REPORT: Tom Brady Suspended for Entire 2015 Season

Okay headline is done. Photo of Brady sulking for the thumbnail annnd that should do it. If you’re still reading and I doubt anyone is, there’s no story here. I don’t have a source. But here’s some news for you, neither does the NY Daily News. The article posted earlier today talks around in circles, makes some allusion to a mystery source that somehow only their dumb tabloid has, and then a shrug and a yawn at some guess that a Miami paper made that no one gave a shit about when they printed it. Don’t tell that to NESN though. Welcome to life in the sports journalism black hole. I’d just like to prove a point that the overwhelming majority of NFL fans (of ANY football team) are too lazy stupid and gullible to read or think about anything.

Blogging retirement is going great. Thanks for asking. I have no plans of ever coming back but for good measure…. Mark Schlereth and Shannon Sharpe are grandstanding assholes who won a Super Bowl after getting busted for cheating in the 97 playoffs. Schlereth telling Twitter that putting Vaseline on his jersey wasn’t a big deal because he said it isn’t (LOL) was the saddest/funniest thing I’ve seen in this whole process. None of you have ANY idea what the consequences of an under or over inflated football even are. And just so it’s in print, I have cats who could kick Pep Hamilton’s ass, and probably out-coach him when his dumbass wakes up. I hate you all.

Now, to fill this article out, presented without commentary, a work of Exo-Squad fan fiction by Karrenia entitled No Lines on the Horizon.

‘Have you ever wondered how you would go about blocking an influx of ships from coming out of hyperspace? No? Neither have I until now.’

Lieutenant Commander J.T Marsh had always been a student of marital history, both ancient and modern. Maybe that was one of the many reasons that he had been so successful throughout the recently concluded Human vs Neo-Sapien wars. He shrugged and tossed the errant thought to a back corner of his mind.

In any case, the question continued to nag at him until it felt much like fire ants biting at his nerve-endings. The ancient Greeks and Persian referred to such a maneuver as he’d been contemplating ‘fire ships. Centuries ago that very same tactic had been confined strictly to naval battles; however it might still been translated into the vacuum of space.

At the moment they did not have definitive proof that the alien ships posed a threat to the Sol System and its inhabitants, but neither did they have proof that they were friendly either.

Standing on the bridge of the Resolute II with hishands shoved deep inside the pockets of his uniform his back ramrod street Marsh realized that as much he might want to go out and investigate the alien ships hovering within such tantalizing reach the Alliance resources were stretched much too thin at this moment. He was painfully aware that were too heavily involved with the various Reconstruction Projects currently under way on the home worlds that had been devastated during the war.

He had returned at the insistence of Admiral Winfield, whom he knew had studied the situation much more thoroughly than he had, until now. Marsh also was confident that if anyone would have his back in launching an expedition to the alien ships’ position it would be Winfield. However, the recently appointed Council of Planetary Ministers would be another matter.

He was a soldier, a leader, capable of inspiring confidence and camaraderie among his troops; even when the chips were down, and come to think of it,” he mused, “I can count on the fingers of both hands plenty of times when were out-gunned, out-manned, and out-numbered and still managed to put an eleventh-hour miracle out of our hats.” On the heels of that particular thought it occurred to him that if was going to be successful at convincing an entire chamber full of politicians he should have prepared a damn convincing speech. “Ah, well,” Marsh sighed. “It’s too late for that now.”

Hearing someone approach the spot where he stood by the bay windows Marsh turned around. “Lt. O’Reilly, or am I correct in assuming you’ve been promoted?”

“Commander Marsh, Sir.” Lt. Colleen O’Reilly saluted. “I heard you were back.” She turned her head as if checking to be certain no one else was around before winking, reached into a pocket of her uniform jacket and slipped him a bright blue envelope.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“Just something I thought you might need before you go into to the council hall.” She smiled and said. “Good luck, Sir.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” he replied with a commendably straight face. There were more than several ways of looking out for one’s commanding officer, as had been proved over and over again with his former squad members.

Throughout the course of the war and in its aftermath he and the attractive redhead had begun an excellent professional relationship and while both recognized a mutual attraction J.T had never quite known had to move forward. He was willing to see where a more personal relationship might lead and he thought that Colleen was willing to; it was something to consider, but at the moment personal considerations had to be put on the back-burner.

There was no doubt in his mind that O’Rielly was a good soldier and now would make a good officer; but it would people look askance if he were to assign her to a position under his command? And what did it matter if he did?

Wrenching his mind and concentration back to the more pressing matter at hand, he said: “You’re dismissed.”

She saluted and turned to go on her way.

Without even have to look at the contents of the envelope Marsh could hazard a pretty good guess at what it contained.

Glancing down at the readout on his chronometer he realized that it was time to go in and make his pitch for Operation Ring of Fire.

In the back of his mind he thought, “First time for everything. And hey, you never know we just might have one hell of a spiel. Heaven knows we need one if we have a chance of selling the operation to both the new and old bras and politicians in there.’

The council chamber was shaped like a gigantic horse-shoe and at the moment filled with the members of the home-worlds including, much to J.T’s surprise the leader of the pirate clans, Jonas Simbacca. Eschewing protocol as much as he ever had Jonas Simbacca leapt down from his row and embraced Marsh in a rib-cracking hug that nearly lifted him off of his feet.

Marsh was not a small man and he was also considerably younger than the leader of the Pirate Clans, but even so, he was grateful that they were now allies.

The two had started as enemies, let’s face the man had always been as prickly as a denned badger cornered in its hole. It was only through the persuasion and efforts of Winfield and himself that the pirate clans had been brought into the war when the Allied Fleets had been badly in need of ships and numbers.

They may have begun as enemies but both the pirate leader and Marsh had gained a mutual respect for each other as both soldiers and tacticians. And while Marsh was not at all certain that he would ever be entirely comfortable calling Simbacca a friend, he’d much prefer him as a friend than as enemy.

“Marsh!” Simbacca exclaimed in his booming baritone, loud enough to raise eyebrows from nearby ministers and aides in the room and more than likely those going about their business in the hallways bordering the council chamber. “It’s good to see you once more! You are looking well. When you have made this sit-on-tails listen to reason, then you will tell me what you have been up to! Yes?”

“Sure, sure, Simbacca. I wish you I had your confidence about the project. It’s a long-shot and…”

The older and much bigger man stepped back and eyed him appraisingly. “I realize that it’s a long-shot and without much guarantee of success. Don’t tell me that the increasing burden of leadership has made you more cautious in your old age?”

“You’re older than I am and I haven’t such much evidence yet of you becoming mellow in your old age,” Marsh retorted. The man did love verbal sparring as much as he did actual physical combat.

Simbacca laughed. “Agreed, but I must have learned something along the way, otherwise I would not be here today to boast about it.”

Before could get a chance to reply to that last remark or even if he wanted to the signal to begin the hearing sounded out and Simbacca resumed his seat and Marsh walked over and up onto the speaker’s podium.

The facilitator of the session called out for order and for all of the participants to take their seats while He faced the horse-shoe shaped seats and took a deep breath, gazing out at the sea of unfamiliar faces. .

He then took a deep breath and poured a glass of water for himself that an aide had left on top of the podium then set the pitcher back down. He drank it down in one gulp and took a deep breath.

Public speaking had never been that much of a problem but unlike those earlier times, facing possible court-martial at the ambitious and ultimately treacherous and tragic Captian Matthew Marcus, this was different.

They were living in different times he now had completely different set of variables to work with and around. He and DeLeon had once gained the allegiance of the pirate clans; but that had been as much as his own oratory skills than through his hand-to-hand combat ability.

This venture more than likely would take the Allied Fleet and the bulk of their remaining Exo-troopers out into the unknown.

The fact that alien ships’ origin more than likely came from outside the Sol System was a factor that no one, least of all him, could ignore.

“Ladies and Gentleman, I come before you today with a problem with a solution. This will be a joint ventured spear-headed by Admiral Winfield and Jonas Simbacca. And, yes, I know what you are all probably thinking…”the pirates were our enemies in recent memory and even further back than that. But when we needed them they came, and stood up when it counted. So is it really that far of a stretch to embark on a venture unprecedented in anyone’s memory? I propose to you Project Ring of Fire.”

The newly-elected minister of Mercury stood up and straightened the shirt of his tailored three-piece suit. “Commander Marsh, this is all very interesting, but what exactly is this venture all about?”

“In essence, we are faced with a problem that comes not from the home worlds or the Neo-Sapiens population that have been scattered by the winds of war, and whom you and many others are helping to resettle and rebuild.”

“What kind of problem?” another minister asked this one from Earth.

“Namely the alien ships that have parked themselves between Mars and the asteroid belt leading to the outer planets of the Sol System, and I assure that’s it’s more than idle scientific curiosity that has prompted both Simbacca and Winfield into seeing a need to find a solution the problem they present us.”

“Frankly, I don’t see the problem. They have not threatened us, or done much of anything other than sit there. Why go out and create a problem that does not seem to exist?” another minister asked this one from the department of finance.

Marsh paused and collected his thoughts before snapping out the angry reply he was tempted to make and had begun to reply when another voice cut in. “Because, I don’t think we can risk that level of complacency.”

“Admiral Winfield,” the facilitator said. “Your presence here at this hearing is unexpected. Did you not retire from active duty?”

“I did, but I still like to keep my hand in every now and again, “Winfield stated. He then turned to offer Marsh a reassuring smile. “Speaking of complacency, I would rather not use this example as a reminder of the recent past, but I will if I have to. That same attitude was present at the onset of our war with the Neo Sapiens and what allowed Phaeton to come at the home worlds like a bolt out of the blow. Can we really afford to make that same mistake now?”

“For the sake of argument,” the governor-general of Mars,” a Neo-Sapien called Cato remarked. “let us assume that arguments are valid and the alien ships do in point of fact are a clear and present danger; how would you counter them?”

“Project Ring of Fire would be a joint venture between the Pirate Clans under the command of General Jonas Simbacca and myself, with Admiral Winfield as senior advisor. Anyone else who would like to come along with us, please bear in mind that participation in the project is not mandatory.”

“We anticipate a high-degree of risk given that this unknown territory. We have no proof that the ships do pose a threat, neither do we have proof that the mean us nothing but good-will and fellowship.”

Marsh nodded and stole a glance over at Simbacca and then returned his attention back to his audience. At least they were listening; that was a definite good sign. “I have in these envelope results of long-range sensors and unmanned probes that were dispatched in the last year or two. You can download them into your consoles now, if you wish to view them yourselves.”

“From that data you will see that these space craft are nothing like anything we’ve seen before. Both more metallic and more alien in a way that precludes the fact their origin must be somewhere outside the Sol System.” Winfield shook his head. “I can’t speak for anyone else here but I for one am not entirely sanguine about having those ships on front porch as it were.

“From a scientific standpoint, what does the renowned Professor Algernon think of all this?” Cato asked.

“Oh, you know Algernon, all but bursting to come along on the mission.” Marsh shook his head in mingled fond reminiscence and exasperation. There was no doubt in his mind that Algernon was a brilliant scientist and research, but it often seemed in the case of such a combination in a man that he also lacked certain social interaction skills. Algernon, along with himself, Winfield, and Simbacca had been the prime architects of the plan straight out of the gate.

It occurred to Marsh even as he answered Burke’s question that it would have been quite instructive to have Algernon present for the hearing, however, given Algernon’s temperament it could be both instructive and disruptive at the same time.

Marsh had asked Algernon but he could not in good conscience tear the man away from his invaluable assistance with the retrofit and general overhaul of the depleted fleet would be akin to tearing away a bone from a dog.

“The risks are considerable, Governor,” Winfield answered. “But judging by the computer simulations and data we’ve already accumulated the risks outweigh the potential benefits.”

“How much is this project going to cost us?” the Earth minister a woman named Victoria Burke asked. “Reconstruction alone is already behind schedule as it is.”

“A lot, but is that really the overriding issue in order to gain approval for the project?” Winfield insisted.

“Gentlemen and Ladies, the proposal to endorse Project Ring of Fire has been placed on the table for your consideration.” The facilitator announced, “I urge you to refer to the documents available for your viewing on your consoles before making your vote on the matter.”

“Well, I guess we’ve done our part. Now it’s up to them,” Marsh said in a hushed undertone as he stepped down from the podium.

“Don’t look so glum, my boy,” Winfield replied. “How much do you want to bet that they’ll go for it?”

“I’m not a betting man, Sir,” Marsh replied. He had known the Admiral a long time and owed much of his rise in the ranks to the older man; and could appreciate Winfield’s unique sense of humor, however at the moment he did not feel in the mood to give into to it.

“I am. And I’d lay good man that we’ll get our endorsement,” Winfield replied.

Marsh, unable to help himself, began to chuckle, a quiet muffled one and only stopped when he realized that he at the moment reminded of something that Wolf Bronski had once said about Winfield.

“What’s the matter?”

“Oh, it’s nothing really, Sir. I was just thinking that Bronski said to remind him never to play poker with you.”

“Bronski said that, did he?”


“Good advice, you should heed it. Although, it does beg the question: wherever will I find more players?”

At that moment the facilitator returned to his station and announced to the results of the deliberation: “The vote stands as 70 to 20 to endorse and fund Project Ring of Fire. Congratulations, gentlemen. You have a go. Good luck and good hunting”

Marsh felt a bit ambivalent using his new rank to pull strings and get his former Able Squad Mates assigned to the Resolute II and was a bit much, but reassured that on that score was relieved when it was approved.

With the notable absence of Kaz Tagaki who was still attending Exosquad Academy under the strict but fair eye of Commandant Avery Brooks it was like a family reunion. Marsala, Nara Burns, Rita Torres, Alec Deleon, Maggie Weston, and even Wolf Bronski; had all come aboard and had been briefed on the nature of the mission.

Marsh felt an unaccustomed tightness in his chest when they had volunteered to accompany the mission. And knew that it that tightness didn’t mean anything was wrong with him psychically, instead it was due to his heart swelling with pride and confidence at their faith and determination.

It was a good feeling and one that J.T Marsh was determined to ride out for good or ill.

A week later

Marsh crossed the deck to the bridge of his newly commissioned command ship Adamant and then ordered the communication officer to contact General Simbacca that they were ready to get underway. Receiving a reply in the affirmative he gave the order to have all available e-frame pilots to their respective hangar decks.

A part of himself that would never quite let go of his own time piloting one of the high-tech E-frames ached to go with them, but with his promotion and increased responsibilities J.T Marsh was painfully aware that that just was not in the cards.

“This is Marsh to all E-Frames, Good luck and good hunting!”

From his own position at the tactical display console Admiral Winfield looked over at Marsha and using an old quote; “Fortune favors the bold, but if I were a gambling man…”

“Which we all know that you are,” Marsh added.

“However, it never hurts to show our teeth to our opponents every now and again,” interrupted Simbacca, not to be outdone.

Winfield nodded and then said. “My thoughts exactly.”


The alien ships hung in space quietly, almost sinisterly. Working from both the data accumulated by the unmanned probes and long-range sensors the best word that Technical Specialist Maggie Weston could use to describe them was organic but in a way that appeared that a titanic hand had taken them and kneaded them around so that they no longer resembled a recognizable shape.

They had pincers at the nose of the prows one could make out a matte black hatch on the surface that from up close appeared able to swallow the much smaller e-frames whole and then spit them back out without so much as a by-your-leave.

“Just what the hell are they waiting for?” she muttered.

“Maybe they we’re waiting for us to make our move, like a cosmic chess game,” came Alec Deleon’s quite but controlled and confident voice.

She had not realized that she had been thinking out loud. Even now, after all these years when she consciously knew that Alec, the ‘real’ Alec DeLeon had given up the ghost on Earth’s moon and that this was a clone that she spoke to.

However, somehow the memory engrams, the personality traits that had made Alec DeLeon his unique and distinct self were all still there and reminded her of everything that they had shared, lived through, and experienced together. ‘Can I really afford to let all of that go because it wasn’t as ‘real’ as it used to be? No, not in a million years.’ She thought with a slight blush coloring her checks behind the face-plate of her helmet.

“A chess game, huh,” she replied via her radio communicator. “We’ve sent our opening gambit, it’s their move now.”

“Agreed,” he replied. “Do you think they’ll prove to be friendly?”

“We can only hope, but I’ve got the strangest premonition that the opposite will prove to be the case.”

Over the open communication channel Sergeant Rita Torres, who for all of her experience and grace under fire had always stubbornly refused promotion ordered a terse: “Cut the chatter, we’re coming up just under the potential hostiles noses.”

“The lights are on, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone home,” remarked Wolf Bronski absently, uncertain even in his own mind exactly what they all were venturing into. He didn’t mind the unknown, or a challenge, and no one would ever accuse Wolf Bronski of being the over-imagnitve type. He was a rank and file soldier, and a good one, but there was just something about the alien ships that gave him the ‘creeps.’

“Should we knock?” Marsala suggested, picking up on the lead that Bronski had begun and running with it and the old saying would have it. He had finally learned to grasp humor and while some might find his sense of humor a bit on the dry side; Marsala still attempted it.

“I can’t see how it would hurt,” Nara replied.

“Torres to all squads, enable for silent running, and maintain radio silence,” she added.

The mixed squads of Able and Delta approached at rapid but cautious speed not willing to take any unnecessary chances. They were all feeling a bit on the edge, but in a good way; they were experienced soldiers and while the aliens represented an unknown, it was best to face it head on rather than waiting it to spring at you without any warning.

Just then the over an open channel a resounding buzzing began, however, oddly enough it did not do any damage to their instruments or engines. In fact, judging by the hyped-up sensor dish mounted on top of Alec Deleon’s E-frame it appeared it was an attempt by the aliens to communicate with them.

“What are they trying to say?” Weston asked.

“It’s hard to make out exactly,” Deleon replied. “It’s garbled by a lot by an appreciable build-up of white noise in this sector of space, and it’s the onboard computer is having difficulty identifying as a language.”

“Can you ungarble it?” Torres demanded.

“I’m trying, just give me a sec,” DeLeon replied. “I think I can do so if I render it into icon-graphic symbols. There, that’s got it.”

“Are we certain it is an attempt at communication?” asked Marsala.

“As near as I can make out,” Deleon said for the first time a hint of surprise in his normally equable voice. “I think they wish to speak with us, face to face, but in order to do so they require transport for their ambassador.”

“Sounds like a job for Marsala and I,” Nara Burns chimed in and soon after Marsala’s deeper baritone came over the open communication channel.

“I concur,” he said.

“Then I’ll go ahead and convey our response,” Alec replied.

When the response came back to their initial hail it sounded much like white nose, even cleaned up through DeLeon’s sophisticated equipment on his E-frame, but soon a hatch opened up in the leading alien ship and they cruised inside of it.

The interior of the ship was sparsely lit and curved but running lights along the walls provided enough illumination to see by. They also noted a curious stretching effect that the ships were considerably large on the inside than they had appeared from the outside.

A series of clicks and buzzes and icons lit up DeLeon’s console and eventually led them to what he guessed was the alien’s equivalent of the bridge.

“We come, we welcome you, ask for transportation to meet with your leaders.” One of the aliens began in a halting yet perfectly understandable attempt at speaking their language.

Once there the alien’s reaction at seeing them was one of mild shock, genuine amazement and mingled ambivalence. Weston and her squad mates had never really known what to except, but insectiods had not been high on her list. They seemed friendly enough but Maggie Weston had always been the cautious sort, not quick to form snap judgments.

More by unspoken agreement than anything else, Maggie waited for Lt. Burns and Marsala to lower the hatch on their two-pilot #RA-678 E-frame- in order to make room for the self-appointed ambassador.

“Let’s get out of here,” Nara said.”

“You’ll get no argument from me,” Maggie replied.

Marsh along with Admiral Winfield and Jonas Simbaca waited for the scouts to return with the alien ambassador, and judging by the agitated pacing of the pirate leader and the tense set of Admiral Winfield’s shoulders neither man was as completely sanguine about the first face-to face meeting with an extra-terrestrial in their recorded history.

The aliens’ ships had appeared from both long-range and close-up view as insect-like and that fact was borne out when the ambassador was escorted onto the bridge by his honor-guard and the security detail of Lieutenants Weston and DeLeon, while Sergeant Torres elected to wait in the corridor with her squad.

The ambassador was male as far as anyone could determine and stood a little under ½ a meter in height and his skin was the texture and hue of a translucent green and black marble streaked by veins of darker green.

“I welcome you aboard the flagship “Adamant” I’m Lt. Commander J.T Marsh, these gentlemen are Admiral Winfield and General Simbacca.”

“Do you speak our language?” Winfield asked.

The alien made as if to reach for its throat, or rather a thorax, and appeared to toggle several switches on a device it wore around its neck before he or it, made a response.

“I, your language speak. I am honored to make your acquaintance. I am Xinth ab Xandria of the Tiang.

