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This Take Just SINGED MY EYEBROWS

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1961+Topps+Whitey+FordAbove: CHEATER!  Smash Hall of Fame Plaque! Vacate World Series Championships Immediately!

Unfrozen Caveman Sportswriter Bill Plashcke, everyone:

It turns out, Tom Brady’s cellphone wasn’t the only thing that was destroyed.

So, too, was any remaining shard of belief in his competitive integrity, every last piece blown to smithereens with 10,000 text messages and one giant lie.

Does anybody still believe the NFL’s most celebrated player didn’t purposely deflate footballs in an attempt to gain an advantage during last season’s NFL playoffs?

Does anybody still think his legacy should not include the word “cheater”?

Brady was actually lucky Tuesday when the NFL upheld his four-game suspension. In the wake of the league’s accompanying revelation that Brady ordered the destruction of a cellphone that was one of the centerpieces of the investigation, he is fortunate Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t double the penalty to eight games. Or more.

THE CHEATER WAS LUCKY DADDY GOODELL DIDN’T SUSPEND HIM ALL OF THE GAMES.

Let us return to the Wells Report, for this rather crucial point:

It’s possible that the actual numbers suggest no tampering at all. Which could be the biggest problem with the 243-page report.

Here’s where we try (key word: try) to take something that’s pretty complicated and make it somewhat understandable.

First, the officials had two pressure gauges available — and those pressure gauges generated very different measurements.

One gauge had a Wilson logo on the back. The other didn’t. One had an obviously crooked needle. The other didn’t.

The gauge with the Wilson logo and the longer, crooked needle typically generated higher readings, in the range of 0.3 to 0.45 PSI.

The measurements taken at halftime of the AFC title game by the two available gauges demonstrated this reality. Here’s the gap in PSI for each of the 11 Patriots footballs, based on the two gauges: (1) 0.3 PSI; (2) 0.35 PSI; (3) 0.35 PSI; (4) 0.3 PSI; (5) 0.35 PSI; (6) 0.35 PSI; (7) 0.45 PSI; (8) 0.45 PSI; (9) 0.4 PSI; (10) 0.4 PSI; and (11) 0.45 PSI.

Second, referee Walt Anderson doesn’t recall which gauge he used to measure PSI at the start of the game.

The absence of a documentation regarding the air pressure in the Patriots footballs prior to kickoff can be justified by Anderson’s clear recollection that he ensured each ball was set to 12.5 PSI. However, Anderson doesn’t clearly recall whether he used the gauge that generates the higher measurement or the one that generates the lower measurement.

This is important, of course, because the evidence that the Patriots were using underinflated balls is rather underwhelming. And second, it makes clear that everyone considered the rulebook inflation levels a trivial issue before an organization tired of repeatedly getting the crap beaten out of it by a much better team decided to whine about it. (Although, in fairness, the time they spent whining about the inflation levels of footballs in a game they lost 385-7 was time they weren’t spending trading first-round picks for sub-replacement-level running backs, so perhaps it reflects a determination to do something to improve the team that doesn’t involve falling ass-backwards into Andrew Luck.) The refs can’t even be bothered to measure the levels of the footballs correctly, and we’re going to pretend that this is an offense serious enough to warrant a 4-game suspension and forfeited first round draft picks, rather than the fine the rules actually mandate? And Brady should get an extra four games because he wouldn’t allow the league to go on a fishing expedition through his cell phone because it didn’t have the goods to prove that he even committed the offense for which he was given a vastly disproportionate punishment? Please.

Would I be surprised to find out that Brady sought an edge by using footballs inflated to under the legal limit? Of course not. And also, offensive linemen who try to get away with marginal holds are worse than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot put together and should have CHEATER branded on their foreheads. Can I have my LA Times column now please?

[Via]

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  • I tried, and failed, to read that. My eyes rolled far up into my head, and I had to stop.

  • FMguru

    They had so much with that Plaschke piece on this week’s Deadcast.

    • FMguru

      So much FUN, that is.

  • mikeSchilling

    Your choice of graphic implies that no one cares about his doctoring the ball, but Michelle Obama is mad as hell about it.

    • Manju

      I swear to fucking god i was going to do a Flotus whitey tape joke so damn you. i blame hillary.

      • Manny Kant

        Good god, the whitey tape! I had completely forgotten about that. Wasn’t that when Larry Johnson proved himself to be a completely untrustworthy nutjob? What ever happened to him?

        • Manju

          I’m afraid to look into this…out of fear that he has become a Republican. But I took a quick look at his blog anyways (No Quarter). These are his headlines:

          More Butchering Babies for Dollars
          Larry Johnson –
          Thursday, 30 July 2015

          The Shameful Killing of Osama Bin Laden
          Larry Johnson –
          Wednesday, 29 July 2015

          The Horror of Planned Parenthood Grows
          Larry Johnson –
          Wednesday, 29 July 2015

          Money for Nothing, Chicks for Free, Jonathan Pollard

          I did not have the stomach to go further.

          • Was Johnson ever a liberal? I guess maybe he was a Democrat, but my recollection was that he mostly made common cause with liberals over the Valerie Plame thing and other Bush outrages.

            • Manju

              I dunno. But if Lee Atwater and J.William Fulbright ever had a baby, Larry Johnson would be it.

              • Scott Lemieux

                That’s one sex tape I’d prefer not to be leaked.

  • Isn’t that Yankee’s name spelled “YT Ford”?

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    Does anybody believe Plashcke wasn’t permanently scarred by learning Santa Claus and/or the Easter Bunny aren’t real?

    • Old No.38

      Shh… don’t tell him. He still doesn’t know.

  • MattT

    When I lived in LA, Plashcke was just the local village idiot. I didn’t realize until recently that he’d become the whole nation’s village idiot.

    • EliHawk

      It’s worth pointing out though that if he’s still on Around the Horn, he’s not even in the top half of Village Idiots on the show.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Round the Horne is still on? But Kenneth’s been dead for 46 years

  • I’m surprised this story still has any legs.

    Or balls.

    Whatever.

  • Kurzleg

    Not defending Plaschke here, but over the years I’ve watched numerous games involving the Patriots, and on a number of occasions I was struck by how oblong the ball looked in Brady’s hands, as if the middle was soft enough that air was being pushed to the ends. It didn’t seem as pointed as the balls normally do. The evidence for tampering that exists now may be inconclusive, but I won’t be totally surprised if other evidence comes to light proving the tampering charges.

    • richard mayhew

      Speaking as a soccer referee, visibly telling the difference between an 11.5 PSI ball and a 12.5 PSI ball by the squeeze test at any distance greater than arm’s length is bullshit. I can tell you by squeezing that one ball is a little bit lighter than the other, but I am barely able to identify the different indent depth as I squeeze a ball during pre-game.

      I can tell you the difference between a 9 PSI ball and a 12.5 PSI ball, I can tell you how a 7 PSI ball feels but you’re not seeing the difference on TV.

    • marduk

      Confirmation bias at work.

      • Kurzleg

        All I can say is that I got this impression long before Inflategate entered the picture. It could certainly be a mistaken impression, but it’s something that stood out to me.

        • Kurzleg

          I see it’s termed Deflate-gate, which shows how much attention I’ve been paying to it.

          • cpinva

            I’d say equal to the attention you pay to the ball, while it’s being squeezed, during a game, which would be close to zero. because the average fan pays little attention to the ball itself, while it’s not in play.

      • njorl

        I blame the chrism.

  • jroth95

    And second, it makes clear that everyone considered the rulebook inflation levels a trivial issue before an organization tired of repeatedly getting the crap beaten out of it by a much better team decided to whine about it.

    Or before an organization with a well-documented history of pushing the edges of what’s legal and generally accepted in the NFL figured out that they could gain substantial advantage by systematically doing so. Note that Scott offers zero evidence that underinflation offers no advantage, just smirking mockery of the loser team that lost one game. Is there statistical evidence that Patriot fumble rates were unusually low for several seasons before this game, in a manner consistent with what anyone who’s ever handled a football would recognize? Yes. Does Scott address it? Of course not, because tendentious argument is his forte, especially when defending cheaters, his only true rooting interest in sport.

    By Scott’s logic, no one should care about the CDOs that brought down the US economy, because if anyone thought they were important, they would have been stringently regulated before 2007. Plaschke == Barney Frank in this case, and the whining losers are the people who lost their houses. Losers!

    • EliHawk

      Call it the Deadspin Corollary: Deriding hot takes as “HOT TAKE! SO DUMB!” is itself a Hot Take.

    • Kurzleg

      Is there statistical evidence that Patriot fumble rates were unusually low for several seasons before this game, in a manner consistent with what anyone who’s ever handled a football would recognize? Yes.

      I was wondering about that but was too lazy to check into it. Do you have a link?

      • richard mayhew

        Nate Silver at 538 looked at the claim that the Patriots fumbled at an unusually low rate and found nothing there besides amazingly questionable statistical/analytical choices used to produce the headline result:

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/your-guide-to-deflate-gateballghazi-related-statistical-analyses/

        ■The harshest counterargument belonged to data scientist Drew Fustin. Fustin challenged Sharp’s choice to exclude dome teams (Sharp’s own post says outdoor teams barely fumble more often than those based in domes), instead looking at fumble rates across all teams in outdoor games only — whereupon the Patriots don’t even rank first in the NFL at fumble avoidance over the 2010-2014 period. He also questions whether Sharp’s decision to use that 2010-14 period was a case of cherry-picking the timeframe that would make the Patriots look most like an extreme outlier.

