Archive for the ‘Bunker’ Category

Blacking Out in New Orleans

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Bunker

“This can’t be happening,” I said as CBS cut to commercial break.

The eerie silence of the crowd, the mute announcer’s booth and the quick cut to a commercial break commenced a 34-minute delay due to blackout during the Super Bowl.¬†I knew immediately it was a black out and I was even more certain it was going to trigger and irrational response.¬†Twitter exploded with comments and reactions immediately. It ranged from the obvious and mundane “OH MY GOD”, “No Way”, to golden quips such as “George Bush doesn’t care about black people in the Super Bowl” and “Beyonce turned out the lights” was tweeted by numerous people on my timeline. Between the quirky one-liners and mass hysteria, the conspiracy theorists were already cooking up their half-baked assertions about how and why the blackout occurred.

However, I was horrified. It was perfectly clear what would happen after the blackout ended: the Niners were going to make a comeback. Every one feared that would be the outcome. At that moment I made a 180 and began rooting for the Ravens. Not because I was overly concerned about the storybook ending of Ray Lewis or crowning Joe Flacco, but for the (murky and at times questionable) sanctity of the NFL.

Sports conspiracy theorists don’t need much to run amok and the blackout was just that opportunity to do so.

The Super Bowl game is no stranger to conspiratorial allegations of shady behavior. Leading up to Super Bowl XXX, Neil O’Donnell had an impeccable interception percentage. Only during the game his favorite target happened to be the Cowboys’¬†Larry Brown. In Super Bowl XL, there were a number of calls so dubious the head official apologized to the entire city of Seattle a few years later. Even the Patriots‚Äô Super Bowl XXXVI upset over the Rams four months after 9/11 had 12-year old me screaming about a fix.

The one thing that tends to ruin sports discussions for me is the suggestion that a league, the mob or players themselves fix games. I’m not going to say that it’s never happened (1919 Black Sox scandal being a prime example), but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as some fans suggest.

Not even close.

These paranoid theories are largely based on the idea that random acts outside of the realm of normal patterns have to be a part of some grand scheme either by the players or a higher power. Other top down conspiracy theories imagines an all-powerful puppeteer manipulating players, coaches and referees.

The really nutty aspect about the sports conspiracy theorists is that they¬†watch¬†even suspecting that it’s “all rigged”. To these people professional sports has the same appeal to them as Vince Mcmahon’s WWE. Given the comparisons people make to Roger Goddell and David Stern to the fictional “Mr. Mcmahon” one would think some¬†actually¬†believe that sports is being managed by megalomaniac commissioners who control the outcome of sporting events.¬†I would venture to guess that’s¬†not why most of us watch sports.

We watch because we know although these athletes are professionals, that sports are prone to human error on levels from the owner’s box to the 53rd man on the bench. We enjoy it when they show that sort of vulnerability, that imperfection that reminds us of ourselves.

When the blackout occurred and Kaepernick led the Niners down the field for back-to-back touchdowns, I feared Super Bowl XLVII was only going to be remembered for the controversy surrounding the blackout. I was afraid the dramatics, the ebb and flows of the football game and the power of momentum would be lost in the narrative after the game. Luckily, Baltimore and Joe Flacco righted the ship to a narrow 34-31 victory over San Francisco. Crisis averted.

No irrational talk about the Goddell ordering the blackout to save the 49ers chances of winning nor any speculation of Goddell sabotaging the Ravens chances of winning over some bias against the city. The blackout was just another bizarre accident and an odd footnote in Super Bowl history.

Then I received a text from a 49er fan “Did you see that?!? It was clearly holding on Crabtree! Goddell and the NFL screwed the 49ers just so Ray Lewis could have his stupid Last Ride. It’s all rigged!”

I guess it could have be worse.

 

Super Bowl 47 could shake the NFL up for years to come and I will be rooting furiously for that change.

It’s not that Colin Kaepernick has the opportunity to become the second African-American Quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Doug Williams won Super Bowl XXII in one of the greatest Quarterback performances Super Bowl History and that didn’t prevent people from using coded language to dismiss the potential of black Quarterback prospects. [see accusations of Cam Newton‚Äôs alleged laziness and¬† ‚Äúcharacter issues‚ÄĚ.] A win for Kaepernick won’t quiet the whispers about the abilities of the “Black Quarterback” on message boards and comment boxes.

