The thing about the under inflated football, and why it is a big deal

*** updates at bottom – 1.26.15

You have heard about the Patriots and the deflated footballs, right?

I have been poking around, and can put it in perspective if you are interested.  First – everything the Patriots are saying is a goddamn lie.  We’ll get to that.  What happened was 11 of their 12 football was found to be seriously under-inflated.  How much were they deflated?  Well, I am not going to talk PSI, you have ESPN for that.  I watched a show yesterday where they deflated a football to the exact degree the Patriots’ balls were deflated.  Then, they had a proper inflated football.  Every single person they gave the footballs to, including a gal who said “I don’t know if I have ever touched a football” were able to correctly identify the flatter balls.

They are squishier.

What is the advantage?  It is much easier to throw and catch.  It’s really more a nerf at that time than a hard leather football***. My next thought was – well, if it is easier to catch and throw, wouldn’t that help both teams?  No, because each team uses their own footballs.  Specifically, the Patriots provide their own footballs their QB will be using.  Only their qb uses those balls.  In last weekend’s case, the Colts used their own footballs when it was their turn to play offense.  Like you, I assumed a neutral, official, NFL person held all the balls and divvied them out for teams to use.  Nope, that is only kicker balls.  The kicker balls are touched by NO ONE except the refs until just before they are used on the field.


How did the other team find out, then?  This is awesome.  The other team (the Colts) found out when they intercepted one of Brady’s passes.  Immediately, the guy who caught it brought it to the ref and explained the ball was flat. Someone, justice briefly happened, and ALL the Patriots balls got checked.  11 of the 12 game balls they had were flattened.  That isn’t co-incidence, or an accident.  Maybe 2 or 3 could be regarded as that. Here is where it gets marginally worse… the lies and cover up.  Tom Brady said he didn’t notice anything.  Really?  You throw footballs for a living.  Odds are you have thrown a football every single day of your life since you were about 15.  You didn’t notice any of them were flat?  You are a fucking liar. In Bellicheck’s (the head coach) denial, he said I’m not an expert in footballs. Oh my fucking god, are you serious?  That is your answer?  Guess what, YES YOU FUCKING ARE!!!  You are absolutely an expert in footballs.  You are the most successful football coach in the history of football.  More than anything else in life, you are an expert in footballs.  It is ALL you are, besides maybe being a cheating and lying asshole. Here are some much better looking people than myself to explain a bit more. Now, some housekeeping.  Aren’t there checks and balances in place?  Yes.  Each team does what they want to the balls they will use that game, and gives them to the head ref.  He checks them, sings off on them, and gives them back to the team.  This takes place 2 hours and 15 minutes before the game.  This is so the teams can scuff new balls, to make them grippier.  Did this happen with the Patriot’s balls?   We don’t know… yet. What is the penalty for this?  Apparently, a fine “as much as $25,000”.  What does that dollar figure mean to a team worth billions… especially one with the superbowl on the line?  There will be talk about taking a draft pic.  Boo fucking hoo.  I say either make them play the game over, or pull the Superbowl from them.  See, the Patriots have a history of cheating.  You can google it.  Did this help the Patriots win?  Probably not by much.  They won by 40 points.  They didn’t have to cheat.  How long have they been doing this?  We’ll never know.  At least, not until some of these guys retire and decide to come clean. Were it me caught?  I would say something like this

 “frankly, it sickens me, and it cheapens our win.  It was a very cold that day.  It’s possible that impacted the inflation.  However, you and I both know it wouldn’t affect it that much.  Of course we are looking into this with our equipment managers and such.  Trust me, this is a bigger concern to us than it is you.  It puts a LOT of things into perspective, and means we need to change how we do business.  I am the coach, and I take full responsibility.  I fully welcome any and all investigations and inquiries.  I fully accept any and all punishments this will result in.  I can promise you this, it changes absolutely everything about how we do business.  I want to apologize to fans, and ESPECIALLY to the wonderful Indianapolis Colts.  They are a great organization, and I can understand how they would be furious about this development.”