Xinth appeared to be humanoid, in the sense that they have two arms ending in hands, and two legs; they are insectoid, and their bodies were covered in a hard carapace, they have compound eyes and ant-like mandibles.

“For the sake of ease in facilitating communication you may refer to me as Xinth.”

“Xinth, it is, then,” Simbacca replied.

“You requested a meeting, please go ahead, uh, Xinth.” Winfield invited and shrugged, uncertain on how to proceed.

“The Triang are aware that are interlopers even intruders in your Sol System, however, or maybe you don’t think that all, it is difficult rendering our ideo-graphic language into your words. So please forgive any unfortunate misunderstandings at the outset.” Xinth shrugged his supple shoulders a movement very much like that of a human or even another humanoid making the same gesture.

“It’s good of you to make the first move to meet with us,” Winfield replied and rest assured it a gesture that will be look upon favorably by us in any future encounters.”

“This is good to hear,” Xinth replied. “We do not wish your people harm, but we have been studying you for some time and we have considered that you can be aggressive even war-like. How do you reconcile these facts, with your assurances of no harm to the Triang?”

Winfield was at first uncertain how to reply, of two minds both at the Triang ambassadors’ willingness to disclose the fact that Earth and the perhaps the home worlds had been under the alien’s surveillance, and that fact it they had hit the proverbial nail on the head about the humanity and by extension Neo Sapien’s war-like nature. “Let’s fact, you’re right that we can be aggressive so I’m not going to waste anyone’s time attempting to deny it, but I can assure you, we mean you no harm.”

“Weston, please go and request Professor Algernon’s presence on the bridge. He’ll want to be here and I was remiss in not thinking of it earlier,” Marsh said.

“Yes, Sir,” she replied and turned to head for the turbo-lift at the far end of the bridge that lead down to the lower decks.

Algernon was brought in and apprised of the situation and the formal introductions were duly dispensed with and Xinth began to get down to matters in earnest. It turned out that the Triang indeed originated from outside the Sol System from a star system near the M26 galaxy and their home world had begun to run low on the precious fuel supply need to run their ships and colonies.

Thus they had needed to assemble a fleet large enough to carry and sustain their entire population and they had set out. It may have been just Xinth’s rough translation of his speech via his communication device but everyone present got the distinct impression that the mass exodus had not been a mutually agreed upon venture among the Triang clan families.

All told they numbered about a little over four hundred, adults and adolescents.

For his part Winfield was not entirely certain if his first impression was entirely correct but Adamant and Simbacca’s pirate flagship had now become a refuge for the Triang. The transition could not have been easy on either the aliens or the crews; but to Winfield’s way of thinking the potential gains outweighed the potential risks.


“Well, what do you think?” Weston demanded.

“I have told this on numerous occasions, Lt. Weston, but it bears repeating: science cannot be rushed,” snapped Algernon as pored over the data scrolling across the screen of his computer monitor.

“Fascinating, it would appear the metallic alloys utilized by the Triang are capable of mimicking the appearance of organic beings to the nth degree.”

Xinth came over and nodded. “We integrate the technology as best we can, I cannot tell you all the details of the reason we had to leave our home planet, but we are grateful for the assistance given to us by your people.”

“I realize that having to make the decision to abandon your home could not have been an easy decision to make, but if I could hazard a guess, was it due to natural causes or something else happen?” Maggie Weston asked.

Xinth flinched and the nictating membranes over his eyes began to twitch. “I have a great deal of respect for you Exo-fleet pilots, Lt. Weston, but I am not at liberty to divulge that information, as of yet.

In the weeks that the Than had been aboard and assigned living quarters on the Adamant their ability to speak and understand spoken English had improved and it went a long way to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings, but they were bound to happen nonetheless.

“I understand your concerns, Ambassador, Lieutenant Weston’s intention wasn’t meant to pry into your reasons,” Alec Deleon added attempting to smooth over the ensuing awkward moment.

“I just thought if we had a little more information to go on, maybe we could speed up the process of refining an additional fuel supply for your ships.”

“Was the Sol System your intended destination?” Algernon asked.

“I, I understand better, your question.” Xinth bent low at the waist and the vibrations of his agitated eyelids stopped. “And to answer, yes and no.”

“What do you mean by yes and no?” Deleon asked.

“Yes, we were attempting to straddle the asteroid belt, but only to use its gravitational field to enter a parallel dimension, but were, how do you put, ‘stuck in the between and unable to proceed any further; neither forward nor backward.”

“If I may ask, in what manner do you utilize your ships engines to effect the transition between dimensional planes? If I not mistaken,” Algernon asked, “It would seem to have more in common with the pirate ship design than that of the Exo Fleet.”

“Professor Algernon, I cannot answer that,” Xinth replied with a rueful shake of his head. “I am an ambassador not a scientist.”

“And Algernon is a scientist and not a diplomat,” Maggie joked.

“All levity aside,” Algernon stated sniffing in disapproval at Weston’s attempt at humor, “I must ask another question, “Why did you begin to monitor transmissions from the home-worlds?”

“Yes, we did monitor your transmissions. You must understand we were confused and cautious,” Xinth replied. “I really should have been more forthcoming with your leaders, however, as Professor Algernon and have I already discussed, not all among the clan families agreed on the manner in which we should proceed once you respond to our communication signals.”

“I think we need to see General Marsh and the other allied commanders,” Weston remarked.

Alec offered her one of his familiar trade-mark off-center wry grins. “You know, Maggie, I still don’t think I’m accustomed to thinking of J.T as ‘General, because he is and we’re all going to have wrap our heads around that fact. “And I agree, he needs to know about we we’ve discussed.”

“My analysis is not yet complete,” Algernon protested.

“You can come see him or call him down when you’re done. I’ve talked with the folks in R & D who are working on synthesizing a new fuel source for the Triang ships and…well, the fact of the matter is, it’s slow going.”

“Any light you could shed to speed up the process along would be greatly appreciated,” Maggie added.

“Agreed,” Xinth replied. “Some among the families may not agree, however, if something isn’t down soon, well get nowhere very fast…” Did I get the metaphor correctly?”

Maggie and Alec laughed and smiling at the Triang ambassador replied. “Yes, Xinth. You did very well.”

Once apprised of Xinth’s willingness to provide the allied forces with more information about the components of the Triang’s fuel supply Marsh immediately ordered that the data be made immediately available and assigned Weston and Deleon to continue to keep him apprised of any updates.

Simbacca and even his second-in-command Hallas seemed intrigued by the Triang’s technology and Winfield did not really blame them. He’d been eager to get through the routine of ship protocol and duties and get down to the research and development lab to have a look at the ships currently in storage in the cavernous spare hangar bay.

And he could not begrudge the pirate clans proprietary air, for in their entire history it was almost as second nature for them as breathing the air, or drinking water.

Nara Burns had been assigned to help the Triang acclimate to life aboard the Adamant and discovering unexpected common ground with them, or at least a few members among their species; mainly the youngsters and more open-minded among the clan families.

Leaving Nara wondering if her exposure to the gene modifications at the hands of Dr. Ketzer had affected her more than had thought. One of the more than a few unexpected side-effects and affected was her empathy with their Triang’s unique situation.

Usually when she had felt down or lost she had always gone to Marsala for advice or solace; and although she had never felt that she could express that aspect of their relationship in so many words; she sensed that he had always known. Had he felt the same way, perhaps it had been that brighter gleam in his eye when they had said farewell for they had both assumed was the final time on her home world of Venus.

Marsala had always been a kind, loyal friend. He had also made an excellent sounding board. He was also a rarity among his race. This had always been something of a double-edged sword where he was concerned mainly because he had made the conscious choice to fight along the Exo Fleet against Phaeton and his own people. In his own unique way Marsala had managed to reconcile that ambivalence within his own soul.

“It couldn’t have been easy for him. I wonder…”

“Wonder what, Commander Burns?” asked Chay, the young Triang female who had accompanied her down to the mess hall, currently unoccupied at this late hour.

“Oh, nothing, really, just travelling down memory lane,” Nara said.

“I do not believe that my people have the equivalent of these, what did you call them?” Chay wrinkled her brow in thought, causing the tiniest of ripples to move across her mobile face. It was difficult to determine the ages of individual Triang unless one knew what to look for.

“Oh, yes, metaphors. As you know our language is comprised of individual icons, their meaning determined by the context in which they are placed.”

“Memory lane, it’s not an actual place, ” Nara sighed and reached up to brush away the locks of blonde but turning green at the roots hair out of her eyes and added: “It’s an expression, it means I’m wondering in thoughts of the past.”

“It seems to make you sad,” observed Chay.

“It does a little bit, but there were good times, too,” replied Nara wistfully.

She had believed that her work and duty to the Exofleet was done, that she could stay o Venus on help with the Reconstruction Effort, but somehow Marsh, the bond with her squad mates and the lure of the unknown had drawn her back into the fold like a magnetic pull.

“Nara, I realize that your commanders have assigned you to us as a good-will liaison, but I must let you know that I am pleased as our upper echelons of clan,” Chay remarked suddenly, and much to Nara’s surprise the green/black skin of her facet turned a shade lighter as she blushed.

“I am considered much too young and impulsive to be trusted with much responsibility,” Chay laughed, a thin trill of sound bordering on the edge being atonal, but unmistakably someone giving voice to laughter or the Triang equivalent.

Nara realized that she liked Chay and her father Xinth very much. For the first time in recent memory Nara Burns allowed the hard shell that she had not even consciously realized she had built up around herself begin to chip away. “You know, when I first joined Exo Fleet they thought I was too young, too inexperienced, and well, you can guess at the rest.”

“Indeed,” Chay replied. For her own part Chay realized that her youth as he mentioned made her seem unreliable and inexperienced among her own people, and while the humans, both pirate and Exo-Fleet troopers even after prolonged exposure to one another seemed as alien to her as her people seemed to them: felt that a definite change for the better was in the works, and this was a good thing all around.

Chay had always been considered a rarity among her own people for had a tendency to form connections quickly and hold onto them, quite stubbornly. She liked Nara Burns, and others of her friends and squad that she had been introduced to, but there was something different, something special about Nara.

“I think we have much to learn from each other,”Nara said.

“Nara, you are leaking fluids! Can I get you anything from the replicator machine?” Chay suddenly said in alarm when she noticed that Nara was crying.

Hot salty tears were streaming out of her eyes and it was only then that Nara realized that instead of a normal milky-hued color, the tears were tinged a pale green. Chay sidled over and said, “Perhaps we should return to your quarters. I do not believe you wish your comrades to see you like this.”

“I am not ashamed of tears, I’m just, feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. It’s not your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault, really.”

“Are we still friends?” Chay asked in a whisper.

Nara looked up at the concerned face hovering so near to her own and sniffed. “Yes, Chay, we are.”

“I do not mean to pry, but the color of the tears, this is not normal for those of your species, no?” Chay observed cautiously feeling her way around what she sensed what was obviously a sensitive subject for Nara.

“No, someone did that to me, during the war. I used to hate him, for what he did to me….”she trailed off.

“And now?”

“Now, I don’t know how I feel about it.” Nara sighed. “I don’t mean to dump this on you.”

“Did you know that I had considered taking up counseling when I am old enough,” Chay remarked. “If you ever need anything, all you have to do is ask.” Chay finished with a mischievous wink. “I don’t know how much help I will be, but it never hurts to ask.”

“You know something, Chay,” Nara Burns, “I think I will take you up on that offer, but have I mentioned lately that you are incorrigible?” Nara offered Chay a quiet smile; the barest thinning of her lips and regained some of her composure. “Would you like some tea? I find it always helps calm my nerves.”

“Yes, I would. Thank you.” Chay returned the smile with one of her own. “And to answer your last question, No. Perhaps not as often as might be required. We shall see.”

“I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Nara said as she got up to go over and order two cups of tea from the computerized dispenser.

Thrax and Cato stood on the observation deck of the still under construction complex on Mars’ observation deck viewing the real-time streaming video feed broadcast sent out by the volunteers of Project Ring of Fire.

“Back in the old days, during the war, this technology would have been employed in conducting surveillance of enemy troop movements,” remarked Thrax studying the deployment of the Allied Fleet.

“Things have changed considerably from the old days,” Cato remarked.

“You sound as if you do not approve,” Thrax remarked giving the renowned the new governor of Mars a grudging but respectful glance. Things had changed and mostly for the better. Thrax had always been a loyal soldier even under the tyrannical rule of Governor General Phaeton, but even the most loyal of soldiers and pilots could tell as the war between the humans and the Neo-Sapiens had wore on, there was rot as his core.

In the back of his mind Thrax thought; “Change is never wholly good or wholly bad; it is simply change.’

“It is not that I do not approve,” Cato cautiously began uncertain even in his own mind whether or not to proceed, but determined to forge on nonetheless,” It’s that I believe that the Terrans are proceeding on a course that is too rash even for them.”

“I would concur,” Thrax replied, and the future is uncertain as the present, but one might almost have to admire that very boldness.”

Cato snorted and gave the renowned Neo Sapien E-frame pilot an appraising glare and then titled his head to one side. “Fortune favors the bold and those who venture into places where angels fear to tread.”

“A quote?” Thrax questioned.

“A mere observation,” Cato replied calmly. “Only time will tell whether or not the Terrans were correct in undertaking this venture or not. In the meantime we all have a great deal of work to do.”

“Agreed, Let us get to work then,” Thrax said and the two departed the viewing platform.

The seeming good will and fellowship among the mixed crew of Terrans and Triang could only last for so long before something went wrong, and while it was anyone’s guess who threw the first punch, it was a moot point by the time the fight in the mess hall broke out.

The malcontents among the Triang clan families, those who Ambassador Triang had indicated in a rather roundabout way had been opposed to abandoning their home planet and venturing forth into outer space were in the midst of it, but so where Wolf Bronski, Corporal Vince Pelligrino, members of various E-Frame squads and other assorted Jump Troop soldiers.

A security detail had come to break up the fight by the time DeLeon, Torres, and Weston arrived on the scene and with their help much elbowing, grabbing and shoving and shouted orders managed to put things back in order.

Most had the grace to back away, either under their own power or with the escort of the security detail, with the understanding that everyone would be asked to give a statement later on.

“Anyone care to explain what happened in here!” Weston shouted.

“They started it,” muttered Pelligrino in a wounded but not entirely convincing tone where he straddled the back of the table where he and the members of his unit, Charlie Squad normally claimed as theirs in the communal mess hall.

His left hand was bruised and swollen around the knuckle and he had the bruised yellowish-purple ring around his right eye, and appeared that his pride was more injured than his skin.

“I don’t care who started it,” Weston said in icy determined tone of voice. “Consider it over with, Corporal, because if I hear of something like this ever starting again, you’ll pray I’m finished with you. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Crystal, Ma’am,” he replied as he sat back in his chair toying with the a loose strand of thread that come off his uniform cuff, and then glanced up to see his icy-blue gaze staring at her back.

On the way out Maggie Weston turned to Alec Deleon and remarked: “I guess he got the message, huh?”

“I should think so,” replied DeLeon.

The malcontents are placed in the brig with a security detail but quickly effect a breakout and then leave the fleet with a handful of their own ships and make for the outer planets.

Inside and outside the conference room everyone could feel the tension in the air like a bad smell that lingered and refused to go away.

Marsh opened the proceedings by tersely stating: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands and I would like options on how to go about solving it.”

Jonas Simbacca nodded. “The best way to proceed would be to dispatch a search and retrieval unit large enough to cut off them off and then subdue them.”

Admiral Winfield nodded. “A good suggestion as far as it goes, but I’d like to hear what Ambassador Xinth has to say.”

“The instigator is well-known to me, much to my chagrin,” Xinth began and then paused to reach up and wipe the sweat from his face. “He is called Praxis and while he possesses much personal charisma and the capability to lead large numbers of our people, he also has the unfortunate tendency to do so only for her own gratification and vain-glory.”

Admiral Winfield sighed and thought in the back of his mind, ‘Sounds familiar, thinking of Phaeton and even, as painful as was to recall the late and tragic fate of his friend Captain Matthew Marcus. Shoving the errant thought into a back corner of his mind he said: “Thank you for sharing that with us. I realize that it could not have been easy for you. If you much of this Praxis’s habits, what do you believe will be his likely next move?”

The ships belonging to the clan families that accompanied are only several hundreds strong and they could not have carried much in the way of fuel or supplies.”

“In other words,” Simbacca interrupted,” they couldn’t have gotten very far.”

Xinth blinked and continued. “Yes. I doubt Praxis would have continued on our original course, but he may have attempted to make for the outer ring of planets and then establish a base.

“The pirate clans are out there,”Simbacca said. “I can have Hallas contact them and be on the outlook for Praxis and his band of malcontents.”

“A wise precaution,” Marsh said, but let’s be certain that uh, the pirates’ volatile tendency to shoot first and ask questions later does not spark another conflict. That’s the last thing we need at this point.”

Simbacca glared at Marsh but refrained himself from the rash and hot-tempered words that he normally would instinctively made at this reminder about his people’s temperament; they were allies here.

Hallas, until now merely listening and taking everything in asked to be heard. “I will contact the clans and inform them of the situation, but do you really think it likely that Praxis and his people will attack us?”

“I do not believe so,” Xinth replied. “Not unless he is attacked first and I doubt that with his small numbers and limited supplies he would risk touching off a potential conflict unless his hand is forced.”

“Then the best thing to do is cut him off at the pass, if you will excuse my employing and old cliché,” Winfield added.

“I agree,” Marsh said, “Xinth, what do you think we should do? Renegades or just malcontents, what have you, these are your people we’re discussing here.”

“You have all done so much for us already, and I am given to understand that even the leaders of your home worlds were not unanimously for this expedition as it stands.”

“No, they were not, but we’re here now,” Winfield said.

“I believe that given Praxis’ history and disposition it would be best to kept him within this solar system as much as possible. We do not believe that hey and his troops would deliberately harm anyone, be they Terran, Pirate or Neo-Sapien, but anything is within the realm of possibility,” Xinth replied.

“It’s a dicey situation, any way you choose to slice it,” Marsh observed.

Xinth asked: “Commander Marsh, how much progress is your Research and Development department making with the synthesis of new fuel supply?”

“I’d have to check with Professor Algernon, but he says he’s making appreciable progress,” Marsh replied.

“I can’t speak for the Triang,” Simbacaa added, “But at this point, he may have been desperate and desperate people are prone to make rash decisions and then regretting them later on down the road. I say we go after them.”

“We can’t take the entire allied fleet. A small task force would be better suited, if we are committed to this action?” Marsh asked

“We could break off a smaller bit of the task force or even a larger group of E-Frame units.” Hallas stated.

“We don’t know how long it will take to track them down,” Winfield said.

“I think we can spare one of the modified carriers along with a mixed unit of E-frames and crew.”

“I agree,” Xinth replied. ”

“Then it’s settled, bear in mind that if they find Praxis and his troops they are strict orders not to engage unless fired upon first,” Winfield said. “If they wish to leave and have managed to synthesize the fuel source that the Triang need for their ships maybe you can persuade them into sharing that intel with the rest of us.”

“Do you want us to bring them back here?” Marsh asked.

“I don’t know. They wanted to leave, and I’d rather not keep anyone aboard the Adamant who doesn’t want to be here, but for now let’s play it by ear and see what happens.”

“I doubt we’ll need the reinforcements,” remarked Marsh in an aside to General Winfield as they were the last to leave the conference room,” however, it never hurts to have an ace in the hole, and besides you’ll have to keep working with the Triang and the rest of our allies as well coordinating with home worlds to see that everything we’ve built doesn’t wither on the vine.”

“And you were worried that you couldn’t be eloquent enough when we presented our case to Council?” Winfield remarked reaching one eyebrow and offered the younger officer a tight but reassuring smile. ”

“Hmm, Yes, now that you mention it,” Marsh replied. “I do recall something to that effect. “I’ll try not to worry so much if you’ll try not gamble so much.”

“Speaking of gambling, I believe we have time for one last poker game before you set out.”

“Sir, with all due respect,” Marsh wryly remarked, “have I mentioned lately that you are incorrigible?”

“No, and I’ll hold you to that.”

Maggie Weston was in her quarters and she had dosed the lights and was and lay down on her bed, and as exhausted as she was she expected to fall asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow; instead she was strangely wakeful. She tossed and turned, her mind stirring with the events of the past several days and those yet to come.

After half an hour of this she threw off her comforter and got out of bed and slipped into her slippers and then quietly padded over to the washroom to splash water on her face from the tap. Finishing with that she then glanced into the mirror and asked her reflection:

‘What’s got into you? You’ve never been this fidgeting before, not even during the war, not when you were facing down enemies twice your size, not even when it looked as if we were about to buy it? Not even we flew blind into the interior of the alien ship. Not even the aliens, as well, alien as they are ever got be this flustered, So, what’s got me all a-flutter suddenly?’

She brushed strands of auburn hair out of her eyes and realized that the racing of her pulse had less to do with adrenaline rush prior to go on a mission, or into combat had more to do with thoughts of her team-mate Alec DeLeon. “Damn it! I really don’t this right now!”

With the force of a sucker punch she realized that she needed to see him, talk to him, to sort this all out. That without either of them noticing that it had happened; she was falling in love with him and he with her. “There it’s out and it’s official.”

Alec DeLeon had dressed for bed but had not yet gone to sleep when his door chime pinged and he immediately asked whoever it was to enter.

He had been sitting on top of the comforter putting the final touches on cleaning his sidearm when Maggie walked in. He set the side-arm down and with the smooth economy of motion that she remembered so well darted over to greet her.

“To what do I owe this visit?” he asked, and while he tried to keep his expression serious she could tell that a grin was forcing its way out onto his face.

“You big dope,” Maggie said with a tight laugh. “We need to talk.”

“About what?”

“Stuff in general, Us…” she trailed off and then began to shuffle her feet on the carpet before she resolved to just go with the flow of the moment and came closer to sweep Alec into her arms.

“Alec, I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff lately, about where I’ve been and about where I’m going and I think I need to ask you something very important.”

Alec had always admired and respected Maggie both as a friend, a team-mate and as a person and while he had always held out the hope that one day it might become more than that; someone it had never been in the cards. “Ask,” he replied.

“Do you love me?”

“Oh, Maggs, “he whispered in a tone of voice that she had never heard him use before, stiff but solid and quiet. “I think I’ve always loved, loved you until hurt. I was afraid, well, as you the other me, was afraid that I would keep it all bottled up inside of me…”he trailed off uncertain how to finish the thoughts that were bubbling up to the surface.

“You big dope,” Maggie laughed. “Reality is so messed up right now, why didn’t you ever tell me how you felt?”

“Right back at you,” Alec replied with his familiar but still a little shaky devil-may-care grin restored to his face.

“You know something else?” Maggie began. “We may never get another chance to get this right, and if I don’t play this right I may never do so.”

Alec still locked tight inside the circle of her arms, shuffled his feet and gazed into her eyes, breathing a trifle more heavily. “What are you talking about?”

“Alec DeLeon, will you marry me?”

Alec’s blue eyes widened in surprise and that sudden and completey unexpected question coming from Maggie Weston of all people and stepped away from the embrace to gaze at her intently as attempting to memorize her every line. He smiled, seeming to like what he saw and then replied. And with a bright smile he said: “Well, I’d have to think about it, and it’s a trifle on the unorthodox side. Shouldn’t it be me asking you to marry me instead of the other way around?”

“Will you get to the point!” she exclaimed with a shaky grin of her own. Returning his gaze with an intent one of her own, much relieved to have her pulse, heart beat back on its customary even keel; even though she knew that they were more or less rushing things just a hair.

“Yes, I will marry you, if you can put up with this big dope.”Alec grinned and stepped forward to kiss her on the lips.

She returned the kiss and they stood locked together before a long time before they broke away.

“Mmm,” she hummed.

Alec took a few deep breaths of his own. “Any ideas of how you want to go about breaking the news to our friends?”

“Not just yet, but now that’s its settled, I had imagined that we’d ask J.T to give the, uh, bride away and that as senior officer aboard the Adamant that Admiral Winfield would perform the ship-board ceremony.”

“I’ll insist on a formal 21-gun salute.” Alec titled his head back as if thinking something through. “I love you, Maggie Weston.”

“Back at you, Alec Deleon. Oh the hell with it! I love you, too!”

“So, where do we go from here?” Alec asked.

“To tell the truth, I honestly don’t know,” replied Maggie, but wherever it is, I think we ought to go there together.”

“Absolutely and without question,” Alec replied.

“Do you always have to have the last word?” she joked.

He stepped forward and kissed her lips and ruffled his hands through the thick strands of her auburn hair. “I’ll take that as a no.” she sighed and returned and they stood locked together for quite some time, when they both realized that they really should get some sleep because tomorrow would be upon them before either of them noticed.


“Your orders, Sir,” the helmsman asked.

“Second star on the right and straight on till morning,” Marsh replied. “Let’s see what’s out there.” Again, as a student of history J.T Marsh could both recognize and appreciate the source of the quote. It had come from a fictional account written by an Englishman named J.M Barrie from Old Earth. It while it had been used to by mariners and ships’ captains for centuries; somehow it felt appropriate in this setting and under these circumstances.

The helmsman turned to the nearest person and whispered in an undertone, “Exactly how do I go about inputting those coordinates into the navigation computer?”

“How should I know?” the other replied and gave the helmsman a nonchalant shrug. “At this point, your guess is as good as mine.”

“I think the brass is all gung-ho for this expedition of ours,” the first non-commissioned crew-man remarked.

“I guess, I am too,” the helmsman replied darting a glance towards Marsh. “I guess we won’t know until we get there and our commander certainly is about as raring to go as a racehorse.”

“Well, then, let’s go,” the second man said and punched in the coordinates that would take them and their task force out the Earth side of the asteroid belt and out into the outer ring of planets.

Darting a glance at the helmsman and the other crew-man who sat beside him Marsh could not have helped but over hear their conversation even as preoccupied as he had been with outfitting and coordinating everything that they might need on the journey. “You are correct in your speculations, gentleman, Do us all a favor and try and avoid the big ones.”

“Aye, Aye, Sir!”

Posted in Uncategorized

Pats Fans: No Need To Be Classy About A Super Bowl Win

A Goodbye of Sorts – It’s with some sadness I’m here to report that this will likely be my last blog post maybe ever… Maybe. I’ve accepted a new job and without getting into details I’ve decided to walk away from the blog because of it. I’m proud to go out on a high note and report that my 31 Reasons To Get Off Your High Horse, NFL piece had over 100,000 views and counting. Not bad for a homer hack that lacks the lush credentials of a Skip Bayless or a Joe Buck. Thank you incredibly to everyone who took the time to read it, share it, comment, all that. And thank you to everyone who followed the Facebook page week after week up through the undisputed most exciting Super Bowl of all time. I’ll probably still update the Facebook, but my days of long winded exposes of why your favorite sports writers are full of crap are likely over. Again… maybe. A quick thank you to my long time readers and frequent contributors: Dan White, Rusty, Staples, Janssen Railroad Tycoon McCormick, Jim, Chris Nothing, Fraser, everyone.

However there is one final misconception I want to clear up before we go. If you’re a true Patriots fan that stuck by your team when they needed it most, heard the same criticism every day, read the conspiracy theories, took a needling from your friends and co-workers that worshipped inferior football teams, and still put on your red white and blue every Sunday like a good solider believe me when I say this… We’re the champs, and there’s no need to be classy about it.

Let’s get the heavy stuff out of the way. My respect for the Seattle Seahawks organization is paramount. They did to Denver what the 2001 Patriots did to St. Louis and they did it better. They rolled over a big fancy store bought team with a bunch of guys that everyone who thought they knew better called “nobodies.” Even with a Super Bowl loss the Pete Carroll Hawks are amazing, and will be just as great next year. I’m comfortable saying that there are at least 25 franchises that are an affront to football pretending to even play in the same league as Seattle. They’re that good and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. With all the gum flapping they did they certainly deserve a least a little humiliation, but they played the game hard and should take no shame in a loss. I won’t even take a dig at their jabroni wagoneer fanbase even though they’re Oregon Trailing hard and we all know it. Everyone over 30 remembers how hard it was to root for those crappy late 80’s Patriots teams so let’s not throw (too many) stones. The Hawks, and the Since-The-2012th Man are cool with me.

That being said… fuck everyone else. Pats Nation shines its rings with your feeble tears. Take a picture. Write it down. We’re fucking in. You’re fucking out.

But, oh no! We’ve besmirched the lily white sensibilities of the NFL watching public. Goodness gracious, the same people that were calling Brady homophobic slurs, and cheered when the G.O.A.T. tore his ACL, and had nothing but the same corny Spygate jokes for 8 years dared to call us classless. How ever shall we recover? Considering Belichick was called classless every time he sneezed for the last decade this is another day at the office for Pats fans. Only this time we’ve got a 4th trophy to keep us company while you’re snuggling up to used “18-1” joke wondering who your favorite team is going to waste money on this year to keep up with the champs. Calling someone “classless” after a game like that is the most transparently butthurt thing anyone can come up with. Are you upset about the loss or the fact that we rightfully spiked this win in America’s face? To these Princess & the Pea basket cases that can dish it out but can’t take it, I just have to ask: since when was football about class?

There was no class, no restraint, no professionalism, reason, logic, due diligence or intelligence displayed in the years leading up to ring #4 where our beloved Patriots were called cheaters, losers and whatever else came to the minds of gullible fans and press members. If the rest of the world expected this to be a classy affair they should have thought about it during the week to week conspiracy theory baiting and mean girls gossiping that passes for sports writing and discussion. For everyone who said Brady sucked, or Belichick couldn’t beat anyone without video tapes, or Bob Kraft bribed his way to whatever you deserve to watch the Patriots win the highest rated Super Bowl ever in the greatest finish ever. You ignored facts and reality in favor of your own jealously and willful ignorance and you deserve to have this Super Bowl win smacked in your face hard. Pats Nation, be classy if you want. Maybe you’re a better person than me. It wouldn’t be the first time. Be the bigger person if that’s how you live your life. There is, however, no precedent here for taking the high road and in this football fan’s humble opinion no need to take it. Salty peon football fans, defenders of domestic abusers and tax cheat owners, throwaway on-air personalities desperate for a spotlight, ignorant servile laundry worshiping scum: you set the ground rules. You deal with the consequences. We’re the G.O.A.T. It’s time to gloat. Kiss the rings.

Here’s a quick list of people who deserve to get it. Comment with more if you’re so inclined

Donovan McNabb – Check it out Donovan, you’re finally first at something. “Tom Brady was benched” says a guy who was booed by his own fans from the minute he was drafted to the minute he got nudged out of the way of the Christian Ponder era in Minnesota. You’d think a guy who played the position would have some perspective to share on Brady’s early struggles but playing a bitter old washout just seems to pay the bills better. Even when you look like a moron in hindsight.

Anyone Who Still Pretends To Not Know the Difference Between Pounds and PSI – The original ESPN report on Deflategate was that the balls were found to be “2 pounds” under the allowable limit. That would be pretty startling if it were even remotely true (more on that later). Air pressure isn’t measured in pounds, it’s measured in Pounds Per Square Inch… P.S.I. That thing everyone keeps saying. Finkle is Einhorn. Einhorn is Finkle. Is this sinking in yet? No? Go out to your car or your bicycle. Look at the numbers on your tire. Those are PSI numbers. Now let 2 PSI worth of air out of your tires. Did your car just lose two pounds? Of course it didn’t. Give your tire a squeeze. Can you tell the difference between 40 PSI and 38 PSI just by squeezing your tire? Of course you can’t. Why would air pressure in a football be measured by weight? Why would an official squeeze a football to see how much it weighs? You’re an adult. Take off the velcro shoes and learn some adult things.

Michael Wilbon & Tony Kornheiser – Anyone who follows the Patskrieg Twitter knows how many times I’ve said this… Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn are fucking torture: a clown car of screaming assholes crammed Brady Bunch style onto a cramped little space between text scrolling in every direction and not a single original thought comes out of it. The prolonged success of these programs is a shame on the human race as a whole. You’re talking about the two least interesting, least likable personalities with nothing interesting to say screaming at eachother for an hour a day. The fact that Wilbon said the Patriots should be disqualified from the Super Bowl for a 2 PSI aberration in a football tells you they have no interest whatsoever in sports. And of course everyone gets riled up by watching this crap: everyone is screaming. When Wilbon’s diabetic ass finally keels over on air the nation will be free of it’s curse. Here lies what’s his name. Contributed nothing. Mourned by none.

Trent Dilfer – Dilfer, to me was always a lovable ESPN B-teamer who had the decency to preface every single thing he says with a reminder of how bad he was as a player. But /r/Patriots would riot if I didn’t include him for being one of the first to read the Patriots their last rites. Well Dilfer redeemed himself a lot in the Super Bowl post game shutting down his gossipy co-hosts on a couple of occasions. Way late in the night game he even took on Chris Carter who toed the usual head in the sand line of “I don’t know other teams are bending the rules.” Sorry Chris, we all forgot that you were high on coke when all that stuff went down around you in your playing days. Like I said, Dilfer is alright by me but I had to put him here.

Every WEEI or SportsHub caller EverUp next is Mitch in Leominster, Mitch what’ve you got for us? Hey fellas, first time long time. Listen when are they gonna finally can that bum Belichick? He can’t do nothin without Chaaa’lie Weiss khed. Lettin Ben Wawtson go was a worse crime than Zayres gettin bought out by TJ Maxx. I ain’t had a pair ah overalls that fit right since. He shoulda drafted a fast tall guy and get a quartaahback that can run the ball. Brady’s still playin like he’s got a leatha’ helmet, khed ya hear me? Say what ya want about that alta’ boy Tebow but he just wins, guy. Tha kid just wins! You people are shit and make the world a worse place for everyone every minute you’re alive.

Michael Rosenberg & Sports Illustrated – Enjoy your defamation lawsuit you Building 19 fire sale hack. You got scooped by a guy who used to cover the Keene High Blackbirds. Even after the entire internet came down the laughing stock of Sports Illustrated for both his factually incorrect assessment of low contact on QBs rule that had nothing to do with Tom Brady, and his completely insane story of a secret TV monitor, nothing changed. Rosenberg cleaned up a couple typos and still left a series of libelous and just wrong statements in his article. He doesn’t know any better because he’s a cream puff baseball hack and doesn’t watch football. Seriously, one of the best sports publications of all time laid an egg when it came to both Deflategate and the Super Bowl. Don Banks actually suggested that the NFL would have been better off putting the Seahawks over as a Patriots win hurts fan interest in the NFL by way of making Deflategate worse. This was said after the highest rated television broadcast of all time. Get a clue crybaby, the product is already sold. SI’s disconnect with the sport of football is laughable and fast becoming insurmountable.

Chris Mortensen – One of the most well respected football journalists in the world laid down the most negligent lazy story of 2014 and no one batted an eye. Mort told the world with a straight face that he had an inside source in the Patriots (a team that gives up zero information) that everyone was done with Brady and “sooner or later” he was on the way out. Funny thing about sooner or later… it means whatever you want. Specifically here “later” meant standing behind Brady, reworking his contract to cover him into his 40’s without losing a dime and watching the GOAT with a 4th Super Bowl. As the Patriots started to pick up steam Mort went back and edited his already non-committal piece to be even more vague and meaningless, citing his own story as proof he didn’t make up the thing he just reported. With the clout Mort carries in the industry no one will ever challenge him on it either. He’ll likely goto his grave without ever having to admit he never had anything. What a fun system of checks and balances. Mort was also responsible for falsely reporting that “11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2 lbs each.”

Wrong on two levels. As discussed above #1 It’s not pounds. It’s Pounds Per Square Inch. That’s what PSI stands for: the force applied by the air to an area of one square inch. Air pressure in a finite space is measured in PSI. Not pounds. #2 when the NFL released some real live actual information on the aberration in PSI only 1 of the balls was found to be missing 2 PSI. The rest were just barely below the allowable limit: apparently imperceptible to a squeeze with the hands. Again, Mort picked up a microscopic detail from a source somewhere and filled in the rest with whatever would make for a more interesting Tweet. Mortensen never admitted any fault, or apologized for sloppy reporting of false information. He’ll maintain his plush cushy job pretending to be an insider, likely breaking another dumb gossip story months from now that everyone will swallow up all over again like nothing ever happened. Typical ESPN modus operandi: it’s not a mistake if you don’t apologize for it.

Roger Goodell – It’s been a rough year for the Commish, some of it is his fault, and some of it was inheriting a league full of demented assholes that no one could ever control. However, he went from “doin my best here” to the Mr. Bean of sports admins in a period of about three months and sunk himself with the total lack of control he had on Deflategate. Considering Robert Kraft was the lone owner to stand up for Goodell I have no idea what Goodell was thinking letting a microscopic PSI aberration turn into a household scandal. He has no winning move here. The poor doe eyed fans want a massive penalty and some kind of pat on the back assurance that they don’t have to bow down to the Pats. They won’t get it because it’s obvious by now that the NFL has no case and never did. The only rationale I have is that it was just enough of a distraction to keep gullible cro magnon fans from finding out about yet another head trauma scandal in former Patriot great Mosi Tatupu, who doctors believe ruined his marriage and mental state because of significant CTE found in his brain. Here’s a tip, Roger… most football fans still have no idea what CTE is. Despite years of startling studies and evidence about the irreversible effects of head trauma caused by professional football your average fan is still riding the “BUT IT’S FOOTBALL, GUY” wagon and using words like “wussification” and “sissification” like they’re actual things, with no concern for anyone but themselves. “I love this football guy but I don’t care if he can tie his shoes without blacking out 5 years from now” is the legacy contemporary football fans will leave on the sport. That’s your audience, Rog: fucking morons.

Phil Simms – Scott Norwood missed a field goal 24 years ago and the NFL has been cursed with Giants tagalong Phil Simms hanging around the broadcast like the neighborhood divorced dad lugging a box of Jenga door to door. Simms is consistently the worst broadcaster on television. He covers maybe 12 Patriots games a year and week to week acts like he’s never heard of anyone. I suppose that’s nothing considering he’s spent 30 something years in the league and still has no idea what the rules are. I almost never buy into the homer fantasy that the announcers hate your team. They’re paid to talk about the game, and talking up the opponents is part of their job. But for a guy who owes Bill Belichick his entire career he absolutely hates the Patriots and it shows. He covers what, like 12 Patriots games a year and still can’t pronounce half their names. It’s like if Fifty First Dates was about the Patriots depth chart. And the lying… Simms is dead set on trying to convince everyone he’s House, and that no detail gets past him. Every time he pulls out one of his “When that happened I immediately noticed…” moments where he tries to tell you he picked up on some miniscule detail no one could have seen in real time, he’s always wrong. You did not notice that there was exactly 1 second left on the clock after Matt Schaub called a timeout. It takes more time than that just to turn your head and find the game clock. It makes me wish LT wasn’t in jail so I could maybe hear from someone that actually did something in to win the Giants their Super Bowls.

Chris Simms – So check it. Baby Simms bottoms out in the NFL. He sits around for two whole years then gets hired out of nowhere to be Brady’s quarterback coach in 2012. It really made no sense because for years before that the OC doubled as the quarterback coach, Brady has his own QB adviser and Simms had zero coaching experience since being removed from football. But whatever it’s a total cush job letting Brady just do his thing and taking credit. Right? I guess not. A year later Simms was gone. No one ever gave up details why but name the last time the Patriots cut bait on a coach after 1 year. You can’t. Bush League Chris was out of coaching entirely and reduced to writing slide shows for Bleacher Report for intern credit and all of a sudden wants to start a PR war with Tom Brady. What a shocker, the guy who blew a gravy train job coaching the greatest quarterback of all time has a cleat up his butt about it. Of all the D list freeze dried pubes that get hired on TV after their careers are over Melissa Rivers Simms could only land a web job. Like most things he did, no one paid attention. Can’t play football. Can’t coach football. Can’t write about football. Chris Simms, everyone.

The New York Post – Photoshop for Dickheads Daily went out with one final sour grape. Dead format from the grossest state in the union.

Anyone Still Crediting Adam Vinatieri for the First 3 Rings“Hey fahkin first time long time here, khed, listen, ya know everybody’s jumpin all over Brady this an’ Brady that. But ya know… if ya think about it… fahkin Let’s naawt fah’get guy, they only won them first three Soopa Bowls cuza Vinatieri, the kicka there. Brady coulda scawed them touchdowns but he didn’t. He needed Vinatieri ta bail him out. How does this mindset still exist? How do you show your face at Dunkin Donuts knowing this kind of bullshit goes through your head? Vinatieri is a legend but exactly how many 99 yard field goals do you think he kicked? Three Super Bowls that needed a field goal to win, Brady delivers clutch drives on all three on the biggest stage in sports and some guy who eats at The 99 is unimpressed by it. Talk about a spoiled asshole. The faux football historian “look wut I discova’d khed” is the icing on the cake. Congratulations, you figured out how to read a box score years after the rest of us witnessed classic football from the undisputed GOAT. Sorry you missed it.

Tim Hasselbeck – Shhh! Everyone, Tito Hasselbeck has perspective to share. It’s funny, when the relevant Hasselbeck brother, who actually played in the AFCCG, came out and said that he was shocked Deflategate was a controversy because everyone knew it bore no impact whatsoever on anything I cracked a joke to a friend that I would reserve my opinions until Tim Hasselbeck weighed in. Surprise surprise he had something shocking and dumb to say. Look at the facts guys, Tim is 3 years younger than his brother and is somehow already out of the league. He threw a single pass or more in only 7 games in his entire career and the Redskins lost 6 of them. With the exponentially growing crowded stable of ESPN on air personalities there is no need for Tim Hasselbeck to be on ESPN. Quite honestly there never was.