But it may usher in a new era of offense in the NFL.

The bland, vanilla (no pun intended) style offense that is widely regarded as “winning football” asks the Quarterback to remain in the pocket. It demands a competent Offensive Line, strict precision passing, accuracy and¬†a trust that the design preached by your coaches is gospel.¬†Who can blame the narrative? It’s been proven over and over that “pocket quarterbacks” are an essential element to a winning pro football team.¬†It isn’t called a “pro-style offense” for nothing.

But a win for Kaepernick in Super Bowl 47, given the copycat nature of the NFL, could mean the possibility of expanding the definition of the Pro QB.

The new breed of QB including Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick have emerged out of the shadow of men like Michael Vick, whose speed was seen as deterrent to his success rather than an asset. Their respective coaches have loosened the reins on these young quarterbacks and allowed their offenses to take advantage of their skills by using the “pistol” and¬†“read-option” techniques. These new offensive schemes shun the notion that the scientific formula designed by the offensive¬†geniuses of yesteryear hold the only method achieve success on the offensive side of the ball.

The zone read offenses allow for¬†designed improvisation. As if echoing the famous Miles Davis quote “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there”, the read option allows the Quarterback to navigate the white space between the lines the offensive and defensive plays. When there’s a breakdown in a designed play, the aforementioned Quarterbacks have the speed, agility and awareness to create beauty in the midst of chaos. It takes quarterbacking from the drawing board and places it on a canvas, from the boardroom to the backyard.

This new style won’t¬†replace¬†the conventional quarterback by any means. QBs¬†like Aaron Rodgers¬†and Andrew Luck who brilliantly fuse their amazing pocket presence with their unique speed are nearly impossible to contain. There’s always room for Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Big Ben and Matt Ryan.

The pocket quarterback is not going away, but it may give an opportunity to those who were overlooked and undervalued in the past. Men like Eric Crouch, Pat White, and Andre Ware would be given more of an opportunity to showcase their talent in today’s NFL.

But Kaepernick has to deliver a stand out performance. He cannot simply win, he has to be the reason the Niners bring home the title.  There are only 4 Quarterbacks who run a college system, but win could mean the expansion of this exciting offensive philosophy.

Joe Montana and Bill Walsh revolutionized the NFL by popularizing the ‚ÄúWest Coast Offense‚ÄĚ, Kaepernick and Harbaugh have a chance to do the same on February 3rd.¬† Like their predecessors, it will take the Lombardi trophy to validate their system.

Lance Armstrong will admit to using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Barry Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame for the foreseeable future.

Tiger Woods is not the number 1 golfer in the world.

10 years ago it would have been impossible to think that those three statements would be true. Not when Barry Bonds just completed his second of 4 consecutive MVPs. Not when Tiger Woods just completed a 3-year (2000-2002) stretch of complete dominance the likes of which no golfer had ever seen. Not with Lance Armstrong dawning the cover of Sports Illustrated as Sportsman of the Year in 2002.

Barry Bonds’ waterloo came by way of BALCO, numerous Congressional Hearings and an Obstruction of Justice charge. It was a slow death that took about five years and brilliant investigative journalism that eventually crippled Bonds’ reputation.

Tiger Woods’ demise came in flash. His scorned, betrayed wife wielding a club with bad intentions drove Tiger into a ditch. When he resurfaced from the ditch he was inundated with dozens of accusations from numerous women who claimed to his mistress. Tiger’s new brand: Adulterer.

Bonds and Woods will survive their scandals.

Bonds will survive, because his abrasive attitude was never endearing to start. The media’s temporary courtship with Bonds during the later stages of his historic MVP run was always quite awkward. The guards at Buckingham Palace are more approachable than Bonds. The media and fans can live without Bonds in the public sphere. He never really wanted our admiration anyways.

