Re: Tom Brady Likes Balls Just So

1

Sounds like anyone complaining about this is just being a Dale Chung.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
2

I don't understand why each team would even get to bring their own balls. Why not just have league approved balls, that are given out to both teams by the officials.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
3
It should be a forfeit.

Time to quit hitting that pipe. 45-7 with NE having three rushing touchdowns and more rushing first downs than passing first downs. And the balls were re-inflated at halftime and NE went on to score 4 more TD's.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
4

I think the argument, swiftie, is that flagrant rules violations are cause for forfeit regardless of impact on the outcome.

Depends what you think the rules are there for, I suppose.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
5

3: It's not a forfeit because the cheating helped them win, it's a forfeit because they intentionally cheated. In this case, it seems clear that the cheated didn't actually contribute meaningfully to their victory, but in many cases that won't be so clear, and trying to make that determination is a fool's game. If someone is cheating in a game, they should forfeit the game, whether or not the cheating actually led to the win.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
6

I hope that sports analogies, at least, won't be deprecated here. Turns out that, with modern materials research, we now know that corking bats is counterproductive - it doesn't make the ball go faster, nor increase bat speed in a useful way. But that doesn't mean that corkers weren't engaged in a good faith (so to speak) effort to cheat: they expended effort to gain an unfair advantage in direct conflict with the rules of the game. Surely Major League Baseball shouldn't refund any fines they charged players caught at corking just because the corking was an unproductive form of cheating?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
7

I'm in favor of a forfeit, but not at all for rational reasons. Though, even on my foundational sports principle of enjoying watching New England sports fans suffer, one would have to weigh the pleasure of taking a potential superbowl win away from an aging Tom Brady against the decades -- possibly centuries -- of the worst yet somehow most media-connected sports region in the world whining about being robbed.

Anyhow, isn't the more tailored, appropriate punishment loss of a draft pick?


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
8

I think the fairest punishment would be, the Pats get to play in the Super Bowl, but they have to use super-deflated balls. Basically, flat, floppy discs. This option has the added benefit that one of the announcer people might accidentally mispronounce "floppy discs."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
9

Also, I would like to read the Beilchick "here's how I broke the rules, lied about it, and fucked you all" memoir that I hope he'll write someday.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owen | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
10

I don't really have opinions about football but 8 sounds amusing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
11

Brain damage: not a big deal.

Underinflated balls: outrage!


Posted by: Opinionated Football Fans of America | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
12

Like all right thinking Americans I would rather stab myself in the eye before cheering for a team from motherfucking Boston but a minor rule infraction with no bearing on the outcome of a game should not result in the loss of a Super Bowl slot.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
13

Stanley, you've invented a new game with end zones and passing and interceptions but it uses flying discs instead of footballs! It sounds like the ultimate game!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
14

It would be pretty great if the deflating ball thing was the work of an overzealous intern AND lost the Patriots a superbowl slot. I fucking love incompetent and/or overzealous interns.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
15

This is funny.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
16

13: Heh. Wait'll you hear about my ideas for golf.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
17

And Lemieux continues his long crusade against people who think sports should have rules.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
18

8: I love it. In addition, all the patriots coaches have to put on these image inverting goggles the moment the ball is kicked off and keep them on for the duration of the game.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
19

15 is correct.

Or gets it exactly right. Is that still an internet tradition? I'm not aware.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
20

One source described the league as "disappointed ... angry ... distraught" after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday.

The league has never been seen in person, but communicates with humans via a teletype machine located in a corner of the boardroom at NFL headquarters.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
21

12: I don't know how I feel about an actual forfeit - although it would be one hell of a statement that rules matter - but I think the final score shouldn't be considered the end-all be-all. If NE thought it was going to be a 40 point blowout, they wouldn't have played their starters, but rather saved them for the Super Bowl. The NFL loves their "any given Sunday" mantra, and so every game is treated as a potential nailbiter. The balls weren't deflated to turn a 30 point win into a 40 point one, but to eke out every possible advantage. That merits real punishment, not some bullshit $25k fine.

I should add, I've mostly given up football, so I don't really give a shit, but my Fairness in Sport instinct remains strong, and so BS like that linked in 17* gets my back up.

