Judge Frees Tom Brady to Play

Patriots logoNew England Patriot fans, your long nightmare is over. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension this morning. This (hopefully) puts an end to this drawn-out, painful, ridiculous witch hunt by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In making this ruling, Berman has made Goodell look like the fool that many people thought he was. While it became fairly obvious that many NFL owners pressured Goodell into the actions he took, it may well be that the commissioner will now have to fall on his sword. After this, his perceived authority and ability to discipline other players and owners has been seriously undermined.

Patriot haters will be up in arms about this. Nothing short of nuking the entire New England season would satisfy them. There is no objectivity in that corner. Patriot fans will be overjoyed and feel vindicated, though it IS possible there was some kind of hanky panky by members of the equipment staff.

I just hope to the heavens that this is the end of it.


National League East Battle Highlights Podcast 18

Sports Microscope PodcastSomeone forgot to tell the New York Mets that the Washington Nationals were supposed to win the National League pennant. Podcast #18 looks at how the offensive power outage in Washington, combined with the outstanding young pitching in New York, has turned the National League East on its ear. Could the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes and Tyler Clippard be just what the doctor ordered to put the Mets over the top?

Host Gene Gumbs also breaks down the winners and losers at the trade deadline. Who takes home the trophy for the best July deals – Houston, Texas, Toronto? There’s no doubt that the wild card races in both leagues were impacted greatly by the flurry of deals in the last week of July.

Another big topic of this week’s episode is the continuing NFL witch hunt of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Whether you’re a Patriot fan or not, there are a lot of things in the NFL’s report and conduct during the investigation that just don’t smell right.

Also in this episode:

  • The Red Sox do nothing at trade deadline
  • Could a Boston August waiver trade be in the cards?
  • Why are the Angels questioning C.J. Wilson‘s injury?
  • Did the Phillies get enough for the three players they moved?
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Super Bowl End Almost Predictable

Patriots logoIt took me a little longer than usual to write about the finish to the Super Bowl because it took me until the morning to snap out of the daze. Hell, if I had still been eating chicken wings at the time of the interception, I may have ended up in the hospital from choking on my food. I was rooting for the Patriots to win and was resigned to the inevitable loss after the circus catch made by Seahawk receiver Jermaine Kearse.

Then came the inexplicable play call.

One thing I know for certain, I am really glad I am not Pete Carroll or Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell today. I give Carroll credit for taking the heat, but wonder why he didn’t override Bevell’s play call. He can say anything he wants about playing for third down and running the clock out – it was just plain dumb. Marshawn Lynch was nearly unstoppable in the second half, cutting through the Patriot defense like a knife through butter. There is zero excuse for not giving it to him until he either scored or the Patriot defense rose up and stopped him. I guarantee you every Seattle Seahawk fan would have accepted defeat a lot easier had that been the case.

What we saw Sunday night is another example of something that I believe plagues sports today – overcoaching. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened in the biggest sporting event in the country.

You can find examples of this in every sport. It’s as if coaches and managers have to prove they have superior intellect by doing things that go against the grain. College and professional football may be where this is most apparent (going for it on fourth down at strange time, bizarre play calls, gadget plays that almost never work, etc.), but very few sports are immune.

Baseball managers have run amok in recent years with defensive shifts, 97 pitching changes, and 5,286 signs laid down by the third base coach between pitches – 5,285 of which are often read wrong by the batter or baserunner. Game times have increased exponentially because of a lot of the constant tinkering.

Basketball overcoaching generally manifests itself in bizarre substitution patterns. How many times have you watched a college basketball game, seen a player hit back-to-back three-pointers, then find that player on the bench ten seconds later because the coach wanted to put someone else in? What happened to riding the hot hand? College and pro basketball is not the local CYO league – everyone does not have to play!

What about golf? I just wrote about Tiger Woods the other day. Golfers today often have a swing coach, a putting coach, and a mental coach. Really? The result is often what we see with Tiger Woods now. So much conflicting information is fed into the brain that at some point there’s mental overload and gridlock.

Thank God coaches aren’t allowed during a tennis match!

The sport that may be the most immune to this modern-day match of wits is hockey. Some of that is because of the constant flow of action during a game. With the exception of trying to match lines or yanking a goalie who gives up three in the first period, there’s not much for a hockey coach to do once the game starts – the players play.

Having said all of this, it was perhaps the most exciting Super Bowl I have ever seen. The ending was surreal, but it was a wonderful game between two great teams. It was, without a doubt, one of those games we will talk about for a long time. It was a true vision of both agony and ecstasy. Unfortunately for Seattle fans, it was all brought about by a coach who thought he had to prove he was smarter than everyone else.