Tag Archives: Deflategate

NFL16 Cherry Picks W17: MVP Field Is Fat But Houseman Meter Says Brady Ain’t In It

27 Dec

Even as New England Patriots starry signal-caller Tom Brady, on a brilliant but semi-season (12g), may win the MVP on the anti-Goodell vote, a group not dissimilar to that which decided Election 2016, Brady nevertheless must be ineligible, opening the door to the widest field of candidates in years, winner who won’t be clear until the regular season is in the books. With Falcons’ Matt Ryan frontrunner entering final Week 17, its match-ups bearing on this rank, player and to a smaller degree team performance will decide the winner, making the baker’s dozen below as tight a pack as a Friday afternoon subway.

Top contenders for NFL 2016 MVP:

1. Matt Ryan
2. David Johnson
3. Landon Collins
4. Dak Prescott
5. Ezekiel Elliott
6. Alec Ogletree
9. Kwon Alexander
10. Le’Veon Bell
11. Aaron Rodgers
12. Bobby Wagner
13. Justin Tucker

— — —

The football MVP might just be an award more valuable than a championship ring, at least Cam Newton and Rich Gannon hope so.

The biggest personal prize in professional football this side of the 49th parallel is about momentum, early on (W5 >), on-going (consistency) and uninterrupted.

ryan-m-10-19-14-k-allison-702kWith one more game remaining for all 32 in NFL 2016, one more chance for players with MVP aspirations to prove their worth in the eyes of the Associated Press, the obscure but finely calibrated John Houseman MVP Meter is presently pointing to Matt Ryan as the most valuable and deserving player for the coveted prize.

Be aware, this meter gauges the player who most deserves to win the MVP, not the man who ultimately receives the most AP votes and then the hardware.

Wondering, as you should, what is the Houseman MVP Meter?

John Houseman (1902-88) was a noted producer of theater (Federal / Mercury) and then films who later in life became an actor of note in supporting roles in such movies as The Paper Chase (73 (Oscar®)), Three Days of the Condor and the classic sporting flick, the original Rollerball (75). But he may be best remembered for his Smith Barney TV ads uttering in his distinctive high-hat voice, “They earn money the old-fashioned way, they eaaaaaarn it.” Get it?

— — —

The time of announcing the MVP winner should change.

In recent years, the NFL – NFLPA decided it’d be cute to announce MVP winner at a ceremony the nite just prior to playing the Big Game (SB), someone I expect who has no real knowledge of athletics or interest therein. For if they did, they’d know that receiving word of having won what is admittedly a terrific recognition, is about the LAST thing a player, his coaches & teammates, want (or need) to hear < 24 hours before suiting-up for the biggest game of their lives.

Think Cam Newton needed to know he was voted League’s top player in 2015 the nite before kickoff? I doubt it (See; SB50).

— — —

Who Won’t Win

ogletree-wc-8-15-13-johnmaxmena2-119kDefenders

The AP – MVP awarding is, of course, a flawed process, not unlike the Heisman awarding for the supposed best player in a collegiate season. One defender has taken the college equivalent to MVP in its 83 years in Michigan’s Charles Woodson (DB / 97), two NFL defenders winning MVP in Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, Alan Page, as member of the vaunted Vikings’ Purple People Eaters (71) and Giants’ game-change linebacker in Lawrence Taylor (86).

As in most years, a defender will not win the MVP. Not because Landon Collins, Alec Ogletree & Kwon Alexander don’t deserve it, quite the contrary. When the fat field of contenders is assessed with a football savvy mind, tacklers rank high. And with no clear-cut offensive frontrunner this season, a defender should rate high. But AP voters, like most sport observers, think they understand offense best and can’t get enough (sticky-gloves), on field or off (MVP).

Receivers

2016 Toppers like Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, they’ve gotta’ have well over 1500 yards gained in reception, along with 20+ TDs just to be considered. No qualifiers this year.

INT quarterbacks

Big Ben, Luck, Brees (71.C%), Jameis & Eli have too many INTs, i.e., mistakes. Hit the high-40s in TD passes and double-digit INTs won’t weigh so heavy, a huge toss total none of the above mentioned have approached in 2016. In fairness to field generals, until NFL starts judging INTs with an eye for accuracy, detracting deflected-pass INTs from QB tallies, we can’t know for certain exactly how many true interceptions signal-callers actually threw in a season.

Who May Win

Running backs

The last to haul in the AP was…AP, Adrian Peterson in 2012. If he’s the standard, your team need not win their division (NFCN – GB), you need not score a ton (13 TD) nor forge top receiving stats (40 – 217). But pass that 2000 rush barrier (2097) and get good mojo going with media (and blogisphere (moi)) around mid-season and you’ve got a serious shot at the MVP sans a blazing QB.

1. David Johnson (Cardinals): 1233y – 16.TD (run) // 77 – 841y – 4 (rec)
2. Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys): 1631 – 15 // 32 – 363 – 1 (ROY)
3. Le’Veon Bell (Steelers): 1268 – 7 // 75 – 616 – 1

brady-11-29-15-wc-j-beall-2-45mQuarterbacks

Firstly, Tom Brady does NOT qualify for the 2016 MVP. Derek Carr doesn‘t either, going out in W16 with injury, but he’s closer than Tom.

Tom’s terrific but missed one-quarter of the season due to his Deflategate suspension. That’s weighty. Knowingly choose to destroy a phone in an inquiry and you’ll suffer consequences that celebrity won’t deflect.

And if you think the late start somehow worked a burden which TB’s fine play overcame and then now deserves some reward, you can throw that cockamamie theory in the trash with all that Xmas wrapping.

I like Brady. He’s a champion, looks un-enhanced by weight room residency or PEDs and when he speaks, people listen because he thinks about what he says. You won’t hear words like “poopfest” coming from Tom, not publicly, anyway. And it’s that thinking that’s made him maybe the greatest pro QB ever.

But the 2-time winner does…not…qualify. Period.

When Brady receives votes for the award, and he will, those casting will likely have done so, not because they really believe Tom to be 2016’s most valuable man, but instead as pay-back of sorts to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who ultimatley approved the QB’s Deflategate suspension. But one who thinks it better to show-up Goodell for meting out discipline than to vote with sincerity should not have that vote to cast in the first place. Period.

No Tom in the pool, no problem. It’s a QB league and there are plenty of MVP-caliber quarterbacks in 2016 to fill the bill without working pay-back (See; top).

The QB standard

1) TD-ratio
2) W-L (QB League)
3) Completion %
4) yards-per-pass (ypp), and
5) GWD (CC: clutch & composure)

As nearly every starting quarterback today will, with relative ease, surpass the 3000 yard passing mark, that category’s of lesser importance in MVP think.

Unlike the 1960s – 80s where completion percentages (%), even with great QBs like Bart Starr and Roger Staubach, were often in the mid-50s, in the 2000s the MVP-caliber quarterback should be well over the 60.C% mark.

1. Matt Ryan; 34-7, C% 69.5, 10-5, 9.3, 2gwd
2. Dak Prescott: 23-4, 68, 13-2, 8.0, 5gwd
3. Aaron Rodgers: 36-7, 65.5, 9-6, 7.2, 2.gwd
4. Derek Carr: 28-6, 63.7, 12-3, 7.0, 7gwd
5. Matt Stafford: 22-9, 66.1, 9-6, 7.2, 8 (4Q) gwd

Who Will Win?

