Monday, January 26, 2015

Jindal Gets It About Islamo-Arab Imperialism

Bobby Jindal gets it - Muslims are refusing to assimilate, instead carving out little micro-empires where they impose terrorist law - known as Sharia - and kill as they please.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Patriots Get Smeared By Media Again

Suddenly the mantra that the New England Patriots are cheaters has become the Mainstream Sports Media's rallying cry yet again, this time on allegations made by an Indianapolis Colts TV reporter (from WTHR TV; the story was almost certainly leaked to WTHR by the Colts, with some scuttlebutt being Jim Irsay himself leaked the story) than the Patriots were caught deflating footballs in the AFC Championship Game, a 45-7 Patriots win in rain.   A D'Qwell Jackson interception of Brady ostensibly began the story.

Jackson, though, has denied his involvement, and a subsequent story that the Baltimore Ravens alerted the Colts to impropriety has also been disproved.  It is the first of the immediate problems with the story.   The league controls the footballs on gameday and between referees, security teams, and video cameras it is physically impossible to tamper with them.   Also, deflated footballs tend to be inferior in throwing, thus quarterbacks insist they be properly inflated (Aaron Rodgers' now-famous CBS interview in the 2014 season is an example); moreover the allegation that deflated footballs offer more grip is not plausible in game conditions.  

The atmospherics of footballs do change in game conditions, like NASCAR tires - David Pearson for one famously always told Glen and Leonard Wood, "blow the right rear up" to stagger the car and make it turn better; in the modern day of radial tires prerace underinflation is necessary to get pressures up to proper levels under racing conditions - and they are prepared for specific weather accordingly.

But it isn't stopping the media from fabricating a litany of cheating by the Patriots such as the four-lineman formation used against the Ravens.   Sports Illustrated wants to portray this as a circumvention of NFL rules because the Patriots ran a hurry-up offense with it.   It's no circumvention of anything.   SI also tries to claim Patriot ball boys spy on opponent locker rooms, except it physically can't be done; visitor team security controls visitor team locker rooms.   The story also dregs up Spygate, ignoring it was refuted by the fact of what the rulebook actually says, and even claims a gigantic television screen atop the CBS Scene somehow helps the Patriots sideline when it cannot be seen from inside the stadium.  Even worse, the piece claimed the NFL made rule changes in the wake of Brady's injury in 2008 - except the change in question happened in 2006 because of injury to Carson Palmer. 

The bottom line is there is no evidence of tampering - and on the contrary the actual evidence is indicative that no tampering happened.   The much-discussed Chris Mortenson report that eleven game balls were found underinflated loses credibility with each hour - according to Andy Hart the actual figure given was 0.2, not two - and following Belichick and Brady press conferences there clearly is some kind of disagreement between the Patriots and the league over what constitutes "underinflation."

The media's hatred of the Patriots is based on hatred of their "no-fun" approach to football.   They approach it as a machine-like endeavor instead of as a slapdash freelancing exercise.    Thus they lack the "fun" of other teams that don't win.  There is also the groupthink mentality permeating the media in general and the sports media in particular, where analysis counter to the established storyline has a habit of being suppressed - a saner media would have by now given substantial coverage of exculpatory information regarding the Patriots.

The entire episode yet again showcases the need for a substantial ideological change in the sports media (an example of such dissension can be found in this point-by-point examination of the Michael Rosenberg piece).   There is not supposed to be any groupthink, and objective benefit of the doubt is supposed to exist.   Sports Illustrated should be mocked and ridiculed for posting a dishonest story about the Patriots; instead the fact of the story being false is widely ignored.

The other angle is yet another reappraisal of Roger Goodell's competence as commissioner.   Adam Schefter has reported extreme difficulty at finding evidence, but the more plausible explanation is the league is trying to save face with an investigation it had no business undertaking.   It is indicative of Goodell that an investigation was launched at all and has floundered on its own lack of credibility.

Also warranting condemnation are the Indianapolis Colts, whose complaints initiated the controversy and which clearly had no justification for being made. 

The smearing has to stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Patriots Seahawks First Thoughts

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will renew a unique rivalry in football circles when they face off in Superbowl XLIX.   It will be the seventeenth career meeting between the two clubs and the first in any kind of playoff context.   The rivalry is unique in NFL annals as the Patriots have faced the Seahawks when Seattle was in both NFL conferences - The Patriots were 6-7 against the Seahawks when Seattle was in the AFC West and is 2-1 since divisional realignment put the Seahawks into the NFC West.  

The two clubs have clashed in several memorable affairs - in 1980 Steve Grogan's Patriots won 37-31 after the game lead changed some five times; in 1984 Tony Eason got his first action in erasing a 23-0 Seahawks lead to win 38-23, the largest Patriots comeback win until 2013's thriller from down 24-0 to the Broncos.   Two years later the Seahawks won 38-31 by scoring on two blocked kicks.   The two clubs met twice in 1993 in the battle of that year's top two draft picks in Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer; the Seahawks clawed out wins in both meetings.   2012 saw a bitter 24-23 Seahawks win on a comeback by Russell Wilson in the first meeting between the Patriots and their former coach Pete Carroll. 

Some takes on the two clubs following their Conference Championships -

Andrew Luck continues to regress against the Patriots - Andrew Luck, the more he plays against the Patriots, the worse he seems to get.   He has ten interceptions in four career meetings with the Patriots and has a grand total of 72 points against them vs. nearly 200 scored against him by the Patriots.  

Curiously Brady struggles in the passing game against Chuck Pagano  - Though he had a solid day with three touchdowns, Tom Brady curiously has not been as prolific in his passing attack against Chuck Pagano's Colts than he did in years past.   The last three games have been defined by the running attack, notably Legarrette Blount's continuing rampage through the Indianapolis defense.

Wilson plays poorly but also plays clutch - A grossly underrated aspect of the Seahawks' win is the Packers' utter incompetence at situational football.  The fake field goal was one thing; the failure on the onside kick was worse.   Then there was Russell Wilson, who for the longest time looked completely in over his head, until the moment when he had to step up his game - and did just that.

Aaron Rodgers gets exposed as a fraud by the Seahawks yet again - This was worse than his other losses to Seattle, because Rodgers was able to jump the Packers to a 16-0 lead, yet at no point did he look in control of the game.   When the Seahawks scored on the fake field goal that was when the momentum turned decisively against the Packers.   Under Aaron Rodgers the Packers are entirely dependent on frontrunning; Rodgers is not capable of handling this kind of adversity - when he frontruns he looks great, but when he can't put a team away he falters and almost always loses.   With opportunities to stop the bleeding, Rodgers didn't do it.   He has now lost five of eleven career playoff games and the 2010 Superbowl looks more and more like the aberration of a career that may have plateaued years ago.

Seahawks barely escape the trap - The other shock was how poorly prepared the Seahawks were for the first half.   Inability to hold onto the ball, stupid penalties, and inability to generate any offense was mind-numbing and raised questions about what the heck the gameplan coming in was supposed to be.   The Seahawks also better know the Patriots have a far better offense than Aaron Rodgers can generate.

Those are the quick takes as we prepare for the two week long pregame shows on the Superbowl.