Woods will survive, because he‚Äôs still an active golfer. AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Gillette cut ties with Woods, but even that was not enough to ruin Woods. Woods is still the main attraction on the PGA tour. Tiger is still box office. We‚Äôre captivated by his chase for Jack Nicklaus‚Äô record. We salivate over every Tiger win. Hoping that he‚Äôs returned to old form we ask: Is Tiger back? The Tiger we‚Äôre used to seeing on the 18th hole closing in on another historic victory. The question ‚ÄúIs he back?‚ÄĚ is irrelevant if we‚Äôre not nostalgic for his greatness. We need Woods.

Lance Armstrong had a much greater burden than the other two:

He was an American Hero.

Every year, Lance Armstrong traveled across the Atlantic, plastered in his yellow suit with the American flag on his helmet, shoulder or across his back. Every year for seven consecutive years, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France. Everyone gunned for Armstrong, including his teammates. But every year around the same time, the world would be forced to concede that he was the best. Period.

Armstrong could never make cycling mainstream. He didn’t have to, he¬†was¬†cycling. Americans didn’t have any noteworthy¬†history in cycling. Cycling didn’t matter unless Armstrong’s name was involved. He was bigger than the sport. We were proud when he went overseas, won every year and returned with the trophy draped in the American flag. That was the essence of his heroism.¬†We¬†never questioned him. Others tried, but their words conveniently¬†fell on deaf ears.

No one bothered to discuss the pervasive doping and cheating in Cycling. Big Cycling names like Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and Floyd Landis didn’t mean¬†anything to us. Armstrong was incomparable. It made sense to us that he was the cleanest sport where many of its prominent champions¬†were suspected or¬†guilty of doping at one time or another. It’s what made him a Hero.

And when it comes to our heroes, the use of logic is obsolete.

But Armstrong’s greatest battle and triumph¬†took place in a hospital.¬†Before the Seven consecutive titles he won from 1999-2005, Armstrong battled testicular cancer and survived. He used his story to raise over $500 million through the Livestrong charity. By 2012, his net worth, according to Forbes magazine,¬†was over $125 million. The charity has helped millions of Americans, brought awareness to the importance of cancer screenings and funded extensive cancer research.

His success was a win for America and for cancer survivors across the world. Armstrong was the embodiment hope, strength and perseverance. Armstrong was a reflection of American ideals. He fought off cancer like John Wayne and then dominated a sport like Michael Jordan. It was as infallible as an American Icon could get.

Now that Lance Armstrong came cleen of his PED use his name is forever tarnished. But it makes sense. Armstrong had too much to protect. The survival of Livestrong and all of his philanthropic ventures hinged on his success and his squeaky-clean reputation. It was protecting his story as much as it was about winning the Tour de France for Armstrong, it was about maintaining the purity of his brand. His brand demanded that his name remain clean.

Deny any allegations at all costs. Never give in. There was too much at stake. At every chance remind the people who you are:

Inspiration. Humanitarian. Survivor. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Inspiration. Humanitarian. Survivor.

Those are words I could have never associated with talented¬†prodigies like Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds (I’ll explain why he’s added later). It’s what made¬†Armstrong unique.¬†Bonds and¬†Woods¬†were aloof; men who were closer to the Gods describes in legendary epics than men in which we could relate. Isolation¬†is not what we demand¬†of our heroes. We want more and Lance¬†delivered. Bond and¬†Woods never particularly wholly embraced the adoration of their supporters. They were professionals;¬†their goal was professional immortality. With Lance, well there was more. More¬†we cared about, more that we wanted to embrace. There was no quantitative goal¬†(756 Home Runs, 18 majors)¬†that defined Armstrong like the others.

An¬†admission to Oprah was about as well received as LeBron James’ “The Decision”. [Without the irrational backlash] Even Armstrong’s most ardent defenders have come to this conclusion: Lance Armstrong, (to¬†borrow a phrase from Dennis Green)¬†was not who we thought he was.

Fraud.

 

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlnlOokL–8%5D

Posted: December 24, 2012 in Bunker

According Rich Cimini, Tim Tebow requested he not be used in any Wildcat packages in today’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Tebow was unhappy about being passed over as the starting QB sport. The irony is of course, in Denver, Tebow was the 3rd string QB when John Fox, handed the starting QB spot to Tebow over Brady Quinn.