*** the ‘nerf’ analogy- I  wrote this before I found that video piece.  They used the same analogy.  Just wanted you to know I wrote that first.  About 6 hours before I found that video piece. ***  update 1.26.15 – a few important voices have chimed in, and they are calling bullshit on the Pats.  Like… who? Jim Jenkins and Molly Wallace most definitely call bullshit.  Who are they?  The people who make the goddamn footballs.  Some would call them ‘experts’.  In fact, even Belichekc would call them experts.  See, this story has tarnished Wilson, who busts their asses to keep the game legit.  Molly, who is in charge of this stuff, was asked “how could air come out of these footballs?”

Well, it’s couldn’t.

Ok, that seems pretty clear.  How about the other Wilson guy.  He doesn’t mince words.  “it isn’t possible”.  What do you think of the Patriots story?

It’s BS, man

Ok, good sound bite.  But… it was all cold that day, and we know that cold air contracts, and hot air expands.  So, with temperatures that fluctuate during the 90 minutes where the balls were inspected to code (and returned to the team) and the time of the game starting…. i mean… that could shrink the ball a bit, right?  No.  To use his words

Well it couldn’t

Just like politics, the scandal goes all the way to the top.  This guy feels the owners are just too cozy with the league… so there is no objective observation.  There is no checks and balances.  Who is this guy, who dates question the integrity of the NFL?

Oh… gee, only the motherflippin’ retired NFL commissioner.  Paul Tagliabu seems to feel things have gone downhill with Goodell taking over.

anyone else who is a so called ‘expert’ wanna weigh in?  Bill Nye.  Yeah, an expert in physic and science and stuff.

Oh, and lets just say temperature variation could have caused it.  Wouldn’t all the Colts balls be in the exact same shape (or lack of)… BAM.  That just happened.

NFL – boo fucking hoo

If you know me, you know I LOVE football. If you know me, I HATE the NFL corporation. Why? Well, today they gave me a perfectly good example as to why Roger Goodell is the devil.

It looks like the NFL is broke, and we ALL need to help out.  I mean, why else would all of the following befall these saints?

You may know that the NFL hid concussions and those repercussions for years, resulting in many ex-players dead. You may know they got sued for anti-trust in their marketing strategies. You may know they charged New Jersey residents $25,000 just for rights to buy season tickets in the new stadium. If you paid the $25,000, that didn’t actually buy you a single season ticket. You may know that the NFL won’t allow a local game to be broadcast unless the stadium is sold out beforehand.

You may know they got sued by cheerleaders for unfair labor practices. They lost that case, and it resulted in them (the NFL) having to pay minimum wage to the cheerleaders.  Plus, there was the strike two years ago.  The NFL is broke people, goddamnit why can’t you see that?  Why else would they treat consumers and players like this?

You may know that, though they made 8 BILLION last year, they do not pay a penny of taxes. They are listed, quite amusingly, as a 501C charity. Like your local dog shelter.  Then, this report from Forbes says the average NFL team is worth 1.3 BILLION.  Ok, I can’t wrap my head around a figure like that.  Lemme grab my trusty calculator and put in 1.3 BILLION times 32 teams.  It’s 32, right?  Ok, and the answer on my calculator says ‘holy fuck that is a lot of money, bro’ and then it just exploded like mission impossible mission giver thingy.

That isn’t why I write today. That stuff is all in the past. Today, I learned that the NFL wants bands to pay them to play the superbowl. Yes, the NFL wants to charge bands to play the superbowl. The NFL is soliciting Katy Perry and Coldplay to ‘pay to play’. The way the NFL sees it, they are giving you a boost in your career. You owe them. If it weren’t for the NFL, you wouldn’t have even heard of these bands. Oh wait, you already know who they are? They are already successful? Well, did they make 8 Billion last year? Exactly.

When reaching out to artists, league representatives asked some acts if they would exchange a headlining slot for a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour earnings, or make another type of financial contribution to the NFL. Sources told the Journal that the suggestion, perhaps unsurprisingly, “got a chilly reception from the candidates’ representatives.”

