So there’s no possible way that what I’m going to say is going to come off as anything but pure, ignorant Patriots homerism to someone who isn’t a Patriots fan or to someone who hates the Patriots, but try to stay with me. Here’s my instant analysis of this situation.
So it leaked tonight that 11 of the 12 Patriots game balls the NFL confiscated and examined were up to two pounds below the legal weight. First of all, how did it take two days to weigh a football? Why didn’t we have this result Sunday night or Monday morning? The NFL referees do this weighing process between two and three hours before game time. Several days is ridiculous. How were those balls transported? Were they flown in a plane? Where did they go? We don’t think any natural (or unnatural) manipulation could have occurred due to differences in air pressure (especially in an air plane)?
Speaking of atmospheric pressure, um…hello?! It was POURING rain. Like a monsoon at Gillette. A huge storm went through that the national weather service sent out a warning about. What happens during rain? Low atmospheric pressure. Look, I’m not a scientist, but I know that there’s a thing called equilibrium to which all things scientifically like to maintain. When there’s a drastic change like that in atmospheric pressure, a ball naturally deflates faster in order to restore equilibrium. Doesn’t anyone remember leaving a basketball or kickball or football in the yard and overnight as you ran inside when it started to rain, only to go outside the next day and find it to be flat (or at least flatter and somewhat deflated)?! This is basic observational science.
Furthermore, an NFL spokesperson came out publicly Monday and said this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Balls regularly get taken out of play and examined, especially during stormy or outdoor conditions. This isn’t new or a surprise. In the NFL rule book, the league even goes so far acknowledging this as to require both home and away teams provide an additional 12 footballs each (so 24 each, total) for outdoor games. This happens ALL THE TIME.
Sixth year Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano even chimed in to these exact points and suggested that there is a problem with the NFL protocol.
Since the whole "deflated ball" story is a hot topic right now, here is a situation that we experienced this year…
For the NFL to allow this information – the report that 11 of the 12 balls were deflated – to leak without scope or context is utterly irresponsible, and to conduct the investigation with such limited facts is also irresponsible. Where are the Colts’ balls? Have they been inspected? Where are the other 24 backup footballs? What was their condition?
And by all means, does ANYONE on God’s green Earth outside of Indiana really believe Indy had a chance in this game? Andrew Luck has been blown out every time he’s faced the Patriots, his team had a mess of distractions heading into the game, and this happens to be the best Patriots team Andrew Luck has ever faced. They got hot, faced a banged up and injured Bengals team who has a QB who chokes in big moments, and a banged up Denver team without a run game (apologies to Mr. Anderson), receivers who didn’t finish routes and gave up, and a 38-year-old quarterback with a torn quadriceps who’s also had his neck repaired three times (and I’ve torn my quadriceps muscles before. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I actually felt a little bad for Peyton Manning). The Colts were a good team, but they weren’t THAT good, and their opponents didn’t hurt their chances of reaching that game. The Patriots didn’t need to cheat in this game. The thought that they could lose never even crossed their minds. Even if you somehow threw out the science, logically this doesn’t add up.
Finally, the fact that the balls are deflated doesn’t mean the Patriots did it. OR, it could mean an idiot kid (or an adult) who works for the team and thought he was being clever screwed with the ball, which doesn’t place the onus of blame on Brady, Belichick, or anyone else on that field who worked their butts off to win. I’ve yet to see facts that prove that Brady, Belichick, or the Patriots had any involvement. Prove to me they did it. Prove to me it wasn’t the weather. Give me proof.
For God’s sake, one to two referees handle those same footballs before and after every single play. If they didn’t even notice, why would anyone else? This is a regular occurrence the league prepares for. Give me a break.
People see what they want to see. They believe what they want to believe. Roger Goodell “didn’t see” the Ray Rice videos because it looked bad if he had seen them and then subsequently acted in the manner in which he did. Then the NFL’s investigation of that issue, conducted by someone on their payroll, said the same thing Goodell did. Strange?
