In this week's TMQ, Gregg Easterbrook spends 1,800 words on the Patriots being evil. This isn’t written in the guise of comedy or to be witty or something. Since GGAS recently moved our offices to New England, I’ll put this out there in the interest of full disclosure; I root for New England teams. Now I’ll balance that out with this: I’m not really an NFL fan. I enjoy watching the Patriots because they are good, not because they are “my team”, because they are not. Now, much of TMQ is essentially calling Bill Belichick and Tom Brady classless assholes who were running up the score against the Dolphins on Sunday and have been the NFL embodiment (on the field and off) of evil, while the Colts (specifically Dungy and Manning) represent all that is good. I have nothing against Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, but I just think Easterbrook's entire premise and arguments against the Patriots is silly.
To address the accusation of running up the score in yesterdays win against the Dolphins, he spends a lot of time on the logistics of the plays that were called to support his claims. Personally, I don’t give a shit if they were, but is it really a big issue today? It’s not like it was 63-0 and they continued to try to score. It just seems like a non-issue when you consider it was 42-7 at halftime and the final was 49-28. I mean, I got to think they’d be a little better about running up the score than to be outscored 21-7 in the second half.
It also makes little sense when you consider one of his “stats of the week:”
Stat of the Week No. 2: At one point, Tennessee led Houston 32-7 and held a 311-34 advantage in offensive yards, yet the Titans ended up needing a field goal on the final snap to win.
Look, the Patriots had a massive lead at halftime, and the odds of the Dolphins coming back were slim, but come-backs do happen. I think if Matt Cassel didn't get picked and the Dolphins weren't putting points on the board he would have finished off the game. Get over it. Oh no wait, write 1,800 words about it. Yeah, that makes more sense.
I’ll try to parse out some specific items that I thought were a little over the top/unfair.
Their coach, Tony Dungy, smiles in public and answers honestly whatever he is asked: He never yells at players or grimaces at bad plays and, when defeated, doesn't act as though it's the end of the world.
Okay, so that’s the mark of a “good” coach. So Red Auerbach, who yelled at his players on the court…he’s evil? Bobby Knight? That guy must be the devil. Doesn’t Peyton Manning yell at people from time to time and even (gasp) grimace after a bad play? Is this worth our time? Did Vince Lombardi, the man credited with “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” act like it was the end of the world when he lost (sounds like it)? These are rhetorical questions that I realize don’t directly address his point, that Tony Dungy is the embodiment of “good”, but is the antithesis of these acts really the embodiment of “evil”. That’s stupid.
The team has three Super Bowl triumphs, yet its players regularly whine about not being revered enough.
I honestly have to disagree. Other than the standard locker room fare that teams use to search for motivation (‘the other team is favored to win’ kind of stuff), I have never heard the mainstays on these Patriots teams (or the new players, since they joined the Patriots) whining about not being revered enough. If there are examples, then I’ll admit I’m wrong, because I’m not soaking up a ton of NFL media. But don’t say “regularly” without giving me one example.
The team's star, Tom Brady, is a smirking sybarite who dates actresses and supermodels but whose public charity appearances are infrequent. That constant smirk on Brady's face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, "I'm hiding something."
This is a very petty attack on Tom Brady. Let’s review:
Okay, I had to look up the word sybarite because I’m not as smart as Gregg Easterbrook, but dictionary.com defines it as the following: a person devoted to luxury and pleasure.
So we’re making an attack on Tom Brady for smirking - which implies that he’s going out of his way to put on a negative vibe - and apparently liking luxury and pleasure. What-fucking-ever man. I recommend you not study Tom Brady’s face so much.
Dates actresses and supermodels
So? Is that evil? What if he dated cheerleaders like the ones you pretend to like and post all over TMQ, to compensate for the fact that you are kind of a dork? Check it out! I like chicks too!
..but whose public charity appearances are infrequent.
True, Brady’s ratio of supermodels dated to charitable donations is pretty low. Evil!
That constant smirk on Brady's face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, "I'm hiding something."
What the fuck are you talking about? This is very irresponsible ad-hominem attacks in the name of being righteous. You can’t say “he smirks” and then leap to “he’s dishonest”. Gregg, your writing REAKS of pomposity and arrogance. That tells me that you’re an asshole. Is that fair?
The TMQ loves rhetorical questions. Let’s answer a few.
The New England players still might suffer some long-term harm from the cheating, though: Given the image New England is projecting, would you want Patriots' players endorsing your product?
I don’t think Tom Brady will have any trouble getting endorsements because of Belichick’s taping scandal. I see Patriots players advertising all sorts of shit in New England, and there really aren’t that many NFL stars involved in national ads, but Brady is one of them. So that’s bunk.
But if the Patriots are unfairly maligned, why the whole screw-you act they are staging?
If you were unfairly maligned, wouldn’t your mentality be of the “screw-you” variety? Mine would be. I peg you as saying:
Gregg: "I'm being unfairly maligned, but please please see that my heart is pure, and look at the ass on that one!"
Me: Gregg that's a man
Gregg: I like naked women!
If the Patriots were unfairly maligned, they'd be trying hard to convince us their hearts are pure, and that distinctly is not what they are doing.
Woah woah woah. Hearts are pure? Man I was kidding about that shit (okay I cheated). No, if a team is accused of cheating, they don’t then go out and play and try to barely win, but in a “our hearts are pure” kind of way. No. They try to win in a way that says, “do you see any cheating now, while I’m kicking your ass?” This is pretty simple.
But if the Patriots are so awesome they don't need to cheat, then why were they cheating in Week 1? The whole situation remains creepy. Should New England continue on and win the Super Bowl without a major attitude shift toward nice-guy behavior -- and should the year end without the NFL's ever explaining what New England evidence it destroyed or why -- there could be a huge amount of cynicism about this NFL season. Cynicism doesn't sell a sports product, nor is it what the NFL should be marketing to the young.
This is a great example of how Easterbrook can, in a passive way, make incredible leaps in logic that just make little sense. It’s a pretty innocent little set of sentences, but the statement that he’s making is pretty grandiose. I’ll just chime in and say that there won’t be a huge amount of cynicism if things play out with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, for precisely the reason why you are wrote those 1,800 words. They are kicking everyone’s ass, and letting it be known that they are the better team, regardless of what your opinions of them and the taping scandal are. I’m not sure why this is so difficult to understand.
This entire post is less than 1,400 words - he wrote 1,800 about the Patriots being evil. That's a little obsessive.