands…oooh gross) or swapped them out for another set of balls that had been preset that also had the exact marking the ref puts on the ball to notate they are official game balls (the marking is unique to each ref and placed differently by the way) or he peed (and then did wash his hands).

    The NFL has covered itself in glory with the way it has handled this fiasco. From the idea that they were trying to sting the Patriots…to the idea that they think this is an integrity of the game issue…to the way this story has been covered by sports and news divisions as if it was important….the NFL continues to make the NBA look like a well run organization. I did not think that was possible. Congratulations…NFL…you have made inflategate seem like a more damning event than Donald Sterling’s institutional racism or referee gambling and point shaving.

    Oh…and Welcome back Ryan…one question though…are you sure you want to enter a profession that seems to think finding an under inflated football in a 45-7 shellacking is a more pressing story than ISIS losing Katani to the Kurds?


  7. Off the topic of Pissgate, I have two minor issues with Goodell that I think are indicative of the greater problem with his style: 1) The redesigning of the conference championship trophies, and 2) the standardization of the SB logo.
    Why were these two things done? I never heard a complaint about the conference trophies. In fact, I thought they had a lot of character and I appreciated their contrast to the Lombardi. The new ones just look chintzy. Same with the SB logo. Again, taking all the character out of the idea by having a standard look. Having a new, site specific logo every year was perfect for the event. Why would Goodell feel the need to change this tradition? Was it change for change sake? Some effort to streamline the product? All it did was take the panache out of it.
    These are a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Goodell. They had the best product in professional sports when he took over, yet he’s constantly trying to fix something that isn’t broken. He is incompetent on every level. How did he ever get the job??


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