You see what you want to see; you believe what you want to believe.
I saw the Patriots play a damn good football game, and I believe they didn’t cheat by deflating footballs. Show me proof otherwise.
Adrian Peterson celebrates a touchdown. If you land him in your draft, you should celebrate too.
It’s that time of year again – Fantasy Football. For those who play, it’s a religion. For those who don’t, well I don’t really remember what it’s like, but it’s probably annoying being surrounded by people who do. Either way, I’ll be doing a series of Mock Drafts that are a little different than what you’ll see from your expert columns wherever you play. Instead of ranking players, I’m participating in random mock drafts and posting the results with my insight from round to round on whatever sticks out. Feel free to comment below with questions, comments, and insight of your own.
ESPN Standard League, 8-team draft.
I ended up with the 6th pick in this draft out of 8 teams, so near the bottom of the pack. Rough start, as most elite running backs figure to be off the board, but still good talent in the top 8. The plus side is that in a snake draft, like this one, there isn’t quite as large of a gap between picks. Note that my picks are bolded, and that I simply autopicked after the 7th round due to my internet crashing.
(1) Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Arian Foster RB
(3) Ray Rice RB
(4) Marshawn Lynch RB
(5) Jamaal Charles RB (6) C.J. Spiller RB
(7) Alfred Morris RB
(8) Doug Martin RB
-Whether you think Adrian Peterson repeats last year’s performance or not, he has to go number one overall here. Will he be the number one running back at the end of the year? I think so, but there’s no guaranteee. Either way, he’s a safe #1 and a star.
-Sort of surprised Arian Foster went #2. I mean, yes, it’s Arian Foster. But he’s injured and currently on the PUP list. The way I see it, the less you play in the preseason, the less you play in the regular season – he’s already hurt, and without preseason conditioning, he’ll aggravate the injuries in the first month or so of play. Take him late in the first or early in the second, but have a backup plan if you do. I’m not sold.
-WHERE is Calvin Johnson? If this were a PPR league, he’d surely go in the top 3 to 5, but either way I’m somewhat surprised. I didn’t take him because of the rate good RBs were flying off the board, but don’t take a chance in your league. If your top few RBs are gone, draft Johnson in the first, no matter the format. Remember, he broke Jerry Rice’s All-Time receiving yards record last season, and did so with broken fingers.
-I think Rice has lost a step, and unless this is a PPR league, I don’t take him so high. Just a risk for a #3 pick, in my opinion. I love Charles, but am wary of him. Was he a beast when he came back from injury last year? Yes. Do I think he’ll stay healthy? No. C.J. Spiller is primed for a HUGE year. Forget Fred Jackson. Spiller is the man in the new up tempo Buffalo offense. Not sold on Alfred Morris or Doug Martin, and think they’ll be prone to a down year now that teams had an offseason to figure them out. More of a second-round pick.
(9) Trent Richardson RB
(10) Aaron Rodgers QB (11) Calvin Johnson WR
(12) Drew Brees QB
(13) Stevan Ridley RB
(14) LeSean McCoy RB
(15) A.J. Green WR
(16) Steven Jackson RB
-Calvin Johnson at #11?! Robbery. Send me to jail.
– I think Richardson should be behind Morris and Martin, but I don’t think he should be ninth. Later in the second round.
-Never trust a Patriots’ RB this early, unless his name is Corey Dillon and the calendar says 2004. Maybe in a PPR, but Ridley isn’t a pass catcher. This is still Tom Brady’s offense, despite efforts (and successes) to balance the offense a bit.
-I’m biased towards McCoy. Take him higher in PPR, although beware of his concussion history coming back to note you.
– I’m tempted to put Brees ahead of Rodgers. After shattering Dan Marino’s old record of 5,084 yards with 5,476 yards in 2011, Brees followed up the campaign with 5,177 yards, which also would have broken the record, last season where the Saints weren’t very good and were without their head coach and a defense.