Not the reigning MVP. Cats’ Cam Newton, for whatever reason (Super pout or strains of fatherhood?), has probably performed more poorly in defense of the prize than any prior (QB) winner since Brian Sipe in 1980, and, like Camster, proceeded to end his season too with a disastrous post-season game versus Tom Flores Raiders when Sipe went 13-40 with 3 INTs in the loss (Plunkett: 14-30, 2 INT). 2016 Newton: 6-6, 54.C%, 17-9, 7.1 (ypp); Sipe: 5-11, 55.C%, 17-25, 6.8.

It’s a tight race so this final slate of game is crucial for all the candidates.

Rivalry match-ups are in store, most of which could decide the outcome and then be fairly termed as ‘the MVP game.’

New Orleans @ Atlanta (Ryan)
Green Bay (Rodgers) @ Detroit (Stafford)
Dallas (Prescott & Elliott) @ Philadelphia
Arizona (Johnson) @ Los Angeles
Giants (Collins) @ Redskins

Of course, New England @ Miami, a GTW no doubt, is not listed.

Tom Brady would be eligible for the Super MVP if Patriots make it that far. But while Brady is ineligible for the regular MVP, fairness & logic are not always in play for voters, as Tom knows full well. If he performs in Miami, expect the junior-media element in the AP (anti-Goodell) to swing the vote, the trophy and the annoying night-before-the-Super-Bowl phone call, Tom’s way.

Ezekiel Elliott is having a tremendous rookie review but his scoring and multi-facet skill-set falls just short of Johnson’s.

Matt Stafford & Derek Carr’s GWD tallies are super but both relied more heavily on the short pass (7-7.3 ypp), an MVP detractor. It’s a measure which should boost ranking of the other resplendent Dallas rookie in Dak Prescott who’s been very careful with the ball (4 INT) in Ted Bridgewater fashion but unfortunately looked very average in Cowboys’ losses and a few wins, as well.

And Aaron Rodgers, already a vested member of the MVP Club (‘11 / 14), he played pedestrian in clutch time in season’s first half and didn’t get on radar soon enough to build sufficient voter support, especially when Tom is in the mix with many. And Rodgers’ 7.2 ypp , that’s junior league for a quarterback in his class. But there is the Favre Factor (Packer power in the press since 1992) and if Pack pound the Lions, Aaron could steal the trophy.

Who Should Win?

See above list and final game performances. Falcons’ Matt Ryan should take the trophy with strong final show against arch-rival Saints but New Orleans has been playing like contenders this second-half and might derail the Ryan Express, opening the door to the next in line (Johnson), and so on and so forth.

cherries-cloth-picdrome-6-2011-thmCherry Picks Week 17

Texans (9-6) @ Titans (8-7): 1.1 CBS 1:00: Titans win
Carolina (6-9) @ Tampa (8-7): Fox 1:00: Panthers win
Cowboys (13-2) @ Eagles (6-9): Fox 1:00: Philly wins
New England (13-2) @ Miami Dolphins (10-5) GTW: CBS 1:00: Patriots win
Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) @ San Diego Chargers (5-10): 4:25 CBS: Bolts win
Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-11): 4:25 Fox: Cards win
Oakland Raiders (12-3) @ DenverBroncos (8-7): 4:25 CBS: Broncos win
New York (10-5) @ Washington Redskins (8-6-1) GTW: 4:25 Fox: Giants win
New Orleans (7-8) @ Atlanta Falcons (10-5) GTW: 4:25 Fox: Falcons win
Green Bay Packers (9-6) @ Detroit Lions (9-6) GTW: NBC 8:30: Lions win

Record: 73 -88 – 2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFL-MVP-trophy, wc.cca, 6.23.13, Teo’s89; M.Ryan, wc, K.Allison, 10.19.14; A.Ogletree, wc, Johnmaxmena2, 8.15.13; T.Brady, 11.29.15, J.Beall; cherries-cloth, picdrome, wc, 6.2011; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 12.27.16 @ 2:42pm, edit 6:06 EST; Copyright © 2016

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NFL16: Tom Brady’s Grounded, What About Your Quarterback?

6 Jul

“Brady, Brady, Brady!”

“To be or not to be, that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take (legal) arms against a sea of troubles.”
     Hamlet, Edward de Vere (Shake-a-Spear), 1590s

Barring an unexpected reversal in his pending court case (Deflategate), a turnaround that would be analogous in football to a Herm Edward’s game-winning scoop & score of a Csonka – Pisarcik fumble (11.19.78), Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension for NFL 2016-17 will be implemented.

.......Brady.wc.3.30.16.DeanAdams21.thmThe starry New England signal-caller will likely make his return in W5 to take the reins from 3rd-year backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (EIU) in resumption of the starter’s role Tom’s carried out with expertise (172-51) since supplanting the capable Drew Beldsoe in 2001. That would mean Brady’s first foe would be the Browns in our nation’s newest city of champions (See; Cavs (Trump hopes it’s trending (RNC 7.18-21))), his on-field arrival marking the final command performance of NFL 2016’s opening act.

Until Tom takes to the turf it‘s just not the NFL, making one wonder why Roger Goodell and the disciplinary folk are so determined to see their punishment of Brady et al upheld? Answer: Standards, and already having so much loot ($) that giving your top star an extended off-season is a bearable cost if it bolsters appearance of the League‘s blind-justice policy.

With Peyton Manning having decided to hang up his cleats, with little objection from Denver brass whom I suspect showed the legendary QB that proverbial ‘thanks for the Super Bowl win but just retire already’ door, the sure-fire 1st ballot HOF’er foregoing one last shot at a full season and victory tour after one of the most memorable leadership displays on record, it leaves TB as the undisputed face of the League.

A fitting state of affairs given both well decorated AFC field generals are the two most recent to hoist the coveted Lombardi (SB 49 (SEA) & 50 (CAR)).

.......PatsHOF.wc.10.24.8.thm.LeoparmrFor the Pats the early schedule will be challenging (@ AZ, MIA, HOU & BUF) but with the W-L result being of only marginal consequence. Criminy, it’s the Patriots, the juggernaut that just keeps on juggering…or nauting.

The New England product that Bill Belichick, Brady, owner Bob Kraft and the rest of the Foxborough folk have built is so sound, self-sustaining and of such stature that even in an AFC East fast becoming one of the League’s best, a rough start (1-3?) can be diluted in the wealth of wins to follow.

And by all appearances Brady, though somewhat pressed by the legal wrangle, still looks to be fit as a fiddle and well grounded for the upcoming NFL season.

Not grounded like Dad & Mom might mete out penance for Junior in those days of youth when he may’ve strayed off the straight & narrow by engaging in a bit o’ tom-foolery and was daffy enough to get caught (Ding-dong ditch-it?).

Nor grounding by a spouse (Gisele Bündchen) with that emotional ball & chain when your much-in-demand hubby is, through sense of obligation, giving too much time to the celebrity gropers seeking to profit from his fame & fortune.

And no worries that Tom’s laidback head coach and matriculator mentor in Bill has decided to ground his QB’s proficient aerial show and revert to the Halas – Lombardi principle: Ground it out with the run attack. Not gonna’ happen.

......grounded.girl.repos.WA.Bouguereau.1865.Philbrook.wc.thmNo siree-Bob. Tom Brady is the good grounded.

