Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bill Beli-cheat, or "Cheater, Cheater, Patriots Leader"

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick, Football Coach, Style-Maven

Way back in late 1960's, Bill Belichick got away with cheating.

He was a star athlete at Maryland's Annapolis High, lettering in football. And faced with an important test days before the big game, he copied down the answers of the kid next to him. He had no time to study, not with all those hours of practice. Besides, he figured, copying another student's answers wasn't really against the rules. Plagarism was defined in the student handbook as "Copying another student's work." I'm not copying his work, Bill thought to himself. I'm copying his answers. I didn't do any "work" at all. According to his interpretation of the rules, Bill didn't think he'd done anything wrong.

He got an A on that test and many years later, went on to become head coach of the New York Jets... for a day, before skipping town and becoming head coach of the New England Patriots.

In November last year, after losing to the Colts and the Jets in consecutive weeks, the Patriots faced a surprising Green Bay team that had won three of its last four games.

Green Bay's offense was stymied, especially after their 3-time MVP quarterback Brett Farve was knocked out of the game late in the first half. New England, on the other hand, had no problem carving up Green Bay's defense, moving seemingly at will up the field. On their first two scoring drives, the Patriots converted on two 4th-down plays. Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns and was only sacked once.

A stellar performance by one of the NFL's most powerful teams... or was it something more sinister??

During the game, Packers security spotted a man videotaping the Green Bay sideline. The man was a member of the Patriots staff, and had no business with a video camera. They made him put the camera away and issued a warning. At the time, it was a mysterious footnote to an ugly game.

But last Sunday, against the New York Jets, another Patriots employee was spotted with a camera. This time, security officials confiscated the camera. And what did they find? The man was videotaping the Jets defensive coach. Videotaping his signals to his defense. The Patriots were studying which signals matched with which defenses, so they could change their play accordingly.

According to ESPN:
The "Game Operations Manual" states that "no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game." Taping any signals is prohibited.
Bill Belichick had been caught cheating. And what was his response?
"Earlier this week, I spoke with Commissioner Goodell about a videotaping procedure during last Sunday's game and my interpretation of the rules. At this point, we have not been notified of the league's ruling. Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players. Following the league's decision, I will have further comment."
Repeatedly asked by reporters to clarify his "interpretation of the rules," Belichick instead walked away from the podium and left.

The truth is, I have no idea whether Bill Belichick cheated in high school or not. What I do know is that falling back on "interpretation of the rules," is the mark of a cowardly cheater. And Belichick's blatant disregard for fair play is worse than cheating on a high school test... if he cheated then, he only cheated himself-- now, he's cheated both Patriots and Jets fans out of seeing a fairly played game of football. Which would have been something exciting to watch.

So do to Belichick what you'd do to a kid who repeatedly cheats on tests. Kick him out.

[Note: I write this as a Jets fan.]

PLUS: Went to the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah concert in NYC last night. Their website offers some tunes for free. Go to and look in the right hand column.


To the Jewish readers out there: HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH!!! Have a sweet New Year!

Shofar, So Good

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britney and I, Back In Action

I apologize for the long hiatus. My grandfather passed away two weeks ago, and it hasn't been easy to get back into the old routine. It's been extremely difficult actually. My grandfather and I were very close. But ultimately, I thought of you, loyal, good-looking readers, who have been feigning since August 28th for something entertaining and thought-provoking to consume during the hours you should be spending doing work.

I hope my comeback is a little better received than Britney Spears performance at the VMAs. To be honest, I thought she looked hot. Yeah, that's right, hot. Not "half-bad" or "good for a mother of two," but genuinely attractive. She's not an 18 year old girl anymore, people. She's a woman. And for a woman, she looks mighty fine. If she weren't a nutcase, and if she was Jewish, I'd consider asking her out on a date to the local Delicatessen (2nd Ave. Deli is reopening!!!).

Britney, Still Got It
So... This Is Not An Attractive Body?? You Prefer Anorexia?

Sure, her dancing and lip-synching were terrible. But she didn't deserve to be massacred by the press. I have a suspicion that most of those articles were already written before the VMAs even aired. Only a legendary performance would have kept the Negative Nancies from unleashing their diatribes.

Negative Nancies like Miki Turner, contributing writer to MSNBC. I don't like to call out a fellow journalist, but Miki openly admits to a complete bias in her opening paragraph:

"You know me. I often use this space to chastise the “Hollywood ‘Fo” — Paris, Nicole, Lindsay and Britney — because they really just make it so darn easy for me..."
Not exactly a journalist expressing their commitment to fair and accurate reporting.

Then she launches into her attack:

"First, Spears, who performed her new song “Gimme More,” looked really bad. The TMZleezy fashion police opined that she looked like “an old school hoochie” in that black rhinestoned bra and panties get-up she had on and sadly, I have to agree.

Brit, were there no mirrors in your dressing room? C’mon girl, that outfit was screaming take me off, I only want to be worn by Mary-Kate Olsen!"
First, Spears did not look bad. Sure, it's subjective, but if the above picture is "looking bad," then we as a society have set such impossibly high standards for women that it's a surprise more girls aren't vomiting and carving themselves up in the name of beauty.

Secondly, quoting as a reliable source of public sentiment is like quoting Bill O'Reilly as a reliable source on... anything. relys on sensationalism and snarky comment to attract an audience. "Britney was okay, not great," doesn't get hits. "Britney Shitney," does.

Then there's the weird Mary-Kate Olsen joke. The only sense I can make of it is that Miki is saying the outfit was too tight on Britney. Obviously, Miki would prefer Britney be as anorexic as Mary-Kate. I guess that's what Miki thinks is attractive.

"She kind of looked like a harpooned circus elephant that kept trying to move and groove because the show must go on."
That's just mean. Britney is an elephant? My God, we've sunk to a new low here.

Then, Miki has the gumption to follow up her scathing witticisms with the line, "But truthfully, I’m going to take the high road like Alicia Keys did when reporters asked her about Spears’ performance. Keys thinks we should all give “the lovely lady” a break and she’s right."

Huh? High road? Miki, you took the off ramp to the low road eons ago.

It's one thing for me to bash Bush for sending 4,000 American kids off to get slaughtered in a meaningless war, or to skewer O'Reilly for misleading people into xenophobia and group-think, but to bash Britney Spears for looking like a pretty 25-year-old instead of a hot concentration camp victim is more than mean. It contributes to a media society that too often creates ideals that normal society cannot attain. What purpose does the criticism of Spears serve, other than to make less attractive people feel better about themselves?

Ok, I'm ranting. Didn't want to start my comeback that way. I guess I'm like a harpooned circus elephant, trying write and gripe because the show must go on.

Anyways, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you're still here. I promise to continue to fulfill your impossibly high writing standards in my future posts.

Visitor Map: