I’m glad I waited a few days before reacting, and I certainly hope the interval was decent. What am I talking about? See if you can guess and then see if you actually care.
It was a challenge of course, as the waves of news and commentary washed over all of us for the last few days and it’s only now, here on Belichick Island in the aftermath of Tom Brady and the Most Excellently Inflated Footballs, that whatever flotsam and jetsam remains of the New England Patriots’ 2016 season can be somehow painstakingly pieced together so that fans, not only of the game of NFL football but of the integrity of the game can assess what happened and what happens next.
I’m trying to type all of this with a straight face. Sorry, little buddy. I’m kidding of course. Not sure what Patriots’ fans and players thought the endgame on Deflategate would look like, but when you have the reputation that their Skipper, Hoody B, has for skirting close to the edge, how surprised can you be when just beyond the runway out behind Gillette Stadium there is a large, flaming hole about big enough to hold an airplane’s worth of Super Bowl Title defense dreams?
And proving you learn something new every day I’ve just learned “Coach” is ten days older than I am; thank you, Wikipedia! That we are so very different (and I’m thinking of myself on the plus side of ‘better’), thank you, mom and dad!
Considering the billions (upon billions) of dollars wagered legally on any aspect of the National Football League (why do you think there are disclosure requirements and deadlines on team injury reports? So those of us so inclined could send ‘get well, soon’ cards to defensive tackles and 3rd down running backs? Pshaw! Vegas, baby, and all the other gin joints you can make a wager on the sport) my face hurts in trying to keep it straight while saying ‘the integrity of the game.’
A game’s worth of integrity where off-field spousal abuse gets a two game on-field suspension. Narcotics busts get you extended, and extensive, quiet time despite all the bozos in the booths in stadia across the USA calling the Roided Ragers ‘warriors’ while the TV camera lights are on.
If you’re a Middle East Christian fleeing for your life from the ISIL crazies, or refugees of a dozen different stripes struggling to find refuge on just about every continent of our shared planet, or (less dramatically) one of the millions in our nation working two and three and more part-time jobs to make ends meet (and then the ends move) all of this tumult about a game played with a ball so stupidly shaped it’s impossible to kick like a soccer ball or bounce like a basketball must seem like another First World Problem to you.
And you’re right of course, except where you live doesn’t have or offer NFL Sunday Ticket or Red Zone or a dozen other pay-through-the-nose-per-view money laundering operations whose function is to transfer treasure in mass quantities from the wallets of viewers to those of the billionaires who own the teams the millionaires toil on.
Greed is our true national sport and come autumn, it’s time for the football version of it. Do you hear what I hear coming from the NFL Shop and TV commercial sponsors? They’re playing our song-to you it sounds like cash registers, but to the rest us, it’s the sound of a freedom you’ll never have.