Jon Tomase – I don’t know how Tomase keeps landing jobs in Boston any more than I get how he walks down the street without getting his face punched in. Lying greaseball load that should have been run out of town years ago. There are plenty of people in this world that I’ve rooted against, given the finger to on TV, or trashed over social media that I still think I’d be able to shake their hand and treat them with general human dignity if I ever met them. I can honestly say I’d rather die than shake Jon Tomase’s hand.

The Boston Herald – “TEBOW TIME”. Front page. Never forget.

Bob Kravitz – Career small timer and local TV sports anchor Bob Kravitz earned the ire of Patriots fans when he accurately broke the story that Deflategate was a thing. Really that’s no reason to jump on Chump Change Kravitz. However, when the New York Daily News broke a story that D’Qwell Jackson was the one that first discovered that something was up with the game ball Kravitz was finally in a unique position to be a real journalist. He was a phone call away from getting an admission from the Colts organization itself. It was the smoking gun, or it was a new chapter in a quickly developing story. The report, however, turned out to be completely false. Jackson never found anything wrong with the ball. Kravitz could have easily called the Colts and gotten a yes or no out of Jackson before he wrote his own piece. He didn’t. Bobby Smalltime did what he’s known best for: took a nap and phoned it in. It wouldn’t have even been a long distance charge for Kravitz but it was still too much effort to behave like a professional. As CBS Boston Michael Hurley pointed out (in a must read article) Kravitz was also asleep at the wheel when Colts owner Jim Irsay went on his Fear and Loathing joy ride high on OC’s that thankfully didn’t kill anyone. If anyone should be kicked out of the league like the eternally amateur hour, Playskool, hairbrush microphone in the mirror let’s play reporter man Indianapolis media cried for, it should maybe be their own repeat offender alcoholic owner. All of a sudden the integrity of the game just didn’t mean quite as much. And the whole time Kravitz went on his mini media tour, just like a real reporter, all he could do was moan about the Patriots fans drilling him over being a slouch. “I have pretty thick skin but wah wahh wahh hear me cry.” No ya don’t. Kravitz deserves all the criticism he’s received and is thoroughly exposed as being one step removed from being a weather man.

Gregg Doyel – You might recognize Indianapolis Star writer Gregg Doyel as one of what seems like a million generic sports pundits that try to play Mr. Edgy on TV and radio. It’s about as authentic as the “I’m not bald I shaved my head” character Doyel plays in real life. Cranky Gregg waited until 3 weeks after the Super Bowl to pen a piece called Everyone Lost Deflategate… where he proposes that not only does he look bad, the Colts look bad, the NFL look bad, but the Patriots and their fans lose because “perception is reality” and the Pats will always be cheaters. Hey Pats Nation… do you feel like losers right now? I just watched the best Super Bowl of my lifetime. Then I watched a shitfaced Julian Edelman clothesline a poster of Richard Sherman on top of a duckboat in Government Center. Then I went on every social media platform on earth and slam dunked ring #4 in everyone’s face and watched the haters slink away in shame. I’m having the best time ever so there’s your perception and your reality right there. Doyel pulled this straight out of Losing Arguments for Dummies, the old “let’s just agree we’re both wrong.” Better idea Gregg… Let’s agree that Deflategate is falling apart faster than the MBTA. Let’s agree that the Colts front office and the NFL look about as innocent as Marvin Harrisson the time his gun mysteriously tried to kill someone without him (*SIP* but that’s none of my business). Let’s agree that perception and reality clashed here because you and fellow soft bake Bob Kravitz skewed the details of the story by leaving out facts that didn’t suit your agenda. What the hell do I care what some football part-timer from another timezone thinks? No one can ever take this victory away from Pats Nation. Ever. And speaking of perception versus reality Doyel insists that the Boston media made up the idea that the Colts tampered with the game ball. Wrong and you know it, poser. This exciting possibility was presented to us by actual journalist Adam Schefter who made this known on Dennis & Callahan.

So, perception is reality… wrong. The Boston media are framing the Colts… wrong. Usual par the course allergic to facts Indianapolis journalism. Grumpy Gregg also repeatedly declares that he’d “love to see the Patriots vacate the title, but that’s never gonna happen.” You’d love to see a thing that doesn’t deserve to happen happen? Nice credibility. I can’t even call this guy a homer because he’s not even remotely from Indianapolis. He was born in Hawaii, grew up in Mississippi, went to school in Florida, wrote a couple random college basketball books and didn’t hold a single job inside the state of Indiana until he wrote for the Star. His homerism is fake. His commitment to the sport is fake. His astro turfed edgy rage is fake. Annnnd his marriage was fake. This is the last gasp of a useless fake journalist trying to score web traffic before this all goes away. Everyone lost… except the side that won their FOURTH Super Bowl. That’s us. Perceive that reality while you get your shinebox.

CNN’s John Berman – Hot take from CNN’s Not-Anderson Cooper: “shame on me for liking the cheater Patriots” says John Berman. Berman wasn’t alone in this sentiment. In the early stages of PSIgate there were more than a few false Pats fans that took to social media to let the world know that they were just as smh as the rest of the world. Fuck these people. “I am not going to dwell on the specifics of the accusations,” Berman says “or the physics of what advantage you get from deflated footballs.” Probably because you’re a lazy fence sitting asshole who didn’t actually follow the story and has no idea what the implications are. What kind of a soft baked jabroni do you have to grow up to be that you’re scared someone will dislike you because of the football team you root for? That you’d be so scared of losing the approval of a stranger for a split second you’re willing to deny your own team? Sports are not meant for spineless beige alert bullshit like this. I’ll make your shame issues real easy for you: Pats Nation card revoked, poser.

Ben Rohrbach and Yahoo Sports – Boston native Ben Rohrbach miraculously got the idea to publish a list of the other 31 NFL teams cheating 4 days after mine went viral. I certainly can’t accuse anyone of plagiarizing as all this information is public, and I do appreciate that someone in the national media did what was right. But his list was mostly a really lame glance at PED suspensions and missed a chance to spotlight the true underbelly of the league. Do you know why my list was better than Yahoo’s? Because I fucking Googled it.

Mike Klis – Two years from now the only search results you’ll find for Denver journalist Mike Klis will be my long dead blog posts making fun of him. The Bronco’s resurgence over the windfall of landing Peyton Manning was the only thing keeping Klis on the Denver Post payroll. You could pay a 19 year old intern to do everything Klis doesn’t do: research stories, cite facts, and maybe form an opinion that isn’t from the point of view of a pink/orange hat homer that blows a kiss to John Elway’s Starting Lineup figure every night. Klis will be the first one there to take a stand when a team fairly and legally gets an upper hand on Uncle Johnny’s Broncos. Out of market stations are calling him for interviews and he get to sit there against a fake Denver skyline backdrop in a satellite studio somewhere and play Mr. Important Journalist to the world for 5 minutes. Ask him to report on the coverup of John Elway III’s domestic violence incident and he’s got better things to do. Both TMZ and a guy from the Denver Post named Rich Tosches (author of such articles as A Racoon Selfie What Could Go Wrong?) stepped up and did Klis’ job for him. This was the guy who called McDaniels classless for taking a job as a Patriots offensive assistant after the regular season. Goodbye Mike. It’s been a real pleasure watching you stuff your spine with Shannon Sharpe jerseys.

Football Traditionalists – People who still think that the Cowboys, Steelers, and Packers are the only teams with any business winning a Super Bowl need to crawl in a tar pit and die with the rest of the dinosaurs. Wow what a treat Super Bowl XXX was. Real hard nosed prestigious football is definitely watching Neil O’Donnell throw interceptions like he had no idea what planet he was on. Oh god the indignity of watching two 40-50 year old expansion teams armed to the teeth grind out a spectacular last second finish that no one could have ever predicted. If Tom Landry doesn’t take a Gatorade bath in the 3rd quarter then why bother right? I actually heard a Sports Hub call the day after the Super Bowl whining that the game was okay but it lacked the prestige of a Cowboys Steelers old tyme duel. What an exciting life you must live that (again) the most watched television broadcast of all time doesn’t do it for you. Let me put this in perspective for you, out of 49 Super Bowls only 16 were settled by fewer than 10 points. The Patriots played in 6 of them and won 4. Most of these “classic” matchups that people allude to are more hearsay and exaggeration than anything. Traditionally speaking, Super Bowls were almost always blowouts for big chunks of the NFL timeline. Hell the Packers blew out the Chiefs by 25 in the first Super Bowl ever. I remember watching the 2nd half of Super Bowl XXIV and wondering just what the hell the big deal was because the Broncos were down by 40 and couldn’t do anything against the 49ers. It wasn’t until a year later when the Super Bowl came down to the last drive that I actually got hooked on football. When people talk about prestigious franchises they’re telling you they only care about the Hardees NFL mugs they drank their Juicy Juice out of as a kid. You can hate the lowly Patriots for not having Dandy Don Meredith in their history or whatever feels cool and nostalgic for you but the fact is the Brady era Pats make for good Super Bowls. Cry away.

Jackie Macmullan – The basketball writer who made it her business to push for the Patriots to sign Eric Decker despite all common sense. The difference between Decker and Brandon LaFell eventually turned out to be 9 yards and $27 million. Decker was the wrong move and it was obvious. Planting the seed in public perception that Decker was somehow that answer for a team that just lost an AFCCG because they didn’t have the cornerback depth was an obnoxious pain in the ass for sane fans to have to deal with all offseason. We, the fans, really could have used a reasonable voice to talk us down from the hopes of landing an overrated name with a big price tag. Instead we got yet another writer using the biggest entity in sports to beg for attention.

Mark Brunell – By the time you’re finished reading this Mark Brunell will have been sued for defaulting on another loan.

Jerry Rice – The all time double threat greatest and most annoying wide receiver to ever casually cheat at the game. Randy Moss broke his touchdown record and Rice whined, begging for an asterisk because Rice played in the 12 game era, refusing to give a fellow phenom athlete an ounce of credit. Okay Jerry, asterisk. Wes Welker drew comparisons to Rice for his freakish production, up pops Jerry Rice to recoil in disgust at being compared to a short white guy who only took about 100 times the hits that Rice ever did in half the time. Fine Jerry, we won’t compare you to a short guy. Surprise surprise, the Patriots show up in Glendale with a chance to match San Francisco’s Super Bowl titles and Rice cries for another asterisk this time for a paper thin accusation that appeals to only egomaniacal crybabies like Rice who can’t deal with any team but their own succeeding. This is the same guy who tells you that Van Heusen dress shirts don’t make you look like you’re interviewing for a job at a Weymouth Dollar Tree. Do yourself a favor. Dress yourself like an adult and take your advice from anyone but Jerry Rice. Even when Rice was caught bragging about his own cheating he still wouldn’t humble himself enough to give a real apology for being a hypocrite. What a sad way for a sad old man to fade away.

Marshall Faulk – The biggest turd on turf. Faulk offers zero to football broadcasting. 364 days a year Faulk is a cue card reading cardboard cutout somewhere between less helpful than a box score and more interesting than the Weather Channel. But for one day a year the Super Bowl talk is too much for San Diego State’s biggest crybaby and he throws a tantrum about the Patriots stealing a Super Bowl from him. “But how could a team full nobodies beat the greatest show on turf?” Nobodies, Marshall? Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour? These are nobodies? This isn’t 2001 anymore. These are potential Hall of Famers. Insult to injury: Bruschi has a primetime spot on ESPN while Faulk is the NFL Network’s substitute heath teacher. How’s that for a nobody? I’m sorry Marshall. I’m sorry you ate so many hits to the head that you still think anyone but you cost you a Super Bowl.

Kurt Warner – Marshall Faulk’s mopey counterpart. Warner was never quite as vocal as Faulk when it came to prolonged crying about Super Bowl XXXVI but he’s just as pathetic when he wanted to be. His constant background drumming of “Well ya know… it makes ya think there…” anytime something came up with the Patriots made a formerly B+ quarterback into a total sad sack gimp. Never stopping to blame himself for over throws and terrible interceptions, Warner tried his hardest to keep the fire alive that maybe it was someone’s fault but his. Thanks for presenting the Lombardi, Warner. Ty Law and James Harrison know that it wasn’t the first time you handed someone else a Super Bowl trophy over.

Marty Hurney – What a smart guy. He knew for a fact that his team cheated in Super Bowl XXXVIII so it stands to reason that maybe the other team cheated too. No wonder he’s the GM. Make no mistake, Hurney knew all about the steroids going on in the Panthers locker room. Players don’t magically get hooked up with super secret steroid doctors from the Yellow Pages. Are we idiots, Marty? Is Google not a thing? Is it that hard for anyone to look up the fact that your team was on steroids and still lost the Super Bowl?

Tony Massarotti – The worst radio host in Boston, and somehow Andy Gresh is the one stepping down? Puke. Mazz is one of many Boston radio guys who year in and year out talk about this team like they’re finishing 2-14, but Mazz has to be the worst. Back in September I listened to Massarotti and his co-host Mike Felger go on for about an hour about how Belichick was sabotaging Brady on purpose to squeeze him in 2015 to restructure his contract. The two of them went on and on about how it was supposedly a known fact around the league (known somehow only by them) that Belichick would siphon players snaps to keep their contracts down at the expense of winning. Well here’s a fact for you. Vince Wilfork made every single one of his performance bonuses from his restructured deal. One of the biggest bonuses hinged on 75 playing a certain percentage of the overall snaps, a percentage that could have easily been cut short had Belichick benched Wilfork in week 17 (a game they were clearly prepared to lose anyways). Vince got his snaps, and his money. Brady got every cent of his money in a newly restructured deal, and the Pats got a 4th Lombardi. How’s that for a known fact? I really only listen to Mazz if I’m stuck in rush hour traffic with a dead iPod, but I don’t think I’ve heard him once in the last 3 years where he didn’t bend the conversation way out of shape to tell you that Andrew Luck is better than Tom Brady. I don’t know what his obsession with Luck is, but this is the first year in his career where Luck was actually statistically superior to Brady and Luck still lost to the Patriots miserably twice. You call him up and tell him what a jackass he is and 2 minutes later it’s like it never happened. Felger & Mazz are maybe the only two unanimously hated radio hosts in Boston and they have a drive time show that feels like it lasts about 17 hours a day every day. At some point we have to ask WHY?

Anyone Who Sided Against Vince Wilfork – This one got me in a big way. Vince had a spat with Belichick early in the offseason over a contract dispute we all saw coming. Vince was asked to take, what we believe, was a significant pay cut after a major injury, Vince took offense threw a locker room fit and the pink hats revolted. The same people who screamed at Belichick and Kraft for being “too cheap” all of a sudden wrote off Vince Wilfork for wanting the amount of money that was already in his contract. Which is it? First of all the too cheap argument makes no sense. Belichick has a relative cap bubble that he sticks to just about every year. The Redskins and Buccaneers had two of the highest salaries in the league in 2014 and finished with 6 wins between them. Vince has been the backbone of this team for years, a huge philanthropist constantly giving to charities and the less fortunate and one of the best defensive players in the game. You give someone like that the benefit of the doubt or you don’t dare call yourself a Patriots fan. That means you Ajay Vieria and Richie Evans.

No idea who either of these assclowns are but this was the kind of thing that people pretending to be Patriots fans came up with. It obviously hurt Vince, who a number of times throughout the season brought up that bandwagon fans and doubters had no place following the team on their road to glory. If you sided against Big Vince this Super Bowl is not yours. Plain and simple.

Ron Borges – Mr. Borges you’re a veteran of the industry, and everything that makes that same industry pointless and obsolete. Stupid contrarian boilerplate devoid of any real insight into the sport or the business that lives to see the home team fail. Cover him in wax and wheel his tired old bullshit to a museum next to Dan Shaughnessy so kids can come see what the world looked like when they couldn’t just DVR the game and watch it for themselves so you don’t have listen to as asshole’s impression of what happened.

Cary Williams Wow, tell us again about that preseason pick six and everything it’s done for you.

Every Ray Rice Apologist Ever – If watching women get knocked around is no big deal, like so many people commented to tell me when I pointed out how many teams were stashing domestic abusers on their rosters with little to no consequence… Please… by all means… send me your home address so I can send Greg Hardy over to punch your mother. “I’m sure there’s probably two sides to the story, bro.”

The Miami Dolphins – The “top 5 defense” and the supposedly most statistically impressive team to never win a single game of consequence. Broadcasters peppered us all year long with the myth that Miami was this statistically amazing team that was just waiting to strike. Well the truth, for anyone who actually looked it up, was that Miami had an average defense (14th in yards allowed), a “franchise” quarterback who in his best year as a pro still threw as many picks as Teddy Bridgewater, and had a middle of the road give/take differential right in between Carolina and Minnesota. This was supposed to be the year they finally turn it all around which coincidentally is the 1 year anniversary of the last time they had it all figured out, and about 10 years in a row before that. The Dolphins suck and everyone knows it.

The Buffalo Bills – Tell us again about your stunning week 17 win against the practice squad. Well the Bills beat the Patriots, and the Patriots won the Super Bowl, so naturally the Bills must be on the verge of winning a Super Bowl. Nevermind that they still have no quarterback, no chance of drafting a better quarterback, Mario Williams just turned 30, the coach that got them playing their best football in years quit on the team to get away from their inept front office, or that the Jets went 8-8 last year and it didn’t help them at all. Please tell us about “history” being made and we’ll console ourselves with the highest rated TV broadcast ever and a 4th Super Bowl trophy. #BillsMafia

The New Jersey Jets – I can’t thank the Jets enough for finally getting rid of the one coach that actually gave Belichick a run for his money. We could talk about how bad the Jets suck all day but the heart of the matter is thus… The Jets are a team that by accident of birth is sitting on the biggest market in the country and for the life of them they can’t do anything to deserve it beyond telling everyone how big their market is and how much attention they should get. Just let Donald Trump buy the damn team already and let the joke have its punchline. New York sucks. Everyone in New York sucks. Everyone who cares about New York sucks. Everyone who thinks Rutherford, New Jersey is Manhattan sucks. Try putting asses in the seats the old fashioned way: winning.

Greg Garber – Author of the Brady to the Texans trade proposal that ESPN published to let you know that they just don’t care anymore. “It actually makes too much sense” says a fictitious general manager. I wouldn’t have cared so much about ESPN’s completely stupid made up rumor that Brady was on the trading block, but making up a conversation with a GM should have been your reason for finding a new site for stats.

That’s it for me. I might be back. I might not. All I know is that the struggle was real. The payoff was real. Huff and puff and hold your breath all you want delicate little NFL princesses. The Patriots are four time Super Bowl Champions. Eat it.

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31 Reasons To Get Off Your High Horse, NFL

I can’t tell you how angry and depressed it makes me to not be able to talk about maybe the greatest Super Bowl matchup this century. No one wants to talk about it because we’re all talking about air in a goddamn football. Air… in a goddamn football: the most boring scandal in football history. The only thing gained from this is a quick payday for baseball and tennis writers to vacation into football journalism for a week and write whatever inflammatory B.S. they want. I should be witnessing one of the great back and forth press battles of our time. I should be watching Richard Sherman cut a Road Warriors promo to the press right now. I should be watching Belichick silently seethe in response while you know he’s hatching the the most vicious gameplan of his career in revenge. I should be talking about the Super Bowl but I’m talking about AIR IN A GODDAMN FOOTBALL.

You know what really burns me up about every Patriots controversy? It’s that 31 other teams, teams that hire criminals, run by tax cheating assholes, that cut corners and cheat in the background, all line up to play innocent. Well not all of us are football tourists. Some of us have been following this game every day for years and know that there’s enough dirty laundry on all 32 franchises right out there in the open. Well here’s a quick list, most of which was compiled off the top of my head (and cited for accuracy). If your response is “Yeah but the Patriots…” the Pats get theirs 24/7 on every news outlet there is. This is about sharing the love. If your response is “You sound like a whiny bitch” then congratulations: you know what it’s like for me to listen to you cry and cry when your favorite team bottoms out again and again. Here it is, a quick and friendly list of reasons all 31 other franchises and their fans don’t have the shining ethical resume they think they do.

UPDATE: The response from football fans both inside and outside of Patriots Nation has been overwhelming. Thank you everyone who has read this with an open mind, shared it, or posted suggestions. I’m still entertaining comments about how I’m making all this up (nope), or that I’m a hypocrite (the first 2 paragraphs recognize that the Patriots have also been disciplined for illegal behavior) or that this has nothing to do with PSIgate. All 32 teams have a black mark on their record,and have no superior ground to stand on. That’s the crux of my argument. Stamp your feet and cry all you want. These are things that happened. Also please stop posting analogies to Obama or dumb Teaparty rhetoric. I’m not interested.