Yes, chilly sounds appropriate. The NFL made 8 BILLION last year, they will charge a million and a half during the game to run a commercial… and they are not paying a penny in taxes. Boo fucking hoo. This is like C Montgomery Burns asking you for a fiver.  They made 8 Billion, Goodell was paid 32 million last year, and they are being sued just to provide minimum wage?  They don’t pay a penny in taxes?  Oh yeah, it’s quite the opposite.  US taxpayers bought all their stadiums.

It is such a painful dichotomy to love football and hate the NFL so much. It’s similar to my relationship with Ticketbastard and live rock music. I am so upset with Ticketbastard charging 150% service fees that I don’t even go to national concerts anymore. Einstein said something to the effect of ‘evil succeeds when good men to do nothing’. So, I don’t give them money… either of them. Neither should you. That is, until they get together with Ticketbastard to block out the sun.

* full disclosure, I did just buy a Manning Broncos jersey last year, but it was pirated.  🙂  Can’t afford the $150 it costs to buy a proper licensed one.  Wanna make a difference?  Sign this!

Let’s talk about football, shall we?

* ed note:  this is a cross post from my ‘what I am reading’  page.  It began as a book review, but crossed into so much more I thought it should stand alone as it’s own thing.

9780062108029

Let’s talk about football for a bit, shall we?  I love football.  Love love love it!  I am also torn, however.  I am torn because the NFL is an evil organization, for many reasons.  They treat their players poorly.  Did you know NFL players have no health insurance after they retire?  Yet… Ford employees do.  The NFL makes 8 Billion dollars a year, and they are a ‘non-profit 501C’ charity.  This means they don’t pay a penny in taxes.  In fact, quite the opposite; every football stadium in the US is paid for with paxpayer dollars. Charity, my ass!  They pay no taxes and they pay for no health care.  They are mean to the players and they are mean to the fans.  More specifics?  How about the black out rules?  If a team doesn’t sell out all the tickets in the stadium for a home game… the NFL forbids that game from being on TV in that market.

For example – San Diego Chargers rarely sell out their games.  So, that means you also don’t get to watch them at home on Sundays.  The NFL does this to force you to go see the game in person.  Yeah, that is a treat for sure – $40 parking, $100 seats (that is face value for the worst seats) $6 water, $8 beer. When the game is over, you have to navigate home with 60,000 fellow drivers… all of whom are also wasted.  No thanks, I’ll watch at home.

Another example?  Ok. Last month RG3 was not playing.  It was a pre-season game, and he was still dealing with an injury.  BEFORE the game, which was NOT regular season, he wore a shirt on the field made by a company other than Nike.  Nike, you see, has an illegal monopoly with the NFL.  All players HAVE to wear Nike clothes, and only Nike clothes.  I can call it a monopoly because the Supreme Court already did.  Well, for wearing a tshirt that wasn’t Nike, before a game, a pre-season game, a game he wasn’t playing in… he got a $10,000 fine.  Some fucking charity that is.

So, with that said, I still really love football.  An analogy would be my love of music and my feelings towards Ticketbastard.  One has nearly ruined the other, but it is what it is.  Football joyfully consumes a ton of my time.  I play in a couple different fantasy leagues, and all that jive.  I watch football games, I watch shows about football games.  I study about it, and I am more than happy to talk about it for hours with total strangers. More importantly,  I am fascinated by the life of a football player outside the game.  I wanna know about the minutia of being a football player.  Is it weird to go to McDonald’s because people stare at you?  Do you have trouble fitting in beds and cars and clothes because you are so ginormous?  What did it do to your relationships?  Stuff like that is what I like to know about, same with musicians.

Several books below, I talked about the really great Stefan Fatsis book called ‘a Few Seconds of Panic’.  I very highly recommend that book.  This book, so far, is a similar tale about the NFL told from the inside.  Here is what I have learned so far.  For the players – football isn’t about the smell of the grass on game day.  It’s not about taking the ball 70 yards for the game winning touchdown.  It’s not about signing the football for that little crippled boy who says you are his hero.  Yeah, I know it says that on the back of every dust jacket. 

Playing in the NFL is about pain.  Constant pain every waking minute from the time you are about 18 on.  You think to yourself ‘cry me a river, these guys have the best doctors on earth taking care of them!’.  Well… yes and no.  They do have the best doctors and the best everything money can buy.  But no, they are not treating the players.  Why?  Because the players are afraid to tell anyone they are hurt.  if you are hurt, you get benched.  Your ‘toughness’ is questioned, and you get cut in the offseason.  So, you play hurt always and never tell anyone.  You also say “but Lono, these guys are getting millions to play a playground game, cry me a river!”.  Yeah, they are.  However, these guys are also retired and unemployable by age 30.  They are also broke and addicted to painkillers.  Every single one of them.  Well, except the 12 guys on television.  There is no pension or health care for players. 

I don’t blame that all on the NFL.  I also blame the players union who doesn’t do dick for them, but takse their money.  Remember when Homer was briefly president of the employee’s union at the nuclear plant?  In negotiations with management, he traded their health care for a keg of beer.  The saddest part was the workers were stoked they got one over on management. I blame the young dumb poor 20 year kids who spend 5 million a year like they are going to be making that for the next 20 years.  The league actually does try and coach and warn these kids about money issues.  But, you can’t tell a 20-year-old kid shit.  He ain’t listening.  He especially ain’t listening’ if he is a newly minted millionaire and has been dirt poor all this life.  He especially ain’t listening’ if a bunch of super rich old white guys are telling him what to do… when in his eyes most of all his problems have been caused by super rich old white guys.

Per the Fatsis book, I learned the average NFL career is 2.5 years.  Of course, every player thinks they will be the exception.  Think of that.  You are done FOR LIFE by 30 years old. It comes against your will. It is the one thing you did well all your life, and the only thing you ever truly cared about… and it is taken away.  Imagine if you told me at 30 I could no longer cook, or screw, or play guitar, for the rest of my life.  I just really started getting good at that stuff at 30.  Imagine if my company came to my desk at 30 and fired me… and no one else would hire me.  Imagine if I came to work every day, and there were three guys in the office looking for MY job.  The only way any of those three guys gets to keep their job is if I screw up at work or hurt myself.  Can you imagine that pressure?  Let’s be even more specific.  I work in customer service, so I handled escalated and very visible customer complaints.  Last month I had one that I just blew.  Totally my fault, I spaced out calling the customer back.  Plus, I am 41.  Guess what, in sports, that would have been my ass.  I would unemployed, and unemployable.

I know this is all very negative, and doesn’t sound like a guy who loves football.  But, to love something you must understand and appreciate all of it’s aspects.  Like a marriage, you have to understand and live with its faults.  This is how I feel about football.  It is complex, and often horrible… but I live for it.

Lucky for me, this guy Nate Jackson, like Fatsis below, was a Denver Bronco.  So, I get the added bonus of not just learning about the NFL’s culture… I get a peek inside my beloved home team.  Here is a small example of what I am poorly trying to explain – I am about 20 pages in so far, and the author talks about ‘the Greek’ a ton.  He says ‘the Greek’ is the team trainer/doctor.  Now, if I wasn’t a Broncos fan, I would have no idea what or who he is talking about.  But, I do.  ‘the Greek’ is long time beloved team trainer Steve Antonopolous.  So, knowing the Broncos like I do helps.  Yeah, I know our team trainer by his name, AND his nickname.  Do you know that much about your football team?  Of course you don’t.

So, I am very excited this book.  I know it will be about the smell of the grass on a game day Sunday morning.  I know it’s gonna be about free drinks and pussy wherever he goes.  I know it’s gonna be about teamwork and camaraderie and running seams and patterns.  Mostly, though, I know it’s gonna be about pain.  Not just the physical pain… but that day when he was probably about 27 years old and the assistant coach called him and said he’d been cut.  The one thing you have been working towards every single day of your life since you were ten years old… you will never ever get to do again.  Worst of all, it is almost never on your own terms.

Go Broncos!

I ain’t NFL, but I am holding out!

hazing-tweet

So, some guy isn’t showing up to NFL training camp.  He isn’t happy with his salary, so he will not only show up, he will not take calls from his employer.  The name, Maurice Jones-Drew, isn’t important.  It isn’t important because many NFL players do this.  It is a common form of negotiation.