Still in the dark? It’s a happening thing, right there with spirituality, awesomeness, pro-biotics, automotive gadgetry (See; Honda, etc.) and gluten-free munchables (Pretzels can be epic, but bread & pasta…Ughsville).

Making sure one of your jumper cables is grounded when giving a car-battery a boost o’ juice is sound, safe procedure, but it’s also becoming a common practice for more & more people seeking to put body & soul in electron harmony with the “spinning world” and its forever flowing invisible field of charged molecules.

Here’s a better description of grounding, a practice in wholeness and well-being that our pre-industrial age ancestors had been engaging in for thousands of years and many humanoids today are now re-discovering the benefits.

“When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electro-physiological changes that promote optimum health (“The Ultimate Antioxidant” / Dr. Joseph Mercola / 11.4.12).”

.....Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.cca.thmbIs Tom Brady intentionally grounding, earth-hugging with the holistic crowd?

I’m no groupie nor groper so I couldn’t say for certain but even from afar it’s easy to see the ring-laden QB carries himself with such a confidence, dignity, discernable self-awareness on and off the playing field that if he’s not walking barefoot on his palatial estate to connect with earthy electrons he’s doing something akin to keep it all in balance.

Simply deciding to stay clear of any political convention is sign enough the man’s got both feet firmly planted on terra firma.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: grounded-girl, C.Giraud, 19c, wc.cca, Dorotheum; T.Brady, wc, 3.30.16, DeanAdams21; Pats-HOF, 10.24.8, Leoparmr, wc; grounded-girl, WA.Bouguereau, wc, 1865; Brady, 8.28.9, K.Allison, wc; NFL-wikiproject
Posted: 7.6.16 @ 1:17am EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 – SB50: Peyton’s Progress

28 Jan

♫ Don’t stop believin’ ♫

For the true football fan, the sort who stays clear of the sabrheaded soothsayer, it’s always the toughest part of predicting game results: separating who you think will win from the who you want to win. For most, that’s easy enough.

But as you get to the nitty-gritty of the NFL spectacle, the playoffs, a greater challenge presents. That’s when the want will bull-rush your brain “like a crazed dog” to take hold of your will and smack it to the ground. It’s a battle, for sure.

.......Pilgrim.Hat.8.16.10.B.Wesley.wc.cca.thmMy own mind-line held off the pressure to cast aside good sense for favorites. You must. Had to throw a few chop-blocks but then my minds-eye is a “wide open” game.

That doesn’t mean I’ve run the table but 7 of 9 (78%) for the post-season ain’t too shabby. It’s a welcome improvement over a middling regular season showing that had hovered around the .500 line-of-despair.

One of my ‘wrong number’ calls was Cards v. Cats.

Some of us figured Newton & Company would cave and failed to give sufficient value to Arizona’s recent troubles. In particular, the thumping Cardinals took at the hands of rival Seattle to close the regular. Injuries take a toll and a top D will force foul-ups (Palmer: 5 TOs).

My other coin-flip came up Broncos.

.....CA.49er.1850.tm.wc.LC.McClureGolden Super Bowl 50, fittingly fixated in California’s gold-rush country, Levi’s field in Santa Clara (2.7.16 / 6:30 CBS), is shaping-up to be another in that emerging line of clash-in-QB-style, i.e., pro pocket-passer versus collegiate flash (run-QB), aka, single-wing tailback (40s).

Same dichotomy as SB47. Defense then showcased like-talents in Lewis (BAL) vs Willis & Bowman (SF). But on offense the clash featured cool as a cucumber Joe Flacco (BAL) and Colin “Kaep Krusader” Kaepernick (SF). Ravens came out on top in a game whose nail-bitter finish (34-31) belied it’s lop-sided nature, up until the lights oddly went out after the lop began siding too much into the 2d half.

It’s a quarterback polarity that figures to become more & more common with run-QB having become the norm on the college scene.

Camster-the-Hamster rushed for over 600 and scampered for 10 pay-dirts (4.8 ypc / 3837p, 35t-10i) in the 2015 campaign that saw Carolina compile a 15-1 mark (See; Chicago ‘85), while his wily opposite in Manning threw wounded-ducks in Joe Kapp fashion to lead Broncs to a 7-2 mark, exited with injury, saw his back-up Osweiler help keep the ship afloat before the vet re-took the reins.

......Newton.9.28.14.wc.K.Allison.thmThe difference in flash form this time around is that Cam, in year five, has more miles on his meter than did Kaep who’d subbed for injured Smith in 2012 and had but ten starts under his belt when he took to the Superdome in SB47.

Now the table’s set for SB50.

But there’s an unexpected guest who seated itself at the Super setting, again (See; Deflategate 2015). And no one, ‘cept naysayers, is smiling.

NFL announced Wednesday that they’ll be looking into report by Al Jazeera (HP) earlier this month contending Manning and other players (Clay Matthews, etc.) procured HGH by way of an Indiana connection in 2011.

I welcome sincere efforts by NFL/PA that works to spot and sanction those who violated the rules and integrity of the NFL presently or in the relevant past.

........Manning.wc.8.26.12.J.Beall.thmAnd I suspect the powers-that-be who initiated this investigation did so after perusing the story’s details and formed a belief that there is valid cause to look further, that the dark cloud hanging over Manning’s and NFL/PA’s heads was already stationary atop and that this announcement might help dissipate the formation. Fine.

And I don’t expect the League to look the other way simply because the story relates to dated events and involves one of the faces of the NFL in Peyton. Their hand was forced, it would seem.

But an announcement that does not include…no, highlight a concomitant, joint effort (player’s union) to put into place for 2016-17, blood-draws of every player in-season (randomness be damned) at optimum testing time to close window of opportunity that remains ajar, makes this effort ring somewhat hollow.

With that as the backdrop, “Mr. Valiant,” Gary Kubiak and Denver’s wagon train of football prowess moves forward with the righteous determination of a pilgrim’s purpose, progressing each day closer to proving they’re the chosen ones to raise the VLT in victory to the sporting gods.

....Pilgrim.exile.MA.1930s.wc.BPL.Smith&Tichnor.thmThe numbers on Peyton Manning since he return to action in week 17 aren’t all that pretty.

His comp-% is fair-to-middling and in 2+ games has thrown two TDs. Peyton’s become a manager-QB, banking heavily on his wherewithal and teammates’ talent more than ever, biding time to shake the rust in what may be his sunset ride. He has a Joe Kapp quality now, guts galore, but with an arm that’s re-written the NFL record book and taken him and his teams to the highest of peaks. Some good signs: No picks and 3 wins.

The Carolina Panthers will be favored in SB50.

They’ve played like a class above. But keep in mind, while the pre-season NFC was seen as the Conference keenest on competition that’s not how it played out.

Expected to be contender laden, most finished around .500. Giants, Dallas, Eagles, Rams, Chicago, New Orleans, Lions, Atlanta all proved pretenders, and those that produced seemed a year off (MIN / DC) while the top dogs all found thorns in their paws along the way. Ouch!

