Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Let's All Agree Nobody Likes Tom Brady

TigerBlog starts out today with a pair of updates.

First, when he mentioned the Princetonians who won gold medals in the recently completed Pan Am Games yesterday, he didn't realize that Ashley Higginson had won the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Higginson graduated from Princeton in 2011.

Higginson won the steeplechase in Toronto in 9:48.12, which also happened to be a Pan Am Games record as well.

So that's one update.

The other is to Ryan Yurko, who was the ringleader of last Friday's beach trip, chronicled Monday by TB. Yurko pointed out to TB yesterday that he should have been called a "smart" volleyball player.

He said he made a lot of "smart" plays, that he had a "smart" approach to the game. So, if you're looking for a "smart" volleyball player, Yurko is your man. If you're looking for a good one from the Princeton group on the beach, then maybe try Carolyn Cooper.

And that's the two updates.

TB apologizes to Higginson. Yurko? All in good fun.

Anyway, TigerBlog was shocked to see that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension of New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady.

TB's first thought was of what Jason Garrett's reaction was, as his Dallas Cowboys play the Patriots in the last of those four games. Had the suspension been reduced, then Brady would have played against Dallas.

And he still might. There's a long way to go, as Brady has vowed to challenge the ruling in the courts. Who knows how it will play out.

Still, it's hard to read anything any of this and come away thinking that Brady is the least bit honorable. First, he's been the cornerstone of an organization with a reputation for cheating, so he really doesn't get much of the benefit of the doubt from anyone who isn't a Pats fan.

Second, he's easy to dislike. He's smug. He's married to the world's top supermodel. He makes more money than basically anyone on Earth could ever dream of and yet she makes more than he does. It doesn't make him likeable. He's certainly no Peyton Manning.

Then there's this story in particular.

TigerBlog can't even begin to imagine how many times Brady has cheated in a game. It certainly wasn't just with the AFC championship game.

And as TB read about the details yesterday, there was the revelation that Brady had destroyed his cell phone so that the NFL couldn't access it. And that if he is to be suspended, he is insisting that it's for not cooperating with the investigation, not with breaking the rules.

To TigerBlog, all of Brady's accomplishments are called into question. It's up there with being a steroid cheat, only maybe even worse, because he can't hide behind the "everyone was doing it" defense.

TB was rooting hard against the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, but they won. Oh well. At least the Giants beat them twice, including to spoil that perfect season. So there is that.

NFL teams are starting their training camps this week. Garrett and the Cowboys are in Oxnard, Calif., for theirs, something sure to shatter the relatively lighthearted serenity of Conte's two weeks ago, when Garrett was there for the "Night of Coaches."

The first exhibition game is a week from Sunday, when the Vikings and Steelers play in the Hall of Fame Game. The regular season opens Sept. 10, when the Patriots - with or without Brady - host the Steelers.

That game, by the way, is six weeks from tomorrow. Is that nuts or what?

The best game of Week 1, by the way, is the Sunday night game between Garrett's team and TB's favorite team, the Giants. It's going to be hard for TB to root against Garrett, but he'll find a way.

That game is Sunday, Sept. 13. Princeton's football season opens six days later, at Lafayette.

Princeton will play 10 games this season, six of which will be televised. The Tigers and Columbia will play on Friday, Oct. 2, on NBC Sports Network. Five other games - Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Penn and Dartmouth - will be on the American Sports Network.

Those games make up five of the 17 that are part of the Ivy League's television deals for this fall.

TigerBlog can remember when there were no Ivy games on TV. He can remember when the Ivy League had a deal with, of all outlets, PBS. There have been games on ESPN. On networks that don't exist anymore.

The subject of television is a fascinating one in Ivy League athletics.

Coaches, for instance, love having games on TV, the better to reach out to recruits, who can both watch them and envision themselves ultimately as part of them.

On the other hand, TigerBlog has had a million conversations about the impact televising games had on attendance. Why come to the game if it's on TV?

That's an issue for all of the sports world these days. The more events like NFL games cost and the better the TV quality gets, why go? Exhibit A in that discussion is TB's favorite annual event - the NCAA men's lacrosse championships.

Then there's the whole digital network piece. If the Ivy League is going to have a digital network, how does that matchup with putting games on TV? How does moving game times and even days affect attendance? And for that matter, how does having games on TV impact the in-game experience for fans?

Anyway, those are just the questions.

TigerBlog has his thoughts on all of them. He can get into those another day.

For today, let's just all agree that nobody likes Tom Brady.

1 comment:

Rodin said...

I am the rarest of species, a Patriots fan who, after watching this soap opera unfold, thought, "You know what? I think my quarterback cheated and likely has been cheating for a long time." And the fact that people like me are so rare suggests a lot of lessons about the world around us.

If you read the comments on various sports websites, you'll see that most Patriots fans think that Brady and the Pats organization are innocent victims here. To me, this phenomenon reinforces other easily observable evidence that most people can't get past their own pre-existing beliefs and biases when looking at new facts. If the average Patriots fan can't look impartially at a situation involving under inflated footballs, what hope can we have that other people can think insightfully about important decisions involving illegal immigration, Iranian disarmament, gun control, etc? Answer: None.

The reaction of people to Deflategate is a reflection of human reasoning which explains so much about why politics and many other human endeavors often seem so intractable. Most people, once they strongly support or believe "A," cannot look at facts which suggest "B" and interpret that new information critically or impartially. Our brains just aren't wired that way.