        • marduk

          The point Nate doesn’t mention is that if you count fumbles overall instead of just counting fumbles LOST the pats aren’t outliers at all- they’re not even first in the league over the time period in question. In other words, they’re really good at recovering their own fumbles- something that ball inflation couldn’t possibly affect.

          • No, but if they have magnets embedded in the balls used at Foxboro and magnets in their sleeves…

    • McAllen

      Is there statistical evidence that Patriot fumble rates were unusually low for several seasons before this game, in a manner consistent with what anyone who’s ever handled a football would recognize? Yes

      Is there evidence that this is due to under-inflated balls, rather than due to the Patriots being very good?

      • gmack

        Neither, actually. See richard mayhew’s link to Nate Silver’s post above.

      • timb

        EVERY RB the Pats played with? All 137? They have 6 new guys every game (thus proving RB’s are essentially interchangeable)?

    • Vance Maverick

      By Scott’s logic, no one should care about the CDOs that brought down the US economy, because if anyone thought they were important, they would have been stringently regulated before 2007.

      You’re blurring the distinction between two kinds of “caring”. We can talk about whether a thing is wrong, and also, independently, talk about whether it violates the rules. This goes for both finance and football.

    • Bob

      Note that Scott offers zero evidence that underinflation offers no advantage,…

      Underinflation -like overinflation – offers both advantages and disadvantages. In the case of underinflation yes – on short passes the ball is easier to catch and you could expect a slight reduction in fumbles. However it also takes distance off the QB’s longest throws and makes long passes less accurate.
      Yet somehow the 2006 rule change led to the Patriots signing Randy Moss in 2007 and going vertical in their passing game with great success.
      Brady’s long game has improved over the years. How he’s done that while switching to underinflated balls is something the “he cheated” crowd needs to explain.

      • Kurzleg

        Underinflation -like overinflation – offers both advantages and disadvantages. In the case of underinflation yes – on short passes the ball is easier to catch and you could expect a slight reduction in fumbles. However it also takes distance off the QB’s longest throws and makes long passes less accurate.

        This would seem to require some explanation as well.

        • wjts

          The argument seems plausible on its face. You can throw a baseball farther and more accurately than you can a whiffle ball, and I’d bet that the difference in density has a lot to do with that. Similarly, it’s easier to catch a squishier, less inflated kickball than a harder, fully inflated soccer ball.

        • dave

          Its been tested.

    • Tom Till

      First half, with “substantial advantage”, Patriots-17 Colts-7.

      Second half, no “substantial advantage” after Colts whining/referees discovering Patriots crimes against humanity, Patriots-28 Colts-0.

      Clearly the Colts’ problem was the other team slightly deflating the football (if they even did, which is arguable at best).

      • mikeSchilling

        We’re really going to extrapolate from the result of one game?

        Fine. Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Signing Zito to a 7-year contract was a masterstroke, and Verlander sucked.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Look, given that the Partiots were given a punishment far beyond what the rules called for — and, remember, the 4 games and the 1st rounder were imposed before the NFL knew that Brady destroyed his cell phone — the burden of poof is on you to show that slightly underinflated footballs produce some massive, unique advantage.

          • mikeSchilling

            No, I can point out that an argument is stupid without taking sides on the larger issue.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Given that they’re being punished for allegedly having a huge advantage in one particular game, the fact that the game results do not show any such advantage is relevant. Not dispositive, but relevant.

          • jamesjhare

            Brady had already failed to cooperate fully with an investigation into possible on-field misconduct. I’m as squeamish as the next guy about the NFL running a quasi-judicial punishment arm for off-field conduct but the league is the only organization that can successfully police on-field misconduct. Brady could easily have cooperated with the investigation but he decided to play games by refusing to cooperate and pretending it was about privacy. As such the league was forced to draw an adverse inference about the information he withheld.

            The obstruction is the real issue — if the league tolerates the obstruction here they’re making it impossible to effectively investigate future misconduct that may be more damaging to the integrity of the game. Brady claimed he didn’t want to set a bad precedent. Neither did the league and in the balance the league had a greater interest to protect — the ongoing viability of the league versus Brady’s puffed-up “privacy” concerns.

            • Manny Kant

              If they can’t even actually show to any reasonable standard of proof that the balls were under-inflated, it’s hard for me to understand why they should be able to go on a fishing expedition through Brady’s private communications.

            • Scott Lemieux

              the ongoing viability of the league versus Brady’s puffed-up “privacy” concerns.

              Every authoritarian justification for ignoring due process in a nutshell, everyone! (Also, the idea that the “viability of the NFL” rests on the commissioner having the unfettered discretion to look through people’s cell phones in pursuit of evidence for trivial rules violations is rich.)

            • Ahuitzotl

              What are the odds that any embarassing but completely irrelevant texts will remain private after the NFL has the phone in their hands? 1 in 20? 1 in 100? I’d say destroying his phone is both appropriate and necessary.

    • Scott Lemieux


      organization with a well-documented history of pushing the edges of what’s legal and generally accepted in the NFL figured out that they could gain substantial advantage

      Evidence both that the Patriots gained a “substantial advantage” and that the Patriots were the only organization to do so omitted, for obvious reasons.

      Note that Scott offers zero evidence that underinflation offers no advantage

      I’m not sure why I would, since I didn’t argue it.

      Is there statistical evidence that Patriot fumble rates were unusually low for several seasons before this game, in a manner consistent with what anyone who’s ever handled a football would recognize?

      Those stats are, of course, complete and utter crap, but the fact that you would cite them demonstrates that you’re interested in tendentious moralism, not evidence.

      Of course not, because tendentious argument is his forte

      Heal thyself!


      his only true rooting interest in sport.

      Oh, fuck off.

      By Scott’s logic, no one should care about the CDOs that brought down the US economy, because if anyone thought they were important, they would have been stringently regulated before 2007. Plaschke == Barney Frank in this case, and the whining losers are the people who lost their houses. Losers!

      Footballs that may or may not have been underinflated caused the NFL equivalent of the financial crisis! Hackiness doesn’t get much hackier than that. But I’d be careful — where are you going to do if it’s discovered that Julian Edelman used PEDs? The Rwandan genocide?

    • Brien Jackson

      Is there statistical evidence that Patriot fumble rates were unusually low for several seasons before this game, in a manner consistent with what anyone who’s ever handled a football would recognize? Yes. Does Scott address it? Of course not, because tendentious argument is his forte, especially when defending cheaters, his only true rooting interest in sport.

      I guess it’s pissing in the wind to note that this vaunted “study” has both been discredited and didn’t show the Patriots to be THAT excptional even on its own terms?

      • Scott Lemieux

        If only you had JRoth’s dispassionate analytical mind, you’d find that this amateur-hour cherrypicking is COMPELLING EVIDENCE that the balls the NFL couldn’t even prove were underinflated because nobody gave a damn was a scandal of HUGE NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.

    • Four Krustys

      “defending cheaters, his only true rooting interest in sport.”

      This is the Minnesota hotdish of hot takes. Cooked for four hours, completely devoid of spice.

    • cpinva

      assuming correlation = causation is a pathetic way to go through life son. a reduction of the # of fumbles, from prior year’s #’s, can be the result of many things, the inflation level of the ball probably least among them. most likely, players who handle the ball probably spent extra practice time learning how to do a better job of holding on to it. covering it with both arms and hands is the single most effective method of reducing fumbles. unfortunately, running backs and wide receivers all want to be on the Wheaties box, with the ball in one hand, the other out stiff-arming a would be tackler. this is called a fumble, just looking for a place to happen.

  • Crusty

    Everyone does it and who cares anyway, what’s the big deal has never been a good argument for or against anything.

    • John F

      Quite frequently it has been a good argument, it’s even recognized by law in some respects, for instance selective prosecution can be a defense when someone is singled out for an offense that no one else is ever prospecuted for

      • Crusty

        It is extremely rare that selective prosecution is an effective defense. And much of our criminal and/or regulatory system is based on the opposite premise- the government and agencies selectively prosecute so as to deter. Prosecuting every violation would be impossible.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Prosecuting every violation would be impossible.

          Which, needless to say, doesn’t justify singling out one offender for a punishment far beyond what the rules call for even though the evidence that they even committed the offense is weak.

          • jamesjhare

            The rules leave punishments for conduct detrimental to the league almost entirely up to the commissioner’s discretion. That’s the contract the players signed. The NFLPA is the biggest joke in sports.

        • advocatethis

          In labor relations in a collective bargaining environment, though, selective prosecution is a very effective defense. It’s one of the elements you want to address when determining whether there was due process. This is just one of the many examples in this particular case where due process doesn’t exist, that from the start the league has just been winging it, that this action has been arbitrary and capricious.

      • Jonas

        We know this isn’t selective prosecution because the Colts were also punished for having 3 footballs below the minimum pressure standards (out of only 4 that were measured). Weren’t they?

        • nixnutz

          And they also lost a first-round draft pick? I’m not sure which side of the argument you’re taking.

          • Jonas

            Dude, the Colts weren’t punished despite there being evidence of underinflated balls. They weren’t even investigated.

        • njorl

          All 4 Colts’ balls tested fell in the accepted range with one of the gauges. The other gauge measured 3 of the 4 balls as very slightly below pressure. The NFL had no prayer of making a case against the Colts.

        • dave

          Also, the rules specifically prohibit teams from using the game balls in practices prior to the game. The Colts admitted that this is their standard practice.