...AFC.Hunt.trophy.2.2.13, A.Kirk,thumbChancellor’s holdout started things wrong for the defending champs who lost key cogs Lynch and super-sub Rawls to injury exits; Packers turned erratic after receiver extraordinaire Jordy Nelson went down; and my tab for NFC topper, AZ, started stout, had a nice win streak but got thumped in W17 (SEA), at home, then too caught the winter injury bug. Not QB Palmer this year but 2/3rds of their run-game and then their Mister defensive do-it-all in safety Tyrann Mathieu.

AFC on the other hand proved more competitive with risers in Houston, KC, the Jets, Pitt, even Oakland and Buffalo making late-season moves. Had Dalton returned for the PS we might be seeing a purrrr-fect Super in Santa Clara.

All this meaning Denver may be more tested, mother approved than their glossy NFC opponent. Since close loses to OAK (14) and Pittsburgh (15), both sans Pey-Dirt, the Broncos have been gutting out wins.

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbOne could interpret that as sign Denver’s just hanging on, ready to topple. But quality of competition is key. Mustangs topped the defending champs, a bit injury-bugged themselves, but still the champs, and a Steelers squad many in media had pegged as the team most likely to rise & surprise. In contrast, Cats clawed a couple of NFC enigmas (SEA / AZ) on their way to the big Circus.

But with a D that’ll go toe-to-toe with Carolina’s formidable force, a run game that motors and O-line that protected no matter who was under center, insert a savvy field general who’s now got a motivating bur-of-investigation under his well worn saddle (See: Pats & Deflategate Feb 2015), and those PVC-producing wins of late might just be signs from above, i.e., a team of destiny, manifestly.

Next week: SB50: Newton’s Laws of Motion and ♫ Rock Your Baby ♫

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: P.Manning, 9.14.14, J.Beall, wc.cca; pilgrim.hat, 8.16.10, B.Wesley, wc; CA-49er, wc, LC.McClure, 1850; C.Newton, 9.28.14, K.Allison, wc; P.Manning, 8.26.12, J.Beall, wc; pilgrim‘s.exile, MA, Smith&Tichnor, BPL, wc, 1930s; AFC.Hunt.trophy, 2.2.13, A.Kirk, wc.cca; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 1.28.16 @ 5:08p EST; Copyright © 2016

“Thanks a Bunch!:” Why We Love the NFL

7 Sep

While the amateurs (FBS) kicked-off their season Thursday night, the pros will begin their long procession towards Super Bowl 50 (Santa Clara (2.7)), a journey most football faithful hold as near & dear to their hearts as any pilgrimage, the following Thursday night (9.10) when the Steelers travel to Foxborough to face,…well, the face of the NFL, a beaming Tom Brady and his defending champion Patriots in the League opener.

The Patriots starry QB cleared customs, courtesy of Federal District Court Judge Dick Berman (SDNY) who vacated NFL’s 4-game susp’n of the signal-caller for what appears due process (“notice”) violations in the Deflategate matter. The League appealed the ruling but don‘t be so sure Roger Goodell is singing the blues. Privately, he may be slightly relieved ‘the face’ will start the season.

Bad Spot

More important than Deflategate doings was a suspiciously growing chorus of complaints this summer from NFL media & bloggers concerning validity of the exhibition slate.

Suspicious because the value of NFL’s pre-season has always been discernable by most everyone concerned. Now all of a sudden some are suggesting it be halved (2g), which would, ta-dah, make room for an 18g season.

Not only does the P/S afford needed time for making hard choices in roster cut & keep but it also gives football ravenous fans a period of relaxation to watch & learn about the new team as it takes shape and ease into the upcoming season.

Fans haven’t been complaining, nor players or coaches, not so you’d notice.

Baseball has an extended spring training that spans February – March.

And with all the time and attention we now devote to the college draft, before, during and after the overblown event, you’d think those who do most the blowing (media) would afford these young draftees all the time necessary to acclimate to their new surroundings and enhance chances of making the roster. You’d think.

Why We’re Ga-Ga Over the NFL

1) It’s ain’t brat-ball (MLB)

Baseball’s great, it’s our national pastime born professionally in the heartland (Chicago 1876 (NL) & 1901 (AL)). But today’s player behaves more like a school-boy than a man in spikes and I’m not so sure the youngins like it that way.

Short-tempers, long beards, drag-pantalones in summer heat, watercooler – shave-cream-pie-in-the face hijinx, home-plate bunny-hop jubilees for every game-winning hit and no-no pajama parties (Cubs) are all giving the game of Koufax, Mantle, Perez and Mays a very odd feel.

The NFL can be short on maturity itself to be sure but footballers seem, on the whole, to pride themselves on being a pro. The PED use, it’s still an issue.

2) The place to be

Let’s face it, today’s standard in fun & frivolity isn’t what’s good but rather what’s trending. That’s world-wide, thanks to the internet. And nothing trends as virally in the States like the NFL which, from September to January, plays bigger than Oprah (Super Soul Sunday) and maybe even Jesus (gulp). John Lennon might’ve agreed and were he alive today the Liverpoolian turned New Yorker very well could’ve been a Jets fan (See; underdog).

3) More stars than the Milky Way

Milky Way is a whole lotta’ hyperbole (and creamy, delicious goodness by Mars®, if you can look past the HFCS, hydrogenated palm oil and gluten (See; milkywaybar.com)), but it’s safe to say that there are more nationally recognized NFL players than the other three majors combined. You’ve got half a dozen in NHL and NBA each, maybe ten in MLB. In total their number still will likely fall short of the illuminated NFL line-up.

4) Showing constitution

No issue in sport today screams for exactitude like the crafted controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ 80-year old moniker. It’s a campaign that rose out of virtual anonymity before 2012 when Nike began flexing it’s merchandise muscle in performance of it’s terms under NFL contract and has been taken up as a cause by a malleable media and political sect that prior to 2012 had not made a nary a peep in protest.

The battle over it’s existence is waged on two fronts: the media and federal court where the last round went to opponents when a District Court ordered cancellation of the logo‘s trademark registrations (7.8). While the war being waged by the 4th branch to have the Redskins name removed is clearly a contrived effort, given it’s timing, Washington owner Dan Snyder, his peers, Commissioner Goodell, NFL sponsors and, as it appears, the mass of NFL fandom remain loyal to it’s retention, seeing the effort at it’s removal as largely insincere, bully-like and hypocritical by those who‘ve only recently claimed offense at the maligned moniker.

Choosing democracy over oligarchy (dictionary & media boards of editors, tribal elite, political strong-arming (P&TO)) and once and for all determining a Redskins definition through ballots cast by those majorities in tribal and non-tribal communities across the land seems at this stage the only just, sensible route to pursue.

5) Roger Goodell

Seems an odd time to be naming Roger as a reason why fans love the League, with the Commissioner once again licking his wounds after suffering another legal defeat (Brady – NFLPA) and the media piling-on in hopes of ousting the besieged potentate.

But in fact, I’d not be straying too far out on that proverbial limb in presuming that all the owners, most of the players, every sponsor (PepsiCo) and a super majority of fans are A-okay with Goodell and his efforts to keep the game fun, fair, reasonably safe and current.

The man from Jamestown, New York has made his missteps to be sure and the greed he feeds is not lost on this writer, but then, if he’d not made a few boo-boos he most certainly wouldn’t be doing his job, an undertaking that goes beyond making mounds of moolah for the ownerships.

