The New Oakland Raiders – At Best


I’m going to ask you all to close your eyes right now.  Go ahead, close them.

Well, OK, you can’t do that and read my post, but imagine an NFL team with the following characteristics:

– A Coach with a losing record every where he has been in the NFL takes over a team and suddenly he is a genius.

– A reputation for taking average to sub-par players and making them superstars.

– A reputation for taking “bad apples” on other teams and suddenly getting them to “toe the company line” but does so in a secret fashion.

– Revels in deception and trickery.

At this point, the team sounds like one that would strike fear in the hearts of its opponents and ultimately have success on the field.  The team would carry with it an aura of intimidation based on fear and on-the-fields results.  Now for the moment where Matthew McConaughey tells you to imagine that the girl is white.  Here are two more aspects of the team:

– Their players have admitted to using HGH.

– The team has been found guilty of cheating.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 New England Patriots!  The team that once claimed moral superiority over the rest of the league has been exposed as, at best, the new Oakland Raiders. 

I’m saddened to say that I wasn’t surprised.  You look at the Patriots track-record and this wasn’t surprising at all.  The fact that they got caught was surprising, but not the fact that they were cheating.  But what has perhaps been most revealing about this whole controversy is not that the team cheated the rules of the game  The surprise has been the reaction from the Patriot fans.  I hope that the smart Patriots fans are just staying quiet and shaking their heads, because the fans that are trying to defend these actions are incorrigible.

First, I have had to put up with Pats fans claiming that Rodney Harrison is a nice guy, so he should get a pass for the HGH.  First of all, he’s not a nice guy.  And even if he was, that’s no excuse.  But that is Barry Bonds peanuts to the way Patriots fans have tried to explain away the cheating by their team.  The three main excuses I have heard have been

1) We didn’t need to cheat to beat the Jets, so we obviously didn’t cheat.

2) Belichick is too smart to need to resort to cheating.

3) Everybody else does it.

 Wow.  Number one is like saying it’s OK to cheat against the bad teams, but not the good teams.  Two assumes that Belichick is smart.  Don’t we have to question all of his miraculous switch from incompetent coach in Cleveland to genius in Foxboro?  I’m a poker god if you let me look at your cards before I place any of my bets.  Number three is equally inappropriate.  We may not expect players to be role models, but I think teams should bear the role model burden and try to live up to the ideals of sport and competition.  Each professional team should live up to that model and, therefore, if any team got caught breaking the basic rules of the sport, they should be punished severely and appropriately.  It doesn’t matter what other teams are doing.  You got caught.  Now, go to your room and wait until your father gets home and we’ll decide your punishment.