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.
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.