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The Patriots and nepotism and cronyism, Mike Trout, Nathaniel Hackett, a postgame drinking game

Wednesday 9/14/22

Variety. This is a record of all things variety. Sports entry.

What the Patriots were for two decades is over and long over. It's done. I saw an interview with Tom E. Curran the other night. He's covered the Patriots for a long time. He was saying that though training camp was a mess, with the phantom offensive coordinator situation, and a disgruntled Mac Jones, that he expected Bill Belichick to figure it out by the Miami game.

Yes, you would if you're stupid. Colin Cowherd is also dumb this way (and many other ways; a man who gets off to the sound of his own voice, but says very little, and says what he does say poorly). That time period is over. Belichick hasn't been close to figuring it out for a while now, and he was starting not to figure it out the last two years with Brady. Bringing in Cam Newton is indicative of a someone who figures it out? I saw people whining about Newton the other day, saying there aren't thirty-two quarterbacks in the league better than he is. Right. Because it's closer to seventy. He can't throw the football. He can't read a defense. He doesn't think quickly. He's big and he leans into people. That's it.

What happens with Belichick is people need things to be one way or the other. It was Brady or Belichick, for example. Couldn't have been both. But it was both. Look at those rosters in 2003 and 2004, and look how Belichick coached in 2003 with all of the injuries. He had a plan for everything, and a back-up plan. They beat a lot of strong teams that year with an injury-ravaged roster. A lot of that was Belichick. And then one of those two people changed. They let their ego get in the way. They got complacent. Arrogance took over. And a desire for ease and comfort. Drive and ambition lessened. Had the Patriots retained Brady, they would have failed. That relationship was over. Belichick would have been passive aggressive with him, and Brady himself is a self-obsessed dick, but he still does work hard.

Is this so hard to comprehend? People don't often change for the good, but they do change for the worse. Belichick will be gone soon. He'll lose his job. People will soon be laughing at the Patriots. They want to. If the Patriots plummet, they'll become a joke. The Patriots could well be a lousy team that will win three, four, five games this year. The roster is weak. Matt Patricia is not someone you should want anywhere near a competent football team in any capacity. Mac Jones is not that good, and he's the best player on offense that they have. I was watching him the other day. There's nothing on the ball. His arms isn't any better than it was last year. The ball hangs up in the air for an age. Watch Brady throw. He never gets credit for this, but it's laser after laser after laser. His arm is phenomenal. As a thrower. But then you add in the brain, the quick thinking, the understanding of the game?

The Patriots are what happens when it's largely about cronyism and nepotism. Belichick hires his kids, promotes his kids, and hires and promotes the kids of his friends. Meanwhile, do you think Matt Patricia is going to question Belichick? It's kind of like publishing, which is one reason why I find the current Patriots odious. There's more. That Dolphins team is not any good. And the Patriots were not in that game on Sunday. The game was lost when the Patriots were moving down the field on the game's first drive, and for some reason, Patricia called for Jones to throw a pop-up into the end zone. Throw the ball horizontally; don't throw it up into the air. The whole fifty-fifty ball thing is dumb, and there were two Dolphins defenders there anyway. I watched enough of that Bills game against the Rams to know that they should destroy the Patriots each time they meet.

I had never seen end-of-game incompetence quite like whatever that was in the Broncos-Seahawks game. I wouldn't be excited as a Seattle fan--they also suck, though they won. They should have lost by twenty to a team that sucks as well. Nathaniel Hackett might as well have been Brian Hackett, the daffy brother from Wings. A sixty-four yard field goal? I watched that last minute or so, with a guy actively playing for a sixty-four yard field goal, wondering if he was trying to throw the game. It wasn't bad clock management. That usually means that you get overwhelmed, you're not doing the math fast enough, etc. No. This was this guy's plan. He meant to manage the clock that way. A field goal from his side of the field. He attempted to engineer the situation. Russell Wilson has always been overrated, but all you needed to do was pick up five yards, you had all of your timeouts, and then we're talking a normal field goal and Denver likely wins. The coach should have been fired. Because you know. You know you will never win with someone who does that. So why prolong the inevitable? Do what Nebraska did--move on. That's how bad that was. They won't. Instead, Denver will suck for two or three years and that time will be lost when they could spare themselves the three years of futility right now.