          Guess whether the Colts will be punished for this clear admitted violation.

    • nixnutz

      Rules are made to be selectively enforced against people I don’t like, and then maybe throw in a couple unwritten rules while we’re at it if we don’t like their attitude. It’s a trivial issue but it exposes genuinely fucked-up attitudes among people.

  • John F

    Not defending Plaschke here

    Defending or trying to defend Plaschke is a crime against humanity, he’s awful…

    That being said, Scott’s defense of Brady is kind of like Bill James’ defense of Rose- except what Rose did was so vastly far worse to the game’s integrity than what Brady is accused of…

    I’d stick with the proportionality argument. sure Brady cheated/intended to cheat, denying that impairs your credibility, but the form of cheating was so chickenshit, on par with putting stickum on your hands, Vaseline on your shirt, cork in your bat…. 4 games, a draft pick????

    • timb

      He should get 4 games for lying and destroying the phone (and because I have really come to loathe him. Used to respect the talent, now, even that’s gone). The Pats should not suffer a draft pick. Just because they are an organization who likes to cheat doesn’t mean they had any part in this.

      • Scott Lemieux

        and because I have really come to loathe him.

        But certainly the calls for him to get a vastly disproportionate suspension are in no way arbitrary or selective.

        • angrifon

          Let’s be completely objective here. Tom Brady deserves his suspension because Fuck Tom Brady.

          In all seriousness, though. While I have not been paying enough attention to this issue (obviously, because Fuck Tom Brady), it seems to me that a suspension would be warranted for the deliberate destruction of evidence. And while that revelation seems to have been subsequent to the announcement of the punishment, I have to believe that either someone had that information early and factored it into the punishment decision, or, more likely, Karma is a bitch and Fuck Tom Brady.

          Fin.

          • Hogan

            it seems to me that a suspension would be warranted for the deliberate destruction of evidence.

            First you would have to establish that what was destroyed was in fact evidence.

          • dave

            It wasn’t evidence. They never asked for the phone. They asked for phone records. He said no, then he “destroyed” his phone.

            Then he provided phone records.

            Then they decided the “destruction” of the phone they never asked for (and were never going to get) was a problem.

          • marduk

            There was no destruction of evidence.

            Wells never asked for Tom Brady’s cellphone and didn’t require it. “Keep the phone,” Wells told Brady and his agent. He insisted his investigation was thorough without it. “I don’t think it undermines in any way the conclusions of the report,” he said. Those were his exact words.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/the-nfls-basic-due-process-is-the-real-issue-in-the-deflategate-controversy/2015/07/30/ebda3b02-3666-11e5-9d0f-7865a67390ee_story.html

        • jamesjhare

          The Republican House of Representatives impeached a twice-elected sitting president for less.

          • Hogan

            If you’re comparing Goodell to Starr and Gingrich, I completely agree.

            • cpinva

              I think Goodell should be fined $10,000,000, just for being the worst commissioner, in the history of commissioners. that, and a draft pick.

              • Ahuitzotl

                well, perhaps a nose pick

    • ColBatGuano

      sure Brady cheated/intended to cheat, denying that impairs your credibility, but the form of cheating was so chickenshit

      I’d just stop there. I’m not even sure why the NFL has rules about inflation. If underinflating the balls helps a team and each team is providing their own balls, then why not? Aaron Rodgers says he likes his overinflated. Got nuts Mr. Rodgers I say.

  • Todd

    The real problem is there just isn’t any actual evidence that anyone intentionally underinflated footballs before or during the game. A Patriots’ employee took a bag of approved balls into a bathroom for 100+ seconds, which is a violation of protocol. But neither in the Welles report nor in the subsequent statements of the Commissioner in levying the fines and suspensions was any evidence of ball tampering provided. The entire focus was on the level of cooperation regarding the perusal of personal text messages.

    • Crusty

      I’d like to have you on my jury.

    • dave

      The evidence is as follows:

      1. Rumor that Patriots do this
      2. Complaint by Colts
      3. Useless “scientific evidence” that could go either way
      4. Text were equipment guy refers to self as deflator (during the offseason)
      5. Brady’s (temporary) refusal to provide cell phone records.

      That’s it.

  • Falstaff

    I have to say, as a casual sportsfan — albeit one who hates watching American football and loves watching rugby, American expat in Australia that I am — this entire scandal has mystified the hell out of me from the beginning.

    It’s sort of like how it took me months to figure out what the “moops” thing was referring to. (I always hated “Seinfeld.” Apart from the Soup Nazi, it never did anything for me.) I guess what I don’t understand is — well, what’s the argument here? That the Patriots cheated, but that shouldn’t matter because the rule is stupid? Or that they didn’t cheat at all, or that they did, but who gives a good goddamn?

    I mean, I’m confused enough by more straightforward cheating scandals like Barry Bonds’ and Pete Rose’s. I actually went and registered so I could note my own complete mystification with this stuff.

    Basically, what I’m trying to ask is, I read the article and — as someone who doesn’t follow American football — it seems perfectly straightforward to me and I don’t get why Scott feels the need to mock it. (If this was about basketball or hockey maybe I’d understand. I dunno.) Can someone maybe enlighten me or, failing that, point me someplace where I can educate myself?

    • Lee Rudolph

      Can someone maybe enlighten me or, failing that, point me someplace where I can educate myself?

      After long observation, I have concluded that one cannot be educated into caring about American football, one can only be indoctrinated into it.

      • Falstaff

        That is both damn witty and almost certainly true.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I have concluded that one cannot be educated into caring about American football, one can only be indoctrinated into it.

        “When people like what I like, they’re learning the truth, but when people like what I don’t like, they’re brainwashed.” What self-aggrandizing twaddle.

        • cpinva

          ““When people like what I like, they’re learning the truth, but when people like what I don’t like, they’re brainwashed.” What self-aggrandizing twaddle.”

          have we changed subjects, to the GOP platform?

    • Crusty

      You’ve got it correct. No further education required.

    • Scott Lemieux

      straightforward cheating scandals like Barry Bonds’ and Pete Rose’s.

      You don’t understand either case. Bonds didn’t cheat in any meaningful sense — what he did wasn’t against the rules. Rose certainly broke rules but I wouldn’t call what he did “cheating.”

      • Falstaff

        Rose certainly broke rules but I wouldn’t call what he did “cheating.”

        I suppose not. But hang on a minute — and here’s where I note again that I’m only a casual sportsfan; a lot of what I know about these things come from what’s written… well, here, and the occasional article by Pierce at Esquire or Grantland. You say,

        Bonds didn’t cheat in any meaningful sense — what he did wasn’t against the rules.

        Now, I’m asking this question honestly, because I’m really not familiar with the intricacies of the sport — my interest in baseball is pretty much limited to seeing if the Red Sox and the Mets won their last game, and if so yay, and if not aw too bad. (Also in seeing if the Yankees lost, because — you know, screw those guys.)

        But… I mean, I thought that what Bonds did, and I’m sorry if I’m wrong here, but I thought the whole thing was that he used a substance to improve his body and thereby his performance. Isn’t that against the rules — the spirit, if not the letter? Even if the specific substance wasn’t banned? This is an honest question here, I’m not trying to troll.

        This is the thing that I keep coming back to in all these cases when I read people writing about how the various scandals that involve rulebreaking shouldn’t be scandals because they don’t matter. Even if the rules are stupid, aren’t the people involved obligated to follow them, because they’re the rules? This genuinely confuses the hell out of me.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Isn’t that against the rules

          No. I mean, it is now, but not when Bonds did it.

          Also, the idea that there’s some implicit generalized prohibition on “using substances” to improve performance is absurd. Even now, what performance-enhancing training and substances are legal and what aren’t is largely arbitrary.

          • Falstaff

            [W]hat performance-enhancing training and substances are legal and what aren’t is largely arbitrary.

            Huh. Well, that’s stupid. Seems like the sort of thing you’d want as specified as possible.

            I think this explains — I mean, I don’t particularly enjoy being told that I don’t understand things or that something I thought was absurd, but this certainly clears up a lot of my confusion about the various hoo-hahs over performance-enhancing training and substances. I’d been under the impression that once, there was no use of such things — beyond, you know, painkillers, massages, use of a weightroom, standard team training and the like — and that sometime around the ’80s, there was some kind of explosion of special drugs intended to make athletes perform better. It’s not something I ever devoted much thought to… which I should’ve, obviously, because typing it out like that does make it fairly obvious what a dumb concept it is. Oh, well.

            Thanks very much for clearing that up for me, Scott.

            • jamesjhare

              The widespread use of cortisone injections in most sports leagues puts the lie to any concern about performance enhancing drugs.

              • cpinva

                cortisone isn’t an “enhancing” drug, in the PED sense of the term. its purpose is to reduce severe inflammation, enabling a player to perform without, or with minimal pain. it doesn’t improve their performance, from what is was before. steroids enhance performance, by allowing an athlete to generate muscle beyond that which they would normally be able to do. of course, it also shrinks your balls, affecting your sex life, which I believe is the actual cause of ‘roid rage.

                • So you’re saying the Patriots injected their balls with cortisone? There’s a new theory.

          • snarkout

            See the discussion of Jeff Bagwell, cheater, much of which rests on his (admitted) use of andro in the late ’90s; andro was not forbidden by the MLB until 2004 and was such a controlled substance that you could buy it at the GNC at any strip mall in America, but zomg steroids.

