DATELINE: Two Bills & Lots of Sense
ESPN’s latest documentary is a look at the remarkable relationship of two NFL coaches who figure prominently in the conversation of greats.
Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick cannot merely be compared as winning NFL coaches. They actually have linked together and bonded in a variety of ways over 40 years.
To put them together at a table in the football Giants locker room and let them watch and listen to clips may actually be a device to give viewers fireworks, contradictions, and hostility. Nothing could be further from the actual event.
You may be surprised what a loud extrovert and a introspective quiet man have in common. They were never friends, but were always respectful colleagues—even at times when tense competition separated them.
What they do have in common is an irascible controlling attitude. It may boil down to the kind of relationship you’d expect between an elder brother and his over-achieving younger sibling. They were rivals, but under the skin shared too much to be anything but blood kin.
Parcells always regretted not being more diplomatic and less inclined to fly off the handle. On the other hand, Belichick admired the way his mentor could deal with the media and see the big picture.
It winds up being a mutual admiration society now that the days of fiery fights across the field have come to an end. They have played golf together and enjoyed dinner to reconcile their former differences after the Jets flare-up when Belichick declined to be drafted into a bad coaching situation, as the heir apparent to Parcells. A Greek chorus of football greats and witnesses to their flare-ups and cool-downs adds to the history lesson.
Owner Robert Kraft slips between them, owing to fancy editing by the director, and notes the complex troubles of managing difficult coaches. It’s business, not friendship. It’s living with a colleague for years and never socially.
The Two Bills is a fascinating portrait of hard-driven men doing what they love with people they grow to love.
34 Missing Patriots Shamed Team, Country, & Themselves
Pats owner Bob Kraft announced that he gave $1million to the Trump election committee before he showed up to the White House for a celebration with President Donald Trump.
Kraft will not miss a White House Rose Garden meeting in order to receive his money’s worth out of the Trump connection.
On the other hand, Tom Brady was not there. Yep, Tom is now citing personal reasons for bailing on a second presidential visit. He hopes, in a text message, to be at a future celebration. He really does expect to play until he is 50.
The stumble-bum contingent who have skipped spending an hour with President Trump just received cover from friendly fire from Tom. The shameful 34 are in his debt.
On top of avoiding a political firestorm, Tom avoided answering questions about his friendship with the late Aaron Hernandez who came to the end of his rope earlier in the day. The Patriots made no one available to the media who knew Hernandez.
We have assiduously avoided discussing the Patriot White House visit, but let’s face it: this may be the biggest watershed moment for the team in the Belichick years.
Believe it or don’t—Brady sent out hints that he was staying home with his parents on their wedding anniversary. Hunh?
However, the truth may be far more distressing: Brady chose not to go upon learning that Aaron Hernandez, a one-time California training partner, had committed suicide—and left a note to his gay prison lover (assiduously avoided topic in Boston’s sports media).
Tom dodged a subpoena with as much grace as he dodged any mention of his name in conjunction with Hernandez. The prosecutors did not want to touch the gay angle—nor the Brady angle to the murder story. If Coach Belichick could offer insights into Hernandez’s character, Brady could have offered much more.
So, President Trump hosted on the South Lawn a depleted Patriot squad. Criticism of the missing Patriots (numbering 34) made it the worst attended championship function ever hosted by a United States president in terms of personnel percentage.
When the New York Times raised the issue, the Patriots swung back with a hard tackle and insisted 40 members of the office entourage chose to remain in the audience rather than take a picture on the steps behind Mr. Trump. Hunh? That’s a most peculiar choice considering in 2015 everyone chose to be in the presidential photo.
The Times had to apologize for their story, though we cannot fathom why.
Jimmy G was the main QB featured over the right shoulder of Mr. Trump, and Julie E. was on the left shoulder, presumably in the spot where Brady would have stood. Jacoby Brissett was there, but released a letter to former President Obama almost immediately, asking for an audience with him.
Gronk was there, and interrupted an international press briefing in a strange move. Amendola was called out by the President for his contributions to the team. This error was made because Trump mentioned no one who skipped the ceremony (including Tom). Someone didn’t tell him that Amendola was at a funeral out of town.
Trump rightly praised often overlooked Patriots, but praised no one who was on the bubble with the team (like Malcolm Butler or missing James White).