– Count me among those who think Steven Jackson has a career year as the #1 RB on a very good Atlanta team. Lets hope his knees can handle the carries. I think he scores at least 10 TDs
(17) Tom Brady QB
(18) Brandon Marshall WR
(19) Dez Bryant WR
(20) Demaryius Thomas WR
(21) Julio Jones WR (22) Peyton Manning QB
(23) Chris Johnson RB
(24) Andre Johnson WR
-Tom Brady easily goes in the second round, and in most leagues that are 10 teams, he would. Don’t read into the hysteria about Brady losing his top 5 pass catchers from last season; it’s true, but he’ll be fine. Amendola will fill the Welker role if healthy, Rob Gronkowski will be back in the second half of the season when you need Brady most, and rookie receiver Antoine Dobson has looked phenonenal in camp. Not to mention Shane Vereen is one of Brady’s favorite RB targets since the Kevin Faulk glory days. Brady is a safe pick, and could easily go much higher than 17.
-I have unjustifiable faith in Brandon Marshall, especially when Jay Cutler throws him the ball. I think I need therapy. I’m okay with him at 18 though (he’d be higher in PPR formats), but Julio Jones needs to be ahead of him. I don’t understand how Julio Jones was taken after Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. Anyone?
-I took Manning over Jones for two reasons: A) he’s the last “Elite” Fantasy QB (Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Manning), although I’ll tough more on that later, and B) It’s standard format and God hates WRs in Standard Leagues.
-Does anyone really have faith in Chris Johnson? This is why I hate standard leagues that praise running backs. Chris Johnson? CJ<1K?! Ugh.
-Andre Johnson at 24: Sleeper-like steal, or over-paying bust? I’m not sold either way, but he should still be a top receiver.
(25) Roddy White WR
(26) Frank Gore RB
(27) Matt Forte RB
(28) David Wilson RB
(29) Cam Newton QB
(30) Jimmy Graham TE
(31) Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(32) Vincent Jackson WR
– The Falcons didn’t make Roddy White their #1 receiver, don’t make him yours either.
-Frank Gore, MJD, Matt Forte, David Wilson. I trust Forte the most, but again, more so in a PPR format. Why are people jumping on the David Wilson train for the Giants? Remember Roy Helu? Oh, you drafted him as a starter? And you lost your league? Oh, okay. Glad to hear you didn’t forget. Let someone else draft David Wilson. If HE wins your league, well I’ll be damned.
-I may be Cam Newton’s biggest supporter, but with Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck on the board, I’m hesitaant taking him this early.
(33) Randall Cobb WR
(34) Matt Ryan QB
(35) Larry Fitzgerald WR
(36) Wes Welker WR
(37) Marques Colston WR (38) Victor Cruz WR
(39) Reggie Wayne WR
(40) Hakeem Nicks WR
-I don’t like Randall Cobb this high, despite what his numbers say. I’m probably wrong on this, but I’m personally not risking a pick in the 30s on one season of production. Greg Jennings is gone, but Cobb isn’t necessarily the answer.
-Remember when Larry Fitzgerald was a Top 10 pick? Remember when picking Larry FItzgerald in the Top 10 burned you every time? Sigh. So. Much. Talent. Wasted.
-Matt Ryan at 34 is the steal of the draft. I’m going on record right now saying he throws 4500+ yards, 35+ TDs, 10 or fewers picks.
-I love Welker, Colston, Cruz, Wayne, and Nicks, also think any of them could have gone higher, even in a standard league. Mix and match any 2 or 3, and you’ve got a solid WR core on your fantasy team. I’d take Cruz first, then Welker, Wayne, Nicks, and then Colston. Don’t agree? Yell at me in the comments and we can work this out.