UPDATE #2: So sick of having the same argument. The point I’m trying to make is that the Patriots have been accused of unethical behavior on and off the field as if the rest of the league has zero skeletons in their closet or a virtuous right to thumb their noses at others. This is a detailed cited list of reasons why they don’t. If you’re here to tell me that decades of documented unethical, violent, destructive, deceptive, or criminal behavior aren’t relevant to my argument then I’m just going to delete your comment. If you’re too illiterate or lazy to respond the argument at hand then I will no longer pay you the same courtesy. Thanks.

The Miami Dolphins

  • Reinvented bullying and homophobia for the modern day NFL. Physically and mentally harassed one of their own players into a mental institution.
  • Accidentally revealed that Mike Pouncey’s house was the chill spot for the team to do drugs..
  • Cheated to sign former coach Don Shula by tampering with the then Baltimore Colts employee. Found guilty of tampering and stripped of a first round pick.
  • The organization’s public unwillingness to follow tampering rules was the impetus for free agent reform. In 2008 the Phins signed guard Justin Smiley, contract written, detailed, printed and signed just 17 minutes after midnight.
  • Center Mike Pouncey endorsed a murderer cut by the Patriots.

The New Jersey Jets

Buffalo Bills

Baltimore Ravens

  • Hot Off the Presses! Ravens Terrence Cody under investigation for animal cruelty.
  • Gave fiance-puncher Ray Rice the most minimal punishment possible for punching said fiance, hoping the whole thing would go away. Only cut the despicable RB when the video of the domestic violence incident went viral and essentially forced the team’s hand. Remains one of the most disgraceful incidents in league history and a black eye on the league for life.
  • Employs repeat domestic abuser Terrell Suggs with little to no repercussions.
  • Accidentally let it slip that the team used bounties, specifically with Steelers WR Hines Ward.
  • Ray Lewis never murdered anyone. I refuse to perpetuate this myth. His cowardice in refusing to identify a murderer to the police is another story.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Hot Off the Presses! Former QB Jeff Blake (who also played for the Jets, Saints, Cardinals, Ravens and Bears) admitted to deflating footballs throughout his entire career and divulged that “every team does it, every game, it has been since I played.” For reference sake, Blake’s career record was 39-61, again proving that air in a football is just about meaningless terms of in winning or losing a game.
  • Accused by the Steelers of intentionally injuring Steelers RB LeVeon Bell before the 2014 playoffs. Reggie Nelson is an excellent safety, and I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt but the hit was low, and happened to be on the Steelers top offensive weapon.
  • A former Bengals cheerleader pleaded guilty to statutory rape after having sex with one of her 17 year old English students.
  • LB Vontaze Burfict was fined $25,000 for a pair of shots on Carolina Panthers players in 2014 including wrenching Cam Newton’s surgically repaired ankle.
  • FOURTEEN arrests since 2009. The charges for only 2 of them were dropped. More than one incident belonged to Pacman Jones, and the best involved OT Andre Smith attempting to bring a loaded gun on a plane.

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Former first round pick Matt Jones charged with felony cocaine possession.
  • Adopted the “Keep Chopping Wood” mantra under coach Jack Del Rio that eventually got punter Chris Hansen chopped in the leg with an axe.
  • Thought by many in the league to be purposely running the most incompetent anemic football team possible that never spends money on useful free agents or shows any scouting ability whatsoever in an effort to sink the team and move it to anywhere else but Jacksonville, Florida.

Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs

Oakland Raiders

  • Accused by all-time Raiders great Tim Brown of sabotaging their own team in Super Bowl XXXVII. It’s cheating in reverse, so of course the Raiders pioneered it.
  • Former owner Al Davis cost both the team and the NFL millions years of frivolous lawsuits.
  • Linebacker and confirmed steroid user Bill Romanowski attacked a teammate in practice: an act speculated to be the result of “roid rage.” His teammate was injured so badly he was forced to retire.
  • In a preseason game against the Patriots in 1977 safety Jack Tatum delivered a vicious hit to the head of Daryl Stingley that left him paralyzed for life. Tatum was said to have refused to apologize for the hit up until Stingley’s death in 2007.

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins

New York Giants

  • Caught cheating and epitomized the fake injury scandal by accidentally having two players fake injuries at the same time to gain extra timeouts.

  • Accused of cheating against the Vikings in 2001 with somehow knowing the Vikings offensive plays in a 41-0 victory. Completely unsubstantiated and untrue, but hey so was the allegedly taped Super Bowl walkthrough that the media pretends to forget never actually happened.
  • I won’t even mention Plaxico Burress getting shot by a pair of sweatpants. How about instead safety Will Hill who had to be taken to court over $9,000 in owed child support (at the time Hill had a base salary of almost $400,000 with the Giants).
  • All time Giants great Lawrence Taylor (also of crack cocaine and rape of a 16 year old prostitute) admitted to colorfully cheating by sending prostitutes to opposing players hotel rooms the night before games to tire them out. That’s some admirable low-tech old school cheating.
  • Signed convicted sex offender Christian Peter after he was cut by the Patriots due to previously undisclosed rape accusations. Two women claimed to have been raped by Peters, one of which was bought off for $50,000 by the University of Nebraska. The remaining victim approached Myra Kraft with her story, and the Patriots cut him before even putting him on the field.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Responsible for bringing dog killing sociopath Michael Vick back into the league after minimum jail time and zero expressed remorse for torturing and killing animals. The team promoted the false notion that having a good season somehow meant that he had become a better person.
  • Caught cheating in 1989 as head coach Buddy Ryan promoted a bounty system against the division rival Dallas Cowboys, coaching his players to purposely injure key opponents. Ryan was let go by the team a year later and has generally been known as a living joke in the NFL.
  • Got a helping hand from PA Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 who went on a crusade to legislate against the Patriots for an unsubstantiated cheating claim in Super Bowl XXXIX. The effort soon fell apart and earned the disdain of Pennsylvania residents when the whole thing turned out to be Specter lobbying in favor of Comcast (involved in a dispute with the NFL at the time, and had paid hundreds of thousands in campaign donations to Specter), costing tax payers untold amounts on money.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints

  • I don’t hate the Saints, and rooted for them in the Super Bowl. However, I don’t care what any blogger or clearance rack athlete turned “broadcaster” says the intent to injure (not hurt, injure) a fellow athlete, to cost them the right to earn a living by destroying their knees or head is the lowest thing an athlete can do. Stealing signals or messing with a football isn’t even in the same galaxy. Even the big mouth asshole from the Cobra Kai broke down and apologized when he went low on Daniel-Son. These are things so ingrained in our collective humanity that they need no further explanation. There is NO comparison between letting air out of a gameball and costing a fellow player his career. None.

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Minnesota Vikings

  • Caught cheating in 2014 by tampering with game balls, heating them on the sidelines. In yet ANOTHER example of how little this matters the league didn’t even punish or fine them for it.
  • The Viking Sex Boat Scandal, which is exactly what it sounds like. In 2005 a bunch of players rented a party boat full of strippers/prostitutes. The evening culminated in OT Bryant McKinnie allegedly eating out a stripper/prostitute in front of his teammmates.
  • Employs homophobe special teams coach Mike Priefer, quoted as saying “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows” as part of an insane quest to blacklist the franchise’s all time leading punter.
  • During a search of his bags at the airport in 2005 Vikings RB Onterrio Smith was found with several vials of dried urine in a device known as The Whizzinator. The device was designed to be able to beat drug tests. Smith already had two strikes against him for substance abuse policy violations, and later failed another drug test in spite of the Whizzinator, ending his time in the NFL.
  • Say what you want about Adrian Peterson’s choice to discipline his children. But only a year ago another man beat Peterson’s other two year old son to death. If that doesn’t alter your opinion of laying your hands on a child at least a little then there’s something wrong with you.

Detroit Lions

Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

  • Former Ram Leonard Little was convicted of manslaughter after a drunk driving accident killed a woman in St. Louis.
  • Graduated RB Marshall Faulk who you would never know actually won a Super Bowl because he won’t shut the hell up about the Super Bowl he lost. Still accuses the Patriots of cheating based off a red zone series that never actually happened. Super Bowl XXXVI is available on youtube in it’s entirety if you want to see how sloppy play against a devastating defense lost the game for St. Louis.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Hot Off the Presses! NFL legend Jerry Rice, one of the most outspoken critics of the Patriots and their legacy, admitted to cheating by using illegal stickum on his gloves to get a better grip on the ball. Just one day before the Deflategate story broke Rice discussed the evolution of the receiver glove on ESPN and laughed about his own willing circumvention of the rules. Rice was one of my favorite players of all time but has carried himself as a disgraceful crybaby the past few weeks and really any time anyone has come close to his former achievements. You can put him down as a hypocrite now too.
  • Violated salary cap rules in the late 90’s. Finally busted for it in 2000 (well after all the Super Bowls had been won) and fined a collective $300,000 and loss of two mid-round picks over 2 drafts.
  • Former owner Eddie DeBartolo was banned from active control of the franchise for a year in his involvement in an extortion scandal. He plead guilty and was fined $1 million.
  • Were accused of cheating throughout their dominant run in the 1980’s.
  • Forced to apologize for homophobe Chris Culliver’s idiotic comments. No apology yet for his awful play in the Super Bowl.
  • Lost Aldon Smith (who could be the best defensive player in the league if he got it together) for lengthy parts of 2013 & 2014 for substance abuse treatment, a series of drug and alcohol related arrests and nearly being charged with a felony for claiming to have a bomb in an airport.
  • So inept at negotiating Michael Crabtree’s rookie contract that a month into the 2009 season, with Crabtree still unsigned 80’s pop start M.C. Hammer had to be brought in to delegate the final details of the contract. You cannot make this shit up. Many would argue that Crabs has not been worth the trouble.

Seattle Seahawks

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How Sports Illustrated Basically Lied About The Patriots

When Peter King speaks, you might not always agree with what he has to say, but we listen. That’s the kind of clout King has, and he’s the reason Sports Illustrated is what it is. Then along comes Michael Rosenberg, a Detroit Tigers journalist by trade who decided earlier this week that he was tired of the other writers wiping their buttholes on his SI football phone, and had to write the best story ever. Naturally he went for the low hanging fruit of a Patriots cheating story leading up to the Super Bowl. But what can you say about the Patriots that hasn’t been said? Another microwaved Spygate story, reheated and plated for the millionth time over EIGHT YEARS? Too easy. Too droll. Instead, how about an eye popping sci-fi tale of a Bond-Villain-esque fortress of espionage and treachery right before out eyes in Gillette Stadium? For several hundred words, Rosenberg gets down on his knees and begs the internet to read his work with the only tactic he seems to know: lying. Outright shameless lying that took minutes to shut down.

I’ve already gone over the reality that the Patriots have taken the fall for Indianapolis and other organizations’ outright public cheating over the years (and been called the hard-F plenty of times for it, thanks trolls), so I won’t rehash it here. So let’s stick to the cold hard facts that Rosenberg rolls over like you can’t just look them up on the internet.

UPDATE Rosenberg defended his article on Dennis & Callahan. By defended I mean that he basically admitted he had no source and this was all meant to be hypothetical. His only response to being told outright that the secret monitor was a lie was “Yeah… I guess.” Listen to the interview yourself and tell me if that sounds like a man confident in his work. He also edited his article to try and fix the typos on the 2006 rule change and STILL got the facts wrong. The man is awful.

Let’s start with this: Rosenberg’s point blank assertion that the Patriots altered the NFL rules for Tom Brady. In his own words…

NOPE. Brady never said “They made that fucking rule for me” (un-sourced quote) because it wasn’t made for Brady. Real actual big boy sports journalists know this. Rosenberg doesn’t even have his years right. Brady’s ACL injury was in 2008. The rules for low hits on quarterbacks went into place before the 2006 season. If anything it was a response to Carson Palmer’s nearly career ending knee injury in the 05-06 playoffs. Again: Palmer. Not Brady. These are not typos. Rosenberg clearly does not know when these rules happened, why they happened, or have an adult grasp on football going back to even the mid-2000’s. You’re reading the ramblings of a lost baseball jabroni in way over his head trying to recall something anyone can look up on Wikipedia in 12 seconds.

Then there’s Rosenberg’s ripping yarn of the mystery “TV” (in the industry we say “monitor,” a giant LCD screen hanging in the sky is not a TV, you cannot tune it to Bonanza, grow up) that only the Patriots sideline can see that they use unfairly for replay challenges. Disregarding the fact that each team has a guy in a booth with a monitor (…or “TV”) right in front of him for exactly this purpose… this tall tale took exactly one photograph of someone actually in the stadium to completely debunk. Observe:

This was thanks to Jon Pelland, a local sports writer whose work includes the Keene Sentinel, who crushed a senior accredited Sports Illustrated writer like Larry Bird face palming Bill Laimbeer. So now we know that not only does Rosenberg not actually watch the Patriots… or the NFL, but he’s never actually been on the Patriots sideline or spent any significant time at Gillette. The dressing down of Rosenberg’s credibility is so air tight I won’t even mention how stupid it would be to rely on a monitor half a mile away for replays might be.

Knowing this, we can pretty much treat the rest of the article like the bus driver in Billy Madison. No ya don’t. No they didn’t. Just get lost.

For example.

Smart opposing coaches put locks on every entryway to the locker room, so nobody from the Patriots can walk in, “accidentally” grab a play sheet or two and “inadvertently” bring it back to the New England coaches.

Name one. Name a source. Name anything that proves you didn’t make this up.

This put Vinovich in the difficult position of deciding, with no notice, if he should tell the great Bill Belichick he was trying something illegal.

Nope. No it didn’t. It was a legal play. The league had a whole week to review it. Belichick came out and did the exact same thing against Indianapolis, and got away with it, because it’s legal. In fact the only time they were flagged was for just what Rosenberg is crying about: snapping the ball before the play was set. So look… justice was done after all.

Technically, what Belichick suggested is legal. Vinovich OK’d it. But the key to the plan was what Belichick did not say. He did not say he would hurry up his offense when he declared certain receivers ineligible, giving the Ravens no time to adjust to the tactic. The Ravens barely had time to see who was eligible before the ball was snapped.

The league office. The press. The organization have ALL been over this ad nauseum. It is not Belichick’s responsibility to wait for the Ravens to digest the situation. It’s not illegal because Jon Harbaugh doesn’t like it. It certainly isn’t illegal because some F- jobber journalist doesn’t like it.

Finally, I’ll rest on the part that really boils my blood because I just can’t stand it when people go after Bob Kraft over nothing.

Kraft is a close confidant and protector of commissioner Roger Goodell; in September, when the Ray Rice punch video leaked, and Goodell went into public relations overdrive, Kraft defended him on national television … on CBS, naturally. Cross Belichick and you cross Kraft. Cross Kraft and you risk the wrath of Goodell.

Notice the black hole of integrity in Rosenberg’s approach: subtlety linking Bob Kraft to Ray Rice as if the two were actually connected. The Rice mess was between Baltimore and the league office. They both deserve a lot of criticism. But how does Kraft end up taking the blame by merely standing up for the commissioner? Whether you agree or disagree with how Goodell handled it, Kraft stuck his neck out for a business partner who needed a positive voice in his corner and merely said that the right thing eventually got done, and Rice would never play in the NFL again. These are things Bob Kraft can say because of how much time he’s personally dedicated to making the league a better place instead of bribing portly governors on national television.

Kraft is a special owner in the eyes of Goodell, and you can hate that all you want. Do you know what else Bob Kraft is? He’s the guy who finally stepped in and bridged the gap that ended the 2011 NFL lockout. If it weren’t for Kraft that situation would have been left up to billionaire lunatics like Panthers owner Jerry Richardson who openly antagonized the players during the deliberations and made the situation worse day by day. Bob Kraft is also one of the few owners to set hard precedents on rape and domestic violence with his players, cutting a fifth round draft pick accused of domestic assault and rape before he even got on the field. This was years before Ray Rice actually showed the world what domestic violence looked like, and is NEVER mentioned by the media. Look it up for once.

These are things Rosenberg can’t tell you about because HE DOESN’T ACTUALLY FOLLOW FOOTBALL.

I might be biased, and I might be some pissant blogger that no one will read. But I don’t write anything I can’t stand behind. I’m not a value-less poser so desperate for web traffic that I lie to the world and hope they’re too stupid to figure out Google. If I was Peter King I’d have this guy’s desk moved to a compost heap on the far end of the SI parking lot so he can dig his UM diploma out of a pile of rotten coffee grounds and think about the black eye he just gave a once reputable publication.

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Why Did Official Not Hand the Jets Another Free Field Goal?

My congratulations to’s Dom Cosentino, a Jet’s “beat writer” who found a way to get himself a nice chunk of web traffic for a story that will be forgotten by the end of the day since it was debunked before noon. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Cosentino made a nice score for (which I’m assuming is a site intended to house FAQs for “What’s that smell?” and “Can I mix coffee milk and whey protein?”) and did his job observing something most people didn’t. He also covered his bases by correctly observing that the Jets didn’t play well enough to win… because they didn’t. I’m not here to vilify Cosentino, I’m more out to counter troll. The Jets fanbase looking for a controversy is looking for nothing more than sympathy for not being granted another teeball do-over to celebrate on their way to another failed season missing the playoffs.

For anyone looking for a rebuttal to the Patriots hater on your Facebook wall sharing this bunk without reading it consider the following.

  • IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. Officials re-adjust players on the field constantly. As cited above the NFL has accurately recognized that this is standard procedure. If you are arguing otherwise you are either brand new to football or you are roleplaying D&D NFL Conspiracy Edition. We’ve all seen this happen before and no one raised an eyebrow before a slow news day on a Friday with Jets fans looking for sympathy. Receivers check in with the side judges who nudge them into formation. DB’s check in with officials who warn them about holding penalties before they’re called. If you claim you’ve never seen this before you are lying.
  • The Jets got a gimmie win in their annual October Super Bowl last year at the hands of Jerome Boger, a Foot Locker aficionado universally recognized as one of the 3 worst officials in the NFL. You all know the situation. Boger broke out a rule that no one had ever heard of and that was never enforced again in the total 256 games played in the season across the NFL or since then. The only we learned from this debacle is not to mess with whatever loan shark that Boger is presumably still mixed up with that has him tanking games on purpose to keep his thumbs from getting Soprano-ed. You got your free win, Jets fans. Don’t be greedy. If you’re wondering why the officials did what they did what you’re really wondering is why they didn’t roll out the red carpet and give the Jets the Stonecutters “Another Strike for the Chosen One!” treatment… AGAIN. This game was on the level. You lost. Just face it.
  • It’s a moot point entirely because the LB wouldn’t have even been there for the snap. Hightower would have cleared out as soon as the tackles shifted inside… the thing that they planned for the sake of blocking the field goal… which worked. If Hightower had been standing there not only would it have been good for a flag, but he also would have been in the way of Chris Jones the guy who actually blocked the field goal. Profootballtalk even recognized this in it’s usual backhanded way.
  • If I’m a Jets fan I’d probably be wondering why a 58 yard field goal had a trajectory low enough that 6’1″ 309 lb Chris Jones was able to block it? If you look at the replay he didn’t get an especially amazing push inside, and was even on the decent from his jump when the ball hit his hand. Nothing against Jones but he’s not Manute Bol.
  • Geno Smith played a gutsy game, and gained a morsel of respect from Patriots fans for getting up and finishing the game after a knee injury in the 3rd. Realistically, he exploited a Patriots defense that was unprepared on a short week for Marty Mornhinweg’s goofball offense. The linebackers struggled to stay disciplined and shade outside on the read option and the Jets capitalized. Smith straight up missed the throw to Jace Amaro on the 2 point conversion though. They drew coverage against Patrick Chung who just physically cannot cover linebackers. Teams that “deserve to win” don’t blow 2 point conversions with the game on the line. It’s that simple.
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Reasonable Vs. Unreasonable Fixes for the Patriots

Something has to give. The modern day Patriots are a notoriously slow starting bunch. I’ve been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in previous years but I think we can all agree that this feels less like the beginning of Major League and a lot more like the beginning of World War Z, as in it sucks from the get go but you still have no idea what you’re in for. This kind of uncertain climate brings out a certain side in New Englanders… a stupid one. A really really you can’t believe you’re hearing it and you’re worried for your own sanity by being around it stupid kind of attitude. Well for all you Chicken Littles blowing angry bubbles in your iced Dunkins here’s a breakdown of what is and isn’t reasonable to demand out of the Patriots right here and now.

UNREASONABLE: BENCH BRADY AND “Fahkin Staaah’t Garaaappolo!!”