            • Falstaff

              Huh.

              Man, that’s just weird. I just always assumed there was some kind of blanket ban on any kind of performance-enhancing substance — otherwise, why would everyone be getting so hysterical?

              • snarkout

                It was forbidden by (IIRC) the International Olympics Committee and maybe the NFL starting in the late ’90s, but nope, no blanket ban. (How would that even work? Andro wasn’t a controlled substance at the time — it could be bought without a prescription at vitamin stores, like creatine or whey powder. I’m not sure how you write a blanket ban that can nonetheless distinguish between andro and fish oil pills.)

                • Falstaff

                  …wouldn’t you just have it say “take no performance-enhancing substances whatsoever” and list the punishments for breaking the rule?

                  But yes, I get that andro wasn’t a controlled substance at the time, that it was freely available, all of that. My confusion stemmed from the way I remember people reacting and the way I see them reacting now, as if the very idea of any kind of substance that enhances an athlete’s abilities is antithetical to honest sportsmanship.

                  Which is sort of how I feel about it, but given — well, it’s like you say, it’s so difficult to enforce something so broad that you might as well not bother.

                • snarkout

                  Right, but then you get into the question of what’s you call a performance enhancing substance. Synthetic testosterone? Creatine? Glutamine pills? Multivitamins? Muscle Milk? Pea protein? Lean cuts of meat? Obviously there’s a line in there somewhere but leaving it to random arbitrator judgment seems like a terrible idea.

                • Hogan

                  “take no performance-enhancing substances whatsoever”

                  No protein shakes? No caffeine?

                • Denverite

                  The IOC tests for excessive caffeine levels. Athletes are keenly aware of what the legal limits are and will dose accordingly. Most will do so with pills, as it’s difficult to know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee.

                  (The biggest benefit to caffeine is that it reduces perceived exertion levels — you can run faster and feel like you’re exerting less energy.)

                • mpowell

                  Falstaff, I should hope it is clear to you by now that there is no such thing as a simple definition of a performance-enhancing substance? Without a definition, food itself is a performance-enhancing substance and, sorry, but really it is. There is no way to define what counts vs what doesn’t unless you just have a list. Just for my own fitness purposes I’ve taken things people wouldn’t normally consider food, some things that clearly go in food but are there only for the health benefits, and some things that are simply healthy foods (some of which are tasty, some not). There is no obvious line, which itself is obvious if you have spent any time seriously looking at what you are putting into your body for health or training purposes.

              • DrS

                I just always assumed there was some kind of blanket ban on any kind of performance-enhancing substance

                A pretty clear definition for “substance” is available, but what does “performance enhancing” mean? Further, is there an issue with enhancing performance? No, or there really shouldn’t be unless we are going to start mandating that players must all eat and exercise like Babe Ruth.

                • DrS

                  mandating that players must all eat and exercise like Babe Ruth.

                  Actually, looking at the majority of sportswriters that have such a hate-on for these players, I think this might be exactly the point.

                • liberalrob

                  So sports should be about who has access to the best chemists?

            • advocatethis

              Yes, in fact during the great Sosa/McGwire home run chase McGwire was frequently interviewed after games in front of his locker with Andro clearly in view on a shelf in his locker. There was no reason to hide what wasn’t against the rules.

              • cpinva

                “So sports should be about who has access to the best chemists?”

                it has been since the first recorded Olympic games, why stop now? of course, chemists have gotten much more sophisticated since then, and goat shit hasn’t been an ingredient in PEDS in many, many years.

          • liberalrob

            According to Wikipedia:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doping_in_baseball

            Steroids finally made it to baseball’s banned substance list in 1991, however testing for major league players did not begin until the 2003 season.

            “Steroids” is a broad term that may or may not encompass the substances Bonds was taking (I happen to think that it does). However, the perception of gaining an “unfair” advantage via chemistry vs. those who eschewed such means is what’s important here. Just as there is nothing explicitly illegal about participants betting on baseball games yet that is perceived to threaten the integrity of the game, so does usage of performance-enhancing drugs threaten it. As a matter of law it may be largely arbitrary, and Bonds may have been within his rights to take the same substances many others were taking; as a matter of sportsmanship it was and is a violation of the spirit of competition, and as a fan I’m glad it has received the negative attention that it has gotten.

            • snarkout

              Right, but andro (specifically) wasn’t banned until 2004: http://amarillo.com/stories/2004/06/27/col_bansandro.shtml

              Scott has a line of argument about how the lack of testing and penalties for anabolic steroids in baseball amounted to a de facto condonation policy, which is a separate issue, although one that’s plausibly analogous to Deflategate.

              • liberalrob

                Oh, I’m sure it was condoned. No question in my mind. The owners could care less about the integrity of the game as long as it doesn’t impact their bottom line, and the more balls left the parks the more people came to buy overpriced beer and watch. That doesn’t excuse the use of banned substances, if it occurred, and it doesn’t excuse the use of PEDs legal or not. The only way it could have been fair would be if all players were given the same information and access to the substances in question; and despite the widespread use of PEDs, I don’t think that was the case. Some (many) players had that knowledge and access, and some did not.

                I realize that Lemieux is making a legalistic argument. I don’t necessarily disagree; purely as a matter of law it may be the case that what Bonds and others were doing was legal, depending on whether they were using substances on the banned list or not. I think it’s hard to argue convincingly that lack of enforcement and/or outright condonation is exculpatory, however. The letter of the law is the letter of the law. The fact that cops let people drive 70 in a 65 and everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean we’re not speeding. We are.

                Bonds was suspected of taking a lot more than just Andro.

            • cpinva

              “as a matter of sportsmanship it was and is a violation of the spirit of competition, and as a fan I’m glad it has received the negative attention that it has gotten.”

              ok, this is almost too funny for words. “sportsmanship”, as the Olympic ideal, only ever existed as that, an ideal, propounded by men who were not, themselves, competitive athletes. once tangible rewards for winning made the scene (see: Olympics, first), sportsmanship flew out the window. while the game organizers only awarded the crown of laurel to event winners, their home towns feted and rewarded them as heroes.

    • Manny Kant

      I think the argument is “the Patriots may very well have cheated, but the NFL’s investigation has not actually proven this to any reasonable standard, and the penalties they have meted out for this very poorly proven cheating are very much more severe than the rules actually call for.”

      • Falstaff

        Now, see, that makes sense to me. Thanks very much!

        • rea

          These are really labor law procedural posts rather than football posts.

  • SgtGymBunny

    One gauge had a Wilson logo on the back. The other didn’t. One had an obviously crooked needle. The other didn’t.

    The gauge with the Wilson logo and the longer, crooked needle typically generated higher readings, in the range of 0.3 to 0.45 PSI.

    My takeaway: They make a eleventy billion dollars and can’t afford a gauge without a crooked needle???? …not that I really care… Anywhos!

    • Todd

      Why spend money on quality gauges? Before a league official called down to the field officials at some point in the second quarter of the AFC Championship game, no one in the NFL had ever cared if a football checked at halftime was slightly over or under inflated.

      • medrawt

        I can’t even comprehensively talk about this because I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, but please note that the ENTIRETY of the “proof” that the Patriots were engaged in improperly deflating the footballs after the referee approved them comes down to:

        The supposition that both the Patriots and the Colts must have prepared the balls using brand new and highly accurate gauges. AFAIK no evidence is actually offered in the Wells report to support this supposition. The logic is that we know the Pats wanted to deliver balls at 12.5 and the Colts at 13.0. The referee’s recollection is that when he measured the balls as delivered, that’s more or less what he found. So the gauge he used must have been comparable to the gauges used by the teams. If we trust his memory to be this precise, which the Wells report does. But the Wells report doesn’t trust his recollection as to which gauge he used, because he had two of them. The one he said he thought he used (the “Logo gauge”), when used at halftime to re-measure the balls (when they bothered to actually write down the results) showed levels of deflation (relative to the supposed 12.5 baseline) in line with what would be predicted by the ideal gas law. The “non-Logo gauge” is the one that showed excessive deflation. So the referee must have used the non-Logo gauge, says the Wells report.

        Wait, what?

        Because the non-Logo gauge was objectively more accurate – probably it was newer. The science team working on the report bought a bunch of gauges and determined that usage over time degrades their accuracy. The non-Logo gauge was more accurate. *And the Pats and Colts were probably using the most accurate gauges possible, replacing them every few months to keep them fresh.* So if their accurate gauges showed 12.5 and 13.0, and the gauge the ref used showed 12.5 and 13.0, then the ref must have been using the more accurate gauge, the non-Logo gauge, which then indicated excessive deflation.

        * In case you missed it, this supposition is the entirety of the evidence that the balls were improperly deflated. Without the context created by this supposition, everything else is meaningless.

        • timb

          This explains why Pats equipment men admitted to deflating balls, because they believed this supposition

          • medrawt

            The Pats equipment men admitted to deflating balls after giving them to the referees?

          • marduk

            Well, that’s news to everyone. You should probably report that to the league.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Before a league official called down to the field officials at some point in the second quarter of the AFC Championship game, no one in the NFL had ever cared if a football checked at halftime was slightly over or under inflated.

        But retroactively determining that the offense that wasn’t actually proven was one of immense importance wasn’t at all arbitrary or capricious!

        • liberalrob

          Roger Goodell has determined that Roger Goodell acted properly and within Roger Goodell’s authority as Commissioner.

