Warning: I'm just having some fun tackling a serious issue, on a work-free Saturday after a looong time of not being healthy enough to enjoy wasting time. So feel free to read and comment, but don't think I'm more vested than in the simple pleasure of writing some stream-of-conscience nonsense (stream-of-nonsense) that means nothing.
Note: Don't bother reading if you aren't fairly familiar with the NFL over the past 15-20 years (25, if you want to get all the references). I try to clarify my bonafides as an unabashed and rightful Brady-hater but I do not fill in all the details but would be understood by those familiar with division rivalries and the fate of each season and, at least peripherally, the arc of each franchise. In other words, if you watch football you'll know what I'm talking about. If not it's Greek.
I am from Buffalo. I am a football fan - an unrequited Buffalo Bills fan.
I. Really. Don't want to talk about that.
But as such, I also have a particular vitriol for the Pats, especially "mr. perfect," Brady. And there is salt-in-wound accompaniment to that.
I moved to California in 2000. On the way out I stopped at a brother's place in Colorado and after the 29 hour drive there was a delirious reunion, a deep sleep and, as luck would have it - a playoff game wherein the Bills had the lead with seven seconds left and we were very happy cracking celebratory beers at an ungodly (or perhaps ultra-godly) hour of the day (I don't understand how people regularly enjoy football in the West).
Something happened in those seven seconds, I'm not sure what. I've been advised by my therapist to "leave it in the box" or whatever... but ultimately, that was the last time anyone from buffalo had the illusion that there could be happiness in this world.
So I found myself living in Oakland, of all places, and employed in a job that put me in the society of truly excellent people, despite the fact that they were Raider fans. I had no particular dislike of the Raiders, as long as they knew enough to have a losing season when That Most Holy Year the Bills finally won the Bowl That Is Super.
Well, as it turned out, that was the beginning of what would be - and still is - the era of unfiltered hopelessness for Buffalo. Don't get me wrong, even this year - 15 fucking years on - I still had the pathetic stupidity to get up at 3 AM (I'm overseas), and screw up my biological clock (I mean WTF? do I drink coffee or bourbon? I guess both...) to put on my Flutie jersey and stream me some Kyle Orton cuz yeah, he's gonna take us to the...
"leave it in the box, Leave it in the box..."
Oh yeah, OAKLAND!
So I'm in Oakland, I've got no hope for the Bills and the Raider-philes I work with are not only truly excellent people but they have a pretty good football team. Now I'm not gonna ever be but a Bills fan, but by 2002 or whenever it was, and certainly by playoff time, it wasn't beneath me to accept invites to playoff parties and to catch a little contact high from these happy, Black-jersied, truly excellent people.
So there I was a recovering Bills fan, certainly not over my addiction, but learning to cope. Things aren't so bad, I dared to think. I mean, here I was, soaking in the sun at an outdoor viewing, surrounded by truly excellent people who were showing me how it's done, how it's truly done. How to be a winner. Confident, casual... win.
And in perfect fashion, the Raiders were doing just that to my nemesis Patriots, and their goofy, second string quarterback with the ridiculous name - I mean really? Tom Brady? All he needs is a supermodel girlfriend and he's a goddamn character in a really bad movie. Of course he'd have to win a superbowl or two first, and that wasn't going to happen cuz there was ice and snow and of course those Raiders.............
"Leave it in the box."
So, what I remember is that goof fumbled and I stand by that. It was the ruling on the field and it was the right call and it's not possible that anything unseemly happened to those truly (previously) excellent people... I don't want to talk about it anymore.
Needless to repeat - but I will - Tom Brady is a person whose misery I relish. I woke up in the middle of the night (again, I'm overseas) to watch the Ravens cuz I knew they would prove that Brady and the Pats were frauds. Two fourteen point leads ought to have done that, but...
And that one doesn't go in the box cuz there's too many Bills miseries in there. Fuck the Ravens.
And the Colts never had a chance so fuck them to.
And Seattle seems like a faux team too, so it was very annoying to see the team (Packers) that can beat the Pats, royally screw up.
So I turn off the game knowing I have to root for (yuck) the Seahawks because, as should be clear, a super bowl can only go to A)Buffalo, or B)anybody else besides those totally overrated clowns from Foxboro, especially because this win (excluding this Ballghazi stuff) would be the defining moment cementing the Brady and the Belicheck as a Dynasty, which would just make me sick and in need of a bigger box. And conversely, if they lost it would take the shine off those ancient super bowl wins and put them in an entirely different category regarding the past 10-12 years as a team that is a perennial power, division winner, conference winner, but just can't get it done in the big game (not unlike another team that used to rule the AFC but loses respect because they just couldn't win in the big one... but their name eludes me... they were in the AFC East... great, no-huddle offense... 4 losses in 4 years.........)
