Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday September 17, 2007 1:54AM; Updated: Monday September 17, 2007 1:01PM
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of Spygate:
a. I really object to Belichick blowing off any definitive explanation of why he did what he did, in any other way than the dismissive statement (with a three-sentence apology) he issued Thursday night. He owes the public an explanation for why he did what he did. As one head coach told me Saturday, "because now we're all guilty by association. It's like what the public feels about steroids or HGH -- everybody's doing it in sports."
Well, of course everybody's not doing it. But when he doesn't stand up and explain himself, and lets a nine-sentence explanation serve as his entire, everlasting record of explaining the biggest coaching scandal this sport has seen in our lifetimes? It's just wrong. "I'm moving on,'' said scores of times, is a poor, poor option.
b. Jay Glazer, you the man. Terrific job getting the incriminating tape of the Patriots videotaping the Jets last week.
c. How many teams do this? Great question. My guess is somewhere between three and 10 use some form of video espionage.
d. I can't tell you how many people in football in the last five days have said to me, in words like these, Why would Belichick be so stupid ... stealing the signals of his former defensive coordinator, in his former defensive coordinator's stadium, when he knew his former defensive coordinator and his team would be looking under any rock for signs of Belichick cheating?
e. My guess is it's one of two things: His ego ran amok, and he'd been doing this for so long he thought he'd either be able to talk his way out of this or find some way to destroy the tape if the video kid was caught. Or he didn't think the Jets would tell, because he thinks the Jets are doing the same thing and they wouldn't want to open this can of worms.
f. It's absurd, by the way, that Belichick used the excuse with Goodell that he wasn't going to use the illicit tape "while the game was in progress,'' and that "my interpretation'' of the rule was incorrect. The rule is not the least bit foggy -- no videotaping of the other team's sidelines is allowed. You know what Belichick's explanation is? It's getting caught by your father for being drunk and saying, "I know you didn't want me to drink beer, Dad. I didn't drink beer -- it was vodka.''
g. Howie, Howie, Howie. Howie Long said on the FOX pregame show he actually thinks this is "people laying in the tall grass'' to get Belichick. First thing you've ever said that makes me want to vomit. So the next time we discover a club official cheating in blatant violation of the league rules, or the next time we find a player who does HGH, we're supposed to say, well, everybody does it and what's the big deal?
h. The other day at HBO, Cris Collinsworth and Dan Marino looked at me like I had two heads when I said this will affect Bill Belichick's election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. It will. I'm not saying it will keep him out, because I don't believe it will. But I do think getting the stiffest penalty in NFL history for cheating will be brought up in the Hall of Fame meeting in, say, 2018, and there will be some who will not vote for him because of it. Remember this: When Lawrence Taylor was a slam dunk in 1999, there was more than a little on-the-record opposition because he'd been suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse program.
i. Radio information of the week: Chris Mortensen's analysis and information on his Friday night ESPN Radio show with Bill Parcells and Keyshawn Johnson on the possible Haldeman-esque involvement of CIA-like Belichick aide Ernie Adams in matching signals to defensive playcalls.
j. Reminds me of what Art Modell once said about the secretive Adams, who none of us in the media (and most in the league) ever see or meet. "The first guy in the building who can tell me what Ernie Adams does gets $10,000,'' Modell said during the Belichick era. Now, maybe we know.
2. I think the next thing on the commissioner's agenda should be an investigation into tampering with players by teams before free-agency begins. It's rampant. It's more than rampant.
3. I think this is the reason a lot of people in my business and a lot of coaches and football people respect Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating. Last Monday night in the Cincinnati-Baltimore game, back judge Steve Freeman, on fourth-and-goal from the Bengals' 1-yard line with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, called Ravens tight end Todd Heap for offensive pass interference, negating a touchdown that would have tied the score at 27.
The call, obviously, was absurd. There was some very slight jostling, but maybe 20 percent of the jostling that takes place between receivers and defensive backs on plays when pass interference is not called. A terrible call. The nation saw it; Pereira saw it. And when he was asked about it on the league's in-house channel, the NFL Network, Pereira could have said, "Oh, it's a judgment call, and the official obviously saw interference, in his judgment'' and ended it right there. No. This is what he said: "The judgment made is his to make. When I run it, I don't like it.'' Perfect.
He didn't rip Freeman, though I'm sure privately he told Freeman it was a terrible call. (This, by the way, has nothing to do with swallowing a whistle in the final two minutes of the game, or ignoring ticky-tack calls in crunch time, which has always been urban legend in the NBA. This is all about whether a call was correct or not.) What Pereira said, in effect, was this: We all saw it was a bad call, and I'm sure even the back judge now knows it. There's no sense in any of us sticking our heads in the sand and pretending it didn't happen. I'm not going to rip the guy, but I am going to acknowledge that we have to do better.
4. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. Want to see how to neutralize the blitzing of Troy Polamalu? Check out Buffalo tight end Michael Gaines' stoning of Polamalu midway through Bills-Steelers. One of the few bright spots for Buffalo all day.
b. Derek Anderson just did the Browns a huge favor. By virtue of his five-touchdown showing against Cincinnati, he might be able to forestall the insertion of Brady Quinn into the lineup until after the bye week, which has been the Browns' preference all along.
c. Indy's run defense is so good right now. It's almost like the 2006 regular season never happened. Sanders playing the blitzing, submarining safety has been the biggest key to the run defense through two weeks.
d. What a great touchdown catch by Braylon Edwards. You'll see it 10 times if you watch the highlights today. But that's what a high first-round draft pick does, make diving catches with the game on the line.
e. Favre looked like the old Favre against the Giants. Looks like this will be the last time he plays Broadway, seeing that the next Packer game at the Meadowlands won't be until 2010 against the Jets. "This very well could be my last one here,''' Favre said via the cell phone. "If it is, I went out pretty good.''
f. Anyone who watches football has to know Marion Barber is better than Julius Jones. Barber blocks too. (Click here for Page 6).