All in all, it was a sour celebratory visit, though Mr. Kraft and Mr. Belichick smiled with half-hearted pleasure. The ghost of Hernandez and the ghost of political hatred marred the event.
For Pats fans, the less said, the better.
DATELINE: Dont’ya Know
When the Patriots want you, there is no doubt.
Dont’a Hightower did his world tour for free agentry, making pit stops in New York and Pittsburgh. The Jets offered him cupcakes on his birthday.
Alas, no confection matches the confetti of a Super Bowl duck boat ride. Hightower’s attempt to find a rich contract among the NFL losers was bound to fail.
Every team he contacted disbelieved his story that he wanted to find a new home if the money were right.
No amount of money can bring them the peace of a Super Bowl victory—and they found his argument that he would join them for a price to be patently ridiculous. No one bought his tale that he would jump off Bill Belichick’s duck boat.
And, they were right. The grass is only greener in other NFL stadiums if they brush it up with a little green dye. In that case, it’s clearly the green stuff.
No team can offer the guarantee of the greatest QB for the next four years. Both Tom Brady and Don’t’a Hightower are on the ticket for four more years. They likely will both retire when Donald Trump runs for re-election.
In the meantime, you might expect at least one more SuperBowl ticker tape measure for their Hall of Fame careers.
Of course, Hightower was not going to put himself in the low tower when he can grab the gold ring with another twirl of the Patriots carousel.
If anyone tells you Hightower signed with the Patriots for the money of $44million over four years, Dont’a believe it.
DATELINE: From Frying Pan to Belichick’s Crock Pot
We grow weary of the stories of stoic, suffering Malcolm Butler of the Patriots and his need for a cash injection to swell up his ego. His agent claims he is not asking for the moon, but merely wants a large asteroid.
In any case, this is like asking Bill Belichick for a blank check.
Alas, poor Butler, he’s in the pantry without his pantaloons. And his agent is no dresser.
Butler seems about to be cast off from the Patriots after asking for $13 million per year. He is offended that the Patriots offered another player who could replace him that largesse of money. Instead from Bill’s checkbook they have offered him merely a pay raise five times what he was making this season.
It’s never enough in the world of Midas touches.
The Patriots plucked Butler out of the deep fryar of a chicken fast-food chain and gave him a chance to become a star. Now he wants 20x what he made last year. It looks like the New Orleans Saints are willing to order the chicken wings de luxe.
Whether Butler will serve din-din to the Patriots defense for another season will be a decision that occurs when Belichick matches any offer. Hold the sauce. Butlers are out of fashion in Gillette Stadium where dumb waiters are the norm.
So now Malcolm Butler’s agent is shopping around for a team that will actually pay the Patriots a first round draft pick and take the Under-Butler away from Super Bowl teams with accompanying rings.
Footmen fans claimed the Butler has had an unfortunate lesson in the business of NFL football. We suspect Malcolm suffers from the chicken-feed killer, yes, one of the deadliest sins, greed.
DATELINE: Three Leagues Under the Sea
With so many champs leaving the SS Patriot ship, you’d think they were floundering. But, no, they merely have raised the cost of first-class passage.
As a result, Don’t’a Hightower may be on a lower tower than he expected. Without a franchise tag, he could be adrift. Like so many Pats before him, he may take the money and run. Chris Long has announced a hardy thanks to fans—and he has jumped ship, looking to take his Super Bowl ring to another bunch of losers, as his career gets back on second-rate track.
And, Martellus (Don’t call me Marty unless you are a friend) Bennett has scorned fans for suggesting he should remain on board the Patriot ship for less money. Gronk has given a blessing to go high roller on a low-ball team. So long, Marty.
That leaves us with the Jimmy G sweepstakes. Many experts claim the Patriots are looking for a boatload of picks and players for the young quarterback.
Not so fast, come reports from the bridge of Gillette Stadium. They love Jimmy Garoppollo too much to let him part—this year.
Insurance policies for ancient GOAT Tom Brady are too expensive to let Jimmy walk away on water.
He may become Robin to the Brady Batman for one more year.
Nobody wants to kick that pretty face out of his cheap canvas bunk. Jimmy may play more games in 2017 to give old Tom a chance to sit in his rocking chair on the sidelines.
We just bought stock in smelling salts. We want to see Jimmy sniff away one more season. Don’t rock the boat.
DATELINE: Hell, No, Don’t Go!