          I wonder if this is more about some owner(s) trying to screw over Robert Kraft than anything else. There are in fact cliques within the NFL ownership…rich boys playing with their toys.

    • ASV

      You don’t make eleventy billion dollars by spending money on piddly shit that doesn’t matter and nobody cares about.

    • joe from Lowell

      My takeaway: They make a eleventy billion dollars and can’t afford a gauge without a crooked needle????

      Of course they can afford good gauges.

      They just didn’t care enough beyond “Close enough, I guess” before this.

    • Jonas

      Hey, the NFL is (or at least was at the time) a non-profit. They just didn’t have money for that kind of thing.

  • howard

    Dan shaughnessy wrote the same column in the globe.

    • joe from Lowell

      …twice a week for the past six months, as far as I can tell.

      • shawn k

        He’s been writing a variation of that column since I moved out of Boston in the late 80s. The topic changes, but the thrust is always the same: current athletes are a disgrace and I am deeply disappointed. Deeply.

  • NonyNony

    You know what’s great? Watching football fans lose their shit over stuff like this.

    And I mean all of you guys – Lemieux you make my day with your defense of multimillionaires who cheat to take advantage in every possible way they can as much as everyone else here makes my day with getting outraged at the multimillionaires who are cheating better than the multimillionaires they root for.

    It’s great stuff.

    • joe from Lowell

      Hey, everybody, look at me! The hobbies that interest me are different than the hobbies that interest you!

      Isn’t that amazing? Don’t you feel embarrassed?

      • Joe_JP

        It is not merely a “hobby” — it involves what he thinks is important including as applicable to the “war on some drugs.”

        It is not like he’s talking about stamp collecting here. Repeatedly, Scott shows he feels it is a basic matter of fairness, which as seen by how influential sports is in this society is not a trivial matter.

        But, it is one that provides a high sneer factor, including talking about “amazing” and “hobby” when it is pretty clear that it isn’t that trivial.

        • joe from Lowell

          You’re making the mistake of thinking that “important to the hobby” makes the hobby itself important. It is, indeed, exactly like talking about stamp collecting. People who are into stamp collecting or any other hobby get worked up about it, too.

          Merely citing the fact that many people have this hobby means only that it is a common hobby.

          • Joe_JP

            Scott’s “hobby” is blogging about some important issues, including what he thinks is a misuse of authority that warrants involving the federal courts.

            • rea

              High profile labor law issues = teaching moment

            • joe from Lowell

              OK, you’ve convinced me: this really is more important than just sports fan dom (which is a perfectly good hobby itself). He’s talking about a case involving one of his hobbies that he thinks illustrates something more important. Well played!

              Though I’m still not getting why he’s not supposed to do that. Oh, right, because you don’t like his sports hobby.

              • Hogan

                Similarly, Erik should stop banging on and on about labor issues in the fast food industry because I don’t eat fast food and have no respect for people who do.

                • cpinva

                  for that matter, Erick should stop banging on about history in general, because most people find it boring.

                  ok, Farley should be pretty easy. take out his articles concerning weapons systems and military tactics, and we’re halfway done.

              • ajp

                I don’t blame you for your reaction-Joe_JP is almost always a contrarian dickwad. But I think you’re agreeing here.

                You used the word “hobby” and Joe disagreed-he is arguing that there are actually important, broadly applicable principles at stake here, so it’s not weird or immature at all for Scott to be talking about it.

                You were (justifiably) taking NonyNony to task for sneering. I didn’t read Joe as saying that Scott shouldn’t talk about this stuff, just taking issue with you calling it a “hobby.”

                • joe from Lowell

                  Yep, ajp is right. Sorry, Joe_JP.

                  I was confoos’ed.

    • timb

      agreed

    • advocatethis

      Frankly, I don’t even care about pro football anymore and I’m not a fan of the Patriots. It’s not relevant to me that the pro football players are millionaires; what’s relevant is that the NFL seems to act in an arbitrary and capricious manner when meting out punishment. You’d think they would have learned their lesson after the Ray Rice brouhaha, but the only apparent lesson they learned is “find out if their is video before you do anything.” So, in that case you have Goodell reneging on his previous sanction of Rice not after new evidence told him something he did not previously known, but after new evidence revealed to the public that the NFL doesn’t take partner abuse seriously. That was just a PR move.
      This seems to be too, but I’m not sure what the league is trying to accomplish here. Bring Brady down a notch? Demonstrate that even the best can be brought down low? Just generally show who’s boss?

      • liberalrob

        That was just a PR move.

        Every move Goodell makes is a PR move. That’s his job. Defend the Shield.

  • Nick056

    I am a Jets man and also someone who advises on labor relations in a union shop (IANAL), so I am so far in the bag on this one I might as well be Goodell’s mother.

    But while I thought the retroactive Rice penalty was nonsense, this seems like a much closer issue to me and may come down to whether the request for cell phone records is considered reasonable. My take is that it is probably NOT something I would expect an employer to ask for on pain of discipline as a matter of course, but I’m not at all sure there’s an airtight argument saying it is inappropriate to make the request and treat Brady’s response as showing a mixture of a lack of candor and spoilation of evidence.

    • Brien Jackson

      Well…has the NFL shown any cause for wanting to see Brady’s personal phone? Given that they already had the text messages between him and the ball boys, what could they reasonably have expected to find if they weren’t phishing?

      • advocatethis

        This is what intrigues me. In the league’s position I may have requested Brady’s personal phone, along with an explanation that we have texts from other people that suggest you are guilty. Here is your chance to provide exculpatory evidence; your phone and text message history demonstrating otherwise. If he doesn’t provide it (setting aside for now the question of whether I can require him to provide it as part of his responsibility to cooperate in an investigation), and I can think of a number of legitimate reasons why he wouldn’t, I would have a hard time painting that as further “proof” of his guilt.

        • dave

          In addition, the league never requested his phone.

          They requested his phone records. He refused. He then got a new phone and wiped his old one.

          He then relented at the arbitration and produced his phone records.

          They have never requested his actual phone.

        • Brien Jackson

          It’s not that it is proof of guilt…it’s that not cooperating fully with the NFL is in and of itself an offense, and one that Goodell treats with the utmost seriousness.

          • rea

            Except that, in the alternative universe where Brady cooperates fully, there’s some embarrassing thing on the phone or in the records that will of course be leaked to the media.

          • dave

            This was a discovery dispute. Wells (Goodell) asked for phone records. Brady’s lawyers said no. Wells said ok.

            If Wells (Goodell) had said, “OK, but we are going to deem that to be noncooperation” then that would be one thing. But no one ever said that. Brady and his lawyers had no reason to believe that their (probably rightful) refusal to produce phone records would subject him to any penalty (let alone an astronomical penalty).

            Once that penalty was levied, Brady did produce those records.

  • timb

    Hey, the Brady thing is dumb and all, but Scott just imply the Colts, an organization that missed the playoffs like one since 1997, are some sort of terrible franchise? I get they aren’t the Patriots, but the Colts are actually above average post Peyton Manning, while the Patriots rise coincides pretty closely to Tom Brady’s emergence.

    After all, I get that Scott doesn’t like the trade for Richardson. Most people don’t; I didn’t at the time, but the Colts almost 20 year record of success is something to be proud of

    • Scott Lemieux

      1)Most of that 20 years were under other people.

      2)The Richardson trade wasn’t just an ordinary bad move. It’s a bad move no competent organization would make.

      3)Other than happening to be the worst team in the league in the year of Andrew Luck’s draft eligibility, what exactly has this regime of the Colts done well?

      • joe from Lowell

        3) They’ve consistently fielded a very good offensive line to protect Luck.

        Which isn’t peanuts but, then again, if they hadn’t a lot of Luck with their QB pick, it wouldn’t have mattered much, and they would have had to put those resources into QB instead.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yes, their pass protection has been above-average, I’ll give you that one.

          • timb

            See, I don’t think it is. First of all, they can run block for crap. Secondly, he’s just a mobile QB and their O-line is just overwhelmed against any decent pass rush.

            Again, I’m not really a football fan and I watched only the playoffs last season, so I may be completely wrong

            • Scott Lemieux

              The stats show their run blocking as average (not bad at all when you’re giving a lot of carries to Trent Richardson, which is like an anvil on the numbers) and pass-blocking as above average. Even if you assume Luck is part of the reason for the latter that’s not bad.

              • John F

                Man you just really really hate Trent R. I mean what did he ever do to you :-)

                I can see ragging endlessly on Tebow, his fans are obnoxious and he’s insufferably self-righteous

                • timb

                  He represents old school thinking and not modern analytics. Everyone knows, even me, anything other than Barry Sanders is replaceable

                • Denverite

                  OT, but I still giggle a little when I think how Bills-fan-Scott said the Browns should have known that Trent Richardson wasn’t going to be the next Barry Sanders because he sat on the bench behind another running back for two years in college.

      • timb

        1) Found receivers which complement Luck?

        2) Had the stones to release the literal savior of mankind to get Luck.

        I’m not kidding by the way, white people around Indiana (and it’s mostly white folk) worship Manning. The new children’s hospital named themselves after him. That’s right, rather than take some rich dude’s money, they PAID Manning to use his name. He’s the THROWER OF FOOTBALLS and the SAVER OF SICK KIDS. Releasing him to stones.

        3) I was gonna talk about their great O-Line or defense, realized they didn’t have either, from what I can tell as a casual fan. And, those receivers aren’t that good

        • Scott Lemieux

          1)Really? I don’t think their receiving corps is particularly impressive.

