Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cheaters Always Prosper

 "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it."
- James 4:17

   Deflate-gate.  Stupid name.  In fact we need to get beyond the 'gate' suffix on scandals.  It was born with the Watergate scandal.  Watergate was 40 years ago.  Please, can we stop with the 'gate' thing . . .
   I do hope we can end the 'gate' thing, but it is clear that cheating is here to stay.  I say this only because it has such a rich history in the NFL.     
   According to the website, every NFL team cheats at some phase of the game - whether it is using PEDs, using sticky hands for receivers or taping the other teams' signals - everyone cheats.  Oh, and the Broncos are the leagues worst with the Steelers coming in a close second.  
   The Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs, Chargers and Browns are the most innocent (perhaps that is why they are perennially at the bottom of the pack). 
   Thus the urge to cheat.  
   I mean, if you don't cheat you will end up like the Browns.  This team is so messed up they went through a uniform re-do and unveiled their new look with . . . brown . . . and orange.
   *head shaking, eyes closed, lips pursed*  
   So cheaters seem to prosper (despite the childhood rhyme) and it runs pretty deep.  Listen to what current and former players from the NFL have to say about cheating:
   Jeff Blake, former Eagles third string quarterback talked about the current 'deflate gate' saying, "I'm just going to let the cat of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played . . . Everybody puts the pin in and takes just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it's not the point to where it's flat. So I don't know what the big deal is. It's . . . been done for 20 years."  
   Blakes thoughts are shared by many quarterbacks in the league and the Patriots are not new to the cheating game.  They were fined and penalized by spying on opposing teams and their signals in 2007.  But it seems like everyone has done that at some point:
   Coach Bill Cowher added that "Stealing someone's signals was a part of the game, and everyone attempted to do that."
   Coach Mike Shanahan: "Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game, with any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter."
   Coach Jimmy Johnson: "When I came into the NFL, back in '89, I talked to a Kansas City scout and he said, 'Here's what we do, we videotape the opposing team's signals and then we sync it up with the game film.' So I did it."
  Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski would have his backup quarterback spy the defensive signals and drop red flags when he saw the blitz being called.

   Even going way back to the mid 1950's the Giants used James Bond-esque radio receivers to steal signals out of opposing coaches' headsets.  More recently, it is an accepted fact that if you are a visiting team and the score is close that your headset will just sort of inverse-miraculously stop working.  

   Hmmmmmmm.  How unfortunate . . .

   And don't even get started on Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).  Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers said on the Dan Patrick Show back in 2008, “We did steroids to get away the aches and the speed of healing. My use of steroids from a doctor was to speed up injury, and thought nothing of it."  Jim Haslett, former Saints coach, says the Steelers were "the ones who kind of started" steroid use in the NFL saying,  "It started, really, in Pittsburgh. They got an advantage on a lot of football teams. They were so much stronger (in the) '70s, late '70s, early '80s."

   You really need to visit this website and see how your team stacks up.  Whether it is admission from the Broncos linemen that they put vaseline on their arms or the Giants' Lawrence Taylor sending 'escorts' to the opposing team's hotel to interrupt their sleep habits - every team cheats.  

    And yes, it is a sin.  

   Because we, the fans, expect the game to be played by contestants who observe the rules and prevail in light of them.  We expect the playing field to be the same for everyone and when you root for a team like I do that consistently rips your heart out every December you want to make sure that it never happens again.

   But it always does.

   If you haven't figured out I am speaking of my beloved Eagles.

   And the kind of luck that the Eagles have will mean that one day they will win the Superbowl but that will be the year the league gets courageous and decides to punish cheaters.

   The sad truth is I can see it happening.  

   So throw the book at New England now!  De-frock them from championship status.  Let the people taste the blood of punishing cheaters so we can get this out of our system and onto some other mundane thing to make into a drama.  For the love of all things holy.

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