(41) Colin Kaepernick QB
(42) Dwayne Bowe WR (43) Rob Gronkowski TE
(44) Robert Griffin III QB
(45) Darren Sproles RB
(46) DeMarco Murray RB
(47) Mike Wallace WR
(48) Reggie Bush RB
-I don’t trust Kaepernick (sue me), Sproles (too old, defenses know him/the Saints system too well), Demarco Murray (too injured) or Reggie Bush (sue me again, but he’s had one decent fantasy year ever. He’s not going to bust out now, and he’s virtually worthless outside of PPR).
-I think Mike Wallace could quickly become Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target. Everyone’s down on Wallace after years of being up on him. Now I’m up on Wallace after years of being down on him.
-Don’t take Gronk too early, but don’t let him pass you by. Get him when you can for when he comes back healthy and destroying small cities and “The Patriot Way” as we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.
(49) Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(50) Jason Witten TE
(51) Matthew Stafford QB
(52) Darren McFadden RB
(53) Tony Gonzalez TE (54) Danny Amendola WR
(55) James Jones WR
(56) Eddie Lacy RB
-Don’t take Amendola too early in Standard Leagues. Hold your ground, and snipe when appropriate. Do I think he’s a Top 10 WR this year? Yes. Can you get him in the 5th-7th rounds of your drafts? Probably. Steal him here and reap the plenty.
-Tony Gonzalez is good for 70 catches, 800 yards and 8 touchdowns if he stays healthy. He’s a third option on a good team with a great QB. He can be your TE on a championship team.
-I want to call Stafford a steal here, I do. I can’t though. He’s not quite Elite, yet. But if you drafted Calvin Johnson, he’s not a bad guy to have as well. You won’t be hurt by Stafford
(57) Kyle Rudolph TE
(58) Vernon Davis TE
(59) Montee Ball RB
(60) Chris Ivory RB
(61) Steve Smith WR
(62) Ryan Mathews RB
(63) 49ers D/ST D/ST
(64) Cecil Shorts WR
SO at this point I lost internet connectivity and autodrafted. My comments will be limited going forward, but comment with questions on the late rounds and I’ll happily give my opinions.
PS – I don’t trust Chris Ivory. Backup? Sure. Not a starter, if you can manage it.
-Not a terrible idea taking your defense if there isn’t a standout producer left that you need. Rank them before so you know when to strike, like this guy did with the 49ers. Also, I’m all about the Seahawks Defense.
(65) Greg Olsen TE
(66) Eric Decker WR
(67) Andrew Luck QB
(68) Antonio Brown WR
(69) Lamar Miller RB 70) Jordy Nelson WR
(71) Torrey Smith WR
(72) BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
-Luck down here is a value pick. If you still need a QB or are looking for a quality Bye Week starter/backup, take him.
-Torrey Smith is pretty much Joe Flacco’s #1 target…take that as you wish…
(73) Anquan Boldin WR
(74) Le’Veon Bell RB (75) Pierre Garcon WR
(76) Ahmad Bradshaw RB
(77) DeSean Jackson WR
(78) Texans D/ST D/ST
(79) Russell Wilson QB
(80) DeAngelo Williams RB
-if Garcon stays healthy (I think he will) and RGIII gets/stays healthy (I think he will), this is a steal. Potentially a Top 10 WR at 75? I’ll happily take it.
-Same kind of applies to DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, and the Eagles, but I’m not sold on their offense or their team. That said, he could definitely be a Top 10-15 WR if all goes well.
-Russell Wilson: I’m sold on him being a good NFL QB. Fantasy? Not quite yet. Not a bad backup, though, especially if he breaks out.
(81) Greg Jennings WR
(82) Tavon Austin WR
(83) Rashard Mendenhall RB
(84) Owen Daniels TE
(85) Steve Johnson WR (86) Shane Vereen RB
(87) Miles Austin WR
(88) Antonio Gates TE
-Jennings: UBER Steal at 81 if he’s healthy. This is a Vikings team that made the Playoffs without a passing game. Now they’ve got a stud like Jennings? This only helps Peterson and Jennings. Don’t bank on him, but 81st is a steal, period.