Just fuck you. Tom F. Brady has given 13 years of legendary football to this franchise, and you know this. I will spot him a slow start and a bad game, and you will too you fucking mouth breather pink hat mongoloid. I don’t care if I sound like a Brady apologist. The fucking T-1000 couldn’t stay cool long enough to make accurate throws consistently with the way this offensive line is laying down and dying. The speed at which the casual Patriots fan goes from throwing rose pedals at Brady’s feet during the good times and calling for his head when he falters makes me want to puke on myself and eat it. I would take the calls for Brady to step down a lot more seriously if this hadn’t been going on for YEARS now. Since returning from his ACL injury in 2009 the local talk radio switch boards have lit up daily with fairweather drama queens begging for Brady to be replaced by a cavalcade of jabronies: Tim Tebow, Ryan Mallet, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, the wildcat offense to name just a few. In that time, with all that bitching and moaning in the background Brady has only managed a measley 2 AFC Offensive Player of the Years, 5 Pro Bowl selections, 3 Conference Championship appearances, 1 AFC Championship, and 1 NFL MVP. But who’s counting? Exactly how does being a Patriot fan involve the incessant thirst for the demise of the greatest Patriot of all time (that’s right Geno Cappeletti fanboys, I said it) instead of standing by him when he needs the support? I love Jimmy G.. His time will come. It’s not today. Goto hell and die twice if you don’t like it.


UPDATE (10/6/14): Vereen played hard straight ahead football last night against the Bengals and had no problem dropping the shoulder to get the extra yard. Well done.

People aren’t going to like this, but someone needs to go under the bus and believe me that Vereen deserves it. You’ve probably in denial, and it probably has something to do with the former Cal RB stashed on your fantasy bench waiting for a breakout game. And why not? The 3rd year RB is lightning fast and had over 600 all purpose yards last season. He’s awesome right? Well, he’s had a whole offseason of people telling him he’s the second coming of Larry Centers and forgot how to play Patriots football.

Long story short: Vereen blew 3 separate potential first downs Monday night in Kansas City by inexplicably stopping his motion dead with the line to gain in sight just to make an extra juke move he didn’t need. It’s like he thought the imaginary first down line on TV was covered in barbed wire ebola fire ants and had to do whatever he could to not get there. Couple that with the alligator arm effort that got him benched during the Miami game, and you’ve got a pattern. The Patriots have converted just 21 of 58 third downs and 4 of them belong directly to Vereen. He’s also twice choked on easy passes out of the backfield by failing to turn around and see the ball… and it certainly wasn’t because he was busy blocking.

For all the parallels drawn between Vereen and Kevin Faulk could you EVER imagine Faulk not selling out for a must-convert 3rd down? Faulk might have fumbled it… let’s be real, but he knew where the line to gain was when he walked onto the field and if it took diving or dropping the shoulder to run through somebody he made every effort to get it. That was Kevin Faulk. That’s Patriots football. Think of the effort and sacrifice still being made by guys like Julian Edelman, Vince Wilfork, Matthew Slater and even Stevan Ridley (who is running hard regardless of how little help he’s getting up front) the taxes their putting on their bodies to try and turn this team around. Do you really think it’s right that Vereen should be on the field with the offense hinging on his lackluster efforts? Play rookie RB James White, who is finally healthy, and give Vereen some time to think about how important first downs are from the bench.


I can’t believe I’m hearing this but I am. Really guys? The same Charlie Weiss that just went 6-22 in just over two years as the head coach in at the University of Kansas? Good one. Thanks for calling though. If you’re not satisfied with that consider the fact that NBC Sports ran an hour long feature titled Notre Dame Reborn, which gives you an idea of exactly what the Charlie Weiss years did to the program (they had to die first to be reborn get it?) and how hard they had to work just to recover from his tidal wave of failure.


McD, we love you. 2007, the memories, the glory, the FU touchdowns. We’ll never forget it… but all that is over. Literally. Seven years have passed. Peyton Manning owns all those records now, and this offense sucks… SUCKS.

I don’t know what goes on in the offensive meetings, or the game planning. But watching these games it really seems like the Pats consistently spend the first 2 and a half quarters stubbornly working through a narrow game plan that just doesn’t stand a chance. Why even say “seems like?” That’s exactly what is happening. Case in point the Patriots ran Vereen out of the shotgun on a draw to the right side 3 times in the first half Monday night for a net gain of 2 yards. It doesn’t work. Run someone else somewhere else. I don’t even know how to explain it. The offense just seems dead set on going every which direction but down the field…. Draw. Screen. Slant. PUNT. Draw. Slant. Screen. PUNT. Slant. Draw. Nonsensical 30 yard pass to Edelman in triple coverage. PUNT. Turn the page already.

This isn’t news either. This has been going on consistently since McDaniels was re-hired as offensive coordinator in 2012. That year they started the season 3-3 with a humiliating loss to Arizona. They struggled out of the gate again in 2013, ending Brady’s 52 game touchdown streak in a pointless 13-6 loss to Cincinnati. It took 3 quarters of the 2013 season to get LaGarrette Blount going. The play calling game after game insisted that Blount HAD to run between the tackles: something he had struggled with consistently throughout his career. At this point if McDaniels showed up Sunday night in a tweed blazer and straw hat with a fumblerooski scrawled on a tiny chalkboard I’d have to struggle to feign surprise.

What happened to Danny Amendola running the Welker routes over the middle of the field? What happened to those unstoppable Gronkowski routes down the seam with only some hapless DB waiting to get trucked? What happened to Kenbrell Thompkins, who was a healthy scratch for absolutely no reason, and the back shoulder throw he and Brady spent all last season getting down to a science? Thompkins had 21 first downs with Brady last season. What happened to ALL the red zone plays this team used to thrive off of? Here is a look at where the Patriots have ranked scoring TD’s in the red zone with McDaniels (source:

2012 2013 2014
TD Percentage 67.50% 58.11% 54.55%
NFL Ranking 3rd 8th 18th

There is nothing in the current conceivable Patriots playbook that resembles anything they’ve had success with or should scare anyone. Belichick has cracked the whip on his coordinators before with Eric Mangini (who had play calling privileges completely removed at one point) and Bill O’Brien. Both times it landed the Patriots in a conference championship and both coaches took credit for the Hoodie’s hard work and parlayed it into multiple head coaching positions. Tighten it up. Less experimenting. More consistency. Please.


The draft is seven months away. This season is now. I can nitpick Belichick’s draft history all day, and I have, but it means nothing right now. Name a team that you think has the draft figured out and can draft a dominant wide receiver without screwing up something else.

  • AJ Green in Cincinnati? Their playoff record is what?
  • Julio Jones in Atlanta? The team that won 4 games a year ago?
  • Dez Bryant in Dallas? The team that’s gone 8-8 three years in a row?
  • Jordy Nelson in Green Bay? That’s the only position the Packers can draft for. Their offensive line is almost worse than ours.
  • Calvin Johnson in Detroit? Those were “HIRE Matt Millen” banners everywhere that were just typo-ed, right?
  • 8th Overall Pick Tavon Austin in St. Louis? The blockbuster slot receiver statistically inferior in every way to Tiquan Underwood playing for the perennial last place Rams?Maybe the lone exception to the rule is Demaryius Thomas in Denver and that was after 2 years of being treated as a bust with our own Josh McDaniels at the helm. Thomas and the Broncos didn’t really become a legit team until Peyton Manning fell into their laps via a freak occurrence aka Jim Irsay’s impulsive stupidity. The draft is a two way street for everybody. Even the returning Super Bowl champion (and still the most dominant team in the league) Seahawks did most of their best work with Percy Harvin on the sidelines. Get over it.REASONABLE GET TIM WRIGHT ON THE FIELD ALREADY

    Am I going insane? Are we all going insane together? Did the Patriots not trade away the centerpiece of their offensive line for an insignificant draft pick and a desperately needed pass catching tight end? Rutgers alumn Tim Wright has been literally, figuratively and existentially non-existent as a Patriot. Look at his snap count over the first 4 games. Can you even figure out if he’s gaining ground or losing it?

    I get it. It’s a complicated magical offense. It’s hard to learn. However, we’re four weeks deep into the season and I’m still expected to believe that either Tim Wright doesn’t know the offense or that the Patriots are somehow better off without him. Do you know how long Hershel Walker was a Viking before he made debut? One practice. He knew 12 plays and still ran for 148 yards. I know Wright isn’t an ideal blocker, and it’s somehow really important to establish a 1940’s power running game but did I miss something about Aaron Hernandez’s blocking aptitude? Attleboro’s most Wanted wasn’t exactly the hispanic Daniel Graham on the line of scrimmage, but he did what he did and made up for it by catching passes. A lot of them. This WAS the offense that made the two TE set the wave of the future. It made being a tight end cool again. Did you catch that bubble screen Kansas City ran with two TE’s out wide and Charles in the middle? Did it look familiar? That’s because the Patriots invented that play. They ran the same thing with Gronkowski and Hernandez with the screen to Welker against Miami. It was an unstoppable piece of magic that *GASP* worked to the strengths of the personnel on the roster instead of forcing something that isn’t there.


    Hey… I said it’s unreasonable. I didn’t say it was impossible, or for that matter unwarranted… or that I wouldn’t enjoy it. There is no excuse for this offensive line sucking as bad as it does. I don’t care if there are rookies in the middle of the line. A quick skim of the depth charts around the league and I count 8 teams with rookies listed as starting offensive linemen. Is there an obnoxious round table discussion going on somewhere with Steven A. Smith and some jobber third rate NFL retiree turned “broadcaster” talking about why eight different teams’ offensive lines are falling apart before our eyes? No, they’re talking about one team. This team. Rookies and 2nd years don’t explain why all of a sudden veteran Dan Connolly has no idea what he’s doing. They don’t explain why Nate Solder was so late blocking Tamba Hali on his strip sack that he might as well have been blocking Hali’s 2nd grade class picture.

    Three months of OTAs, mini-camps, off season workouts. A month of training camp. Four preseason games. Four weeks in the regular season. NINE MONTHS on the job as the Patriots offensive line coach and Dave DeGugliemo has zero coordination from his offensive line. So if you’d like to do something brash and unreasonable let’s compromise on this one.


    It’s borderline unreasonable at this point. The time to get a worthwhile guard is in the offseason. That time was spent trading away the best interior offensive lineman on the roster. What’s done is done. The OG pickings are ironically slim. But the Falcons just worked out former Titan Leroy Harris and former Cowboy Uche Nwaneri who are experienced offensive lineman still in playing shape. In all fairness, I think the plan was to feature 2nd year guard Josh Kline who did not suck last year in limited time, but unfortunately is injured right now. The current line is anchored by veterans Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer both of which have proven skills but are quieter guys lacking your prototypical “Punch Channing Crowder In the Face With His Helmet Off” traits of great New England O-liners. Something is definitely off without a veteran presence around.

    Of course we all know the one guy who, no matter how bad of an idea it should seem or would seem to a not-desperate team, deserves to at least be discussed inside Gillette. He’s big. He’s mean. He knows how to single handedly dismantle a locker room through a media distraction so awful you almost can’t even believe there wasn’t a clobbered fiance or sex boat involved. But when he puts his mind to it he can still play some pretty good football. I won’t say his name. I’ll just say he reminds me of an unlikable Chris Farley and everyone knows he’s desperate to play football again.

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Patriots Seven Round Draft Board 2014

After realizing how much time I had been wasting trying to profile individual players for years, and how impractical it would be for me to do something like that again I decided to go for it in one mess. Here I’ve come up with 3 targets or scenarios per round for the Patriots and 3 players that should also be on the radar. If you’d like to comment and call me an idiot for not having your guy on here that’s fine. Just keep in mind that once the picks start rolling in we usually all look like idiots because plenty of NFL teams are run by idiots. Take it all with a grain of salt. These are just my opinions based off what I’ve seen and heard. I reserve my right to change my mind at any time.

Ra’Shede Hageman – DT Minnesota
Build: 6’6″ 310 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 5.02 (Combine)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 13 TFL, 2 Sacks, 8 PBU, 1 INT
If you follow the Patskrieg Facebook you know that I’m crazy about the Minnesota DT. He’s an unpolished player but if you follow his tape over the last 2 years you start to see a guy realizing his potential as a force of nature. He was a tight end in high school (just like Warren Sapp) and you can still see the movement skills even at 310 pounds. When you’re buying into Hageman you’re buying his physical skillset and potential. He didn’t play as many snaps as some of the other higher ranked DTs and didn’t have a huge sack total. What he did do was record 15.5 stuffs (well above the average amongst the top of the class) and have 9 batted passes which no other DT even came close to. He’s going to take a year or so working with NFL coaches but he could be absolutely dominant and set up the defense for years to come when he does.

Calvin Pryor – S Louisville
Build: 5’11 207 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.58 (Combine)
Years Started: 3 (Started as a true freshman)
Relevant Stats: 3 INTs, 4 PBUs, 2 FF, Tackles – 54 UA 21 A

If we’re ready to move on from the Steve Gregory era let’s really move on by drafting his polar opposite. Pryor is a big bruiser safety in the mold of Adrian Wilson (who is still on the Patriots roster). I’m hesitant to put a safety on a very short list of worthwhile first round picks since there are several very good safeties in the first 3 or 4 rounds. However, this would be a chance to put a high end safety on the roster. In three years at Louisville he started 2 and 1/2, caused 8 forced fumbles, and 7 INTs. This is the player everyone wanted DJ Swearinger to be a year ago. I have zero connection as of right now between the Patriots and Pryor. In fact, in classic Belichick fashion they’ve reportedly looked at Hakeem Smith (3 INTs 5 PBUs) who played opposite Pryor at Louisville. There’s your spoiler on this year’s Hipster Belichick pick. Either way, I think HaHa Clinton-Dix is the first safety off the board, leaving Pryor potentially available at 29.

Build: Last year turned 29th overall into a 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 7th
Years Used: So so many
Relevant Stats: Batting 1.000 in Pissing Everyone Off

This will go over like a Martin Sheen Boston accent but I can absolutely see it happening, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all. Given how stacked this draft is I would very much prefer to have multiple picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds rather than take a 1st round pick for the sake of taking one. Bleacher Report already named this the “Worst Case Scenario” for round 1. I’m going to respectfully disagree. Taking a first rounder for the sake of taking one seems materialistic and pointless to me. Be very careful though. I’m giving a thumbs up to a trade that gives the Pats at least an extra 2nd round pick. The price for last year’s 29th pick was a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and a 7th from Minnesota. I would expect nothing less. Once we get into the 2nd and 3rd rounds I think you’ll see what I mean.

Also On the Radar:

  • I’m on the fence about Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt. He’s played out of position at DE when he’s built like a DT, but has some of the more evolved pass rushing skills in this class.
  • You wouldn’t see me cry if Belichick took LSU WR Odell Beckham who I’d take well over Mike Evans
  • Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller is a large and very talented corner from Virginia Tech who remains a dark horse for the 1st round Stanford’s
  • David Yankey who is graded lower than UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo but would be a better fit in New England because of his zone blocking experience. I’d pass on Louis Nix, and contrary to a lot of mock drafts I think Jace Amaro in the first is a reach. More on both of them in a minute.

I really honestly believe that the 2nd round is the key to this draft. Materializing an additional pick in the 2nd round might make some people unhappy, since it typically means trading out of the first. I think you’ve got 3 players here that if you can grab the lot of them you instantly get better at 3 major positional needs with players who can contribute right away.

DaQuan Jones – DT Penn State
Build: 6-4 322 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 5.35 (Combine)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 11 TFL, 3 Sacks, Tackles – 33 UA, 23 A

I may end up looking stupid 3 years from now for saying this, but Hageman is a wish and Penn State’s DaQuan Jones is a must. Speaking from both the tape and the numbers, DaQuan Jones should be ranked much higher than he is. Much higher. John Pollard of Stats LLC put together some very telling numbers about the value of this DT class.

He played more snaps than Nix, Hageman, Quarles, Jernigan, guys who are ranked higher than him. Stamina and conditioning are enormous considerations for grading big DTs. The game is evolving to a point where you can’t just have 1 or 2 down DT’s anymore. It says a lot about an athlete to play at 300+ pounds and be able to play 100+ more snaps than his peers. He also produced consistently across those snaps.

The Penn State product didn’t put up big sack numbers but he made things happen at, and behind the line of scrimmage. Having a stuff differential comparable to Aaron Donald (one of the top rated DT’s in the class) is important. Also, Hageman gets a nod for having by far the most batted balls.

He has a better motor and lateral quickness than Nix and does a better job of keeping square to the line of scrimmage. Jones weighed in at the Combine at 322 lbs and moves much much quicker than that. Unlike a lot of players in the 320+ range he isn’t a top heavy NT prototype with a big gut. His lower body makes for a really massive powerful frame. Jones is a stud and if he’s available in the 2nd the Pats need to go get him. He also gets graded on a curve for having Bill O’Brien as a coach and not turning out terrible.

Troy Niklas – TE Notre Dame
Build: 6’7″ 270 lbs
40 Yard Dash: N/A
Years Started: 1.5
Relevant Stats: 498 Yards 5 TDs

This likely isn’t the name you want to hear. Ebron, Seferian-Jenkins, and Amaro are the consensus top 3 TE’s. They’re all pretty good but hear me out. Two of them have arrests on their resume, and one played at UNC which has me uneasy to begin with. Flying just a little bit under the radar is Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas, who is a beast in the making. With only 1 year starting experience Niklas was a surprise to end up in the 2014 draft. That’s a concern, but if you remember correctly Gronk only had 2 years of college experience as well. Granted he started both years and put up incredible numbers but he still only played 2 years. Niklas played behind former 1st round pick Tyler Eifert, and was used as more of a traditional TE when he finally got the call to start. So he doesn’t have the outrageous statistical production of the top 3 TE’s but he has more experience as an in-line blocker but with the same impressive hands and ability to catch away from his body as the others do. Everyone is looking for the Pats to draft the next Aaron Hernandez, but I’ve got to ask what’s wrong with drafting another Rob Gronkowski? If it were up to me I’d say let the rest of the league fight over the top 3 TE’s (they don’t even know what to do with them anyways), prioritize your early picks, and grab Niklas in the 2nd, as the rumor is that he won’t last longer than that. If you’re obsessed with drafting Amaro ask yourself if you’re not just being a draft racist and your brain insists you need to replace one hispanic guy with another. The first step to overcoming draft racism is admitting to it.

Weston Richburg – C/G Colorado State
Build: 6’3″ 298 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 5.10 (Combine)
Years Started: 4

I’ve heard his name mocked to the Patriots a handful of times and I’ve decided to bite. Originally he was a 3rd round consensus, but I had him highlighted as a 2nd round priority. Now, of course, just before I post this rumors emerge that he’s graded by some scouts as the top center in the draft and could be a late 1st. The Patriots re-signed Ryan Wendell but I’ve got to believe that he’s insurance on whoever the future new center will be. Richburg will get downgraded some for the level of competition he faced, but he’s just too good to ignore. Four year starting offensive linemen always impress me because it means they have an advanced intellectual concept of the game. He’s an excellent athlete with an ideal body type for an interior lineman, anchors well and has experience in a zone blocking scheme, started 50 games at Colorado State, and looks like a natural knee bender. He’s fast too and just seems to have a knack for getting to the 2nd level to block. He kind of came out of nowhere and was a scarcely recruited 2 star prospect and a shotputter in high school. He had some kind of eligibility issue in 2009 but put in extra time training and working at his parent’s gas station and eventually made the first team the following season. We know the Pats are fans of that kind of attitude. I think once he got going as a Patriot he could make a case to be a week 1 starter and would be an enormous asset to the run game. Without having met the guy first hand it’s impossible for me to say that he’s a sure thing, but everything he’s put on tape would hint towards it. Rumor has it the Pats have had a private workout with Richburg.

Also on the Radar:

  • I’ve had TCU’s Jason Verrett on just about every draft wishlist I could think of. If he were 2 inches taller he’d be a top 20 lock. But I think he’ll be off the board early in the 2nd if he isn’t gone in the 1st and I see no indication of the Patriots scouting him.
  • Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward is also a big consideration here, and the Patriots quietly attended his Pro Day.
  • Arizona State’s Will Sutton should some love here too because he’s getting less than he deserves in the press. Check him out in the charts above. He produced nicely and maintained good movement even after gaining weight.

Will Clarke – DE West Virginia
Build: 6’6″ 270 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.77 (Combine)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 17.5 TFL, 6 Sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FF, Tackles – 36 UA 14 A

I’ve looked at a lot of 4-3 DEs and as deep as this draft is I’m having a lot of trouble finding one I like. There are speed guys that lack technique, productive players that are just undersized, and the usual crop of one tricky ponies. From the tape I have no idea why Will Clarke is so under exposed in this draft class. He’s 6’6″ 270 lbs and has a lightning fast first step. He reminds me in every way of Chandler Jones right down to the fact that Jones was projected as a 3rd rounder early last April. This is the round Belichick has proven to want to take a chance on pass rushers, even when it doesn’t work out. There’s room for a young DE on this roster and Clarke fits the mold. There needs to be a viable #3 option at DE on this team, and with all respect to Andre Carter (seriously) it can’t be Andre Carter in 2014. Clarke was 240 lbs coming out of high school and ran a 4.80 40. In his time at WVU he put on 30 lbs of mass and at the Combine ran a faster 40 than he did earlier. I absolutely love his potential as a 4-3 DE as a guy who can take some snaps from Jones or Ninkovich.