This latest call for his resignation in wake of recent Deflategate ruling seems simply one more salvo fired from those in the media captured by an agenda to remove the sitting Commissioner that began with Bountygate, mushroomed with the national-media bolstered anti-Redskins movement (’12) and grows with every flame-fanned firestorm that flares (Ricegate, Peterson, Deflategate).

When Goodell does eventually step down, which can’t be too soon for his heart and family, his replacement will still shovel the shenanigans that players and owners have and will continue to drop on and off the turf, year in, year out, that has the man with the big scooper, the sport Commissioner. The only difference may be that the new leader might buckle on the Redskins issue which may in fact be what’s been fueling Roger’s crass critics all along.

NFL popularity is at an all-time high and it’s not due to the sports media or America’s great admiration for it’s legal system.

6) Pro style play

A quarterback League, the man under center has set the tone since helmets came into vogue. But the NFL is undergoing a subtle change. The proliferation of flash-QB in college, i.e. Sir-Runs-Alot, cultivated by coaching-on-the-cuff and fast filling up draft boards, is phasing-out precision passing, dousing diversity and making the rabbit-habit (’athleticism’) his play-call of choice.

But the professional theater of pigskin is still strong and favored by NFL fans.

Whether it’s the steely poise of pocket passers who “take a licking and keep on ticking (Timex®),” the protective walls on-line that adapt to diversity, ball-carriers who grind like tanks or cut like a surgeon, receivers with hands of glue that brave the blind-side or the tackle-machines that cover, enabling the glory-guys (sacks / INT) to do their thing, it’s a smorgasbord of skills & style that keeps the football in the game.

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kb

Steven Keys
Brass Tacks
Photo credits: ThankYou, wc.cca, 11.25.09, vistamommy; NFL-symbol, Wikiproject.
Posted: 9.7.15 @ 2:41am; edit 11:59 EST

Relax Brady, Anti-Hero’s a Better Look

3 Aug

He’s face of the NFL, reigning Super champ QB with the GQ smile and model wife. But lately, Tom’s been taking more punches on the chin than a Pacquiao – Mayweather fisticuff. Hagler v Hearns (85) it was not, but then, not many are.

Deflategate just won’t fade away.

And now it’s taken on a Rose-Mary Woods feel (d.2005), she of Watergate infamy, having been the personal secretary to President Richard Nixon before and during the scandal. She took responsibility for erasing 5 minutes of a suspicious 18 minute gap in a White House tape subject to the Senate inquiry.

......Brady.wc.cca.12.18.11.J.Beall.thmb

NFL Commissioner, veritable Vice-Principal and CBA-approved appellate judge Roger Goodell handed down his decision on Tuesday to maintain Tom Brady’s 4g susp’n for what he and investigator Ted Wells believe was a “more probable than not” likelihood (?) that the Patriots QB knowingly partook in a “scheme” to deflate game balls (AFCC15) and then “obstructed” the inquiry by having an assistant destroy his cellular phone just prior to an interview with Wells who’d sought it’s contents.

Tom, like Woods, tabbed “Stretch” by media for myriad of machine maneuvers required to pull-off her claims (Wikipedia), explains his own act was not malice but mere coincidence as he had a habit of destroying phones upon purchasing a new model which he claims was necessary due to a functionality issue.

Needing a new phone just as Wells needed to see the old phone is a timing that Ms. “Elaine Benes” might’ve called one “BIG coincidence (Seinfeld).” Yeeeeah.

Some believe Brady a liar on this matter and take it further in calling him (and his team (Spygate)), a cheater. Hater hyperbole? Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Others cut Tom some terrific slack.

There are any number of valid, benign reasons that one would destroy a cell phone apart from skullduggery, i.e., intentional destruction of potential evidence, even with such poor timing as was Tom‘s.

For one, a reasonable All-American need for privacy. Yanks taught the world.

But privacy too has taken it on the chin of late, especially and appreciably so since the 9-11 attacks (See; NSA, etc.). And it’s not just from Uncle Sam.

......Silver.11.21.14.K.Allison.wc.thmb

Private sector boasts a growing disregard for the privacy right which sports a pretty wicked swell from blows like the national lynch-mob that throttled racially-paranoid but dementia’d 81-yr old former Clippers owner & ‘escort’ imbiber, Don Sterling, and the recent invasion of Planned Parenthood’s zone of privacy by intruders-with-agenda.

Which makes “Privacy Notification” I receive in the mail on a monthly basis from my credit card companies all the more weirder and suspicious. Thanks, Congress.

And then it’s possible Brady held a principled belief that the requestor (Wells et al) is not entitled, under CBA and / or due process, to access his cell phone.

Best advice in such circumstance might’ve been to hold said phone in abeyance and let a magistrate rule before said destruction. But rulings can go haywire and then where would the privacy-seeker be, everything exposed to inquiring minds or, in those famous words of “Varmint Cong (Caddyshack),” “Uh-oh!”

In addition, there’s a skewed, somewhat sorted nature to the whole Deflategate thing, a witch-hunt feel that stems from the following:

1) Parties purportedly initiating the inquiry (IND / BAL) have axes to grind;

2) Rules are rules but in this case the NFL policy on ball-flation was in somewhat primitive in stage preceding the hubbub while the in-game referees oversight of said balls was clearly lacking, almost, one could argue, inviting in it’s nature.

3) An investigator who employs easiest of standards (“more probable than not (51%)),” yet uses “likely” in couching report in an air of clear & convincing;

4) League’s manner has appeared indifferent to DP in inquiry and review.

......Vincent.7.13.12.thmb.careerupdate.wc

NFLPA is championing Brady’s case and filed grievance in a Minneapolis federal court last Wednesday (transferred NYC) to challenge Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent’s 4g susp’n he handed down earlier in the year and upheld by Roger.

But take heart, Tommy, there are silver-linings in that dark Deflategate cloud staying stationary overhead.

Firstly, most Americans are tired of having their heroes deconstructed, folded, spindled and media-mutilated in for profit, politics, prejudice or combo thereof.

Second: You can take solace in knowledge that you’ve been granted full (pending) membership in the All-American Anti-Hero Club. It’s a good thing.

The anti-hero has some great qualities, real triumphs, but has an Achilles’ heel, chink in the armor that sends some folks running for either the rosary or the critics’ club. They are uncommon figures who, upon closer inspection, prove human and fail that false standard of perfection to which we hold our heroes, i.e., JFK, MLK and Audie Murphy.

.....Lafayette.wc.Peale.wc.1780.thm

One might argue the United States (1783) and it’s Charter ((C)1791) were created by a whole lotta’ anti-heroes that would’ve swung high from “white oak tree(s)” if not for the un-paid, poorly fed but stout Continentals, Washington’s out-maneuver of Britain the Earl Cornwallis at Yorktown (’81) and Lafayette’s compatriots, le Français.

That group includes Tom Jefferson, the man who started public education (UV) and penned the Declaration of Independence, the newest public enemy #1A, along with Old Hickory Andy Jackson (#1B), of the politically correct bully bunch (PCB).

My question to them: How do you all get here, if not from there? Spontaneous civil rights? “How conveeeeenient (Carvey),” for the catty, callous & closed-off.

The anti-hero club is non-sectarian and shows no preference to age, gender, era, income-level and has membership that’s both factual and fictionally-inspired.

Spartacus

“Thracian dog (McGraw’s tag on Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film)” sent shock-waves throughout the Roman Republic, yet, to slaves who heard-tell, he gave hope.