-Shane Vereen…Patriots RB…Not a PPR League…clearly autodraft hates me
(89) Eli Manning QB
(90) Sidney Rice WR (91) Vick Ballard RB
(92) Tony Romo QB
(93) Andre Brown RB
(94) T.Y. Hilton WR
(95) Johnathan Franklin RB
(96) Ben Roethlisberger QB
-Draft Eli Manning if you want to rip your hair out over dumb interceptions and lose your fantasy league
-Tony Romo: See Manning, Eli.
Ben Roethlisburger: See Romo, Tony.
(97) Stephen Gostkowski K
(98) Mike Williams WR
(99) Lance Moore WR
(100) Giovani Bernard RB
(101) Ryan Williams RB (102) Kenny Britt WR
(103) Michael Vick QB
(104) Blair Walsh K
-Remember what I said about the Defense? Same goes for Kickers. Screw the “no kickers before the last round” rule. Get your guy.
-I’m not saying Michael Vick is going to “break out” but I’m also not saying Chip Kelly is going to fail. If I had actually been picking, he’d probably be my backup QB
(105) Justin Tucker K
(106) Brandon Myers TE (107) Mark Ingram RB
(108) Isaiah Pead RB
(109) Emmanuel Sanders WR
(110) Denarius Moore WR
(111) Mikel Leshoure RB
(112) Golden Tate WR
-I don’t see the Steelers D being draft worthy. Or the Bengals, for that matter. Patriots? I’ve avoided them at all costs in recent years due to their tendency to give up stupid late touchdowns in games they’ve already won. That could stop this season on an improved team with a better attitude.
(121) Packers D/ST D/ST
(122) Matt Bryant K (123) Matt Prater K
(124) Phil Dawson K
(125) Randy Bullock K
(126) Josh Brown K
(127) Sebastian Janikowski K
(128) Jared Cook TE
-Mr. Irrelevant: Jared Cook. Quick Story – one of my best friends took some no name TE as the last pick in our draft a few years ago because he needed a backup and took my advice from this column and took his kicker earlier. The guy he picked with the very last pick in our draft? Just a red-headed 6-foot-6 monster named Jimmy Graham. And yeah, it was the year he broke out as a star. Always run em out, kids.
Seriously, comment below. Argue with me, please. Tell me I’m wrong. It’ll make all of us better.
According to multiple online reports and confirmed by credible sources including ESPN and The Boston Globe, the New England Patriots have signed former first round draft pick Tim Tebow to a deal. Tebow is scheduled to report to mini-camp on Tuesday with the team.
Tebow, widely considered one of the greatest college football players of all time, has achieved limited success in his 3-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. However, when given opportunity, Tebow has proven his worth not necessarily as a quarterback, but as a football player and valuable member of a team.
Here’s 7 reasons Tim Tebow may find success with the Patriots.
1. Vegas Likes It
According to the LVH SuperBook, the Patriots are still listed as 5-1 co-favorites with the 49ers and Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
The praise included veteran lineman Brett Keisel, defensive back Ike Taylor, and linebacker Larry Foote who said “He won some games, had some success. We know it first hand. I think he should be somewhere at least competing for a job. I think he’s earned that.”
His praise from the Steelers leads to the next point:
3. Tim Tebow is a Winner
During his collegiate career at Florida, Tebow put up incredible statistics and racked up numerous awards. As a freshman sharing quartberack duties with Chris Leak, the Gators went 13-1 and won the National Championship. Tebow was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team by the coaches.
As a sophomore, the Gators went 9-4, losing their bowl game to Michigan 41-35. Tebow took home the Heisman Trophy, the first sophomore ever to do so.
In his junior season, the Gators went 13-1 en route to the National Championship, where Tebow was named offensive MVP of the title game in the Gators’ 24-14 win over Oklahoma.
As a senior, Tebow again led the Gators to a 13-1 record, narrowly missing out on the National Championship game again and instead defeating Cincinatti in the Sugar Bowl 51-24.
