Join Date: May 2006
Member Number: 2363
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Some good (Coughlin), some bad (Spygate) from XLII
One of the better articles I have read regarding several subjects....This is why I read PFW on a regular basis...
Some good (Coughlin), some bad (Spygate) from XLII
By Jerry Magee
Feb. 7, 2008
GLENDALE, Ariz. ? I keep thinking of the scene in the motion picture, ?The Caine Mutiny,? where Humphrey Bogart is being interrogated. As he continues to persist in his lies, in one of his hands he begins to revolve some metal balls together and their ?click, click? betrays him for what he is.
Would that Bill Belichick might have to experience grilling of the sort that Bogie, in the role of Captain Queeg, was subjected to. Belichick is too much in control to permit a nervous habit to do him in, as it did Bogie in the movie, but for once I would like to see Belichick squirm just a little.
I say this because there seems no end to it, this ?Spygate? business. As ?Watergate? did, it is coming to us drip by drip. On the eve of Super Bowl XLII, the Boston Herald, without identifying its source, published a report that the New England Patriots had clandestinely taped the St. Louis Rams? concluding walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans.
The Rams were walking through what they planned to do in the red zone. Being aware of that would have represented a tremendous advantage to the Patriots. They won the game 20-17.
The New England club has denied any guilt in the New Orleans matter, but that the accusations should deal with an incident six years ago was a measure of the possible depth of the Patriots? actions. We are, you might be sure, going to hear a good deal more concerning this ?Spygate? matter.
In his major news conference at the Super Bowl site, commissioner Roger Goodell said that the NFL has not been tainted by the wrongdoing of the Patriots and Belichick. Excuse me? The blot could not be more apparent, and it could be spreading.
Goodell, I might note, otherwise came off nicely at this event. In his news conference, he addressed 38 questions, by one count, and never slurred a word. He projected a far more favorable image than Paul Tagliabue, his predecessor, ever did. But he lost me on that taint matter and on why he chose to destroy the tapes that had come into the league?s possession.
Goodell?s rationale was that the tapes no longer served any purpose and that by destroying them, he would be aware that any other tapes of this sort that would surface would have been improperly made. Sounded fishy to me. Destroying evidence is not a good idea.
As for XLII, it was a hell of a football game ? for 15 minutes. Through the first 45 minutes, it was pretty humdrum. A game that is 7-3 after three quarters can?t be all that enthralling. At that point, it occurred to me that the occasion would have been better served had they been able to swap this game with that 38-35 one the teams offered in the Meadowlands on Dec. 29.
Football games, however, are remembered for how they finish. The Colts-Giants game of 1958 wasn?t much, either, until it went into overtime. When it did, when Alan Ameche got into the endzone for a 23-17 Colts victory, the NFL had secured a position in television?s firmament. But the game was redeemed by a small part of it, just as was Giants 17, Patriots 14.
They gave the MVP trophy to Eli Manning. It just as well could have gone to David Tyree, who scored one touchdown and positioned the Giants to win with that wondrous catch of his, but the figures who stick most vividly in my mind are Steve Spagnuolo and Tom Coughlin. Spagnuolo, Coughlin?s defensive coordinator, seemed to emit an energy field in the period before the game. The Redskins are understood to be considering Spagnuolo as their head coach. They would be wise to do so.
Spagnuolo came up with a way to control Tom Brady. He had his defenders coming at the New England quarterback not off the edges but frontally. Brady was sacked to the ground five times. Spagnuolo was thinking with the quarterback. When Brady would adjust to one Spagnuolo move, Spagnuolo would introduce another. It was coaching mastery.
Coughlin not only won, but he made some friends, including me. During the week, Michael Strahan had identified this as the first year Coughlin could have pronounced ?fun? or ?enjoyment.? In one of Coughlin?s dialogues, I invited the coach to say ?fun.? He did. He almost smiled.
The best thing Coughlin did, in my thinking, was act to disabuse his athletes of the notion that ?we know them.? Coughlin wanted his guys to forget 38-35, to approach the game as if they were playing it against strangers.
Phoenix, sadly, was a disappointment. This was my 40th Super Bowl, and it was the most joyless one I have experienced. There was no gaiety. Barricades cordoned off the downtown streets. The Super Bowl should be a celebration, but this one had the feel of a national emergency. Walking around through the week preceding the kickoff, the only persons I would encounter would be other representatives of the media. Great persons, but I was hoping for something more.