 

When the Jets acquired Tebow for 3rd and 4th round pick. It was widely assumed that it was only a matter of time before Tebow took over the Jets offense. It was a combination of Tebow’s immense popularity coming off of his 7-4 record (including a playoff win in Pittsburgh) and Mark Sanchez’s wildly inconsistently play in his first four years as the Jets QB.

 

True to form, Sanchez was excellent (Week 1 vs. Buffalo), horrendous (Week 15 at Tennessee) and an embarrassment to the position of Quarterback (Thanksgiving vs. Patriots). But each week Coach Rex Ryan would announce that Sanchez would start the following week. Other than a handful of gimmick Wildcat packages, Tebow didn’t play. He never started for the Jets. When Sanchez was benched, he was benched for Greg McElroy, not Tim Tebow. Jets fans clinging onto any desperate glimmer of hope and Tebow enduring fans claimed the Tebow deserved to be the starting Quarterback.

The Tebow deserves it crowd bases their argument on the assumption that because Sanchez was such a horrific Quarterback, that Tebow, who was told he would have the opportunity to compete for the starting job, should take over. There are several aspects that I find problematic with this assumption. This assumes that the fan, who has no access to practices or Tebow’s, knows better about Tebow’s abilities than his coach. Second, every player is given the opportunity to compete for a starting spot during training camp and during practices. It was clear from the Jets preseason, Tebow was mediocre at best. It was made even clearer by his teammates that they did not trust his ability to lead the team offensively. In the few opportunities Tebow received the Jets saw no real discernible difference in offensive production. But yet we’re supposed to make an exception for Tebow.

 

There seems to be very little possibility in the minds of Tebow supporters that there is a possibility Tebow could be significantly worse than Sanchez. There seems to be no possibility that much like Tebow the year before, Greg McElroy outplayed Tebow in practice and thus was bumped from Third String to starter. There couldn’t be any possibility that the man whose career completion percentage is a porous 47%. Tebow is a that caricature 47%-er Mitt Romney described.

 

Tebow (and his fans) felt the sense of a entitlement that he deserved the spot, because he wanted it and was told he had the opportunity to get it. Tebow may be the hardest worker in the business, but at some point hard work, talent competency have to meet. Tebow’s not the only diva professional athlete we’ve ever seen, except for some reason his fans seem to make an excuse for his behavior. At every point, Tebow’s been coddled and defended with sports platitudes that haven’t translated into very much of anything this year. I wonder if this were Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell Wilson would we use these same excuses? What if this was Terrell Owens?

 

In the end, the Tebow story has to die. It has to fade. More Meril Hoge rants are necessary, we can’t have continue to let these double standards exist. He’s the gutsy underdog but then a prima-donna. He’s just¬†a winner, but can’t start over Mark Sanchez. He brings teams together, but the teams he’s on seem to be divided about his presence. We’ll see what’s next for Tebow in Jacksonville, hopefully he earns what he deserves.¬†

 

Oblivious GF GM

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Bunker

During the Mavericks vs. Knicks game, my part-time bedroom partner who knows very little about the NBA other than LeBron James is really good and Chris Bosh makes egregious faces asked me following:

“Is Mike Woodson a good coach?”

Before I answered, I inquired why she would ask such a question. She answered:

“He just doesn’t look like someone who’s that good.”

She was spot on. Just by looking at him, she said to herself “I don’t want THAT guy coaching my team.” I wanted to know what she thought about other coaches in the league. She could perhaps be the anti-Nate Silver, but just as effective. I decided to test the theory out by pulling up the Google Images of various coaches from random eras across the history of the NBA. I posed the question in a very simple manner: Is this person a good coach?

Here are the results

Phil Jackson – Good

Cotton Fitzsimmons (Random I know) – Bad

Isiah Thomas – Bad

Lionel Hollins – Good

Vinny Del Negro – Good

Avery Johnson – Good

Scott Skiles – Bad

Lawrence Frank – Bad

Gregg Popovich РBad

PJ Carlesimo РGood

Larry Brown¬†– Good, “Would venture to say even really good”

Kurt Rambis РBad

Alvin Gentry  РGood

Doc Rivers РGood

Some reasons cited for the choices:

“Guys who point with confidence seem like they would be better.”

