Saturday, October 31, 2015


This is the one time of year when all four of the major sports leagues are in action at the same time. Hockey is a few weeks into its season, Basketball recently started, Football--incredibly-is at the midway point, and Baseball in the World Series.

The success of the leagues with the enormous salaries paid to its athletes, the extensive media coverage, and the now pervasive fantasy league spinoffs, indicates just how important sport is to the people who follow the games. It has been a while since I was a fanatic Met fan, but my New York cronies who are still supporters, are not too far short of crazy worrying about the team. I get it. If it were not for the fan enthusiasm there would be no espn, and I could not-tomorrow (I actually will not, but could) watch football from 9:30 in the morning until close to midnight.

So, fandom is real. People revel in sports. Baseball is called the national pastime. All sports are pastimes for so many.

All this is preamble.

I have found myself this season very much caught up with the New England Patriots. I have always been a fan, but now the feeling is more intense.  Last Sunday I had to listen to half the game on the radio. That was okay, but I timed the drive home so I could listen to the first half while on the road and get into the house in time for the third quarter. I did not want to miss a play.

The Patriots are undefeated and I find myself fist pumping after each victory more than ever.  It's not because I have become long in the tooth and really not because I am any more of a football fan than I had been previously. In fact, tomorrow the Patriots are not playing and I probably won't watch any of the four games that will be broadcast from beginning to end. I'm not that interested in the games in general. I am interested only in the Patriots winning.

And here is why.

Last year after the Patriots won the AFC championship game the fans of the team were (yes I am aware of the pun) deflated. We were deflated because of one of the more fakakta incomprehensible sporting side stories of all time.  Instead of being able to enjoy the victory and excited about the superbowl, we had to listen to losers whine about why they lost.  Moreover, we had to endure listening to the support of the commissioner of the league, who was leading the way of a spurious investigation.

The celebration after the superbowl victory was subdued as well as the "independent" investigation continued. I wrote throughout the off season that I feared that the commissioner had a smoking gun that would identify the Patriots as compromising the game. Otherwise why would he be so persistent. He had to know this was a blow to the fandom.

There was no smoking gun. The investigation took forever and when the dust cleared it became clear to anyone who had a half a brain, that there was absolutely no evidence that the Patriots had done anything wrong. Even the absurd allegation that the quarterback was "more likely than not" "generally aware" of someone else's transgressions could not be supported. No proof of transgressions. No proof of someone being "generally aware" of someone's transgressions.

The reason I want the Patriots to win so much is to take the face of the commissioner and rub his snout in the foulest of odors.  Fandom is what makes the league, and the tv contracts, and the players' salaries. Fandom is what makes the commissioner a very rich man and the owners very rich.  Fandom is why from 930 tomorrow morning until midnight advertisers will pay more for one thirty second ad than you or I will make in several years.

So, I want the Patriots to win all their games and then have the commissioner have to stand on a podium and hand over the trophy to the team he dragged through the mud. And I want him to experience the wrath of the people who pay his salary.

That would be justice.

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