Man, I sure wish I could do that.  Let’s just imagine if you, or I, tried to do this with our jobs.  Note, these are guys who have already accepted the job years ago.  They knew what they were getting paid and signed their name to it.  Isn’t that legally binding, you ask?  Yup, it sure is!  So, why don’t they go to work?  Do they hate their job?  Oh no, they love their jobs.  They have their dream jobs, and they ain’t showing up.  I don’t even think it is frowned upon.

So, I imagine how that might go if you or I tried it.  If I didn’t show up for work, they would not call me.  There would not be negotiations.  They would not ask for my demands.  I would be fired for ‘job abandonment’.  Trust me, I know labor law.  After three days of not coming to work, it is effectively, and legally, quitting.  It is called job abandonment everywhere else but the NFL.

When you quit, you not only don’t get paid, you can’t get unemployment.  You don’t get dick.  Now, I have been with my company for 15 years.  So, odds are they would call me, and they would be concerned.  These folks are my family, and I spend more time with them then I do my family.  They might ask if I was ok, and I would say ‘never better’.  So, why am I not at work?  Well, I want more money.  A shit ton more money, and I ain’t coming back in the office until you agree to all my shit.  Now, give me a raise you rich cracker bastards.

You know what, though?  These guys only have, on average, 3 years in the pros.  They literally have 3 years to make a lifetime of money. Actually, I know the data.  It is, on average, 2.5 years. The sick thing is, they make that lifetime of money… but it’s gone in 5 years.  Man, I love football… but what a fucked up world.  Can you imagine being washed up, dead weight, retired, addicted to pain killers, and unemployable by 25?  What a world.

I wanted to close this by explaining how no one else gets to do that in life.  I wanted to say ‘you wouldn’t see a rock star say he isn’t going on stage unless he gets a raise’.  Thing is, I can’t.  Chuck Berry is NOTORIOUS for this.  Literally, every single show, he would not go on stage until you gave him an additional $10,000 in cash.  EVEN THOUGH you had a contract with him for a fixed amount and it was signed and agreed upon.  For 20 years, at least, he did that.  I have not read a promoter or manager book that has not mentioned this.  Yes, we know Chuck is a legend.  He is also a horrible person.  The stories are myriad, and usually awesome… because you see it coming every time.

the NFL – a first ever re-post

for the first time in almost ten years, I am re-posting an old story.  This is running unedited, and verbatim as it ran that day.  My piece was about my anger with the greed and evil of the NFL.  Ironically, the NFL is one of my biggest passions.  I thought some perspective from a couple of years ago might shed some light on this madness.  We are in the middle of an NFL draft, and a lock out.  Meaning, these kids are hired to football teams (the dream they have fought for since they were kids) and then told in the same sweeping moment they are not to speak to the teams, coaches, or even cities.

A rough guess, between various incarnations of this site, is that I have about 500 posts.  This is the first time I am putting one back up as new.  In closing, I do not normally pimp books in this section.  I do that in the tab above ‘what i am reading‘.  However, this post demands that if you are an NFL fanatic, read Stefan Fatsis’ book ‘a Few Seconds of Panic‘.

In closing, I want to admit that I also am using steroids.  Personally, I do it for the bacne, tiny balls, and random fits of rage I am well known for.  It was a complete side effect that I got insanely buff.  What follows is what I wrote in 2009.

nfl_lions_0909

I wanted to title this one “I told you so”, but that would have been redundant… and obvious. You may remember a bit ago I wrote a rant about how expensive the NFL had become. I talked about how I don’t really go to games anymore.  It is too expensive, too much trouble, very little reward. How expensive? Well, to see a Jet’s game costs $20,000. Ha ha, scared you didn’t I? Just kidding on that one.

$20,000 does not get you into a Jet’s game. It allows you the privilege to purchase tickets to games. Yes, it is the new ‘licensing fee’.   So, jot this down.  $20,000 gets you 0 seats to see the game.