We certainly have to admire the chutzpah of the New England Patriots.
After attending the largest New England rally for Donald Trump on Tuesday after the Super Bowl, a growing list of Pats are refusing to visit the White House. Hightower, Blount, White, Long, and McCourty, have set the bar of first refusal.
We find this all rather amusing. Tom Brady did not set the precedent when he refused to go to the White House to meet Barack Obama, but it has caught on.
As one who always declines invitations to go anywhere, especially the White House, we know the value of a pre-emptive strike. Your best plan is to decline any invitation you think you may receive in a long-shot.
Trump may only invite a half-dozen friends from New England over for a Rose Garden moment. That would be chummy.
It is always nice to be asked to a party, even if you have no intention of going.
However, when last we looked, the New England Patriots have not, as a team, been invited to go to the White House.
We recall when a historical moment at the White House had some intrinsic value, but that may be way before any of the current crop of players were born. You actually felt the invitation came from the nation as a whole, represented by the president as an individual.
Symbolic or emblematic value seems to have gone the way of Pat Patriot, the long ago image of the Patriots. He’s been replaced by the Flying Elvis symbol of the Kraft family.
We hope that Mr. Trump does not invite the new-fangled Pats to the White House, but instead tells them to take a flying Elvis off the nearest NFL stadium.
DATELINE: Not an Anti-Trump Protester Seen
A million New Englanders came out in deplorable weather to cheer on the Patriots during the Victory Parade.
There was no evidence of an anti-Trump backlash among fans, despite the claims of wayward Clinton supporters in the weeks before the Super Bowl.
Gronk, of course, stripped down to the waist and rode through the streets of Boston. If Paul Revere had done this, there would have been three lanterns in the church steeple.
Fans did not wait to see the whites of Roger Goodell’s eyes before firing. The subtle and not-so-subtle shots at the NFL commissioner were omnipresent—from Tom’s “Roger That” T-shirt on his duck boat, showing a fifth ring on the middle finger.
Gronk later led the raspberry cheers against Goodell in a Providence, Rhode Island, party.
The victory in Houston, in its miraculous and stunning movie end script, has emboldened Patriots and fans to call for the firing of Goodell.
A few diehards now speculate that Tom’s stolen game jersey was taken at the orders of Goodell. Roger, that.
In related news, there is now a movement to start the quest for #6 in the Lombardi series. Belichick led the clarion call at Boston City Hall by exclaiming, “No Days Off!” in his best coaching style.
The catch-phrase “One more,” has indeed caught on. Gronk told fans he wanted to be there for another championship. At this point, all those free agents may want to take a home field discount to stay in New England.
Usually teams lose one-third of their players from champion year to the next. They also lose the flavor that brought them to the Super Bowl. It may be interesting to see how this plays out.
As Gronk said, they gave Matt Ryan the gift of “Trey Flowers.” Yes, they said it with Flowers.
One wag from the Clinton camp tweeted how confused he was by the rolling rally, “Is the Queen of Narnia visiting?”
FORTHCOMING BOOK on 2016 New England Patriots
Available on Amazon.com as ebook for smart readers and in paperback for traditional readers!
We never expected our Patriot diary would be more than another exercise in Tomfoolery.
When we began recounting episodes on and off field in the summer of 2016, we had a glimmer of hope that Tom Brady might show his resolve toward the unfair treatment by the NFL and its suspension of him by winning ruthlessly.
We never imagined it would end like a Rocky movie.
Here is our datebook with high and low burlesque, funny and mean-spirited parody, all the ups and downs of a season of football with a group of disparate athletes moving toward one staggering goal.
In a way, this compendium of oddball exploits and commentaries will always return us to the memories of a season begun in adversity and ending in glory.
Like any comic book, this tale has superheroes and nasty villains. There is much stuff here of the Patriots with feats of clay. However, the ultimate measure will be chiseled in marble by the memories of fans.
Let us start this fairy tale with the immortal words….
“Once upon a time in a football galaxy near Foxboro….”
DATELINE: Once Upon a Time…
Parallel Universes Collide Tonight
After wading through dozens of our Patriot humor articles—some not so funny, and others too mean-spirited in embarrassing Tom Brady, we have always meant well. We love Tom.
We have waded through highlight reels, hype beyond all expectations, endless analysis by so-called sports pundits, the same kind of experts who missed the movement to elect Trump. Now, at rainbow’s end, the day is here.