Robin Hood

“Baron of Locksley” was a hood with flair for robbery, so you can’t classify hero. The legend says he shared his loot with the poor of Sherwood Forest and vicinity, making him an early proponent of wealth redistribution. Any friend of Olivia de Havilland (E. Flynn) has gotta’ be A-OK, i.e., a bit of alright.

Andrew Jackson

He’s taken more flak than a B-17 over 40s Berlin. Nothing’s free and when he brought democracy to DC the spoils system was part-in-parcel. It persists today (lobbyism / quotas). Trail of Tears was a stain on our soul but without this first commoner in the White House who bested hostile Indians, British invaders and greedy bankers, the aristocrats (shareholders) might have the last 20%.

....Garfield.Gentlemens.47.wc.thm

John Garfield and Anne Revere

Stalwarts of 30s & 40s stage and screen, both stood brave against tyranny that was House Un-American Activities Committee, refused to name names and were black-listed as most America quivered. The Red Scare destroyed 100s of creative lives in a political effort to win power and snuff diversity. Like spoils system it lives today in corporate appeasement and homogenization, forcing conformity that stifles freedom of thought, artistic expression and does a cut & paste job on history. Still scary stuff.

“Pvt. John Reese (Steve McQueen, Hell is For Heroes (‘62))

When movie fans talk today about great war cinema, recency rules with movies like Fury (’14), Saving Private Ryan (’98), Glory (’89), American Sniper (’14), maybe The Pianist (’02). But classics hold their own with the likes of The Longest Day (’62), Platoon (’86), Apocalypse Now (‘79), The Deer Hunter (’78), All Quiet on the Western Front (’30), The Bridge on the River Kwai (‘58), Cross of Iron (‘77) and “Hell.” You’d not want to bar-be-que with the wired-tight Mr. “Reese” in peacetime, but in a trench, he’s Silver Star.

“Sgt. Stryker (John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima (‘49))

You’d not think the “Duke” anything less than straight hero-type, and you’d be right 95% of the time. But there were roles (The Searchers (‘59)) where you wondered if John had both oars in the water. Marital discord on homefront and abrasive leadership imbue Stryker with anti-, the stand-up-guy scene with juke-girl / mother and baby is ‘Grade A’ hero and should move you tears.

....Grier.2.3.12.wc.CFC.thm

“Jackie Brown (Pam Grier, Jackie Brown (‘97))

“Jackie” won’t make Condy Rice’s list of female role models but the ‘smart as a whip’ stewardess would get my vote for NFL Commish. She made a bad call with Stranger-Danger man “Ordell (Jackson),” but when she confides in smitten bondsman “Max Cherry (Forster)” about “starting over,” she speaks to everyone who’s reached middle-age and starts to scramble.

Brett Favre

“Mississippi” was bigger than Vince Lombardi in the formerly progressive State of Wisconsin, then Thompson & Board showed him the door, handed him his hat and he went to the other side (Vikings). Big surprise. He almost took Norsemen back to the promised land but got over-undered by the Saints, then had phone trouble of his own (Sterger). But Brett’s an endorsement machine, living the good life and back in fold (Packers’ HOF).

Jose Canseco

If Jose could stop whining about his bold decision to blow whistle on PED cheats and playing to the camera, he’d have his anti-hero club card in his good hand.

....Newman.68.Peterson.MF.WI.wc

“Frank Galvin (Paul Newman, The Verdict (‘82))

Like John (The Breaking Point (‘50)), Paul specialized as the anti-hero (Cool Hand Luke (’67)). Alchie ambulance-chaser turns his steed around, takes on cowardice & corruption and becomes a crusader on white charger.

“The Bad News Bears (‘76)

For anyone who’s ever muffed a can o‘ corn, got eaten-up by a grounder, made an errant throw or whiffed with bases full, they can appreciate this original fairytale that is inspirational staple for kids and adults alike. Mötley Crüe’s got nada on this bunch of misfits turned teammates and players. Entire cast, including Tatum O’Neal, Joy Van Patten and Vic Morrow is superb with Matthau (“Buttermaker”) and Haley (“Kelly Leak”) as the anti-heroes.

Randy Moss

Couldn’t have a Brady anti-hero list without TB’s battery mate, Moss. Maybe only Rodman affected play and emotions as did this incomparable receiver. From the get-go in debut with Vikes (‘98), Randy was uncommon as a game-changer and persona, vacillating unpredictably from spirited & strong to lackadaisical & surly. His pantomime moon of GB royalty was a creative high (’05), his snooty heart-stab of Minnesotans in brief 2010 return was a low.

Well, there you have it, some of the heavy hitters in the anti-hero club.

It’s not a bad place to be: better endorsements, better parties and I’d not be surprised if they found better brokers, too (more money, more fun).

Besides, if anti-hero status keeps you from having to shill for pizza money, Tom, it‘s gotta‘ be good, eh (See; Papa & Peyton)? Sorry, Manning, I’m off the gluten.

......macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.wc.2011

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: Brady, 10.11.9, wc.cca, J.Beall; Brady, 12.18.11, wc, J.Beall; Silver, 11.21.14, wc.cca, K.Allison; Vincent, 7.13.12, careerupdate, wc.cca; Lafayette, 1780, Peale, wc.cca; Garfield, 1947, Gentlemen’s, wc; Grier, 2.13.12, CFC, wc; Newman, MF-WI, 1968, wc, Peterson; macroeconomo, lamcasinoroyal, 2011,wc.
Posted: 8.3.15 @ 3:35pm; edit @ 7:08 EST
Copyright © 2015

MLB15 Chin Music: All the GM’s Men?

28 Jun

To risk so much, for so little.

That was my first thought after reading report last week of an FBI investigation into a possible hacking of Houston Astros computer database in 2013 by rival St. Louis Cardinals in what would be a violation of federal law and was reported in The New York Times (6.16).

Right out of the chute some were making the Deflategate comparison.

.......Nixon.8.9.74.O.Atkins.WH.thmb

It is true that with today’s trend towards shenaniganism throughout our world of tumultuous merriments, analogizing to the Patriots current plight arising from Colts 2015 late season tip-off, was fair enough to engage.

But comparing the culpabilities, the degrees of wrong in computer hacking, a federal / state offense, versus a strong hunch (Wells Report (“more probable than not (51%)“)) of a rather miniscule NFL ball-management misstep, is, in the words of “Phil Leotardo (The Sopranos),” “apples and bowling balls.” Forget about it.

And besides, given that top-dog NFL has more detractors than you can shake a stick at, or, put in other words, is on more “enemies list(s)” than were names on President Nixon’s infamous album of believed foes (20 (570+)), any tempest in NFL’s “Teapot” is bound to be over-boiled by malcontents & advocacy shills.

.......Watergate.wc.slowking4.thmb..8.18.12

My second thought: I’ve seen this crazy high risk, low payoff thing before, along with those aged 50+ who still remember the 70s and President Richard Milhous Nixon.

I’m referring to the big bad one. The ignominy that gave birth to the ‘gate’ suffix today being attached to every broad-reaching malfeasance since, political and otherwise: the Watergate scandal (1972-74), named for the complex of offices, hotel and apartment buildings in Washington, DC where took place the Nixon White House‘s bungled burglary of the Democratic National offices in 1972.

The differences between these two incidents, Watergate and, let‘s term it, Sabergate (theory is that St. Louis surreptitiously sought statistical & strategy data from Houston and a former employee), are about as many as those figurative apples and bowling balls.

......Mozeliak.wc.d-deee.2011

The contexts: sport business vs. the highest stratosphere of governmental goings-on.

The states of knowledge: one investigation, conducted largely by the Washington Post’s Woodward & Bernstein (“All the President’s Men (‘76)”), finished up long ago, the current one is on-going and this time has full federal cooperation and directive.

Comparative relevance of proven (Watergate) and suspected (STL) misdeeds:

Hacking is a serious crime, whether it occurs in private or business setting, or breaks national security codes by invasion of highly classified files. The crime’s definition aught incorporate the privacy right as well, one that has taken some serious body blows in recent decades (post 9-11), and like due process, is often an undervalued right when it’s someone else’s circumstance and not your own (See; Sterling-Stiviano TMZ tape drop).

......Nixon-Mao.wc.WHPO.2.29.72.thmb

This particular form of hackery, if factual, pales in comparison to the wrongs worked by the Nixon White House and uncovered by the Watergate inquiries.

Many today mistakenly believe the cover-up of the burglary is what did-in Nixon and his operatives. In fact, it was the extensive covert operations that his White House engaged, circumventing federal law and U.S. Constitution in the process, that rightly toppled this President whose handling of economy and declaring college football’s national champ (Texas ‘69) both lacked style, but whose actions in foreign policy seemed to have him on the road to greatness (Détente / Ping-Pong Diplomacy (China)).

Where these two do compare (if Times report is accurate and indictments are filed vs. the Cards), and even Deflategate when last season’s AFCC outcome is considered (NE 45 – IND 7), is a seemingly unnecessary need to know, or, in Patriots’ case, max-flate. In simplest term, the goofy greed.

.....Cardinals.wc.Sportslogonet.1900-19

When all was said & done with Watergate (’75), resignations given (Nixon), convictions won (Haldeman, Mitchell, Liddy, etc.) and promotions received (Ford (#38)), many scratched their heads in manner being duplicated today on this hacking report concerning a standard-bearer franchise in the St. Louis Cardinals (b.1882): Why o’ why would someone with so much power (Nixon) and yet skullduggery to cover (covert ops), so far up in polls over opposition (McGovern), feel need to risk it all and bug Democratic HQ?

Where power goes unchecked, greed, arrogance & corruption follow. A l’il dumb, too. Goal of justice requires ethics, wisdom and bravery, making it optional.

Here, the Cardinals – Astros probe is on-going.

.....DeWitt.wc.10.30.11.JM.Mena.thmb

For it to rise to Sabergate status, facts must put misdeeds in Cards’ Oval Office, as it were, beyond lower-level, eager-beaver saberheads and within purview of Owner Bill DeWitt, General Manager John Mozeliak and / or skipper Mike Matheny.

One thing’s for certain, this hacking hubbub has done little to take the edge off of Redbirds appetite for wins, becoming MLB15’s first team to hit the 50 mark.

Oh, for those simpler days when Presidents let nature take it’s course (Coolidge), cooked in “the kitchen” and never passed a “buck (Truman)” and scouts spotted “a blinder” on a tryout and without a calculator (This Sporting Life (‘63)).

......canned corn

Steven Keys
Can o’ Corn
Photo Credits: J.Mozeliak, 10.30.11, wc.cca, JM.Mena; R.Nixon, wc, 8.9.74, O.Atkins, WH; Watergate-Complex, wc, 8.18.12, slowking4; J.Mozeliak, wc, d-deee, 2011; Mao-Nixon, wc, 2.29.72, WHPO; St.Louis.Cardinals, Sportslogonet, wc, 1900-19; W.DeWitt, wc, JM.Mena, 10.30.11; canned-corn.
Posted: 6.28.15 @ 7:41pm EST
Copyright © 2015 S.J. Keys

Rivalries That Rock the Sporting Scene

4 Jun

What, with all the Brady bashing going on these days, it’s gotten this sport fan to thinking: Why all the hostility?

Because America won’t abide a cheater? That’s cute.

First, think of the on-going PED plague and no small number of ‘fans’ who shrug shoulders in apathy. Couple that with recent of rash of MLB pitchers (Smith / Matusz) who’ve suddenly become SPF conscious as they grease their deliveries. Then, add in the opposing, yes, opposing, players & managers (Girardi) who barely bat an eye, and it’s safe to write, cheatin’ ain’t too high up on most folks list of derelictions in 2015.

.........Favre.thumb.M.Morbeck.10.24.10

People weren’t exactly sprouting pitchforks and filling the streets in days following the 2000 Presidential ballot when State of Florida and its electoral votes suddenly flipped from Al Gore to Gov. Jeb Bush’s brother, George W. and what should’ve been a fairly simple re-calculation of castings that turned chaotic, only to have the highly dubious result validated by our skittish Supreme Court (Bush v Gore).

And next time you hop in the automobile, fail to conform with posted speed limit and choose to not ease up on the gas pedal, make sure you turn yourself over to the local authorities lickety-split. Fine.

Okay, so forget about some silly notion that America puts premium on integrity.

Maybe you are one of those that has a moral compass with a directional functionality (there’s a few), disdain Flop NBA and have decided to vest your faith in the Wells Report and NFL’s draconian response.

But if you bank your belief that Brady et al (Deflategate: Tom‘s appeal hearing with Cmsr Goodell is set for 6.23) did “circumvent” NFL rules on ball-mgmt based on the highly speculative Wells (“hunch-a-bunch-a-Fritos® corn chips”) Report (51% std), well, then you can’t possibly be a fan of due process.

Same old story: if it’s your process, ‘long live the Constitution, Magna Carta, yada yada!’, but if it’s the other guy’s right to fundamental fairness, no biggie, right?

........Brady.wc.cca.mongomez93.thmb

So if it’s not integrity or a strong case of culpability against the Pats that’s driven the demagoguery on Deflategate, that leaves one plausible explanation: prejudice.

That would include NFL haters or arsonists, always fueling football fires, i.e., non-sporting types (anti-Redskinites, anti-Rice bandwagoneers, etc.) & grudge-holders (Bounty-gate, etc.), and Patriots’ rivals.

Rivalry fires the furnace. Celebrity’s big, but like “glory, is fleeting (Patton ‘70).”

Rivalry has substance. It’s what collegiate Presidents & Trustees simply refuse to concede in their dinero-driven game of Conference musical chairs.

Players and coaches will come & go, but teams and their familiar foes will, by & large, always be there with it’s raucous rivalry evident in times of feast or famine.

But while these long-running regional rivalries may constitute the bread & butter of sport, they do have their downside.

Besides the knucklehead fan contingent that are regulars at rivalry meets, piling on a rival who’s feeling the heat (Patriots) is another bad by-product.

.......Ryan.10.23.11.wc.M.O'Leary.thmb

You won’t hear new Bills (former Jets) coach Rex Ryan mouthing about Deflategate.

Rex tends to play the clown but is a savvy customer who knows full well the high caliber of competition he’s been facing in New England during his NFL coaching tenure.

The same sensible tack can’t be said for former intra-division rivals in Jim Kelly (“He (Tom) didn’t need to do it (Tell us something we didn’t know, Jimbo (See; 2H v Indy & SB49 (SEA))”) and Don ‘Get Me Some Ginkgo Biloba’ Shula (“we didn’t deflate”).

With that in mind then, listed herein are what can be called sports best rivalries.

It’s not an all-inclusive listing.

History won’t by itself qualify a rivalry here, nor intra-City / Division versions (CWS v CHC). And the Patriots adversaries, while possibly helping to fuel their media frustrations, have just not had the opponency-value worthy of mention. None of New England’s AFC opponents has been able to keep up with NFL’s premiere team of the past 20 years. Colts did for a time (Peyton) and then Pitt settled for mediocrity with Tomlin treading water (See; Babcock DET >>TOR).

Michigan v The Ohio State (NCAAF)

I put “The” in as pure mockery. An institution as valuable as OSU need not preen.

.......JimHarbaugh.12.30.14.wc.E.Upchurch.thmb

Aside from that silliness, this college football rivalry is USA’s best, hands down. Sorry Auburn – Alabama, USC – UCLA, Texas – Oklahoma, Yale – Harvard, this is the big one. It’s been suffering a bit of late but Jim Harbaugh’s return to his alma mater will restore it’s relevancy right quick. “Urban Renewal” Meyer has done a tremendous job in the State of his, and Jimbo’s birth, and Harbaugh’s likely to do the same.

Duke v North Carolina, Louisville v Kentucky (NCAABK)

Great traditions at these standard-bearer college b-ball programs but the current coaches are, as in the OSU – UM football version, what make ‘em all rock n‘ roll.

Pitino (UL) v Calipari (UK), Krzyzewski (DU) v Williams (UNC). Now, UCLA’s gotta’ get back in gear to rekindle a rivalry out West it had going with Arizona.

NHL – NBA

I got nothing here.

In hockey, the originals will always be terrific rivals. But when one is up these days (DET ‘97-09, NYR ’94 or MON ‘93), the other is down (TOR), and then vice versa (CHI ‘10 & ‘13, BOS ‘11). Rangers / Bruins, Blackhawks / Red Wings might be on the verge of a rebirth but time’ll tell.

As for the Association, a truly sad state of affairs when a shoe battle between rival reps (Curry (U-A) v James (Nike)), who rode the EZ-Pass® highway to reach the promised land, becomes media’s focal point of a Final.

MLB (Cubs v Cards; Yankees v Red Sox and Dodgers v Giants)

The sabrmetric (anal-ytics) surge in MLB has altered baseball in some not-all-too-pleasing ways these past few decades (A‘s fans are still scratching their heads about their measured & minor dividends), but thankfully, it has not killed-off the rivalries that are still aflame in America’s national pastime.

The most marketed, though, not necessarily MLB’s best rivalry, Yanks v Red Sox, may in fact pre-date Ban Johnson’s formation of the American (Chicago 1901) in form of other leagues and different monikers, and is going stronger than ever.

.......Rizzo.wc.ben.grey.8.1.12.thmb

With Giants & Dodgers taking Horace Greeley‘s advice to “go West” in late 50s (St.Louis Browns (Orioles) move East (BAL)), they transplanted their monumental opponency into California soil. There have been lulls but the fun & frolic ((?) See; Marichal v Roseboro (’63)) has returned. Reigning champion San Francisco is head & shoulders above the Dodgers in recent World Series wins (3 in 5y), but Los Angeles’ owners seem committed to finding former glory and the contests are heating up again.

And that’s all great stuff, but the biggest rivalry, not by book of east coast biased Disney-ESPN (CT), of course, is the oldest in professional baseball and all of major American sport: Cubs v Cardinals.

These two clubs, in one form or another, have been at loggerheads since Albert Spalding, Cap Anson (White Stockings) and his National Leaguers (also birthed in Windy City (1876)) took on St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe’s Browns club (AA) for the informal championship of professional baseball clubs in the 1880s.

While Redbirds have gotten best of the Bruins in the World Series tally, something like, 10 to 2, the head-to-heads never lack for fire and the fandom come out in droves.

NFL (Vikings v Packers)

It’s not the bare cupboard that is NBA’s short stock of riveting rivalries, but pickins is pretty slim these days, even in the high-falutin’ NFL.

Cowboys v Redskins, Chiefs v Raiders and Packers v Bears still take place but have lost their zip, largely because one franchise just can get back the magic.

Falcons v Saints have dominated NFC South and look to rekindle the fire in 2015 after some years on the canvas. Other grudge matches thrive for a time but seem predicated more on cult of personality than teams, i.e., NE v NYJ (Rex to BUF), Seahawks v 49ers (JH to UM) and KC / SD v Denver (gutsy but aged Peyton).

Giants and Eagles, Cardinals and Seahawks and any pairing of Steelers (Ben’s good), Bengals or Ravens can all be donnybrooks, but one rivalry seems to retain it’s intensity, no matter the team’s present W-L states: Minnesota v Green Bay.

.........Peterson.1.28.12.wc.Arvee5.0.thm

This one won’t sound too imposing to fans outside the Upper Midwest. Packers have been a formidable force since Wolf, Holmgren, Favre & White worked a rebirth in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, while the Vikings seem the ultimate snake-bitten franchise.

I don’t know if it’s the common cultural and historical threads that run through these two old Northwest Territory terrains, making ‘similars distract,’ or the fact that one’s championship pedigree has, traditionally (pre-Rodgers), had little or no effect in the usually competitive nature of their frothy head-to-heads, but the rivalry still rocks.

And it should get rockier as All-Pro Adrian Peterson has returned to Vikings fold (OTAs) after a brief stand-off following his tumultuous 2014-15 that involved criminal charges involving a child discipline matter and League suspension.

Apparently seeking a trade that didn’t come as Mr. Jones seems would rather miss out on another Super Bowl (20y) than take chance that he might get “fuzzy end of the lollipop” this time (See; MIN ‘89 (Walker)), ‘All-Day’ and his agent have nonetheless changed the narrative from criminality back to football as the future in Land of 10,000 Lakes looks brightest it’s been since Brett Favre hit the Minneapolis tarmac back in ‘09.

While today’s opposing players are so cordial on the field you’ve gotta’ believe they‘re holding inter-team family bar-be-cues the Friday nights preceding Sunday‘s action, the fans share no such cutesy comradery. Look no further than the switch-a-roos (Favre MIN; Boggs & Damon NYY, etc.) to understand it’s all business for most these dudes.

The mutual dislike between GB and MIN faithful runs so deep it’s safe to say, at times, a loss by their hated rival sings sweeter than hearing news of their own team’s victory. That’s major malice.

And that’s Packer-backers v Purple People, NFL’s biggest rivalry going.

......macroeconomc.lamcasinoroyal.wc.2.5.11.thb

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: B.Favre, wc.cca, 11.15.09, MN-NG, Det; Favre, wc.cca, M.Morbeck, 10.24.10; T.Brady, wc.cca, mongomez93; R.Ryan, wc.cca, M.O’Leary, 10.23.11; Jim.Harbaugh, wc, 12.30.14, E.Upchurch; A.Rizzo, wc, bengrey, 8.1.12; Peterson, Adrian, wc, 1.28.12, Arvee5.0; macroeconomics, wc.cca, lamcasinoroyal, 2.5.11.
Posted: 6.4.15 @ 3:37pm; edit 11:56 EST