Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are the Golden State Warriors Taking Over the World?

"Draymond Green is a beast!" C tells me as he grumpily gets up before school.

"Did you see Stephen Curry's fall?  It looked like he got killed!"  G tells me as he walks downstairs before school.  "One of the Splash Brothers went down."

"Is LeBron James still playing basketball?" DLG asks me.  Wrong team, I know, but she is still excited for the NBA playoffs.  Even if she doesn't know who is playing or what we're talking about.

"Do you know where my pocketbook is" Mom asks me.  She not worried about the NBA Playoffs, unfortunately.

Beast Mode
The Golden State Warriors are taking over the world!  C and I were listening to Game 4 on the radio on our way home from baseball Monday night.  Even though the Warriors played terribly, particularly in the First Quarter of Game 4, Curry was still raining threes.  Draymond Green was still hauling down rebounds.  Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson started amping up the defense after horrendous First Quarter.  Curry hits a couple of threes and C actually perked up.  It didn't matter that James Harden was on fire shooting and driving to the basket.

"He's a monster!  Did you see that?" No.  I am a part of the "We Believe" group though.

G can name everyone on the team, including Andrew Bogut and Leandro Barbosa.  After 67 wins, dominant, if not exciting, playoffs series wins, the Warriors are on the verge of the NBA Finals for the first time since the age of World B. Free.  The boys can't wait for the series to be over so the Lebronnies and the Warriors can play for all of the marbles.  If I could go to Oracle Arena tomorrow, I would.

But the Warriors' phenomenon is different.  In the age of Social Media, Curry and the Splash Brothers are an easy sell.  The Warriors play the pace and space game and kids hauling up 3s glom onto like flies on honey.  They even call themselves splash.  Do they realize that we live in Boston Celtics' country?  It also has a lot to do with the front runner status.  Kids like winners more than anything else.  And because the backlash by adults (and the kids who write sports columns) hasn't started yet (Hello LeBron!), the Warriors are the new home team.  Just like the Cowboys and the Steelers were the "home" team back when I was growing up in the 1970's.

It's human nature for a likable group to start taking over the world.  better them than ISIS, I suppose.

Oh yeah, I like the NBA Finals ad music.  Can't wait to listen to more of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thoughts on Walt Anderson, Brady and Deflategate

Yes, I've read the Wells Report issued by the 40th largest law firm in New York City, Paul, Weiss.  I personally think that this was shoddy investigative work.  The Wells' team dismissed tangible evidence that the NFL, Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts had conspired against the Patriots.  The Wells team determined not to investigate anyone's electronic communications or their devices except those on with the Patriots.  The Wells team took all of the science that existed and all of their consultants findings and determined everything against the Patriots and Tom Brady.

All this being said, I think Tom Brady is guilty.  I think that Brady told McNally and Jastremski to deflate the balls as much as they could get away with.  Unfortunately, McNally, in true Chowderhead spirit went to extremes in the Ravens' game and was caught with the proverbial needle in the Colts Game.  I think that common sense dictates that the Quarterback knew what the Dunkin Donuts boys were doing with the footballs since ever since the Brady Manning Rule was passed Brady has talked about what his needs are football-wise.

But I have some additional thoughts after reading the Wells Report...

1.  According to the Wells Report, Walt Anderson, the Head Referee of the 2015 AFC Championship Game, was informed prior to the game (and prior to pregame ball check) of the possibility that the Patriots were tampering with the footballs, likely from the Ravens.  His testimony was that he would keep an eye on the balls and the Patriots.  Yet, he permitted McNally to take the footballs out of the pregame officials room in a move that he had never seen in 19 years of officiating.  If he was going to keep an eye on this, why would he let the balls leave the room in such an unusual move.  I'm really troubled by this part of the report because if Walt Anderson did his job, nothing would have come from this because the balls would have been inflated per his specifications.  Where is his punishment for breach of pregame protocol?

No matter what Tom still Wins.
2.  It is clear from the 2006 Brady and Manning Rule - went into detail beginning on page 34 of the Wells Report - that Quarterbacks across the NFL liked the idea of having control over their own footballs - either on the Road or at Home.  The implication, since we are working on circumstantial evidence and conjecture, is that Quarterbacks wanted the ability to manipulate footballs in any way they see fit and that Brady is not alone in this preference.

3.  The penalty for violation of Rule 2 and its regulations was discipline, including a fine of $25,000.  I see the ambiguity of the language of the rule, but I really don't see much of a coverup here.  How did the NFL make the jump to $1,000,000, loss of two draft picks, and a 4 game suspension for Brady?

4.  Since every team employs individuals to get footballs (up or down) to the Quarterback's liking, the fact that McNally was known as "the deflator" could have easily meant that he was the guy responsible for deflating the footballs to Tom's liking.  Considering the fact that separate measurements came back with substantive PSI variations, Brady more probably than not, would tell McNally to get his footballs to 12-12.5 PSI.  I also note that 3 of the 4 Colts footballs measured below the allowable limit.  Probably regression to the mean or some crap like that.

5.  It was not a coincidence that the Wells Report's made an allusion of the needles, money and equipment, that smacks of a Colombian cartel.  Again, troubling and subjective commentary from supposedly an objective investigator.

6.  NBC paid almost $1 Billion per year for the right to air only 16-20 games per season.  The Patriots' first game in 2015 is on NBC against the Steelers.  Brady's first game back is also scheduled to be a Sunday Night game against the Colts.  Sunday Night Football on NBC!  Don't discount TV rights (and the exorbitant price paid by NBC) as a motivating factor at least for the number of games that Brady got.  These contracts are up for renewal in the coming years.

So you know that I think Tom Brady flouted the rules.  But I also think the NFL - more probable than not - conspired against the Patriots to taint their legacy, but more importantly made the Patriots the villain that causes ratings rise.

The Patriots will still make the playoffs.  And then watch out.