*Look for #98 playing DE

Davante Adams – WR Fresno State
Build: 6’1″ 212 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.47 – 4.50 (Pro Day)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 1718 Yards, 24 TDs

If Davante Adams was an inch taller he’d dead set on being a 2nd round pick. He also posted 2 40’s in the 4.5 range that didn’t help him either. Still, Adams dominated for 2 seasons at Fresno State with Derrick Carr throwing to him. He’s leaving for the NFL at only 21 years old opting not to risk starting over with a new QB. Adams still blew me away every time I watched him. My latest deal breaker criteria for grading WR’s is that I don’t even want to look at a WR who can’t high point a football and competing for a ball at it’s apex is something Adams did consistently for the Bulldogs. He’s a natural pass catcher with extremely quick transitional skills. To be a true Patriots WR you’ve got to be tenacious and that’s why I think he’d be a good fit. The 2nd round is potentially going to see a lot of fighting for QB’s, TE’s and offensive linemen. That’s why I think Adams might slip through the cracks and end up in the 3rd. It’d be criminal not to even consider him.

Billy Turner – OT North Dakota State
Build: 6-5 315 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 5.16 (Combine)
Years Started: 4

If you play for North Dakota State and want to crack the NFL you’d better dominate. That’s just what the 6’5″ 315 lb tackle did. Turner started 56 of his 57 games player at NDS and lead his team to 3 FCS national championship games. He had a lot of positive buzz after a strong Senior Bowl prompting talk that he could find his way into the 2nd day of the draft. I wouldn’t expect him to pressure Solder for a starting LT job, but if Vollmer either didn’t come back or had further injuries in 2014 I think Turner could be a force at RT. He has experience in zone blocking but does his best work as a straight ahead bulldozer. Turner would need some work before being in the conversation to back up Nate Solder, but could be ready for week 1 to plug in on the right side.

Also on the Radar:

  • Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard gets a mention because of his versatility. He didn’t exactly take over games but he played a role similar to Jamie Collins in that he could line up as a DE or a LB at any given time.
  • I’m honestly hoping they shy away from smaller WR’s given the stockpile at home but South Carolina’s explosive 5’9″ receiver Bruce Ellington also gets consideration for having multiple meetings with the Patriots already.
  • Another SC player Kelcy Quarles could be floating around somewhere. I liked Quarles a lot in his gameplay, but really disliked watching him move in the Combine. I thought he ran way too narrow for a DT. Still he’s a physically impressive prospect that the Patriots have looked at up close.

Stephen Houston – RB Indiana
Build: 5’11” 230 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.46 (Pro Day)
Years Started: 3
Relevant Stats: Rushing: 753 Yds (6.7/carry) 8 TDs, Rec: 164 Yds

Bigtime sleeper here to the point where I’m getting antsy over the idea of drafting him weeks away. I like the idea of drafting RB’s that come from 2-back systems. It worked with Stevan Ridley in LSU and I see it working going forward. It saves a bunch of wear & tear on the player, and adapts them to the committee back system that we have in New England. Indiana’s Stephen Houston was thought of as a late round pick prior to his pro day. The 230 lb bruiser somehow managed a 40″ vertical and an 11 ft broad jump, which would have bested every RB at the Combine. He averaged only about 140 carries per season, but averaged a career 5.56 yard per carry including a 6.72 his senior year. Houston is a big thick back that genuinely dislikes being tackled. I think he’s a very comparable player to Carlos Hyde but with a little more burst to his first step. The Patriots have a very deep RB core right now even with Blount leaving, but I still think they take a RB somewhere considering both Ridley and Vereen are in contract years. This is a great spot and a great player to take a shot on. Let’s not go crazy but I see a little Christian Okoye in his game. I’ll also throw it out there that he was the first Hoosier to have back to back 700+ rushing yard seasons since BenJarvis Green-Ellis. The Pats have worked out Houston.

Dezmen Southward – S Wisconsin
Build: 6’0″ 2.11
40 Yard Dash: 4.44 (Pro Day)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 1 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FF, 3 TFL

I’ve written about Southward on the Patskrieg Facebook before and I’m still a fan of his. Southward was only a 2 star recruit out of high school after starting his football career as a senior. He was a starter that year and lead St. Thomas Aquinas HS (alma mater of Michael Irvin and a long list of NFL players) to a national championship. He plays compact and fast, staying nice and low in his backpedal, getting a strong push on his breaks, and waiting for his opportunities. He’s 6’1″ 212 lbs and you barely notice it because of how well he bends. Originally I had FSU’s Terrence Brooks as a 2nd round target, but I like Southward’s tackling and movement skills better so I re-prioritized. Contrary to Calvin Pryor I wouldn’t expect Southward to compete for a starting job week 1. I think that’s Duron Harmon’s job to win or lose (I have no idea what Tavon Wilson did to get in Belichick’s doghouse last year but he was practically forgotten). But you can’t go wrong with a player like this in the 4th or later as he has the potential to be a big contributor. The Patriots were one of a number of teams present for Southward’s Pro Day at Wisconsin, and I believe they’ve also brought him in for an official visit.

Kevin Norwood – WR Alabama
Build: 6’2″ 198 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.42 (Combine)
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 568 Yds 7 TDs

I don’t 100% know where Norwood fits in the 2014 Patriots roster. I don’t know if he beats out Thompkins or LaFell for a WR spot. Quite frankly I don’t know what the ceiling is for him. What I do know is that he’s a bigtime underexposed sleeper that could be well worth the risk of taking a late round flyer on. The Mississippi native was a 4 star recruit out of high school, finishing his senior year with 12 TDs and 11 INTs as a corner. We’re all agreed Odell Beckham is a top tier receiver right? Norwood is 3 inches taller, ran an almost identical 40 (4.48) and has 10 inch hands (tied for 2nd largest at the Combine amongst WR’s). He can catch away from his body, at the apex, in traffic, on the sideline, while getting hit, all of it. He just didn’t get much of a chance in a very crowded Alabama offense that featured future 1st round pick Amari Cooper and a perennial stable of top tier RB talent. Who knows what he could have done if he had been counted on to be the focal point of his offense. Still, he played all over the field at Alabama lining up both in the slot and on the outside. He needs to work on sharpening his route running but he knows how to be in the right place at the right time, and come up with a catch in a tough situation. The Patriots have very quietly met with him.

Also on the Radar:

  • I guess I’ll put Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz here even though I think Niklas has a much higher potential. I’d rank him below Niklas and above Colorado State’s Crockett Gillmore who looks very ordinary.
  • Minnesota safety Brock Vereen brother of some guy named Shane that plays for some team is a Patriots type player (instinctive with leadership qualities) who the team has scouted.
  • Rutgers Brandon Coleman has also been floating around in 4th round consideration, and I’d look pretty stupid if I didn’t at least mention the top rated Rutgers prospect despite a disappointing season.

The Patriots currently do not have a 5th round pick. There are mock drafts out there that have the Patriots picking in the 5th with no mention of this fact. Hit Alt-F4 if you find one please. I’d say they wasted it trading for Isaac Sopoaga, but the truth is Sopoaga wasted the pick for us by being terrible. If you know the Patriots though, you know that they seem to end up with mid round picks no matter what things look like at the start of the draft, so I’ll take a look at some 5th round targets just in case.

Michael Sam – DE Missouri
Build: 6’2″ 261
40 Yard Dash: 4.73 (Pro Day) 4.91 (Combine)
Years Started: 1.5
Relevant Stats: 19 TFL, 11.5 Sacks, 2 FF, Tackles – 31 UA 17 A. SEC Defensive POY 2013
OOOOOooooooooOOOoo controversial pick. Yes, I’ve gone on record saying that Sam isn’t the type of player the Patriots normally draft. He’s shorter than your average Belichick pass rusher, and I usually skewer similar players for being one trick ponies. However, the more Michael Sam I watched the more I came to realize the fact that he’s underrated if anything. I kept looking for a reason to count him out. I kept expecting top tier DE Kony Ealy to be the reason for Sam’s success. From what I’ve seen, Michael Sam was the star of that defense. I don’t have the numbers but t looked like Sam played significantly more snaps than Ealy and shined in run support as well as just running at the QB. All I’m saying is that there are much worse players to waste a 5th round pick on. PFT reported that the Patriots are one of a short list of teams with a real interest in Sam.

Xavius Boyd – Western Kentucky
Build: 6’1″ 236
40 Yard Dash: “4.6/low 4.7 range”
Years Started: 3
Relevant Stats: 15.5 TFL, 7.5 Sacks, 1 FF, Tackles – 68 UA 35 A
If increasing linebacker speed is on your agenda for 2014 I think Boyd makes for an intriguing pick. He finished his senior year with 15.5 TFLs, and 7.5 sacks. He’s a sideline to sideline type of backer that likely fits best as a mike linebacker and could upgrade the overall speed of the defense. He was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive POY with 105 tackles. The fourth round might be a reach for a small school prospect but the Bears, Cowboys, 49ers, Raiders, Chargers and Patriots have all interviewed or worked out the former Hilltopper.

Lonnie Ballentine – S Memphis
Build: 6’3″ 219
40 Yard Dash: 4.39
Years Started: 2
Relevant Stats: 5 PBU, Tackles – 37 UA 21 A

You’ve got to wonder where this guy has been hiding. Ballentine is a 6’3 219 lb DB from Memphis that at one time had offers on the table from almost every major SEC school and a pair of ACC schools. He chose to commit to Memphis though, a seemingly strange decision that may have had something to do with having a wife and kid in the area. His triangle numbers are ideal posting a 4.38 and a 4.40 at the Memphis Pro Day. For his height and size those are WR numbers. His play is just what you’re looking for too: fast and physical.

Also on the Radar:

  • Georgia QB Aaron Murray is an obvious consideration. He was a 4 year starter that could be available at a huge bargain after suffering a gruesome ACL injury. He’s smaller than your typical Patriots QB but clearly has the skills.
  • I’d like to see the Pats take a look at USC TE Xavier Grimble. He ran a 4.90 but I think he’s much faster than that on the field. The former 4 star recruit may have still been feeling the effects of a calf injury that kept him from running at the Combine. I’d suggest 5 star recruit AC Leonard who ended up transferring from Florida to Tenn State after a domestic assault arrest, but I’m not down with that.
  • This could also be a good time to pick up a quality special teamer like Rice DB Phillip Gaines (4.38 40), or Liberty DB Walt Aikens (4.37 – 4.44 40’s).

Kenny Guiton – QB Ohio State
Build: 6’3″ 208
40 Yard Dash: 4.78
Years Started: 0.5
Relevant Stats: Pass: 749 Yards, 14 TDs (2 INTs), 68.8% Completion Rush: 330 yds, 5 TDs

A couple thoughts on drafting a QB in this class:

  • Stop mocking Tom Savage to the Patriots. He’s not very good. He played for 3 teams in 5 years, turns 24 this month, and didn’t crack a 60% completion rate until the final of his 5 years in school. Let’s pretend that it takes a little more than playing for a mid-western school and being named Tom to be a starting QB for the Patriots.
  • Which is it? Do you want to WIN NOW! DRAFT HIGH! or DRAFT A QB! WE NEED A NEW TOM BRADY!! Because you can’t have both. If you want a QB in the first round then the other positional needs don’t get met.
  • Words can’t express how little I want Foxboro to be the “The House That Johnny Built” so let’s forget about that too.

This might be a case of doing your UDFA shopping a couple days early but OSU’s Kenny Guiton fascinates me. He saw limited action, seeing action in only 7 games last year, while sitting behind Braxton Miller. Watching him play he reminds me almost of a black Matt Cassel (that’s a compliment I promise): big tall frame, strong arm, and deceptively fast. He wasn’t a slouch with the football either: 68.8% completion rate, 14 TDs, 2 INTs. Those aren’t typical backup stats. Buckeye fans loved this kid, and you can tell why. He’s got a gun and has strangely good downfield accuracy. His mechanics look a little wonky but I think the physical tools and instincts are there. Whether he can grasp the New England offense is something I’ll never be able to tell you, but I like what I see in Guiton a lot more than some bigger names in the middle of the QB class.

Lorenzo Taliafero – RB Coastal Carolina
Build: 6’0″ 229
40 Yard Dash: 4.58 (Combine)
Years Started: 1 (2 year JUCO starter)
Relevant Stats: 1729 Yds, 27 TDs

I’ll be honest in saying that I know very little about this Coastal Carolina prospect and didn’t pay any attention to him until the Combine. I saw Walter Cherepinksy mention to a reader on Facebook that the Patriots liked him, so I put him here. As with most small schools if you want to be taken seriously you’d better dominate, and the 229 lb RB did. 1,729 yards and 27 TDs across 15 games in his 2013 season is certainly what you’d call dominant. He had 31 yards on 8 carries in the Senior Bowl, so he can hang with top tier competition. His lateral movement definitely jumped out at me in the Combine when I saw just how much he weighed. It seemed like he was more of a straight ahead runner at Coastal Carolina, and didn’t really use his hip flexibility to his advantage. I could write more on him but Steelers Depot already did an incredible job breaking him down, and anything else I said would just be ripping them off. They do point out that he’s an exceptional pass blocker, which is usually something young RB’s struggle with.

Jordan Tripp – LB Montana
Build: 6’3″ 234 lbs
40: 4.67 (Combine)
Years Started: 4
Relevant Stats: Tackles – 49 (UA) 51 (A), 3 INT, 5 TFL, 2 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 Blocked Kick
Mike Dussault loves Michigan State’s Max Bullough at this spot, at basically the same position, but I can connect Montana LB Jordan Tripp to the Patriots via a private workout, so I’ll go with Tripp here as the Pats could very well elect to replace one speedy Montana LB (Dane Fletcher) with another. There’s a good chance he’ll be off the board well in advance of the 6th round, but I’m just not sure where to put him. He’s a very similar player to Fletcher, quick, rangy, and seems to have a knack for knowing when to make his break on a gap to pressure the quarterback.

Also On the Radar:

  • Texas A&M’s Ben Malena was the Aggie’s feature back but was 2nd to Manziel in yardage. He also ran an unimpressive 4.60 Pro Day 40. He’s much quicker than he is fast and has the tools to be an effective 3rd down back in the NFL.
  • Andre Williams the 230 lb RB from BC got a look from the Patriots and fits the mold of what they’re looking for. He only put up 2100 yards his final season and left as a Heisman finalist if that means anything to you.
  • FSU RB Devonta Freeman is another big RB that the Patriots have looked at. What can I say? I like the idea of drafting a RB here.

Andrew Norwell – OG Ohio State
Build: 6’6″ 315 lbs
40: 5.28 (Pro Day)
Years Started: 3 (Backup RT as true freshman)

Who? For reference sake I am normally not an Ohio State mark but let me introduce you to Andrew Norwell from Cincinnati, Ohio. Andrew was a 4 star recruit out of high school and a 3 year starter at Ohio State. He’s not a physical freak (beyond being 6’6″ and 315 lbs) would need some breaking in at the next level but I see a player with the right mentality to play for the Patriots. He’s a find somebody to hit kind of lineman who, even as far back as high school had scouts noticing his fondness for getting an extra shove in. He can play in a zone or power blocking scheme and has experience at RT and both guard positions. After being a first team All Big Ten selection two years in a row I’m a little lost as to how he was a Combine snub, and is basically invisible. That kind of spiteful inertia has worked out well for the Patriots in the past. What grabbed me about Norwell was watching him neutralize Cal’s DeAndre Coleman who is supposed to be one of the top DT’s in the draft. Like I said, he’ll need to work on his quickness, but I like his chances as a depth player in an offensive line that needs to get meaner to get better.

*Look for #78 at the LG position

Dustin Vaughan – QB West Texas A&M
Build: 6’5″ 235 lbs
40: 4.95 (Combine)
Years Started: 3
Relevant Stats: 5,401 Yards, 53 TDs, 66.% Comp

6-5 Dustin Vaughan was the only player at any level of college football in 2013 to throw for over 5,000 yards and 53 TDs. He’s a former National Honor Society member, a pre-med biology major… I get it Dustin, you’re better than me. Gawd. Over achieve much? Yes, he’s a D-II quarterback who carved up crappy D-II defenses but he shined enough to be the only D-II quarterback invited to the Combine. There’s a lot to like about his technique. He’s got quick feet in the pocket, a decent arm and has a noticeably quick delivery. One of the things I generally disliked about a lot of bigger name QB’s in this year’s draft is their slow delivery. Some of these guys look like a ride at the Brockton Fair and are way too eager to get in the habit of lofting passing to the sideline or into the flat. Vaughan snaps his passes decisively and goes through his progressions like he’s got somewhere to be. I don’t know what his priorities look like between being 2 players behind Tom Brady on a depth chart, or being a doctor. He could up and leave any time he wanted to and 6 years from now be a proctologist making bank laughing at the idea of carrying Ryan Mallett’s pads to practice. I don’t know. I just think he’s worth a check in the 7th.

Blake Annen – TE Cincinnati
Build: 6’4″ 247
40: 4.41 (Pro Day)
Years Started: 1
Relevant Stats: Rush: 183 YDs 2 TDs
Originally I had Malena here, but I swapped him out with Cincy’s Blake Annen after a Reddit reader accused me of not having “a single tight end” on the list. I actually list 4 TE’s but who’s counting? Statistically speaking, Blake Annen barely existed for the Bearcats. Still, there’s only so long that the NFL will ignore a 250 lb TE that runs a 4.41 (not a typo) 40. Unlike a lot of TE’s with that kind of speed that are basically just out to play basketball on grass, Annen is actually pretty good at finishing his blocks. I’m still trying to figure out just what happened to him in Cincinnati. I kept thinking I was going to find out he was a football walk on after coming to Cincy on a basketball scholarship or something. Wasn’t the case. He was one of the top TE’s in Ohio coming out of high school where caught for 800 yards, so his hands work. The Bearcats had 5 receivers with over 400 yards, so it may have just been a case of not enough balls to go around. Still, the Patriots took a chance on a Bearcat receiver with some sparse production a year ago in Kenbrell Thompkins and that went well. They also took a shot on another super fast/inexperienced TE with Zach Sudfeld the same year which was a disaster. In fact, I still can’t get over how astonished Sudfeld seemed to be every time a football came near him. This is the 7th round though, and the late 7th/UDFA period is where you take gambles on projects like Annen. The Patriots, and Eagles have both worked him out.

Also On the Radar:

  • We know that the Patriots have looked at 6’1″ CB Al Louis-Jean who was a 4 star recruit from my alma mater Brockton High. He started his college career in Miami, had some disciplinary issues, and a season ending injury. He left Miami for BC and it looks like he didn’t get along with them too well either despite putting together some limited but impressive tape. He opted to skip his junior and senior years to declare for the draft (a very Brockton decision of him) but the potential is there.
  • Also coming out of BC is LT Matt Patchan who was a 5 star recruit originally committed to Florida. He had a string of unfortunate injuries that cost him his spot as a Gator. He was able to put in a full senior year at BC and looked great.
  • Going out with a bang I’ll mention that the Patriots and Broncos have both worked out Boise State C Matt Paradis who started 25 games and was a business finance major.
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Three Reasons Why Signing Eric Decker Is A Terrible Idea

…But all you really need is one.

I’m getting really used to this idea of putting things in numbered lists. It keeps things so concise. One thing that isn’t growing on me, however, is the perennial suggestion that the Patriots should go after the highest paid WR on the market. No matter who it is. No matter what else is going on. Every single year. It’s an idea that local journalists propagate every year knowing that it’s the wrong move and will never happen and thankfully has never materialized in New England. This year that receiver happens to be soon-to-be-former Bronco Eric Decker. Decker’s name has been at the forefront of such bulldozing-ly awful article’s as Jackie MacMullan’s (who presumably blacked out during any given unwatchable NBA game and woke up the next day with Mike Reiss’ stolen laptop and a finished article on ESPN Boston) letter to Belichick told through the unspoken thoughts of Tom Brady (it’s as great as it sounds).

Decker, who has spent the last few seasons as a #2 WR behind star wideout Demaryius Thomas, is going to command #1 WR money. We know this because history tells us so. Plenty of real football fans are content to see players like Dwayne Bowe re-sign with the Chiefs and have one of the worst seasons in his entire career, or guys like Mike Wallace get his payday with a clueless Dolphins franchise. But the problem is people read these articles and get in the “why not us” mentality all too easily…. Why not willingly over spend on a #2 wide receiver that miraculously broke out of his shell when teams were forced to double cover Demaryius Thomas? Why not go all out for a big bodied wideout who, as Patskrieg FB reader and Boston Phoenix writer Janssen McCormick put it turns into Harvey Whippleman when DB’s get physical? Why not put all your eggs in one basket? Isn’t it easier to carry that way? Here are some facts and opinions that I would hope would dissuade Patriots fans from praying for a Decker deal when free agency begins this upcoming Tuesday.