Tebow graduated with a 35-6 record as a full time starter at Florida with 2 National Titles, a Sugar Bowl, a Heisman, and the SEC’s All-Time leader in passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns.
When Tebow received the full time starters job in 2011 with the Denver Broncos, he went 8-5 (similar to his first full season with Florida), including a 6 game win streak and 6 comeback victories in the fourth quarter or overtime. Under his guidance, the team made the playoffs and defeated the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime, as Tebow’s 80 yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas sealed the victory.
Tebow has not played in a consistent role since.
Tebow will join 3 other notable former Gators on the Patriots roster, including DE Jermaine Cunningham, TE Aaron Hernandez, and LB Brandon Spikes. All 4 won multiple National Championships together at Florida and hail from the same graduating class. Hernandez was best known as Tebow’s favorite receiving target.
5. Danny Woodhead’s Replacement?
So, Tebow isn’t going to play quarterback barring something tragic to Tom Brady, but here’s an interesting thought: What if Tebow fills the role voided by Danny Woodhead? New Englanders loved Woodhead for his production and multifaceted running/catching ability, and although Tebow may not have the receiving skills Woodhead did, the guy can run.
In 76 rushing attempts in 2012, Woodhead ran for 301 yards and 4 touchdowns, good for a 4.0 yards per carry average.
In 43 attempts for the Broncos in 2010, Tebow ran for 227 yards and 6 touchdowns, good for a 5.3 average. The numbers improved to 660 yards on 122 carries in 2012, good for a 5.4 average and 6 more touchdowns. When given the opportunity, Tebow can run with the best of them.
And, just like Woodhead, the Pats scooped up Tebow after he was an after thought released by the Jets. Will he make them pay again?
Don’t forget that Tebow is reunited with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the coach who drafted him in the first round, believed in him, and allowed him to succeed. Don’t be surprised to see Tebow play an important role in this offense, whether as an open-field runner or an option in the good ‘ole Patriot screen.
6. Organizational Depth
Say what you will, but Tebow can play quarterback. In their first full seasons, Tebow scored as many touchdowns (18) as Brady and had a better touchdown to interception ratio (2:1) than Brady’s (3:2). Tim Tebow isn’t a good quarterback in the NFL, but he’s a suitable backup.
We’ve covered his ability to run – he’s clearly an option at running back.
What about tight end? Surely Hernandez would take some time to work with him. With Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski recovering from major surgeries and Jake Ballard returning from an ACL tear, Tebow might be needed at least as an extra blocker.
7. If Anyone Can Do It, Belicheck Can
Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas, Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson…he’s done it before, he can do it again. In the case of the former two, he rejuvenated their careers and rode them to the Superbowl. In the case of the latter two, they underperformed, never really caught on, and were eventually cut – but their media hype was extinguished in the process.
Tim Tebow is already the ultimate team guy. While he’s not shy about wanting to play quarterback, he also isn’t shy about doing whatever it takes to help his team. He’s not the media whore everyone makes him out to be – he just happens to be one of the most scrutinized players in the league based on the mixed expectations of him coming into the league and his outspoken religious opinions. The media makes people famous – take that away, he’s just an average role player. Give him a few weeks with the “Patriot Way” and he’ll be an after thought, whether he performs or not. It’s a win-win either way.
Now it’s up to you – Is Tim Tebow good or bad for the Pats? Vote below!
Darrelle Revis is headed to Tampa Bay, pending a physical
Update 4:53 pm – Revis and the Bucs have agreed to a 6-year, $96 million contract, making Revis the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. Here’s the catch though – the deal contains ZERO guaranteed money. If Revis’ knee injury comes back to haunt him – done. If he runs his yapper too much and is a negative addition to the team – done. The Bucs can cut Revis without thinking twice, and are on the hook for ZERO DOLLARS. Arguably the most team friendly stipulation of a contract, ever.