We are in the worst recession in about a hundred years, and this is the NFL’s solution. Well, it was. It gets better. See, most working class folk can’t afford $20,000 for a license to be allowed to buy tickets. In fact, at about $100 a piece, most working class folks can’t afford just to pay for an actual ticket. Well, that an $40 to park and $8 beers. Turns out that I am not the only one skipping games. 20% of America is now staying home. Folks just can’t afford it. Games no longer sell out, which used to be a given. So, what does the NFL do? Lower prices? Eliminate ‘licensing fees’? God, you are dumb.

They aren’t going to do any of that. Wait for it, it gets better. You may be aware of the ‘blackout rule’ the NFL has. If a city does not sell out tickets to their football game, the NFL will not broadcast that game in that market. It is was a rare occurrence, and used to only happen in suck markets like Arizona. With the recession, 20% of seats in stadiums are going unsold. The NFL, in their wisdom, is pulling all those games off the air. The NFL says if you don’t kick down the licensing fees and exorbitant ticket prices, you can not see the game. You will not see the game. NO ONE will see the game. Pretty awesome, huh?

So, keep buying those $80 replica jerseys or your favorite player, and just imagine how well he is doing.

man up, go for undefeated!

Ok,

Before football season wraps up, there is this one last thing that has always bugged me.

A few weeks ago, the Indy Colts benched their starters in the middle of a football game.  Why?  So they wouldn’t get hurt or play offs, which were already locked down for them.  See here.  So, they ask the coach, and he says what every team has said about this issue for 36 years:  “We aren’t concerned about going undefeated.  We have one goal, and that is to win the Superbowl.”

guess what, coach, I call bullshit.

Remember who wo the ’82 superbowl?  How about the superbowl from three years ago?  No.  Unless it is your team, no one cares who won the the superbowl.  If you want to be great, go for undefeated.  Only one team, EVER.  1972 Miami Dolphins.  They went undefeated and won the superbowl.  No one has ever done it since (or before).  What’s even more awesome?  Their QB, Bob Griese, was second string!

Being as though I am a Bills fan, I want the Dolphins to suck it.  They are our rival, just as Denver is to Kansas City.  So, my goals aren’t totally noble.  I thought the ’85 Bears were gonna do it, but the Dolphons stopped them.  I though the ’95 Broncos were going to do it, but the Dolphins (and the Giants) stopped them.  The only football season I will remember in 20, or 40 years… is if an NFL team goes undefeated.

NFL – friend of the working class

nfl_lions_0909

I wanted to title this one “I told you so”, but that would have been redundant… and obvious. You may remember a bit ago I wrote a rant about how expensive the NFL had become. I talked about how I don’t really go to games anymore.  It is too expensive, too much trouble, very little reward. How expensive? Well, to see a Jet’s game costs $20,000. Ha ha, scared you didn’t I? Just kidding on that one.

$20,000 does not get you into a Jet’s game. It allows you the privilege to purchase tickets to games. Yes, it is the new ‘licensing fee’.   So, jot this down.  $20,000 gets you 0 seats to see the game.

We are in the worst recession in about a hundred years, and this is the NFL’s solution. Well, it was. It gets better. See, most working class folk can’t afford $20,000 for a license to be allowed to buy tickets. In fact, at about $100 a piece, most working class folks can’t afford just to pay for an actual ticket. Well, that an $40 to park and $8 beers. Turns out that I am not the only one skipping games. 20% of America is now staying home. Folks just can’t afford it. Games no longer sell out, which used to be a given. So, what does the NFL do? Lower prices? Eliminate ‘licensing fees’? God, you are dumb.

They aren’t going to do any of that. Wait for it, it gets better. You may be aware of the ‘blackout rule’ the NFL has. If a city does not sell out tickets to their football game, the NFL will not broadcast that game in that market. It is was a rare occurrence, and used to only happen in suck markets like Arizona. With the recession, 20% of seats in stadiums are going unsold. The NFL, in their wisdom, is pulling all those games off the air. The NFL says if you don’t kick down the licensing fees and exorbitant ticket prices, you can not see the game. You will not see the game. NO ONE will see the game. Pretty awesome, huh?

So, keep buying those $80 replica jerseys or your favorite player, and just imagine how well he is doing.