"Leave it in the..."
Excuse me, where was I...
Oh yeah. The lame Seahawks. I mean, I would root for Miami or even the Jets against the Pats. If you know football you know what that means. I would even root for the Giants, Washington or even (god I can't believe I'm gonna say it) the Cowboys Twice, (again, if you know football you know what I'm talking about) if it was in service of beating and belittling these particular Patriots. And here I get none of these seeming conflicts of interest to have to stomach with the Seahawks and yet, I'm uninspired. I don't know what it is exactly about them that irks me. It's nothing footbally in terms of grudges or rivalries, but they are just... I don't know... I mean what's with the colors of those uniforms? What is that, seafoam green? There's no seafoam in football! WTF?! There's dirt, and mud... black, brown.. Browns - now there's a respectable color and name. And that name, Seahawks. How graceful. Sounds like they'll win the choreographed calisthenics cup or something. Definitely a cup and not a bowl. Bowls are for Bills, and if not Bills then Bears or Bengals... Lions and Chiefs. Seahawks? I'm not optimistic. And that "victory" over the Packers (another bowl winning moniker - is there any more bowl winninger? oh yeah, Bills) did not inspire. And Pete Carroll is such an I-don't-pass-because-I-want-to-pass-I-pass-because-I-don't-know-how-to-run, USC paper tiger charlatan that New England knew well enough to get rid of him after watching him get eaten alive by real football teams, particularly AFC east teams, and it would be apparent that he's a college coach were it not for Marshawn Lynch who, as we all know, is a beast who was smartly drafted in the 1st round by another team but was let go because he had frequent ankle problems early on. Don't know what team would be stupid enough to let him go...
Keep. it. in. the. BOX! Gack!
Anyway, so it has to be Seattle. So I put my mojo beads and my lucky charms into the ring of hoodoo but I did so with little confidence, yet unequivocally cuz, fuck Tom Brady, Fuck Bill Belicheck and fuck the Pats.
Then it happened. "The Patriots cheated!" "Brady Cheated!"
I fucking knew it. They're fucking overrated cheats, they always have been, since the day they needed a clear fumble to be overturned to feebly squeak into the Super Bowl. Fuck'em and good. Make history and yank'em. Postpone the SuperBowl and let the Ravens play the Colts for the slot. Asterisk Brady, Belichek and their fucking Dynasty. Life is good.
Then I learned more.
Are you fucking kidding me? A pound of air pressure?
It looked like a football to me. And we got plenty of opportunity to see it as it was flying through the air 500 times as the patriots scored 25 touchdowns.
What's the great pertinence of 12.5 lbs? Is it some Masonic thing? Is it religious, what?
And it helped how? By making it a tad easier to grip? Since when did needing to be a chore to throw a ball become part of the game? I like to watch football, you know, a game where guys run, kick, pass a football in cool-ass ways in order to score points. Why the fuck does some guy with smaller hands have to be left out of the fun, perhaps glory even, because he succeeds better at his role with a bit more squeezability (of course, I'm blocking out that Brady is one of the people whom this may include).
And as far as I understand it, the ball loses distance in this case - a self-harming detriment - and "floats" a little longer - thus more vulnerable to Interception - so I don't get it?? When did it become obvious cheating to say, "You must have difficulty gripping and throwing and catching. This is an entertaining and essential part of football." Fuck that. Let'em do what they will to execute that beauty that is football. If Aaron Rodgers "likes his balls overinflated" then let him have his balls overinflated (ahhh, it never gets old). Hell, if someone wants to try and win with a basketball or a lemon let'em have at it. That'll last a couple minutes. Then everyone'll get real and remember that a regulation football - give or take a few pounds of pressure - is the ultimate object for the run, kick, pass tasks that are what we know as football.
And also, it's not like baseball, where an altered ball made easier for one team is detrimental to the other, like a pitcher's preference hurting a batter. These balls are there for the defense to intercept more easily as well. And as far as the Colts balls go then same deal. Let'em have their balls as preferred.
Now I know that's not the rule as it stands so technically that's cheating. But I can't get behind the idea that it is of great magnitude. I want the game to be football, not I-hope-your-hands-are-big-enough-to-grab-it ball.
Last thing: I want the patriots to lose because, even though they're good they are not dynasty good, and luck and circumstance have played a larger role in their wins than any other multiple title winner and I want that to be shown by an epic loss. If a minor adjustment to a ball - one that isn't nefarious and doesn't hamper the defenders of that ball at all (in fact gives them an advantage as well) - is the grounds upon which an unbelievable amount of shaming has been given, then I have to put in my 2 cents in defense of Brady, and I fucking resent that. Remember, it was still a football for god's sake. It's not like it had a guidance system or magnets.