Patriots focus on task at hand

24 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Deflategate bringing out the best in New York tabloid headline writers.

Deflategate and a brazen disregard for the truth should be more than enough for the NFL to order Bill Belichick to stay at home on Super Bowl Sunday. After starting his press conference yesterday at Gillette Stadium by answering five straight questions about the Deflategate controversy, one reporter shifted the attention away and asked the defensive captain a question about the Patriots’ Super Bowl opponent, the Seattle Seahawks.The NFL is upping the stakes in its probe of the New England Patriots and unleashing one of the country’s top lawyers and a high-powered investigative firm to uncover the truth behind a scandal that has cast a dark cloud over the team as they prepare for the Super Bowl. If the Patriots’ coach wants to wear his hoodie during the biggest game of the season, he can break it out while watching the telecast from his couch. Five days into the controversy that has grabbed the attention of the nation, it’s clear these Patriots are more interested in moving on to more important matters.

The league said evidence shows the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC championship game Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. It’s started at the top as Tom Brady addressed the entire team Thursday, when he urged fellow players to stay focused on the task at hand, and it trickled down. Wells, who the league tapped to lead an investigation into bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room in 2013, was named one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” in 2010 by the National Law Journal. It issued a statement that the Patriots have pledged full cooperation and have given the league information it requested and made personnel available upon request. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.” As a result of Friday’s statement, it certainly appears that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots will likely face no punishment before next Sunday’s game.

McCourty and another defensive captain, Vince Wilfork, were stern in their mission to block out the distractions, something they’ve become quite comfortable in doing over their veteran careers. “Trust me, we’ve been attacked plenty of times, individually and as an organization. The statement also leaves the NFL wiggle room to say the balls were accidentally deflated, which would instantly raise questions about Goodell’s ability to oversee an impartial investigation, and whether he should recuse himself from any punishment that might be handed down. It’s not our first rodeo,” Wilfork said. “We have a group of guys who know what it takes to basically ignore the noise and focus on what we’re here for, and that’s playing football.

Goodell and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have a close relationship, and fans of, say, the Jets, have complained for years that Belichick and the Pats should have been more severely punished for SpyGate, when New England was busted for videotaping Gang Green’s defensive signals in 2007. Also, in 2012 Kraft pushed for Goodell’s massive contract renewal, which runs through March of 2019 and has been reported to be worth about $44 million a year. Says Teri Thompson, the managing editor of sports for the New York Daily News and an award-winning investigative reporter, “It can be a noun or a verb. Then, when the shenanigans were discovered, Belichick — a control freak who has never left even the smallest detail to chance — ludicrously claimed he had no idea what happened.

After a blowout loss in Week 4 to Kansas City, they endured a week of second-guessing on matters such as Brady’s age and ability plus whether the team’s reign of success was all done. He leaves no stone unturned, and he’s a particularly good strategist,” Haluman told the Herald. “He will do a very thorough investigation, and he will get to the bottom of this.

Goodell has already been under fire for his unilateral handling of player discipline issues, with many calling for his ouster following the Ray Rice case earlier this season. To make sure he really gets the point, bench him for the first four games of next season and put him on permanent probation, leaving no doubt that he’s got two strikes against him and the next one would get him thrown out of the league for good. That’s what they want, and that’s what they’ll get.” According to the league, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted over the last three days, “including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise” — and more interviews are coming. The NFL Players Association filed a grievance Thursday, arguing that the NFL’s unilaterally implemented personal conduct policy is an issue for collective bargaining. Questions regarding the controversy were met with non-answers and disinterest, a clear sign that they’re ready to move on to the Seahawks, despite the ongoing NFL investigation. “There’s always noise,” veteran offensive lineman Dan Connolly said. “Throughout the season, there’s always something that can draw your attention away from the game.

After all, no franchise in the era of salary caps and free agency has come close to their streak of 14 straight winning seasons, 12 playoff appearances, three Super Bowl titles and nine appearances in the conference championship game. Everyone does it because each quarterback likes a different grip,” Nader Kawash, a Philadelphia Eagles ball boy from 1996-2000, told The AP. “I’m not saying a ball boy or equipment guy did anything on purpose to cheat. Initially, Thompson’s group came up with “GREAT BALLS OF LIAR” following the Brady news conference, but it was ultimately rejected. “We thought, well, you don’t want to condemn him [Brady] as a liar because we are not sure about that based on our reporting and the reporting out there,” Thompson says. “So our sports editor Bill Price, who is a terrific headline writer, a great back page guy, went to work on other possibilities and designs for the page. Belichick certainly didn’t help his cause with a news conference Thursday, where he spent 8 1-2 minutes trying to convince everyone he didn’t know a thing about the rules and procedures for game balls, then refused to give a meaningful answer to 14 questions — all concerning Deflategate — that were thrown his way over the next 3 minutes. Everyone will throw out something from the desk, and that includes the editors, the layout people, the copy editors, the website editors, any number of people.

Schultz from the old TV sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes.” You know, the bumbling German prison guard who turned a blind eye to inmates coming and going as they pleased, always insisting, “I know nothing. You know it when you hear it.” Given the Patriots’ press conferences were easily the biggest sports story of Thursday, the Daily News completed its back page by about 8:00 p.m. Anybody can do it.” “I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” said Brady, who said he likes footballs pumped to exactly 12 1/2 pounds per square inch, the lower limit. “I have no knowledge of anything, any wrongdoing.” Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualised preferences in how footballs are readied for games. Apparently, he cares A LOT about how those are prepared. “I’m sure that any current or past player of mine will tell you the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be,” he said. “Wet. Kraft, in a separate statement, said he received a letter on Monday about the situation and that “immediately after receiving the letter” he instructed his team to “be completely cooperative and transparent with the league’s investigators.” He added that they had come and gone. “During the three days they were here, we provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league’s representatives requested to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search,” Kraft said. “It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously.

The sports department often collaborates with the front page editors if they are going with sports on the front. “In our afternoon meeting, if they hear a headline that they think is appropriate with the front, they will take it and then we have to come up with a different one,” Thompson says. “The front page takes precedence.” The Boston Herald has also been on its game. Anytime players complain about the quality of the balls, I make them worse, and that stops the complaining.” Brady followed Belichick to the podium and issued the same blanket denial, though his remarks were peppered with plenty of “what, me worry?” grins, like a suspect in the interrogation room who wants you to know he did it — and knows you know he did it — but figures there’s no way to pin the crime on him. Everyone wants to know: Why would the Patriots feel the need to cheat when they were playing at home and, judging by the score, clearly had the superior team?

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