          2)No-brainer. I think even the GM version of Mike Holmgrem would have done this. It was assumed by everyone that the Colts would take Luck; it was not some agonizing decision.

          3)The O-line is pretty decent, though.

          • Brien Jackson

            You’re definitely overstating 2). In hindsight, sure, it was a no-brainer to dump Luck, but there was a pretty strong contingent at the time who wondered about the prudence of keeping Manning and trading the number 1 pick for a massive haul of draft picks. Hell, with the way Manning has played since going to Denver, the latter course may well have netted Indianapolis another Superbowl victory already.

            • Scott Lemieux

              I wouldn’t say nobody made this argument, but I don’t remember a substantial contingent urging the Colts to keep Manning coming off a potentially career-ending neck injury instead of drafting Luck at all.

              the latter course may well have netted Indianapolis another Superbowl victory already.

              Uh, what?

              • joe from Lowell

                Say they kept Manning, and parlayed that pick into two lower firsts and a second.

                Then they used those picks on good defensive tackles and inside LBs.

                That could very well have been a better team than the Colts have been since dumping Manning.

                To me, the value in that decision isn’t an improved Colts team in 2012 or 2014, but the years of top-tier QB play they will have after Manning retires.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Say they kept Manning, and parlayed that pick into two lower firsts and a second.

                  In the short term, they would have had to have one of the most extraordinary drafts in history for the Colts to have surrounded Manning with more talent than he had with Denver. And that team made one Super Bowl and got the piss beaten out of it, so it’s hard for me to conclude that he would have won with Indianapolis.

                  Last year, Luck beat a Manning who looked like he aged 20 years in 3 months on the road, despite inferior surrounding talent.

                  I think we can take it from there, since we now agree. Keeping Manning and trading Luck would have been a terrible idea, and I think I’m representing the consensus here.

                • Denverite

                  *sadly agreeing with Lemieux*

                • joe from Lowell

                  Brien’s language was “may well have netted,” not “would have won.” Mine was “could very well have been a better team.”

                  I don’t think it’s really arguable that having Luck instead of Manning represented a step backwards for a couple of years. Further than that, it seems inarguable that the step they took was from “late playoff contender” to “probably eliminated early in the post-season.” “May well” strikes me as the perfect formulation to describe a conference championship contender’s chances of winning a ring.

                  Keeping Manning and trading Luck would indeed have been a terrible idea, given his age and health situation. But that’s because of the long (and even short-to-medium) term implications we agree on. Nonetheless, they did end up passing on a couple of potential Super Bowl runs in the short term.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Brien’s language was “may well have netted,” not “would have won.” Mine was “could very well have been a better team.”

                  I think you’re both clearly wrong. In 2012, Denver had a top-5 defense, Indianapolis had a bottom-3 defense. A couple draft choices is not going to come close to closing the gap there — and Manning didn’t win with the top-5 one! And, again, while Indy would get a lot of draft picks, it would also have to swallow Manning’s cap hit, passing up the huge advantage of getting an elite QB on a rookie deal.

                  And in the 3rd year, Luck beat Manning on the road with less surrounding talent to work with in the playoffs. Trading Luck to keep Manning would have been insane. And this is without even considering that Peyton’s performance is towards the top end of what could have been reasonably expected — as of 2011 whether he could stay healthy and being a top QB again was in serious doubt. As far as I can tell, the Colts didn’t seriously consider keeping Manning and they were obviously correct.

                • Denverite

                  and Manning didn’t win with the top-5 one!

                  In fairness, the 2012 Broncos was probably the best team in the league that year (and the best of Manning’s time in Denver). They had the misfortune to run into a bad situation in the playoffs — hot Baltimore team, single digit temps, a bunch of weird calls (on both sides, I’m NOT saying that the refs cost them the game), and a bunch of awful coaching decisions (er, 30 seconds left in a tie game, you’ve got a kicker with 65 yard range at altitude — and you’re playing for OT?!?). And it was still a double OT game.

                  But your main point stands. The 2012-2013.5 Broncos were better than the Colts, but you’d much much MUCH rather have Luck than Manning on Opening Day 2012.

                • ColBatGuano

                  Then they used those picks on good defensive tackles and inside LBs.

                  Bzzzzzzzzt. Foul for unsupported speculation.

                • joe from Lowell

                  In 2012, Denver…

                  I don’t know why we’re using Denver as the cutoff for being a late-playoff team.

                  I especially don’t understand why we’re using the outcome of one playoff game to declare how good a team was. This argument seems to lack perspective in the same manner as people who construct a narrative around the timing of the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins and defeats.

                  Again, the Colts were obviously correct to think about the long term instead the next two years. The question is whether they went backwards substantially in those two years. That they did so seems a great deal more obvious than anything you’re saying.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  The question is whether they went backwards substantially in those two years. That they did so seems a great deal more obvious than anything you’re saying.

                  That wasn’t the question. I agree that the Colts in 2012/3 would have been better with Manning than Luck. What I do not believe is that they would have been serious Super Bowl contenders with Manning, which was the argument.

              • njorl

                Remember Scott, they wouldn’t just be getting fair value for Luck, they would be getting “Dan Snyder” value for him. Snyder gave up 3 #1s and a #2 for the second pick. Who knows what he would have added to the pile to get Luck.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Right. And even with the Rams also trying to trade the second pick, you still had the factor that Luck was still seen as a large step above RG3 as a pro prospect that would have kept the haul very large.

                • Epsilon

                  Ah, yes. Thank you, Dan Snyder. Even though the offense is miserable shite, we largely have him to thank for the monstrous defensive line the Rams currently put out there.

                  So at least we get some entertainment watching the QB either eat turf or run for his life every other snap in between three-and-outs. A far cry from the GSOT days, but hell, I’ll take it after the horror show of 2004-2009.

                • ColBatGuano

                  What is St. Louis’s record after getting all those picks?

              • Brien Jackson

                1. Well sure, it would have been risky, but a) it was theoretically possible that Luck wouldn’t be the Day One superstar he turned out to be as well and b) The Colts with Manning were still a perennial division champion for the foreseeable future. Honestly, what probably made the decision for them was Manning’s salary cap number far more than anything else.

                2. You don’t think retconning the 2012-14 seasons with Manning playing for the Colts, plus whomever they would have gotten with the multiple first and second round picks they would have gotten for the rights to draft Luck, wouldn’t have a very strong likelihood of winning one out of three Superbowls at least?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  You don’t think retconning the 2012-14 seasons with Manning playing for the Colts, plus whomever they would have gotten with the multiple first and second round picks they would have gotten for the rights to draft Luck, wouldn’t have a very strong likelihood of winning one out of three Superbowls at least?

                  See above. Manning won zero Super Bowls with more talent than Indianapolis could possibly have surrounded him with (I mean, I haven’t noticed the Rams taking over the league with the Griffin picks, and while the Colts would have gotten more picks you also have to consider the talent hit Manning’s much higher cap hit would produce), and I think it’s pretty obvious you’d rather have Luck than Manning going into the 2015 season, given how the latter looked in the playoffs.

            • timb

              this. Plus, the weeping and crying of the very rich people they need to buy season tickets. Manning Denver jerseys outnumbered Colt Luck jerseys that summer and fall. When it became evident that Luck would be good, it finally switched

          • joe from Lowell

            Unless I’m remembering wrongly, it was assumed by everyone that the Colts would take Luck if they got rid of Manning, but that was a big IF for a long time.

        • joe from Lowell

          Wait a second – did Manning actually take money from a children’s hospital for the use of his name?

          • Idk, but here in Miss., Eli Manning has given $$$ to the state’s only children’s hospital, & has a wing or something named after him.

            I would want to see some evidence before believing Peyton took $$ rather than vice-versa.

            • wjts

              Fairly cursory googling suggests that Manning (P.) got his name on the hospital in conjunction with a donation, though this article claims the hospital hasn’t disclosed exactly how much he gave. So to be Scrupulously Fair, it’s possible that Manning may have donated negative 10 million dollars to get his name on the building.

              • joe from Lowell

                I thought it seemed pretty improbable.

          • timb

            I was exagerrating. He donated an unspecified amount.

            Sorry, I was more interested in the second sentence than the one which set it up. the hsopital took less, it is said, than normal, because having his name attached made fund raising in other areas easier and, since he’s a live and kicking, he can attend such issues.
            It’s win-win, except for the fact that we didn’t really need a second children’s hospital, IMHO

            • joe from Lowell

              Ah, capice.

    • Downpuppy

      The Patriots haven’t just been The Brady Show. The 1996 Patriots went to the SuperBowl. in 2008, they were 11-5 with Matt Casell. One losing season in the last 19 is not bad.

      Parcells, Carroll & Belichick have been the coaches for the last 23 years. Before then, sure, the team was often a freakshow.

  • Docrailgun

    Deflating balls is a lot less serious than teams paying players to go out and hurt other players or daring the league to call all the defensive fouls they will commit. So, it seems like the league should be concentrating on the Seattle defense instead of air oressure. An under inflated ball doesn’t cause career-ending knee injuries and doesn’t cause concussions.

  • Funkhauser

    Bill Plaschke had one chance. One last opportunity.

    If he missed then, he might miss now. Or forever.

    Or he might not.

    Bill Plaschke, perhaps – in his mind – one of the greatest living sportswriters – had never passed sixth grade and learned about sentence fragments and paragraph structure.

    So there it hung. In the air.

