Call goes out to ban Belichick

Some crit­ics de­mand­ing NFL kick him out of Su­per Bowl

SundayXtra - - FOOTBALL - By Paul New­berry

NOT so long ago, we came to praise the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots. Now, it’s time to bury them. Deflategate and a brazen dis­re­gard for the truth should be more than enough for the NFL to or­der Bill Belichick to stay at home on Su­per Bowl Sun­day. If the Pa­tri­ots coach wants to wear his hoodie dur­ing the big­gest game of the sea­son, he can break it out while watch­ing the tele­cast from his couch.

Se­ri­ously, this should be an easy one for the NFL, though the league’s re­sponse on ev­ery­thing from con­cus­sions to Ray Rice leaves plenty of doubt the suits in New York will do the right thing.

Here’s what we’ve learned from var­i­ous re­ports: 11 of the 12 foot­balls the Pa­tri­ots used on of­fence in the AFC cham­pi­onship game were sig­nif­i­cantly de­flated.

That could have made them eas­ier for quar­ter­back Tom Brady to han­dle on a cold, windy day. Brady threw three touch­down passes and the Pa­tri­ots won the game in a rout, 45-7. Then, when the shenani­gans were dis­cov­ered, Belichick — a con­trol freak who has never left even the small­est de­tail to chance — lu­di­crously claimed he had no idea what hap­pened.

As a re­peat of­fender from Spy­gate, Belichick should be banned from the Su­per Bowl.

To make sure he re­ally gets the point, bench him for the first four games of next sea­son and put him on per­ma­nent pro­ba­tion, leav­ing no doubt that he’s got two strikes against him and the next one would get him thrown out of the league for good. For good mea­sure, take away a cou­ple of firstround picks.

A week ago, we wrote that the Pa­tri­ots should be cel­e­brated for their amaz­ing run un­der Belichick, de­spite his gen­eral un­pleas­ant­ness and skirt­ing of the rules.

After all, no fran­chise in the era of salary caps and free agency has come close to their streak of 14 straight win­ning sea­sons, 12 play­off ap­pear­ances, three Su­per Bowl ti­tles and nine ap­pear­ances in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game.

Now, some of that suc­cess could seem tainted, even dirty.

Belichick cer­tainly didn’t help his cause with a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, where he spent 8½ min­utes try­ing to con­vince ev­ery­one he didn’t know a thing about the rules and pro­ce­dures for game balls, then re­fused to give a mean­ing­ful an­swer to 14 ques­tions — all con­cern­ing Deflategate — that were thrown his way over the next three min­utes.

“I have told you ev­ery­thing I know,” Belichick kept re­peat­ing, over and over again. Yeah, right. Belichick be­gan his pre­pared re­marks sound­ing a lot like Sgt. Schultz from the old TV sit­com, Ho­gan’s He­roes. You know, the bum­bling Ger­man prison guard who turned a blind eye to in­mates com­ing and go­ing as they pleased, al­ways in­sist­ing, “I know noth­ing. Noth­ing!”

As Belichick re­galed us with his lit­tle tale, the only thing miss­ing was Col. Ho­gan pop­ping up from a tun­nel un­der the podium.

“I learned more about this process in the last three days than I knew or talked about in last 40 years coach­ing in this league,” Belichick in­sisted. “I had no knowl­edge of the var­i­ous steps in­volved in the game balls and the process that we went through, what hap­pened be­tween when they were pre­pared and went to the of­fi­cials, and went into the game.”

We kept watch­ing this sham, but only to see if his nose started grow­ing.

“In my en­tire coach­ing ca­reer, I have never talked to any player or staff mem­ber about foot­ball air pres­sure,” Belichick said, some­how man­ag­ing to keep a straight face. “That is not a sub­ject I have ever brought up.”

Now, if you be­lieve that, we’d love to give you mem­ber­ship to the “Bill Belichick School of Charm and In­tegrity.”

As of­ten hap­pens when some­one is try­ing to pull off a scam, the story gets a bit con­vo­luted. For Belichick, that hap­pened when he talked about the balls that the Pa­tri­ots use in prac­tice. Ap­par­ently, he cares A LOT about how those are pre­pared.

“I’m sure that any cur­rent or past player of mine will tell you the balls we prac­tice with are as bad as they can be,” he said. “Wet. Sticky. Cold. Slip­pery. How­ever bad we can make ’em, I make ’em. Any­time play­ers com­plain about the qual­ity of the balls, I make them worse, and that stops the com­plain­ing.”

But on game day, we’re ex­pected to be­lieve, he doesn’t pay a lick of at­ten­tion to the state of the foot­ball.

Brady fol­lowed Belichick to the podium and is­sued the same blan­ket de­nial, though his re­marks were pep­pered with plenty of “what, me worry?” grins, like a sus­pect in the in­ter­ro­ga­tion room who wants you to know he did it — and knows you know he did it — but fig­ures there’s no way to pin the crime on him.

Ev­ery­one wants to know: Why would the Pa­tri­ots feel the need to cheat when they were play­ing at home and, judg­ing by the score, clearly had the su­pe­rior team?

Not to put th­ese on the same level of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, but it’s a re­minder of the early 1970s, when Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s hench­men launched a to­tally un­nec­es­sary op­er­a­tion that be­came known as Water­gate, not long be­fore Nixon cruised to vic­tory in one of the great­est U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion routs.

The en­su­ing coverup was worse than the crime and wound up cost­ing Nixon the pres­i­dency.

This one should cost Belichick his spot on the Su­per Bowl side­line.

CHARLES KRUPA / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady whis­pers con­spir­a­to­ri­ally into the ear of head coach Bill Belichick after the Pats whipped the Colts in the AFC fi­nal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.