SPYGATE, DEFLATE, MANGINI AND NASCAR

When Bill Belicheck was coaching the Cleveland Browns a young ball boy impressed him as a hard worker. Bill gave him a job with his coaching staff. That ball boy was Eric Mangini. He spent 9 years with Bill until in 2005 he was offered the head coaching job with the Jets. On the plane ride home from the Patriots last game he was openly recruiting Patriot players to play for him in New York. During the 2006 season the NFL had become aware of teams videotaping opponents practices. As the Jets were preparing to play the Pats Mangini informed the NFL that the Pats were still doing it. As they would say on the street, he ratted Bill out. That was the beginning of Spygate. One coach, Mangini broke the code. There are hundreds of assistant coaches, team managers, etc that could have done what Mangini did but they didn’t. That’s why the Patriots are at the top of the list when people talk about cheating. Does anybody think the Patriots were the only team to continue spying? No, they were the only team to get told on by a Benedict Arnold who turned in the coach who was responsible for his NFL career. Mangini is scum.

Deflategate is the biggest non story of the season. The Ravens, still smarting from their loss to the Patriots informed the Colts that the Pats footballs were soft. But the referees checked them before the game and they were fine. Has anybody shown any proof that anyone connected to the Patriots took some air out of the balls once they got them back? There are cameras everywhere. There were literally thousands of cameras at Gillette during the game. Surely one person would have a shot of the Patriot bench showing some tampering. Well, not so far. It might just be the balls were inflated at the lowest level and lost air from there which made them under. For the record Brady had a better stats in the second half, after the balls were fixed, that he did in the first half. The Pats outscored the Colts 28-0 in the second half. A little bit of air in the ball makes no difference.

Jimmy Johnson won 5 consecutive NASCAR championships. During that time his crew chief, Chad Knaus was caught 4 times violating NASCAR rules. He was fined and in one case, suspended for 6 races. How many times have you heard people take any credit away from them? ZERO. If anyone thinks all teams, no matter what the sport don’t straddle the rules line and sometimes go over it you’re being totally naive.

The Patriots aren’t any worse than any other team. Belicheck’s biggest mistake was hiring a rat to his coaching staff.

BARCLAY PREMIER LEAGUE MIDSEASON REPORT

clocker bob

I’ll steal a line from the Men in Blazers and say if you’re looking for technical, insightful hard hitting commentary look somewhere else.

But before I get in to the nuts and bolts let me explain how I became such a fan of futbol. The year was 1979 and I said to my 7 year old son that tomorrow is Little League sign up day. He looked at me and said “Dad, I want to play soccer”. You could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather. I never played, I had never heard him express a wish to play, nada, nothing. It seemed his friend Fred who lived across the street had already played a year and he had a net set up and my son had been playing over there. I panicked. I immediately called my Dad and said what am I going to do? Chris not playing…

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BARCLAY PREMIER LEAGUE MIDSEASON REPORT

I’ll steal a line from the Men in Blazers and say if you’re looking for technical, insightful hard hitting commentary look somewhere else.

But before I get in to the nuts and bolts let me explain how I became such a fan of futbol. The year was 1979 and I said to my 7 year old son that tomorrow is Little League sign up day. He looked at me and said “Dad, I want to play soccer”. You could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather. I never played, I had never heard him express a wish to play, nada, nothing. It seemed his friend Fred who lived across the street had already played a year and he had a net set up and my son had been playing over there. I panicked. I immediately called my Dad and said what am I going to do? Chris not playing baseball?? Well, of course I told my son he could play soccer and I’ll take him down when registration opens. The next morning grandpa paid a visit and took his grandson for a ride, to the Little League registration. He played both. As Chris started his soccer career I watched from the sidelines with my wife and infant daughter. 5 years later that infant daughter wanted to play. She started on an under 8 team in our town’s recreation league. After 7 games the team was 0-7 and lost every game by the mercy rule. The coach quit and guess who the league recruited to coach? Yup, me.  I coached for a very enjoyable 13 years. That included 7 years as a referee in which I officiated youth competitive soccer up to U18, school soccer from middle to high school and I was just starting to get my feet wet in the adult leagues when we moved to Florida and that was it.

Not having a club in my blood like the Boston Red Sox are, my allegiances to premier league teams has changed over the years. When Red Sox owner John Henry purchased Liverpool I was all in. Go Reds!! So of course I’m rooting for Liverpool to win the championship. But there is so much more to enjoy in the BPL. A champion is crowned but there are 3 other competitions that take place within the league. The top 3 or 4 teams participate in the UEFA Champions League, the highest caliber league on the planet. The next 3 or 4 get invited to play in the Europa League, which is a second tier Champions league. Then, there’s the fight for survival where the bottom three clubs are demoted to England’s Championship division and three teams from there are promoted. Very often this is the most exciting competition come the last day of the season.

At the midseason break it’s looking pretty grim for my Reds. After one of their most successful seasons in years, where they earned a Champions League entry, they are mired in eighth place, 17 points from co leaders Chelsea and Manchester City. Last year they had the most potent attack in the league with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling. All they had to do was add a midfielder, shore up the back line and the sky was the limit. But they lost Suarez in the summer transfer window, Sturridge has been hurt and the signings Brendan Rodgers made haven’t panned out. The back line is still bad and Mignolet seems to have regressed in goal.

It’s safe to say Chelsea and Man City will fight it out for the championship. Man United has improved recently and they look like a lock for a Champions League spot next year. Now it gets interesting for the fourth position as Southhampton, Tottenham, West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Swansea are all within 7 points of each other. One of them will make the CL, the others probably will fill out the Europa league. Remember the BPL awards 3 points for a win so standings can change quickly. In the relegation battle there are 9 teams who are only separated by 8 points. Aston Villa, Everton, Sunderland, Hull, Queens Park Rangers, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Leicester City are all in danger of relegation.

For the first time in my life I can say I am enjoying the BPL more than the NFL.  That’s a topic for another day but I can tell you one thing for sure.  Futbol referees don’t take back their red cards.  It looks like a great second half for the Barclays Premier League.