The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to the parameters of a trade that would send star cornerback Darrelle Revis from New York to Tampa Bay. The deal is pending a physical and the Jets have officially given Revis permission to take a physical with the Tampa Bay this afternoon. Revis has also been negotiating a long-term contract extension with the Bucs. The parameters of the deal are reportedly set, with Tampa Bay sending their first round pick in this year’s draft, the 13th overall selection, to New York for the 27-year-old corner widely regarded as the best in the league.
Revis is only six months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee, and was just cleared to run last Monday. Revis has one year remaining on his current contract, and was seeking a yearly average of approximately $16 million in his new contract – money the struggling and likely rebuilding Jets chose not to pay their disgruntled star coming off major knee surgery.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole reported Sunday morning that the deal should be finalized by Sunday night or Monday morning.
The trade makes things a bit easier for the Patriots when playing their New York rivals twice a year, however the team will play the Buccaneers in their third game of the season, a Sunday afternoon game on FOX at home.
Revis won’t have to wait long to make his return to New York, either. The Jets play the Bucs at home to open the season, a Sunday afternoon game also on FOX.
Revis’ play will be sorely missed by the Jets, as they face some of the toughest quarterbacks in the league in Tom Brady (2x), Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco and Cam Newton this season.
A memoir to what could have been and how the 2012 Red Sox are the crack-baby everyone thought was going to be okay
“I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, You could cut ties with all the lies,That you’ve been living in, And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand” – Third Eye Blind knew the 2012 Red Sox way before we did
I’m a Resident Advisor at a small school north of Boston. It’s my job to know everyone in my own little wedge of our community. However, in about a month’s time, you can know just about everyone on campus and what they did last weekend. It’s an incredible community that I personally love and rely on, that holds every member accountable for their actions, that loves every member unequivocally, and, every so often, that gets a bit boring.
How could it not? Living in the northeast, the hustle and bustle of everyday life even outside of the city is normal. You get used to seeing the same faces during your routine, but you also know you’ll see a million new ones on a daily basis. It’s just how it works. But here, it’s never new. In just a few short weeks’ time, even new first year students get the drill and have figured out the routine. You know who you’ll see, when and where you’ll see them, and how to avoid them if you want to. You know you can avoid them today, but not forever; Any “out” you find is simply temporary. Every so often, you need a shake up, a fresh brew of faces compared to the stale, getting-cold-cup-of-coffee you drink every day (And to my friends and colleagues at school – I’m not calling you stale or cold, it’s just my analogy, roll with me here) (And to everyone else, the fact that I just had to say that somewhat proves my point, does it not?), which is why I love September. Every year, a fresh start rolls through. A whole new batch of first year students marches onto campus wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, rarin’ to go. As an Orientation Leader and Co-Senior Resident Advisor of an area that houses approximately 400 emotionally supercharged first years, right now I’m drinking a pretty damn good cup of metaphorical coffee.
During move-in this year, I jumped around from room to room, talking to parents, welcoming students, assuring everyone that I would take care of them, we’d have a blast, and simply that everything was going to be fine. One of my new residents in particular stood out though. This new student is from Chicago and was wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey with Kevin Youkilis’ name and number on the back. Suddenly, in the midst of me telling everyone it was going to be okay, I thought to myself “maybe it’s not”.
Of course, I was no longer thinking about my residents, but instantly trapped in an endless spiral of Red Sox-related panic. I had masked my emotions, guarding them from would-be naysayers all season long. But suddenly my worst fears and suspicions came crashing down: Not only did the team I loved abidingly suck, they were going to suck for a long time because of the snakes running the organization, the incompetent arrogance in their (in)ability to run the franchise, and the growing apathy of the overpaid, trapped, miserable athletes in the clubhouse.
A few months ago, I came up with a fairly accurate analogy of my emotions towards the Red Sox that I’m fairly certain I’ve beaten and continued to beat long after everyone got the point: The Red Sox were like my children.