“eeeh his face seems too intense”

“He looks unhinged”

“Also, it’s more than the pointing,¬†there needs to be a mix of smile and fierce faces. You need to let your players know when they’re sucking, but you also have to be able to celebrate their successes to boost morale.¬†People who look dead in every picture clearly can’t do that”

Message to GMs – Apparently it’s a lot easier to tell a bad coach than it is to tell who is a great coach.

Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Bunker

Hurricane Sandy’s devastation brought New Yorkers from all five boroughs together in a common bond over tragedy at worst and inconvenience at best. A storm so influential, it postponed one of the more exciting events in the city’s recent history. The Brooklyn Nets hosting the New York Knicks.

I’ve been asked by most of my friends outside of the Big Apple if I will be jumping on the Brooklyn bandwagon. Born and raised in Brooklyn it’s only logical that I get on board. But I’ve been through too much with the Knicks to bail now. I’ve spent too many years being laughed at for defending Patrick Ewing’s greatness, while being laughed at some of his worst moments. I sat through a time where Keith Van Horn, Allen Houston and Latrell Sprewell were the answer. The Starbury era. The Isiah era(s). I would be a turncoat and fair-weather fan to leave now.

But the chasm I find more interesting is what the two teams will represent culturally. The demographics of Brooklyn have been changing over the past 5 to 10 years. However, the stigma of Brooklyn exuded by some of the legendary black entertainers (Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Chris Rock, to name a few) still remains. With the influx of Yuppies in neighborhoods like Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook and Crown Heights (traditionally Caribbean and Latino dominated areas) Brooklyn has a whole new style now. It feels as though it‚Äôs all-inclusive. Yet it still has a sense of exclusivity with its ‚Äúswag‚ÄĚ and the Nets with their black and white simplified color scheme exude that style.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=393l5zWQULY%5D

 

The Knicks on the other hand seem passé, old-school, traditional. In an attempt to keep up with their counterparts, the Knicks have introduced new jerseys. While not the fashion statement of the Nets, you have to give them credit for trying. The Knicks have the advantage of playing the remaining basketball institution in this country, Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are the family’s team, Grandpa was old enough to remember when Willis Reed limped out onto the court, and Dad was old enough to remember when they finally made it back to the Finals in 1994. The Knicks won’t go for cool points, they’ll rely on nostalgia.

I know who I’ll root for this year, but as long as the symbol of Knick leadership remains James Dolan and the Nets Sean Carter, it’ll be hard for me hold onto that allegiance.

Response to Scoop Jackson Article

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Bunker

We’re reminded why Scoop Jackson isn’t allowed to write often on ESPN.com. I have no problem with Scoop Jackson generally speaking, but I now understand why he was so viciously criticized by Jason Whitlock. I read this article about the Kansas City Chief fans cheering Matt Cassel’s injury during Sunday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

I was asked what I found problematic with the article:

This article gave a quite embarrassing justification for the fans actions. Given the state of the NFL and knowing the terrible lives most of these players live after giving their bodies for the game (dementia, paralysis, lack of pension etc.) you can’t boo a guy who has just been knocked out of the game with a head injury. Boo a guy if he performs poorly, not when he’s unconscious and we don’t know what will happen with his career. As I told Linton before, the Michael Irvin situation referenced in the article was appalling and after that nothing would shock me. I wasn’t shocked by this, but I’m shocked when people try to justify their awful behavior in the stands by saying I paid $X for this ticket. You don’t have the right to throw out decency for your fellow HUMAN BEINGS just because paid the price of admission. Much like you can’t say I’m not paying taxes, because I don’t like what the government spends my money on.

Moreover what’s not often mentioned is what Roger Goddell¬†has¬†done is to humanize the game a bit more. The realities of the dangerous game that football¬†have become much more apparent and exposed in the national media as a result of the regulation of head injuries etc. The media has caught up, the NFL has caught up, it’s time for fans to do the same. Especially people who have NEVER played. There’s a disconnect with the fans where they view players through some sort of video game lens. It’s alienating and the problem is that Scoop Jackson is justifying that alienation rather than bridging the gap.