I was in a cafe for the Patriots game. There are idiots there whose entire lives are sports. What you learn is that they don't even know the basic rules of the game. Simple game and these guys are obsessed, and they don't have a clue what is happening. Then you wonder if there's anything they can understand. The answer is no. It's so depressing. I think a lot of people are this way. It's not a sport thing. We are dumber than animals.

Boston College was drilled by Virginia Tech. Both teams suck, but BC sucks a lot more. Three years of regression for BC's quarterback. That's an NFL player? A first round draft pick? He's certainly nowhere near the latter, and I don't see an NFL back-up there. Then again, Mark Hartsell technically played in the NFL--he threw one pass. BC is not a tough team. Cool thing about football is how much the lines matter. The game has changed so much, but the lines mattered a ton in 1934 and the lines matter a ton now. BC gets pushed around, especially the offensive line, which is supposed to be the school's thing. They may only win two or three games themselves.

Mike Trout is going to finish the season with 40 home runs, 80 RBI--or less than 90, anyway--and a .280 average. His storied career is a product of WAR and analytics. I'm sorry, but there is no one who knows baseball numbers better than I, and I can still say that there is value in old school stats. They can be misleading, sure, but so can things like WAR and OPS+. I don't think that's good production. You should drive in more runs with that many home runs. And yes, I understand what your teammates are doing matters, but it's still not good enough. Trout's legacy is built upon the walk. That's where his storied-ness comes from in large part. I don't know--do you like that? Does that mean he's amazing?

But again, people know nothing. I was reading this discussion on a baseball forum. It's the most hardcore of the baseball forums. And people were speculating whether Trout would be a Hall of Famer already. This is just so basic. Yeah, you win three MVPs, you're going to the Hall of Fame. If you play three years, win three MVPs, then retire, you're a Hall of Famer. Two--not automatic. Three is automatic. But if you also have over 80 WAR? You can have 1500 hits, 300 homers, 900 RBI, a .283 career batting average, and if you have that WAR and those MVPs, you're first ballot.

Do I like this? Not really. I'm more okay with the MVP thing. You can't win three MVPs and not be in. But what depresses me is that even though this is simple, none of these diehards had a clue about it. Then I think, What do you have a clue about? This is sports. Basic. Sports are your thing. And yet, you're oblivious. Most of them thought he wouldn't get in if he retired today. He was in if he retired years ago. Even if he had no MVPs. If you have a WAR over 70, you're almost certainly in. Fine, whatever, Bobby Grich, Bill Dahlen, and Lou Whitaker. Curt Schilling. But Schilling isn't in because people have decided to punish him because he's an asshole. That's on them. Obviously he's an asshole. But you're an asshole too--and one who, unlike Schilling, is bad at his job--if you make it about anything other than his on-field performance.

Albert Pujols strikes me as a decent guy. I don't know, obviously. I have no clue. But he strikes me that way. I guess there was something with his wife or his ex-wife, but I also don't read a lot of those kinds of stories. I'm thinking about how he gave the home run ball back to the fan the other day who had had some life stuff.

Drinking game for you if you drink and you're in New England and watching the Patriots postgame show: Take a sip every time Matt Cassel says "at the end of the day." You will be blitzed in fifteen minutes. He'll say it three sentences in a row or twice in the same sentence. Why must we suck at everything? I notice this and no producer does? No one at the TV station can suggest he say the phrase less? There's no quality control, huh? Like, who gives a fuck if you can't talk when it's your job to talk, right? It's a post-quality, post-talent world. And all I ever want to say is, "You're allowed to be good at things."

At the cafe, the meathead patrons of all ages were complaining about Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, saying he looked like a teacher. They were rather upset about this. What would you prefer? Should he look like Matt Patricia, who resembles a meatball that has been rolled around in some hair? I feel like that's not better.

Whitaker will get in at some point.


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