Why #Deflategate Matters

First of all, if you aren’t a semi-serious sports fan, stop reading.  Right now.  This is going to be a post about the air pressure levels of footballs, so it’s probably not something a casual sports fan cares about at all.

OK…for the rest of us, here’s why #Deflategate matters.

I didn’t do the research, but it’s out there.  Here is a post from Sharp Football Analysis that details just how much the New England Patriots’ tendency to fumble dropped once the rule changes Tom Brady (among others) lobbied for in the mid-2000’s went into effect.

Every single media member who talks about the air pressure issue talks about Tom Brady’s completion percentage, and how it didn’t change all that much.  They talk about the AFC Championship Game, and how it was a blow, and how the balls were switched in the second half anyway.

But, what they don’t talk about is how a ball that has less air in it is easier to grip.  Easier to catch.  Easier to hold on to after the catch.  Easier to maintain possession of as giant men try to rip it out of your hands.

Those situations are where the New England Patriots really gained an advantage over their NFL peers, and there are two things that are certain:

#1.  Tom Brady knew about the under-inflated balls.

#2.  It was NOT a one game event.

It’s easy to prove those two statements.

#1.  The guy who deflated the balls was a part-time, game day employee.  Tom Brady makes millions of dollars a year.  Do you think the part-time guy is doing anything to those footballs that wasn’t requested by the multi-millionaire star of the show?  I have never made a dime throwing a football.  But, if you lined twelve of them up in front of me, with two at 13.5 PSI, eight at 12.5 PSI, and the last two at 11.5 PSI, I have no doubt I could tell you which is which.  Tom Brady, who throws footballs for a living, would have known immediately if a ball wasn’t right, in the same way that a pro golfer can let you know if his grip has an extra layer of tape underneath it.

#2.  In the Wells Report, the guy who deflated the balls called himself “The Deflator” in text messages.  Text messages from May 2014.  Despite what New England and its fans would have you believe, there is not much of a chance that some inside joke between him and his friend was about something other than footballs.

New England plays its home games in some of the toughest conditions of any NFL stadium.  As it turns out, for some amount of time (more than one game) they have played those games with balls that were more suited for that weather than the rules of the NFL allow.  All of those games were not blowouts.

That’s why the team gets fined.  That’s why the team loses draft picks.  That’s why Tom Brady gets suspended.  That’s why the air in the balls is a big deal.

Bill Guthridge, 1937-2015

Image

From wral.com

Bill Guthridge, who assisted University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach Dean Smith for 30 years before taking over the Tar Heel program in 1998, died Tuesday night at the age of 77.

Guthridge went 80-28 in his three seasons as UNC’s head coach before retiring prior to the 2000-01 season. Guthridge was the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1997-98 after leading UNC to an ACC Tournament title and the Final Four in the first season after Smith’s retirement. Guthridge, a Kansas State University graduate, join Smith’s staff in 1967.

He led UNC to two Final Fours in his three seasons as head coach. RIP Coach.

The Greatest Sports Weekend. Ever!

This past weekend had so many great sporting events going on, overlapping, on at the same time. What was a sports fan to do?  Me, I went and saw The Avengers 2.

For the most part, I just didnt care. I will break down the events and my viewership of them.

Mayweather vs Pacqiauo. The Fight of the Century.  Did not watch. First, unless Ali, Frazier, Hagler, Hearns, Tyson, etc are invovled, this isnt the fight of the century. There was no way I was going to pay $99 to watch two guys who should have fought years ago, and Mayweather wears a hat of ass. They both made a lot of money, I wasnt contributing.

The NFL Draft. Watched First Round, checked back in on the weekend. I mean did anybody really sit through the entire draft coverage? After the first round on Thursday, I occasionally checked in. I know the ACC had a lot of players picked. I did think it was cool that in the later rounds, fans got to announce their teams picks.

The Kentucky Derby. Did not watch. I have slightly more of an interest in this over boxing, but I was busy at the time of the race.  I didnt catch any of the 5 hour pregame show either before the two minute race. Honestly, this year I didnt even know who the favorite was. American Pharoh won.

Spurs vs LA Clippers, Game 7. Watched the 4th quarter. This was the best sports viewing for me on the weekend. Great game (the part I saw) and great finish with Chris Paul, with a bad hammy, hitting a shot with one second left over Tim Duncan (Wake on Wake crime). With Danny Green thrown in. The defending champs are done, classy team, Paul was in tears afterwards.

ESPN kept throwing Yankees vs Red Sox in the mix, but I didnt watch. Avengers 2 is very good. Not quite as good as the first but good.

Saw that Kenny Williams, former VCU commit, is going to UNC.

More Likely Than Not….

As I type this, the NFL Draft is about one and a half hours away.

More likely than not, Jameis Winston will be the first pick, and he will become a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

More likely than not, he has gotten away with sexual assault.

More likely than not, he deserves to be in prison.

I know that plenty of people consider the accusation against Winston to be just a bump in the road.  I know that plenty of people consider that accusation an “off-field issue” that Winston moved past, and I know that some people even see his ability to play while the allegations were swirling around him as a positive attribute.  I know that plenty of people see the accusation as false and meant to extort money from Winston.

However, I would love for someone to explain to me why they think the accuser made up her story.  None of the typical explanations make any sense whatsoever.

They say she was after his money.  They say she wanted to be with an athlete.  They say lots of things.  Those things don’t add up.

At the time she made the accusation, Jameis Winston hadn’t played any football in a Florida State uniform.  He was a redshirting freshman who wouldn’t see the field until the following fall.  She made the accusation in December.

The incident was immediately reported to police.  They ultimately botched the investigation (who knows whether or not it was on purpose), but it was reported the same night it happened.  She said she didn’t know who did it.  She eventually ID’d him when they ended up in class together the following January.

In order to believe she set him up, you’d have to believe that she knew she would get that opportunity to ID him.  If it was a set up, why wouldn’t she have given his name the night of the incident?  If she was after money, wouldn’t she need to know whose money she was going after?  If she was such a brilliant con artist, wouldn’t she know that there were several FSU players who were headed for the NFL that very spring?  Why would she accuse someone who, at the time of the accusation, wouldn’t even be able to get into the next TWO NFL Drafts?

People have said that the fact that the reports about the case started to surface in the middle of a very successful season for Winston and Florida State show that the accuser was just trying to get him in trouble.

Well, I can provide another motive for those reports.

Anger.

I have a daughter.  She isn’t in college yet.  But, I can imagine the gut-wrenching pain that a father must endure when he gets that call from his little girl.  And, I can also imagine the feeling of having that wound reopened on a weekly basis as every talking head on television sings the praises of the guy that his little girl ID’d as her rapist.

What father wouldn’t try to get the other side of the story out?  Who could blame him?  Who wouldn’t do the exact same thing?

The Buccaneers must certainly be hopeful that Winston won’t make another mistake.

Duke Reloads

In a hot recruiting battle that included all three of the triangle schools, and also Kentucky and Kansas for good measure, Kinston High School’s Brandon Ingram chose Duke as the place where he will take his talents next season. Coach K and his entire coaching staff made two trips to Kinston in the last week to make the pitch to Ingram, apparently keeping Jeff Capel around was a good thing.

“Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) is a profesional. He’s a player’s coach and I just love everything about him,” Ingram said. “Talking to Jeff Capel, he made a good pitch and they sold it well.” -wral.com

Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones led Duke to their 5th national championship before declaring for the NBA, now Coach K adds Ingram (another probable one and done) and last week Derryck Thornton, a five-star point guard from California, reclassified from the class of 2016 to 2015 and committed to Duke.

Duke has the number 1 recruiting class (again), and is poised to make another Final Four and national championship run.

Rob Moxley Likes Twitter

Despite the fact that I do follow Rob Moxley on Twitter, I missed this tirade due to my Twitter being logged off.  Luckily, BackingThePack.com did not miss it.

That is pretty good stuff right there.  I particularly like the 1/4 full arena and NJ/NY blasts.

Yeah, I do not really care for behavior like this from a leadership position.  Were it Gottfried that tweeted this I would be killing him.  Since it is not the head coach though, it does not seem as bad and is mainly just funny to me.

However, if this rant was in reaction to being told that Brandon Ingram is going to Duke, then I have a larger issue with it.

 

Bam!! B.A.M!!! In The Face!!

Ok, so at the end of the day this may be a little meaningless, but it does speak to the levels of training that the players are going through.  Strength and conditioning has long been an issue for the men’s basketball team from NC State.  It looks like that ship has finally sailed, as the Wolfpack are now a standard to be measured against where fitness training is concerned.

Basic Athletic Measurement testing is one of many metrics used by the NBA to scrutinize and evaluate talent.  NC State is one of a handful of programs that brings the BAM people in to test its players.  So how did the Pack measure up?  Well, they outperformed this year’s NBA draft class and depending on scale it was either close, or not even close…  imagine what the numbers will be when BJ Anya is finally in shape?

Take from it what you will, but at least Pack Fan can rest its laurels on the fact that its strength and conditioning program is on the right track.  Now they just need how to figure out a method of turning winning in the training room into winning in the arena.

Tim Tebow is an Eagle?

Chip Kelly never disappoints. Just when you think you know what he is planning to do with the QB position, he goes out and signs Tim Tebow. That’s right. Touchdown Jesus is back, and this time with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles, who already traded Nick Foles and a second round pick for Sam Bradford. Yes, the same Sam Bradford who is not even eligible to be the starter because he has to be cleared by his doctor.

But wait, there’s more. This is the same Sam Bradford who has not one, but two ACL surgeries, and has one year left on his rookie deal that will pay him over $13million this season. Foles, who was due to make about $650K, is never going to be the QB that fits what Kelly wants to do on offense, but he is every bit as mobile as the twice cut Bradford.

And hey, Mark Sanchez, here is another $5million for you to come back for next season.

Let’s not forget that Chipper traded up in 2013 to grab Matt Barkley.

All I know is that Eagles Fan better hope that Kelly pulls his master plan off and lands Marcus Mariota on draft day. Otherwise, there is a chance that Tim Freaking Tebow winds up being your Week 1 starter in Philly. All he has to do is outperform Mark Sanchez in the preseason, and you know the Tebow fans will come out in droves pounding sports radio and the web with their pro-Tebow nonsense.

Granted, trading Foles was not necessarily a bad move, but I do question the timing of it.  Why not use Foles as a chip to move up and get Mariota?  He costs about $12.5million less this year than Bradford does, and he is not coming off his second straight missed season due to knee surgery.  Do not even get me started on the Eagles giving up a second round pick in the deal.  So while I would certainly have traded Foles, I would not have done it in a manner like this.

Bradford, by the way, has long been rumored to just be a trading chip himself.  Not to help the rumor mill too much, the Eagles have yet to offer Bradford jerseys in their stores or on their site yet.  Coincidence?

 

Argyle

Right before the 1991-92 basketball season, UNC unveiled a change to the men’s basketball uniforms. Designed by UNC alum Alexander Julian, they featured an argyle pattern down the sides. After the initial “outrage” the pattern has become a signature part of the uniform.

Now 20+ years later, UNC Nike is adding the argyle pattern to the football uniform. Yes, the football uniforms are being updated again. They recently were switched to this…what, two years ago?

An #OURBLUE teaser video came out on twitter last week, showing designers waxing poetic about Carolina blue and the football uniform (with a blurry model in the background), then for some reason at a Kenny Chesney concert in Greensboro, some UNC helmets were brought on stage with an argyle down the middle. The rest is supposed to be revealed sometime today. The Oregon-ization of college football uniforms continues. Multi-colors, chrome helmets, UNC adding argyle, NC State has helmets with wolf eyes on the back, Duke has all black. Even the basketball uniforms are changing with special “march madness” uniforms from Adidas.

 

Will it ever stop, yo, I dont know.

Brandon Ingram Update

According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello’s Twitter feed, Brandon Ingram told ESPN that Duke was in home for a visit this morning.  Up next is Kansas tomorrow, followed by NC State on Monday, and UNC on Wednesday.  No mention of Kentucky, and UCLA is trying to get something set up.

With all three Triangle teams in hot pursuit of Brandon, and with this recruitment going back a few years now, this is a decision that all of us should be excited for.  No word on when said decision will be made yet.