Anytime you say, “I’m not justifying, just explaining”, you’re justifying. “Kansas City should have seen this coming”? Really. Blame the GM for the fans’ frustration with a player’s performance is one thing. To blame the GM for not putting the best product on the field is one thing. To blame him for the callous response from a frustrated fan base is lazy.

Point/Counterpoint

Posted: September 23, 2012 in ALL II, Bunker, Collaborative Posts

Defense of Goddell – ALL 2

Per usual with the legal sphere and rich folks (especially in sports), we get a bunch of confusing statements, juicy headlines, and more questions than answered.  Earlier this week, Jonathan Vilma finally met with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his involvement with the Saints bounty program, the story that will not go away.  Soon thereafter the meeting, the public learned that Vilma and his attorney were given a signed affidavit (available here) of Gregg Williams’ statements pertaining to the bounty program.  Not being a legal scholar, I know that the penalty for lying in an affidavit is perjury and that is something people should not want to face because it’s a BIG deal.  (Note: I am a PhD student in political science, not a law student.  I will leave the legal side open for my more legally inclined colleague) The kicker in all of this is the new rush to present affidavits on the situation.  Vilma’s attorney Peter Ginsburg suggests 30 players are ready to defend Vilma.  Vilma took to Twitter to suggest Williams was bullied into signing this.  Everyone is confused as to why its dated September 14, 2012.  All of this does not matter to me because until further notice it appears as bad for Vilma as it did before.

The first thing that bothers me is the quickness for people to dismiss the genuine nature of the affidavit.  Most people acknowledge that the statement mirrors the exact information he gave to the NFL back in March.  Most people complained that they did not believe the evidence the NFL had and some recently suggested Williams was backing out of his statements; the affidavit seems to double down on the genuine nature of the statement.  Maybe this is the contrarian opinion but this seems more than reasonable since this is going back in front of a court.  I suppose it’s also contrarian to not hate the commissioner but I digress.

The other part of this that gets me going is the public‚Äôs willingness to be on board with the 30 players willing to support Vilma.¬† This, to me, sounds similar to the Lance Armstrong situation that everyone sided with USADA on a month ago.¬† Remember Lance being confronted with more and more people in trouble and giving testimony claiming he doped?¬† Remember Lance saying he didn‚Äôt and could bring many more teammates, coaches, etc. to support his side?¬† Remember no one giving a damn that Lance could do that?¬† I do. I do. I do.¬† Vilma is now in a similar situation and everyone seems to be siding with Vilma because Goodell is a bad man.¬† Having a bunch of players pop up to your defense does not mean you didn‚Äôt do anything.¬† It means you have people that said you didn‚Äôt do something other people said you did.¬† Why does Gregg Williams get no credibility but Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and others do when making statements after testing positive and ‚Äúin the clutches of the man?‚ÄĚ

What this comes down to is Roger Goodell and the NFL are not just picking on the Saints.  We are in a semantics war between pay for performance and pay for injury.  It’s a lawyer’s wet dream which means it’s time for me to bow out.  What I do know is that a bounty system did take place and that involved some players.  Now, no player is willing to rat on another. I get that.  But some player was involved.  Multiple players were involved.  While I am in no position to challenge someone’s motives, I do wonder if this is about integrity or the moolah lost.  If this was not a full season suspension, would we even be here?  Maybe.  I have no issue with Goodell looking to hold players accountable for their involvement in something egregious like a bounty scandal.  Hope the players implicated are the ones involved but to this day nothing has changed to point the finger of doubt towards anyone but Vilma and the three other’s fingered by the NFL.

 

Defense of Jonathan Vilma: Bunkie

I don’t know whether or not Jonathan Vilma is directly responsible with this pay for performance (some call it a bounty) scandal. He’s racking up legal fees by the day to defend his name and reputation, money I’m sure he’ll want when he retires. I can respect the way Vilma has gone about defending his innocence. When Goddell asked to meet with Vilma, Vilma refused, a move I first criticized. But what has become increasingly obvious is that Roger Goddell has relied heavily on hearsay and third party references to come to his conclusions about bounty-gate.