1. Proven Fact: Buying the Most Expensive Wide Receiver On the Market DOES NOT Fix An Offense

Here are some cold hard facts I’ve compiled from the last 5 seasons. Listed below were the biggest name / highest paid free agent wide receivers and what happened to the teams that broke the bank for them. Note: This does not include WR’s that re-signed with their teams, or players that were traded for. This is only in terms of the highest paid WR’s to sign with a new team on their own. This chart details how much they signed for, the team’s overall offensive rank the season before the signing, and the rank in the season following, and their record that year.

What To Take Away From This List:

  • None of these teams made the playoffs.
  • None of these teams finished above .500.
  • None of these teams had a significant improvement in their offense. In fact half of them either stayed the same or got significantly worse.
  • Vincent Jackson has been a unanimous success in Tampa, yet their offense as a whole somehow tanked after they signed him.
  • Antonio Bryant didn’t even make it through Bengal’s training camp before he was cut, and Cincy threw away another season.
  • Seattle, the team that gets hit twice here, eventually succeeded after cutting TJ and phasing Rice out of their offense.
  • Remember what a foregone conclusion it was that Houshmandzadeh was going to blow the doors off whatever team he ended up with? I stayed up until 2 AM the night he went free agent expecting him to sign with Minnesota and team up with Adrian Peterson. How did no one stop for a minute to think that maybe a nutcase like Housh wasn’t ready to carry an offense?
  • That’s just great. Thank you spellcheck. Now everyone knows I lazily made the table in Word.

In all fairness, most of these teams had to suffer through terrible quarterback play or stupid coaches or both. But that just goes to show you what type of franchises are willing to go full Dibiase on a guy that’s typically another team’s #2 WR just because he’s the biggest name on the market. Honestly, this should be the whole piece right here. The sheer history should tell you what a bad move it is. But I said 3 things for some reason so let’s keep going.

2. The Randy Moss Offense Was A Freak Occurrence

There was a time when the Patriots ended up with the top WR in the game and the results were incredible. That receiver’s name was Randall Gene Moss and it was a unicorn-class celestial miracle likely never to happen again. Seriously, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer with life left in him just sitting there festering on a horrible team, available for practically nothing with no risk, looking for a team like the Patriots, and willing to re-negotiate his contract for almost half the money… When will that EVER happen again?

The most expensive wide receiver on the Patriots roster in 2007 wasn’t even Randy Moss. After a nightmarish 2006 WR corps the Patriots went out and got:

  • Donte Stallworth – 6 years $30 million. The deal seemed big on the surface but was predominantly incentive based and gave the Pats the ability to release him for cheap whenever they wanted
  • Wes Welker – A relative unknown rescued from wasting away in Miami, seized for a 2nd and a 7th round pick and re-signed for a 5 year $18.1 million contract.
  • Kelly Washington – UFA who the Patriots signed for a $300,000 signing bonus, and another incentive heavy contract worth up to $22 million over 5 years.

    Moss got his money, Welker saw his money, everyone else was dropped no strings attached and the Patriots turned in an 18-1 season with an offense that should have broken their bank account but never did. So even when they did land the best WR in the game, the solution wasn’t throwing money around stupidly.

    3. I Thought Aaron Dobson Was the Answer?

    A lot of people who convinced you that last year’s 2nd round pick Aaron Dobson was a star in the making are the same people pleading for Decker to save the day. Off the top of my head I’ll pick on NESN’s Doug Kyed who opined towards the end of last season that Dobson was actually a better pick than Cordarrelle Patterson because his rushing and kick return stats shouldn’t factor into a comparison between the two….? Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

    But less than a month later Kyed wrote another article calling Decker his ideal free agent signing on the grounds that we need to sink more money into the wide receiver position to compliment Amendola on the inside.

    I like Doug Kyed and think he’s a smart football guy, but he has a tendency to be overly literal. I’ll also add the fact that no one, short of maybe an ex-girlfriend of his back in West Virginia, has dumped on Dobson more than I have. After almost a year of shredding him to pieces day in and day out I still think he deserves a chance to prove himself as a starting WR as opposed to over-spending at the position. In my humble opinion he played like a guy who was overwhelmed with the game. He looked nervous, uncomfortable, and at times shocked that he was making the plays he was. When you approach a sport like that there’s no way to concentrate on your technique. Between Dobson, Thompkins and Boyce (who will never again be called “Joyce Boyce” or “Josh Joyce” by the legendary Dan Dierdorf) there is enough talent for at least one of them to become a solid football player. I would be much happier letting them develop this off-season installing a lower cost talent across the field from them like Kenny Britt and playing the percentages that somewhere in between three talented 2nd-years and one potential star veteran something will develop. It almost has to.

    Honorable Mentions For Free Agents To Also Stop Talking About

    • Champ Bailey – It’s over. Did you see him play late last year? He looked like later years Kirk Gibson using the last bits of his pain threshold to hobble to his locker for a fistfull of chaw minus the World Series home run.
    • Tony Gonzalez – It’s over. He couldn’t coast to a Super Bowl in Atlanta. Gonzalez is searching Monster for “Trophy Raiser” and “Tears of Joy Confetti Snapshot Model” He’s not interested in learning a new offense and grinding out another season of football.
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Six Things Football Outsiders Should Know About Michael Sam

Hi. If you’re reading this you’re likely not a football fan. That’s okay. Really. You’ve also likely heard of former Missouri DE Michael Sam who will be entering the NFL draft this year as potentially the league’s first openly gay NFL player. IMHO that’s pretty cool. However, if the early signs are any indication you’re also going to be under the impression that there is a war going on to enforce some kind of hetero-normative agenda that keeps Michael Sam out of the NFL because of his sexuality. You’ll likely get mad, head to Facebook or Twitter and lay into the NFL for keeping the dark ages alive. That’s okay too. Really. But hear me out first. I wrote this piece to give football outsiders such as yourself a few things to consider before you blow your stack. We don’t know much about eachother. But I know our side (football fans) usually get our jocks in a bunch when we think your side (the general non-football public) butts into our business. I know your side thinks our side are a bunch of neanderthals with too much free time. And I know your side likes your internets in the form of neatly numbered lists (we have one thing in common already). So I thought I’d bridge the gap via a friendly numbered list.

The draft is a very tricky and confusing thing. Those of us that follow it every day still don’t fully understand it. Hell, the Browns don’t even understand it. So in this article I’d like to introduce you to the draft and the realities of the NFL as they relate to this new situation. As usual, comments emails agree/disagree statements are always welcome. But here are 6 things I think you should know.

1. “Draft Stock” is Not NASDAQ & Is Not A Tangible Thing

The internet would like you to think that it can predict the draft. It can not. I know this because I publish a draft blog and I’m wrong a lot. Teams have their own notes and opinions on prospects and the molecules of information that make it to the public rarely tell the whole story. The number one rule you have to know is that the draft happens when the teams turn in their picks. Not a moment before. Real actual football fans make this same mistake every year and confuse mock drafts and arbitrary rankings with real life. “Draft Stock” is a pretty obtuse term. Some websites base it off actual first hand information from scouts and sources. Most of the internet, however, uses “Draft Stock” an imaginary intangible term meant to quantify players on a scale derived from their own opinion that bears zero impact on the decision making process of NFL teams. Perceived “draft stock” can go up and down all day long on the internet. It’s not real. “Draft Stock” is not a NASDAQ type commodity. You can track it, but it isn’t backed by anything. It’s an educated guess that you have to hope is actually educated.

Case in point take Rob Rang of’s piece titled Examining Why Michael Sam’s NFL Draft Stock Is Falling. It’s the kind of headline that’s supposed to spark some outrage as you’re whizzing through your Facebook feed. The article sites a 70 place drop in Sam’s stock on Holy shit, 70 places. That’s his stock! He like… needs that maaan.

Calm down and consider a couple of things here.

  • #1 Who owns CBS does. Essentially, CBS is reporting on it’s own downgrading of a player on their own grading scale.
  • #2 The article was posted at 8:00 AM the morning after this information went public. It hadn’t even been news for 24 hours. The NFL hadn’t even had time to react yet, so it’s safe to assume that this dip in “stock” is someone at DraftScout’s opinion more than anything that came from an NFL front office.
  • #3 Sam’s actual Draftscout profile still lists him as a 3-4 round projection. So unless the NFL added an extra 70 picks in the 3rd round there’s even less reason to take a drop in “draft stock” seriously.

The article doesn’t explicitly say that “draft stock” is a real thing. Rob Rang is a dedicated draft writer (despite mocking the Patriots to take Jake Locker with a first round pick which is still awful) who I don’t think would do anything overtly misleading. In fact he says some very honest things in the article. The headline, however, is enough to put a dose of angry social justice into people and garner a few thousand extra clicks.

For the record I love DraftScout and reference it daily. They’re very good at what they do and maybe there is some truth to the dip in perceived draft stock. But THE DRAFT DOESN’T HAPPEN UNTIL IT HAPPENS. People are already getting fired about about the possibility of Michael Sam going undrafted. Please…folks… settle down. The draft hasn’t even happened yet.

I’ve spoken to the editor of, a well respected site that starts preparing mock drafts a year in advance, who broke out his entire mock draft projections on Sam. They ranged from 2nd – 5th & beyond with no distinguishable pattern per se.

One final note on “draft stock” is that there is no limit to how quickly or how drastically “stock” fluctuates. This time 2 years ago Chandler Jones was a 5th round pick. He went 21st overall. Jimmy Clausen was considered a top 5 pick who fell to the middle of the 2nd round (and we eventually found out why). And last year at this time no one had even heard of University of Houston DB DJ Hayden (who almost died in a college practice) who got some attention in the press just days before the draft and went 12th overall to the Raiders.

2. Please Understand There Are Actual Football Reasons to Downgrade Michael Sam

I can’t help but shake the feeling that the internet is not only capable of but is dying to lose its collective shit when Michael Sam doesn’t go in the first two rounds. Yes, his stats are outstanding. He was the SEC defensive player of the year. And in my opinion he has one of the fastest first steps in the entire draft class. But please, opinionated masses of the internet, trust me when I say that there is more than that when considering draft picks and real reasons why there are more appealing picks than Michael Sams. Here’s a crash course on how legit NFL prospects like Sam get scrutinized by NFL scouts:

  • Inflated Stats 9 of his 11 sacks came from just 3 games. Three sacks in a game is tremendous but NFL teams like to see consistent production. All 3 of those games were blowout wins for Missouri against inferior competition. Teams pass more in blowouts and are more vulnerable to sacks.
  • Inexperience He’s a year and a half starter with only 1 year of solid production. NFL teams have a tendency to be weary of players with fewer than 2 years of strong statistical production as a starter.
  • One-Dimensional Skill Set Sam is an explosively quick DE but lacks a range of pass rush moves. Every year flashy college pass rushers fizzle out in the NFL for the simple reason that they were just more athletic in everyone in college and now they’re not. It’s not enough to just be fast or strong in the NFL. You need technique. It’s coachable, but not every player can make that leap.
  • Limited Scheme Diversity We already know he can’t play linebacker. There are two places for a player like Sam: 4-3 Defensive End and 3-4 Outside Linebacker. They’re very similar positions. The fundamental difference is that a 3-4 OLB has to be able to drop back and cover receivers. Sam already proved in the Senior Bowl that he can’t do that. That alone may take him off the board for teams that use a 3-4 defense.
  • Awards Aren’t Everything Being the SEC DPOY isn’t a guarantee. Of the 10 previous players to earn the award 8 of them were first round picks, 3 of which (Rolondo McClain, Glenn Dorsey, and David Pollack were largely considered “busts” (a term for a highly ranked player who disappoints in the NFL) in various degrees. Also Chad Lavalais lasted only 2 seasons in the NFL after being taken in the 5th round of the 2003 draft.
  • He’s Maybe Too Short For the Patriots I’m inclined to agree with Bob Kraft that the Patriots would be a great fit for a player in Sam’s situation. However, history isn’t on his side as far as his physical build. 6’2″ 255 lbs might sound really big but Bill Belichick traditionally drafts pass rushers in the 6’3″ – 6’5″ range. It might sound negligible to you, but that’s the way Coach Belichick has trended. Worth noting though is the fact that Sam has a very similar build to current Patriots starter Rob Ninkovich who, despite flourishing in New England, was not drafted by the Patriots.

    Important Disclaimer: There are exceptions to every single one of these items. These same red flags get raised on players every single year. Half of these things can be said about Jason Pierre-Paul who went in the first round and is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now.

    Judge for yourself:

    3. Misinformation Is Part of the Game

    Ask yourself: if a team wants to draft Michael Sam, what sense does it make for them to let the world know it? What sense does it make for them to say “We think this guy is great and can’t wait to draft him?” Every team drafting ahead of them now knows who they like and gets a chance to prioritize their picks knowing that Sam won’t make it past that team.

    NFL teams don’t admit to this but they routinely do clandestine misinformation campaigns like having an anonymous scout leak a report to the press that they’re concerned about X player because of…. “character issues,” troubling fake medical reports, concerns about his technique, etc. Just a few weeks before the 2013 draft “anonymous sources” were all of a sudden concerned that the draft’s top corner couldn’t back up in a straight line.

    It’s underhanded and unethical and sometimes ever drags a semi-innocent young man’s name through the mud. But it’s part of the process. The draft is about execs from 32 teams playing high stakes poker with eachother to make eachother guess what they’re thinking. It is 100% possible that at least one team is interested enough in Michael Sam that they’re willing to perpetuate drama on him to drive his “stock” down. Again… You won’t know until after the pick comes in and maybe not even after that.

    4. You Might Not Be Doing Him the Favor You Think You Are

    I’ve never been in an NFL locker room. I can’t tell you the difference between what they say about homosexual players in public and what they really mean. I just don’t have that knowledge. One thing I can tell you for certain that the evidence will support is that NFL teams hate media circuses. And there’s typically a 3-step process to how that plays out. Circus-Avoidance-Judgement:

    Remember Tim Tebow? He was the first Evangelical football player ever except that he wasn’t. At all. There’s an Evangelical minister in the NFL Hall of Fame. Remember Lauren Silberman? She was the first female football player ever except that she wasn’t. She had no background in football whatsoever, and didn’t even know how to do the one thing she showed up to do.

    Religious fanatics who flocked to Tebow no matter how bad he played made a joke out of the game. They created a media frenzy that was considered so toxic and undesirable that no one wanted to touch the former first round pick except the drama queen Jets, and the Patriots who shut the media blitz down immediately. TV feminists who applauded Lauren Silberman were dead wrong. If she accomplished anything it was making it impossible for any future serious female NFL prospects to ever live down the name Lauren Silberman. Kicking and screaming that the world should love a football player for exclusively non-football reasons makes us… well… hate your guts and theirs.

    5. The League Might Actually WANT A Gay Player

    Strange as it may sound, a gay NFL player might actually work out well for the league. As popular as the NFL is the company has taken a beating in the public eye in the past few years: head trauma controversy, PED use, and of course… homophobia. This has manifested itself most recently in story of Viking’s special teams coach Mike Priefer harassing former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe for his public support of gay marriage (if you’re unfamiliar with the story please see Kluwe’s first hand account via Deadspin). The scandal ostensibly forced Kluwe, a very productive and capable punter, right out of the NFL.

    There is a very real possibility that the NFL’s prayers have been answered by having an openly gay draft prospect. Teams with lingering PR issues, like the Vikings, could potentially do themselves a huge favor by landing some positive press welcoming a homosexual player onto their team. If he turns out to be good then that’s a bonus. If not, they tried.

    Walterfootball even reported that after speaking with a handful of NFL Scouts, with mixed responses, at least one team thinks [NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] is going to be confidentially pressuring general managers to not let Sam fall so low to avoid a public-relations problem and allegations of discrimination. Is this ideal? Of course not. Really we’d like to see a player appreciated on his merits. But I’d just like to make the case that a homophobic agenda isn’t an inevitability just because it’s football.

    Again, these are things the public won’t know until well after the draft if ever.

    6. Maybe Accept the Idea That All Football Fans Aren’t Bigots

    I get the feeling that there is still a generalized view of football fans as mindless BBQ fingered red faced Fox News watching macho maniacs. 13 million people watch Monday Night Football every week. We come from different parts of the country with different backgrounds, experiences, and world views. We’re your neighbors co-workers and friends. This football fan in particular has two lesbian aunts that I love very dearly. Think of how many people you share an office and a Facebook with that play fantasy football. Do you think that they turn into bloodthirsty homophobes when your back is turned?

    There will probably be people that shout homophobic things at Sam from the stands. They’re in the minority. There will probably chunks of overzealous Christians that will threaten to boycott the league over it. They’re in the minority (and BUH BYYYE WE’LL MISSS YOUUUU). The rest of us aren’t here for a political soap opera, hate speech, or to make our last stand at the heterosexual Alamo. We just want to watch a game, and if Michael Sam can play some football worth watching he’s always welcome here. So maybe chill with the assumptions and homophobic stereotyping.

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Mike Klis Is A Hypocrite & The Denver Media Is Just Hard To Watch

It’s been a real pleasure to deal with the Denver Press in 2 of the last 3 post seasons. From the team that was nailed for salary cap violations and signal stealing dusting off Spygate (again), to the latest fairy tale of kindly “Uncle Foxy’s” heart breaking for his team, it’s just been a blast interacting with maybe the least knowledgeable sports journalism town without an office in New Jersey. As funny as it is, it’s really just hard to watch.

Hey… Remember 2 years ago, when the Patriots hired offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to help with the 2011 playoff run and the Denver media turned into one big long Morrisey song crying their eyes out? I do. Denver had a serious ethical dilemma with a team hiring a guy who had some first hand knowledge of a playoff opponent. I say some because McDaniels had been removed from Denver for an entire season and a half. McDaniels was fired Dec 7th, 2010. The game in question was January 14th, 2012. I’ll stop there because I wrote about it in depth, back when it actually happened. Hiring a coach that late is a little strange, but well within the NFL rules. In fact, it was reviewed that off season by the competition committee who actually declined to change the rule.

Here is what Denver Post writer Mike Klis had to say about it before the game:

It’s two years later and New England and Denver find themselves head to head again in the playoffs. Two days after officializing an AFCCG matchup against New England the Broncos made a very interesting free agent signing in former Patriots DB/ST Marquice Cole. I have no beef with this move. Cole is a very good special teamer and has playoff experience as a DB. He’s young with a limited skill set and should absolutely, as Aqib Talib put it “Get that check, baby.”

But wait a minute. Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Mike Klis fell to his knees and begged the league to outlaw? Isn’t this a blow to fairness and competition? Isn’t this more of an underhanded “so Belichick” kind of move rather than an Uncle Foxy night of bouncing Shannon Sharpe on his knee at the deaf orphan soup kitchen? A guy with inside knowledge of one team catching on with another team just before they go to battle? Won’t someone please think of the children?!

In a shock to absolutely no one, Klis was singing a different tune this time around.

You love that there’s not much he can do to help out?? What happened Denver? What happened Patriots haters? What happened “spirit of fair competition? Did you somewhere in the last 2 years accept the concept that not everything is the Kennedy assassination? That you can actually figure out things about a football team by watching them play? Where’s the outrage that burned so prominently and attention-grabbing-ly two years ago?

The only thing that’s different about the two situations is that Cole has actually been to a Patriots practice THIS YEAR and could tell you about the team the Patriots fielded THIS YEAR. McDaniels knew next to nothing about a completely remodeled offense and defense from his time in Denver. Figuring out the present Broncos was nothing that, as Cole points out and Klis just loooooves, couldn’t be figured out just by scouting and film. This should put into perspective just how petty and ridiculous the McDaniels crying was, what a troop of hypocrites and click-baiters Mike Klis and the Denver Post are, and just how sad it is to see a grown man whimper about a double standard because it doesn’t work out for his football team.

For the record Denver fans have been a little testy about the Patriots grabbing Greg Orton a WR released from the Denver practice squad. Orton was signed on Dec 31st, before there was ever even a guarantee that the two teams would meet. Kudos to Mike Klis for having the self control not to write another scathing op-ed, although in all fairness judging by his demonstrated football I.Q. Klis probably has no idea who is on the Denver practice squad.

P.S. A sincere thank you to everyone who has been sharing and reading my last piece on the truth about Peyton Manning. It more than doubled my all time record for views in a day and is somehow still going strong. It’s an honor for this hack amateur know-nothing blogger to think that anyone gets a few minutes of enjoyment out of what I write. Please feel free to follow the Patskrieg Facebook for more frequent updates.

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