Yes, Super Bowl 51 is around the corner, merely hours away.
Every day has been media day all season. We have endured polysyllabic interviews and monosyllabic interviews by inarticulate lugs and hilarious insights from Martellus Bennett.
Roger Goodell has been stabbed with the Revenge Tour of Tom Brady, week after week. And now, it’s “et tu, Brute” time.
We have heard the Hearst-coinage of a word “deflategate” until our powers have been deflated and defeated by the connotations and denotations offered by lawyers, ad nauseum, as well as scientists aware of hot air theory.
Now it comes down to kick off and actually putting everything into play.
We have not spent much time looking at the Atlanta Falcons with Matty Ice. The local angle of the Falcons has escaped us. This season nobody seemed to care about Atlanta except Sherman (Richard, that is).
Perhaps New Englanders feel it is a foregone conclusion that the revenge tour of Tom Brady will have its pinnacle and acme with the utter humiliation of Roger Goodell at game’s end. The opponent is merely another domino blocking the path to the winner’s platform.
The time for the Patriots to act is upon us.
DATELINE: Brady’s Bunch as Historical Inevitabilities
Mad Dog Hogan
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have learned today that being a Masshole is a point of pride for those living in Massachusetts, supporting the Patriots.
After he built a fortress in Brookline that must be called San Simeon, Xanadu, or Sloppy Joe’s, Tom Brady is a primary Masshole resident.
Unlike predictions, there was absolutely no suspense in this game.
Belichick’s plan was nothing out of the Hitchcock playbook. Unlike the Master of Suspense, Belichick gave the crowd of Massholes a standard victory plan.
If there was a mystery, it was where were the yellow flags. We thought Goodell’s goons would be on the offensive against Brady, but they seemed to have lost their yellow mettle.
The referees were simply not throwing them. It was one of the most stingy games we have seen in terms of penalizing Patriots.
When the turnovers came, the Steelers were in meltdown mode.
The Killer Bs (Brown, Ben, Bell) seemed to be missing from the hive or turned into the honeybees. The other Steeler killers did try to kill always irksome Julian Edelman. His gadfly attitude just drove them crazy.
The real murder victim in the game was the Steelers. And they were dead when LeGarrette Blount bluntly carried seven or eight of them to the 1 yard line. He was unstoppable. It crushed the Steelers and drove home the point that the better team was winning.
Mild mannered, wild-eyed lacrosse player, Chris Hogan number 15, turned out to be the Norman Bates of the Patriots. He slayed the Steelers, sending them to the showers.
So, the Brady Revenge Tour is going to its ultimate destination in Houston, where every pass will be a needle in the Roger Goodell voodoo doll.
DATELINE: Inaugural & Super Bowl LI
At the pre-Inauguration Dinner for billionaire friends of the new President of the United States, there sat a man who should be in the Cabinet with 9 other billionaires.
We refer to Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.
He was not overlooked by the new Prez who heaped praise on the Patriots during his post-dinner speech.
He wished luck to the man with the great quarterback, great coach, and fairly much claimed it was a lock to go to the Super Bowl. It’s the kind of stuff that makes American great again, if you agree with Mr. Trump.
President Trump was not done by any means. He singled out Coach Swami Belichick for his work ethic—and pointed out that it was that style of work that led to the victory for Trump.
In days of yore, if the President took time out of his busy schedule to talk to you on the phone, it was a big deal. Today, if Tom Brady takes time to pick up that smartphone and call, the President-Elect is thrilled.
He also noted to the agreeable crowd that Tom Brady had called him earlier in the day—apparently after practice where his game face has made him a grumbling meanie.
Tom told the new President that he was good to go. Alas, Tom cannot attend the Inauguration—but we will not be surprised if the President attends Super Bowl LI and sits in the celebrity apprentice box to root on his friends on the Patriots.
DATELINE: Whatever Happened to the Patriots?
All that talk about Houston being the underdogs suddenly took a turn for the era of upset. The mighty Casey striking out seemed to be playing in the wrong game in the wrong sport.
We hate raspberry turnovers, and they were more in this game than you could ever expect from the Patriots. For a while we wondered whatever happened to the Patriots before they channeled King Kong yet again.
You certainly never expected to see fumbles and interceptions all in the first half by the Patsies.