An independent arbitrator lifted the suspensions. That tells me that there is a¬†serious¬†lack of evidence on the side of the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, the circumstantial evidence mounted against Vilma is convincing, but since when do we convict on such matters. While some may quibble with the idea that we still aren’t even certain that this was a¬†bounty scandal, the distinction between pay for performance and¬†bounty¬†is very important. The NFL¬†needs¬†to go out and prove without a doubt that this Saints system was contributing to unnecessary violence that would not have happened were it not for this system. That’s tough to do. Especially when there’s no smoking gun. So in a desperate attempt to save face and pin the deed to Vilma, Goddell reached into the gutter to trot out the troll that he suspended indefinitely: Greg Williams.

Although I’m not a fan of the “Stop Snitching” era, this Greg Williams affidavit is exactly why that moniker was created. Greg Williams was the face of the bounty-gate, he received the most severe punishment of all. He’s desperate. Goddell’s desperate. They are both making a deal with the devil. For all of those who believed that Goddell had an agenda against the Saints, this helps give that notion A LOT of credence. I’m sure Goddell didn’t obtain this affidavit without giving Williams a little something in return. Vilma’s defense, although it sound childish, is valid: “The nfl has 1 affidavit saying i did it.¬†I have¬†NINE saying i didnt. Do the math. Hush haters”. The whole investigation and the subsequent suspensions were resolved via questionable circumstantial evidence, why can’t the defense be the same.

When it comes to NFL credibility, well, these are the same people who are telling us the replacement referees are doing a great job.

Way Down in the Hole for the Referees

Posted: September 18, 2012 in Bunker

Here’s some irony for you, we watch football now not only to watch the players, but to watch for the next controversial play where we, the fan, can poke fun of the ineptitude of these replacements. We love to scream and holler about how much we’re bothered by the refs, but on our twitter feed we allow the referees to trend. We hold our breaths every time a flag is thrown or one of the players screams at the refs until they throw a flag. Forget the integrity of the game. If integrity of the game truly mattered, wouldn’t we have been up-in-arms for years when we saw the first team to get the ball in overtime kick a Field Goal for the win? Wouldn’t we have fled the NFL after the controversial calls in the Steelers vs. Seahawks SuperBowl XL where the NFL had to soon apologize for the horrendous officiating during that particular game. Turns out the game is rigged, not by the refs, ¬†not by the league offices, but us, the fans. They sucked us in and we’re not going anywhere.

Remember when there was an alternative?

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKk5qTtpOjg]

Steve Young’s right, we’re all shills. We never truly cared about the integrity of the game, because our love for the NFL has no integrity. We need something to talk about early in the season other than the game itself. We don’t mind, we’re not going turn the game off. We’re all Bubbles and even though Pandemic is just Yellowtop , we’re still buying.

 

Sundays are our Hamsterdam:

 

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOHkrZECnfs]

Narratives of Week 2 Before They Happen

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Bunker

The Cowboys go 0-2 and every one is reminded of Tony Romo’s biggest choker moment. We are showed the video 5 or 6 times to try to make Seahawks-Cowboys a more relevant game than reality reveals.

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRn5b4BJyiI]

Victor Cruz drops key passes while announcers are shocked at this even though Cruz was top 5 in drops last year.

Fans realize that Kansas City and Buffalo have teams when they are forced to sit through highlights and pretend that they only care because they have Jamal Charles and CJ Spiller on their teams.

Analysts will make a big deal out of the Vikings being 2-0 and Adrian Peterson’s heart and determination will be lauded.

When you pay a Coach $7million and he gets suspended, it hurts your team.

We are shown a flashback of Michael Vick’s right fibula fracture in 2003.

Griffining attempts to be the black Tebowing (Mature audiences only). And fails miserably.

People begin looking at the Texans schedule and find little reason why that team won’t clinch before December.

Dick Lebeau begins talking to an empty chair, while Tebow scores a touchdown.

Peyton Manning will be on every National primetime game this season.

The debate about player safety takes a new twist.