Sunday, September 16, 2007

Football time

Week two of our favorite pastime, and thigs are a little interesting.

Ok before we begin, a word on the Patriots "taping scandal": Yes, there's a rule against it, but the entire concept of "stealing signals" is bullshit. The Patriots gained no unfair advantage from what they were doing, the information the would have received is no different than a fan sitting in the first few rows would have. It certainly wouldn't have effected the game as it was being played.

How would you use the data? Just like game films. You take your sideline film, you time sync it to your game film, you run them together, and you see how the players react to what the coaches do. It MIGHT be useful against your opponents on your NEXT game against them; but by then the signals most likely would have changed; because the playbooks change every week, and the signals for the plays are different. Honestly, the biggest value is that it lets you see your opposing coaches mental state as the game progresses; maybe lets you get inside their head for a bit.

Believe me on this, I know first hand, I played three seasons in Europe. Once players have their basic skills and level of fitness, practice is primarily so you can run and memorize plays, and their associated signals.

And again, this is nothing more than what a fan in the stands can se. If a fan can see or do it, I don't see why the league should have a rule against it.

Now, if they were stealing signals books, or play books, or bugging the sidelines and locker rooms; that would be a different story; I'd be calling for Belichiks head on a platter. The rest? That's just sour grapes from fans and players who hate to admit their teams have been getting outplayed by the Patriots since 2000.

You'll notice, you aren't hearing too much screaming from the other coaches are you... Why do you think that might be? Maybe it's because they don't want to call attention to the fact that they all do the same thing?

The only reason the rule is in place is because they want NFL films, the official video production arm of the league, to have "full access", and more importantly EXCLUSIVE full access; so they make it against the rules to "steal signals" or do any independent taping, to protect their NFL films revenue stream.

$500,000 fine to Belichik, $250,000 to the team, and a draft pick... ridiculous. This isn't about "cheating" this is about the league protecting their revenue, pure and simple.

Now, for the only game I really care about, San Diego at New England, in what could be a playoff preview game.

This one is going to be a toughie for either team. Both teams had great wins last week; but both were against teams that performed to a subpar level, so I don't know how much you can take away from that. The Pats are 5-0 in Gillette for home openers, and you can't discount the power of morale, especially against such a tough and well matched opponent; but morale, home field advantage, and past history may not mean much if the Chargers bring their best game tonight.

I still think New England is the better team. We've got the better QB (by far), solid running and receiving; and basically one of the top 5 offenses in the league. On the other hand, the Chargers by any definition have one of the top five defenses. I don't think we're going to have a problem stopping the Chargers from establishing a passing game; their run may be a bit better.

Given this, I'm expecting a low scoring game, possibly a lot of turnoivers (after a 0 turnover game last week), with New England edging by a field goal or at most a TD. Vegas has the line at New England by 3-1/2 with a 46-1/2 o/u. Personally I'd take the under on that one, but I think the spreads too tight for a good bet.

As to the rest of the league, I'll leave that to someone else; and bitch about it tomorrow like the restaya