We saw the unviewable: Bill Belichick chewing out Eric Rowe. But it was the turning point in the first quarter.
Fans saw Brady sacked very much all season but suddenly it’s a new season, amd the falls were graceless. It all started with a personal foul of unnecessary roughness. Patriots never make that kind of penalty.
You know you’re in trouble when these things happen to start the game that did not seem to be the cakewalk in the park predicted by pundits. The home team led 14 to 13, but when you’re 16 point favorites, you are in deep Doo Doo with an overflowing septic problem.
Houston started taking down Brady in a manner we haven’t seen since the biplanes knocked King Kong off his perch on the Empire State Building.
Patriots chose the wrong game to play their worst game. Did Tom not wear his sleepware last night to save his essence? It was spilled milk on the field.
Second Half, Sleeper Hold
Mother of Mercy, can this be the end of the Patriots?
Not hardly. Brady came out firing those surgical passes and scored almost instantly: 90 yards in 9 plays. Dion Lewis added up three touchdown scores in myriad ways.
The guys in stripes then began their efforts to stop Brady and the Patriots. Goodell’s goons allowed manhandling of the star quarterback—and called close calls in favor of the Houston Texans.
Nevertheless, however poorly the Patriots accounted themselves, they could not sink into the abyss of Houston, where the bottom is more profound than former Pats like Wilfork, Izzo, Crennel, Vrabel, and O’Brien could fathom.
If any conclusion can be drawn from the Patriots’ victory by the requisite 17 points everyone predicted, it is that the road to Houston and Super Bowl LI is fraught with sea monsters lurking beneath the placid surface of Gillette Stadium.
Perhaps a good scare is useful.
DATELINE: Inevitability Meets Tom
A cacophony is growing louder that the Patriots are inevitable favorites to win the Super Bowl.
No team can stand up to the vindictive nature of Tom Brady’s Angry at Goodell Tour, ready to tear the head off every chicken in the coop. Or, Dolphin, as the case may be.
Experts and pundits agree that the Steelers, the Seahawks, the Giants, and even the Cowboys will not match up to the Patriots game day face. Even with the Super Bowl played on foreign soil, in the heart of Texas, the Patriots would seem to be favorites with only a few easily recognized enemies.
You might say that playing the Super Bowl outdoors in cold weather would be the biggest impediment to their victory; however, we know that Tom Brady loves to play in the snow or in the indoors where the only snow is the media blitz. And we know the Cowboys always play indoors where no Buffalo roam.
So the cold weather would not seem to be the worst enemy of Patriotdom in February.
What then might stop the Patriots dead in their tracks?
Why, it would be those guys who play the game in stripes. Yes it’s the referees who could cause the Patriots to become derailed, deboned, and sent reeling.
And whom do these referees work for? You guessed it. The guy named Roger Godowndell, the hated vicious heartless enemy of Tom Brady.
Pass the water jug, Gunga Din. We need a chaser.
DATELINE: Waiting for His Day on the Field
Michael Floyd’s week is not necessarily better in New England. He will likely play against the New York Jets on Christmas Eve. He hopes the Star of Bethlehem shines down upon his sorry soul.
Police released video of him arrested, and forcibly given a blood test for alcohol after a court order.
He seemed like a confused, frightened man unable to follow directions, and clearly worried. Yes, in America in 2016, a black man in a fancy car, stopped by police, might fear he will be shot.
It was the Chandler Jones school of dumb-founded. Like Jones, Floyd’s impairment does not look as bad as it really is: he fell asleep at a red light with the car running. Yikes.
The media jumped on Belichick and asked if he had seen the video when he signed Floyd. How preposterous and absurdist can the media be: the video had only just been released to the public that day.
The hubbub intensity led Michael Floyd to speak to the Boston press in the locker room, protesting that everyone makes mistakes. Well, he did not seem stupid and spoke articulately.
Let’s face it: his popularity in Boston will be in direct correlation to the number of Brady passes he catches against the Jets.
If he has a great game, brings in a couple of touchdowns, he will have sponsors lining up to vouch for him at AA meetings.
If he is a flop, he allegedly faces jail time in Arizona. Let’s be serious: men with millions of dollars and celebrity can hire the best attorneys. Michael Floyd will not be sitting in a jail anytime soon.
Next to Aaron Hernandez, also in the headlines this week for his hacked phone calls, Michael Floyd seems a subdued and contrite figure.