    A sentence, an opportunity, a lifetime, or perhaps just a simple football game. Without a verb.

    So in the end, it came down to this one momentary thought. Even TJ Simers, who sucks, couldn’t help but notice: Bill Plaschke is terrible at his job. Really.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Well done.

    • howard

      i’m in la a lot on business, and i’m still old-school enough that i read the hard copy la times when i’m there, and i have been bewildered by plaschke for a long time: i’ve always taken him as a sign that the l.a. times isn’t serious about its sport coverage.

      • MattT

        The LA Times isn’t serious about anything. They want to think they’re the NY Times, which makes them too important to bother with decent local coverage, but they also don’t have the international reporters or Washington connections to actually be the NY Times. There are (or were when I was there) few good reporters, and they managed to poach Jonathan Gold back from the LA Weekly, but that’s about all. They don’t have the resources to be good at everything, and rather than try to be good at less things, they’ve decided to be mediocre to bad at everything except food coverage.

  • jeer9

    It’s difficult to believe the federal court won’t side with Brady in this matter based upon the key issues cited by the NFLPA’s counsel (not that I have any faith in the legal system – and the judge yesterday telling both sides to go back to the table and work this thing out didn’t exactly inspire confidence.)

    • Don’t ever judge a legal issue based on only one side’s pleadings.

      I don’t really care about this case on the merits, because a plague o’ both their houses (and the 1st 4 games aren’t vs. my Dolphins!), but as a lawyer, I hope to see the law followed.

      And I have yet to hear anything that rises to the normal standard for overturning an arbitration in court. The whole point of an arbitration is that the courts do *not* decide the case.

      Yes, Judge Doty does that kind of thing (and is on appeal now, in one case at least), but the NFLPA doesn’t have its pet judge this time.

      • jeer9

        The NFLPA is alleging that there was no known punishment for players with regards to football pressure, since the rule book only applied to clubs. They’re also arguing that the NFL’s ruling is inconsistent with past results of issues with footballs. The remainder of the appeal will highlight that Goodell was not impartial and that the appeal was heard by the person who issued the penalty in the first place.

        What would be the “normal standard” for overturning an arbitration?

        • this court has held that an arbitration award may be set aside if [**3] it was rendered in “manifest disregard of the law.” Schwartz v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 665 F.3d 444, 451 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).

          A party seeking vacatur for manifest disregard of the law must show not only that “the governing law alleged to have been ignored by the arbitrators was well defined, explicit, and clearly applicable,” but also that “the arbitrator knew about the existence of a clearly governing legal principle but decided to ignore it or pay no attention to it.” Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., 646 F.3d 113, 121 n.1 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted); see Westerbeke Corp. v. Daihatsu Motor Co., 304 F.3d 200, 208 (2d Cir. 2002) (Sotomayor , J.) (stating that vacatur requires “something beyond and different from a mere error in the law or failure on the part of the arbitrators to understand or apply the law” (internal quotation marks omitted)). An arbitration award may also be vacated if it is “in manifest disregard of the terms of the parties’ relevant agreement.” Schwartz v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 665 F.3d at 452 (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted). In such cases, however, “interpretation of the contract terms is within the [**4] province of the arbitrator and will not be overruled simply because we disagree with that interpretation”; rather, “[i]f the arbitrator has provided even a barely colorable justification for his or her interpretation of the contract, the award must stand.” Id. (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted).

          A&G Coal Corp. v. Integrity Coal Sales, Inc., 565 Fed. Appx. 41, 42 (2d Cir. N.Y. 2014)

          The role of a district court in reviewing an arbitration award is “narrowly limited” and “arbitration panel determinations are generally accorded great deference [**7] under the [Federal Arbitration Act].” Tempo Shain Corp. v. Bertek, Inc., 120 F.3d 16, 19 (2d Cir. 1997). This deference promotes the “twin goals of arbitration, namely settling disputes efficiently and avoiding long and expensive litigation.” Telenor Mobile Commc’ns AS v. Storm LLC, 584 F.3d 396, 405 (2d Cir. 2009). Consequently, the burden of proof necessary to avoid confirmation of an arbitration award is very high, and a district court will enforce the award as long as “there is a barely colorable justification for [*104] the outcome reached.” Rich v. Spartis, 516 F.3d 75, 81 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).

          Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, 729 F.3d 99, 103-104 (2d Cir. N.Y. 2013).

          “Barely colorable justification” is pretty easy to meet. The facts supporting bias in that second case were well beyond anything re: Goodell, it seems:

          Appellants claim that the award should be vacated pursuant to § 10(a)(1) (“corruption, fraud, or undue means”) or § 10(a)(2) (“evident partiality or corruption”) because Kaufman was biased in favor of Kolel. In support of this claim, Appellants submit an affidavit that prior to the issuance of the award, non-party David Paneth overheard Rabbi Kaufman telling non-party Zisha Gelb to “[t]ell [the president of Kolel] that he has to give me another week and he will receive a [ruling] in his favor.” Appellants also claim that Rabbi Kaufman purposely excluded Rabbi Bergman (the Appellants’ chosen arbitrator) from the arbitration, abruptly cut off their first witness (the Appellants’ attorney, Douglas Stein), and rushed the Panel to a premature decision before the presentation of evidence. Specifically, Appellants allege that Kaufman purposely held a crucial meeting on April [**12] 10, 2012, despite knowing that Rabbi Bergman was unavailable because of Passover, and that Kaufman engaged in ex parte communications with Kolel on April 9 and 10, prior to issuance of the award, regarding preparations for transference of the Policies to Kolel.

          Not enough to overturn on appeal, though: “Even assuming that this conversation took place exactly as Paneth describes and construing all facts in Appellants’ favor, this does not rise to the level of bias or corruption necessary to vacate an arbitration award under § 10(a)(2).”

          • jeer9

            Thanks. “Barely colorable justification” seems almost impossible not to meet.

            Color my view of the law even blacker.

            • I think arbitration sucks in consumer cases. Here at least the union, unlike most of us, knew exactly what rights it was signing away. Maybe the next CBA needs much more procedural stuff.

              • timb

                This.

                Arbitration entered into by economically unbalanced parties is rife for exploitation (see every consumer agreement ever), but unions and companies entering into arbitration is win-win for both sides.

                It’s I got baseball free agency and I do love me some baseball free agency

              • MDrew

                Whether the union actually understood what it was signing away actually depends on how competent their counsel was when they signed, and how well the counsel communicated that information to the union. That’s at least an open question.

                You’re operating from the presumption that they knew or should have known (had ample opportunity to know), which is fair. But we can be clear that is what you are asserting – that they knew or should have known, not that they actually knew and understood. I don’t think you can claim to actually know what they knew.

          • dave

            Your link only cites to one justification for vacating under the FAA. There are four. In addition, labor arbitrators are treated differently and subject to different requirements.

            Most importantly, for these purposes, labor arbitratons are required to comply, not just with the terms of the CBA, but with the “law of the shop” established by the parties.

            Here the law of the shop includes (among other things) the following requirements: (1) notice that specific conduct is a violation; (2) notice of the penalty for that conduct; (3)penalties must be consistent with past penalties.

            Here, Brady was suspended under a equipment policy that doesn’t apply to players (only to club personnel)(no notice); he was suspended for general awareness of a violation by others (no notice that general awareness can be a basis for a violation; he was suspended for lack of cooperation, but was not given notice that failure to turn over his phone records would be a violation; was suspended for destroying his phone with no notice that such destruction could be a basis for punishment; was suspended for an equipment violation when the punishment for equipment violations is $25K for club personnel and $8K for players (under a separate policy) and no other player has ever been suspended for such violation (no proportionality); was suspended for noncooperation when no player has been suspended for noncooperation and the largest penalty levied has been a $50K fine (no proportionality)

            • jeer9

              Yes, that was my initial take.

              Perhaps, like so much of legal interpretation, the decision will come down to a bit of luck (who hears the case) and some whimsy.

              • Hogan

                As I understand it, all labor arbitration comes down to that.

            • That’s fine, and I’m not a labor lawyer; but “law of the shop” is not a license to retry the arbitration.

              An arbitrator’s award does “draw its essence from the collective bargaining agreement” so long [**15] as the interpretation can in some rational manner be derived from the agreement, “viewed in the light of its language, its context, and any other indicia of the parties’ intention; only where there is a manifest disregard of the agreement, totally unsupported by principles of contract construction and the law of the shop, may a reviewing court disturb the award.” Ludwig Honold Manufacturing Co. v. Fletcher, 405 F.2d 1123, 1128 (3d Cir. 1969). See also International Union of District 50, United Mine Workers of America v. Bowman Transportation, Inc., 421 F.2d 934, 935 (5th Cir. 1970); Torrington Company v. Metal Products Workers Union, Local 1645, 362 F.2d 677, 682 (2d Cir. 1966) (Feinberg , J., dissenting). Neither the correctness of the arbitrator’s conclusion nor the propriety of his reasoning is relevant to a reviewing court, so long as his award complies with the aforementioned standards to be applied by the reviewing court in exercising its limited function. Ludwig Honold, supra, at 1132.

              Amoco Oil Co. v. Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers International Union, etc., 548 F.2d 1288, 1294 (7th Cir. Ind. 1977).

              Maybe all the facts here are sufficient to meet that standard. But the arbiter of what the “law of the shop” here is, is Goodell.

              The unprecedented nature of the incident here seems to cut both ways, since there’s no precedent for a factually similar case. And I’m slow to buy the implied “one bite” rule that, because no one had been punished for this before, Brady can’t be now. The CBA talks about “integrity” in general terms, and can’t be expected to predict every infraction. Thus at least the NFL may safely be expected to argue.

              • dave

                You may be right. Except that CBA specifically outlines the penalties for equipment infractions and who can be punished for those. The NFL has a history of interpreting those provisions and has never suspended a player for violating them (fines yes).

                If suspending a player for violating a provision that doesn’t apply to him (where the provision in question only specifies a $25K fine) isn’t “a manifest disregard of the agreement, totally unsupported by principles of contract construction and the law of the shop” then what would be?

                • But I thought Goodell’s op didn’t punish Brady solely for equipment infraction, but for a supposed failure of integrity – what is the defined penalty for that? The CBA on that issue seems to afford a great deal of discretion.

                • dave

                  We may be having a disconnect.

                  Its pretty clear to me that Goodell’s conclusions that there was tampering and that Brady was generally aware of it and the reasoning used to get there are utterly without merit.

                  But that doesn’t matter now. The issue now is with the procedures used to come to those conclusions and the contractual underpinning for the decision to suspend Brady on the basis of those conclusions.

                  In my view, there is no justification in the CBA for anything beyond a $50K fine for noncooperation (and even that requires an assumption that Brady was on notice that refusal to turn over the records would constitute noncooperation and requires that we ignore the fact that Brady ultimately produced those records at the arbitration).

                • dave

                  I don’t think Goodell can use the “integrity of the game” clause to override specific collectively bargained for punishments.

                  Can he suspend PED users for life even where the PED provisions specify a 4 game suspension?

                • You may be right! I’ve gotten about as deep into the case (= not very) as I intend to without either side paying me $750 an hour to do so …

                • dave

                  I am not a labor lawyer either, but this thing fascinates me on both a culture/media and legal level to an insane degree.

                  The billables I have probably lost to this thing are hard to think about.

                • Denverite

                  If suspending a player for violating a provision that doesn’t apply to him (where the provision in question only specifies a $25K fine) isn’t “a manifest disregard of the agreement, totally unsupported by principles of contract construction and the law of the shop” then what would be?

                  You’re trying to have it both ways. You first say that the equipment noncompliance fines don’t apply to players, but then say that they should be the ceiling of what does. Either this was a specifically bargained-for provision the NFL and players meant to govern their relationship, or it wasn’t. (It wasn’t.) If the former, great! If the latter, what penalty a team receives for the use of non-complying equipment is irrelevant to what penalty a player receives.

                  And in any event, Goodell addressed all of the prior incidents in his decision. None of them involved a conscious attempt to both circumvent a known rule AND cover it up. AND in some of the instances, the employee (inadvertently) responsible for the noncompliance was suspended for a considerable amount of time. Maybe Goodell was wrong about that. But there’s no way his decision rises to the level warranting FAA vacation. (On this particular issue. I express no opinion about Brady’s other arguments.)

                • dave

                  Denverite,

                  Accusing me of trying to have it both ways is rich given that the NFL specifically cited the club policy as the policy that Brady supposedly violated.

                  There is actually a provision dealing with player equipment violations. It calls for, I believe, an $8K fine. The NFL ignored that provision entirely.

                  Also, the NFL never found that Brady “consciously attempted to circumvent a known rule” nor did it find that he tried to “cover it up.”

                  I’d also add that that’s a mighty high horse for a Denver Broncos fan to be riding given your teams and its players’ “conscious attempts to circumvent known rules” including equipment rules, during NFL playoff games in Superbowl winning seasons no less!

                  I am sure that, Mike Shanahan was being totally truthful when he said that his offensive linemen were covering themselves in Vaseline to keep warm. That equipment violation, which came in a 14-10 victory, culminating in an eventual Super Bowl win, cost eahc offensive lineman $5000.

                • Denverite

                  According to Schlereth, the fines were subsequently rescinded. I’ve never seen independent confirmation of that.

                  In any event, if the NFL had suspended the linemen for four games, upheld that suspension on internal appeal, and the linemen had gone to court to try to get the arbitral award vacated, they’d likely have the same success as Brady on the particular issue in question (i.e., whether it’s within the commissioner’s Article 46 powers to suspend a player for the intentional circumvention of equipment rules and attempted cover-up*).

                  * Yes, I know that the more-probable-than-not finding is that the intentional circumvention and cover-up occurred, and Brady was generally aware of it, not that he actually participated.

  • gusmpls

    Was it Jim Bouton in Ball Four who talked about Whitey using his wedding ring to scuff the ball? Hilarious stuff.

    • Jonas

      Also, having Elston Howard sharpen his knee and shin protectors so that he would scuff the ball before throwing it back. But hey, we can all have a good laugh at that. Like when Mickey Mantle missed games due to an infection from a ‘vitamin’ injection from a non-physician? Mantle would never have used PEDs.

      • Linnaeus

        Guys just had grit back then.

    • Scott Lemieux

      No, that didn’t happen. No player ever cheated before Barry Bonds. Nobody has ever cared about baseball but people who lived in New York City (preferably Brooklyn) between 1945-1965. LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!

  • The Temporary Name

    You know what’s cheating? Pass interference.

    I have good reason to believe every free safety in the Hall of Fame is a dirty cheater.

  • burnspbesq

    Oh, FFS. Who’s the bigger fool here, Plaschke, or Lemieux for taking Plaschke seriously?

    • sparks

      Toss up. It’s posts like this and the avalanche of comments which inevitably follow dispiriting.

      P.S. I like sports but I do not find spectator sports to be important in any sense except entertainment.

      • Scott Lemieux

        [jacking off motion]

  • Bitter Scribe

    Two things:

    1) They weren’t trying to go on a “fishing expedition” through Brady’s cellphone. They were looking for specific evidence (messages to the equipment guys).

    2) What does Whitey Ford have to do with anything?

    • dave

      1) If that true, then they shouldn’t care that he “destroyed” the phone since they never asked for his phone itself (only phone records) and he ultimately provided that information at the hearing and it showed that they already had all his messages to the equipment guys.

      2) Whitey Ford, unlike Brady, actually doctored baseballs in violation of actual rules. He was not suspended for any length of time. He is in the Hall of Fame and beloved.

      • dave

        It also occurred to me. It is more probable than not that Whitey’s teammates were at least “generally aware” that he was doctoring baseballs.

        Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle must be evicted from the Hall of Fame as well.

        And add an extra asterisk to Maris’ 61.

        • Bitter Scribe

          1) Is everyone sure that Brady wasn’t just providing the “information” he wanted to? Destroying the phone looks pretty skeevy.

          2) Hmmm. Never knew that about Ford. Disappointing.

          • dave

            1) The NFL specifically told him he could provide the information he wanted to. In addition, it would be pretty obvious if he withheld pages from his phone records.

            2) Surprised you didn’t know that. Ford himself bragged about it repeatedly.

            • Bitter Scribe

              1) Did the NFL tell him he could withhold whatever information he wanted to? That doesn’t seem plausible.

              2) Actually, I must have forgotten it. I read “Ball Four,” but it’s been a while.

              • Denverite

                Grr. A lot of people are characterizing this like the NFL wanted Brady to turn in his phone. That’s not what they asked. They wanted him to give it to his lawyer/agent, who would then go through the text messages and pull any that were responsive (presumably those to the ball boys).

                • dave

                  They asked for his phone records which they were going to permit him to review and redact. he refused during the investigation.

                  He ultimately produced unredacted phone records at the hearing. They provided no evidence of wrongdoing.

                • Denverite

                  Also hugely misleading, no? It provided no evidence of wrongdoing because it provided no evidence period because the NFL didn’t take Brady up on his offer to give them the phone records and let them contact everyone he called or texted with.

                  I’m actually much more on Scott’s (and your) side of this, but there’s no need to misconstrue what really happened.

              • John F

                Not just in Ball Four, back in the 90s one of the Yankees’ long time equipment/lockeroom guys retired and he was interviewed about his experiences with the team, one of his anecdotes involved Ford’s “Wedding Band”- Ford had a wedding band like ring with a rasp/file like facing on it (which you guessed it he used to scuff the ball) – one day the opposing team was complaining to the ump that Whitey was scuffing the ball, the ump goes out to the mound, and orders Whitey to remove the ring- so Whitey gives it to the locker room attendant…

                Who on the way back to the clubhouse tosses it in a garbage can…

                After the game, Whitey comes up to him and asks what he did with the ring, he says he tossed it, Whitey stares at him intently, pokes him in the chest, “That really was my wedding band, do you know what my wife is gonna do to me? Do you know what I’m gonna do to you?”

                The guy thinks he’s totally screwed he starts stammering he’s sorry, he’s going to look for it, etc etc… Whitey suddenly grins, just messing with ya” and walks away.

  • If you’re in possession of cocaine, and you flush it down the toilet just as the cops surround you, isn’t that prima facie evidence that you had drugs and knew they were illegal? It may not be admissible in a court of law, but that won’t stop your boss from firing you for cause.

    Sorry, Scott, this isn’t a legal issue, but a disciplinary one. The point about the football gauges might have validity (altho it’s a really stupid one, if the Patriots want us to believe that a ref is so careless as to not use the same gauge twice, simply because we have the evidence of the two guys who actually underinflated the balls implicating themselves) but the evidence of Brady destroying his phone and then checking with his carrier to make sure the texts could not be retrieved more than offsets the gauge concept.

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