I found baseball in 2003 as an 11 year old and instantly fell in love. The Red Sox could do no wrong in my book. I hated the Yankees for reasons I didn’t nearly understand yet, but I hated them relentlessly nonetheless. I was the proud new parent of a bouncing baby boy and no one could wipe the smile off of my face. In 2004 when Keith Foulke tossed the ball to Doug Meintkiewicz for the final out in the clinching game of the World Series, it was probably the greatest moment of my entire life . It was like my baby’s first steps, or their first day of school, or their first A+, or whatever other cliche you’d like to insert here. As the years passed, I grew prouder and prouder of the team I was raising. They won again in 2007 and I thought to myself “Hey, you’re doing this right. Good work”. Because, you know, being a fan means everything to your team’s success, right?
After their string of successes, they fell down. It was to be expected, and a great learning opportunity. Although some of them hurt (2008 ALCS Game 7, I’m talking to you), we pushed forward. At least that’s what I thought was going to happen. Then 2009 happened, kicked us in the face and other places where the sun doesn’t shine (thanks, Papelbon) and put things into perspective. Things were changing and not going to be the same anymore. Suddenly my bouncing baby boy who brought home A plus pluses was a teenager. As a parent, I had to act. I started to get everyone around me excited and became more engrossed in the fact my kid was a teenager than who he was as a person. The Sox brass pushed the sellout streak on us, marketed the Red Sox on bricks, named a sports company after our beloved ball park, later supported one of Boston’s biggest enemies (LeBron James), became part owners of a racing company (Roush-Fenway Racing) and bought a soccer team (Liverpool) all under that same sports company’s rule, and somewhere along the lines became everything we as Red Sox fans once hated: the New York Yankees. We outspent our competitors to overpay big names that put casual butts in seats. Other teams sat back and chuckled and said “Good, let them have him” (see: Crawford, Carl and Lackey, John). I was pushing extracurricular activities on my kid that he didn’t even remotely enjoy or deem necessary, just to try to keep him from harm or trouble. He was getting bored, apathetic, and, worst of all, resentful. My son started missing classes and disrupting the ones he went to. The Red Sox were missing the playoffs in 2010 and sending letters from the owners saying “we know something is wrong, but it’s going to be okay”. Then September 2011 happened. The Ultimate Collapse. For the first time, and probably not the last, my son came home in a cop car. “He should face charges”, the officer said, “but we know you. You’ve raised him well. He’s a good kid. We’ll give him one more chance”. Had I raised him well though?
Being a fan of the Red Sox in 2012 is like being the proud parent of a kid with so much promise who suddenly, as a teenager, turned to drugs. Sure, all the kids do it. That’s how they try to mask it. But it’s really not any better. I feel like the parent who is disappointed in my child and doesn’t know what more to do. Then I realized something: The Red Sox were never my baby. They were Tito and Theo’s, are now Ben and Bobby’s, and still are Larry and John’s. It isn’t my fault, and never was. I just loved them so much I thought it was. I’m just a diehard fan who thought being a fan could change everything. An innocent bystander on the outside looking in.
In a way, they were destined for their delve into drugs. Their parents are doing the hard stuff and have passed it on to their kid. We’d overlooked the challenge, thought they’d be different, could change.
And they still can. But not yet.
Their parents tried to shake things up, thinking maybe sending away who they perceived to be a troublesome friend (Kevin Youkilis) would help. They tried for a change of scenery and to do something drastic to mix up their kid’s life (The Dodgers Trade). So far, no good. Now it’s time to send them away, let someone else more capable use a fresh start to mend the issues our child has and that pain our every waking moment as innocent fanatic bystanders. There’s still hope somewhere down the line, right?
We can only hope.
Some fresh faces are needed right about now and, fortunately, the Patriots, Celtics and (God-willing) Bruins are right around the corner.
To the Red Sox,
I love you. I have since the moment we met, and I always will. But right now, this routine is getting a bit boring. I need a hot, new cup of coffee and a crisp, new set of faces. Know my out is only temporary and I’ll be keeping a careful, loving, watchful eye while we’re apart. I’ll see you in February. Good luck.