*I was annoyed by the OP, but then SLM has the gall to deny that he was saying it wasn't a big deal. What a slug.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
22

21*: denial in comments, I meant to clarify.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
23

Many years ago the league dated the dumb thread but was intimidated by how smart she was.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
24

17 -- I'm fundamentally in agreement with Lemieux about most things (including steroids) and he's a super smart and clear writer and I've enjoyed LGM for years but at this point his style makes me want to take the other side at least 1/2 the time. Also -- look nerds, it's 2015, not 1995, for shit's sake, you won, you no longer need to form the Bill James Statistical Revolution battle phalanx on the front line against the forces of SPORTS IGNORANCE.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
25

Football is depraved barbarism and NFL management is comprised of murderous rank swine who compare unfavorably with Vidkun Quisling.* Accordingly, the NFL's rules should be violated daily with thrice the sneering contemptuous intent that Bill Belichick flaunts.

Also, if Ogged must turn into Skip Bayless, can he at least offer us reservations at Rick's restaurants?

* And are not very good managers, either.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
26

The league was a legacy admit at Dartmouth and pledged Psi Upsilon. It was intramural teams coordinator Junior and Senior years and graduated with an Econ degree.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
27

25: And yet manage to look like paragons of competence and virtue when compared to their colleagues at the NCAA.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
28

I think 24 was actually written by me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
29

one would have to weigh the pleasure of taking a potential superbowl win away from an aging Tom Brady against the decades -- possibly centuries -- of the worst yet somehow most media-connected sports region in the world whining about being robbed.

It's all good. As a wise man once explained to me, not only is it great when they lose, it's even better if they get cheated out of it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
30

The league had wanted to be a lawyer but got a very low score on the LSAT even after being prepped by Federalist Society frat brother. This made the league sad and angry and it overcompensated with strange pseudo-legalistic logic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
31

My wife asked what about the kicking game?

They got it covered! [emphasis added]

Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of
the game to meet League requirements. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all
stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games
held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to
the Referee, will be opened in the officials' locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game.
These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
32

I don't care about the team or the league or the Sanctity of the Game but it's been an awesome week watching NE fans responding with "Ha ha, losers, you'll accuse us of cheating every time we win, get over it, what a stupid accusation... oh shit."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
33

I guess that prevents the kicking balls from being inflated with hydrogen.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
34

Ogged must turn into Skip Bayless

Exactly wrong.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
35

34 suggests Ogged follows Skip Bayless on Twitter, which is probably Number 1 on the all-time list of signs that your life has taken a depressing turn.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
36

And Lemieux continues his long crusade against people who think sports should have rules.

That's well-said.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
37

Many white fan boys loved the legalistic aspect of the league's reasoning and spent hours on the internet arguing about the nuances of the rules and their applications to important plays.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
38

Ogged follows Skip Bayless on Twitter

Nope.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
39

Good. Getting worried for you bro.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
40

I'm pretty sure the Patriots did this just because they thought it would be funny to see people flip out. And it is!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
41

HAHAHAHA rules! Suckers!

Next you'll claim the Geneva Conventions should be binding.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
42

When the story first broke, a commenter on Deadspin quipped that it was the first time the NFL had a scandal related to artificially shrunken balls that didn't involve PEDs.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
43


Roundup of social media reactions.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
44

I see my colleagues across the river have been busy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
45

Sometimes the conventions of reporting when applied to science are infuriating (see climate change) but sometimes they're entertaining:
According to Schmaltz, once the temperature of the air inside the ball drops to the temperature of the air outside the ball, the PSI would be changed.
According to him... but do the Patriots actually obey Gay-Lussac's law? Who knows! Maybe Belichick found a way to cheat by altering the universal gas constant! He so good at figuring out loopholes after all.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:06 PM
horizontal rule
46

If the ball is easier to throw at the lower psi, why isn't that the pressure allowed by the rules?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
47

The first part of 46 misunderstands: it's easier to grip a deflated ball, but it doesn't fly as far (and the game was played in the rain) and the second part is weird: because sports have all sorts of artificial constraints to make them interesting.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
48

The rules don't have to make sense, Todd! They're rules! The important thing is that they be obeyed at all times, or rather that they be obeyed at those times when somebody makes a public-enough stink about them not being obeyed, and occasionally obeyed otherwise. Also, in the case that something embarrassing happens for which there is not a rule, or for which suddenly rigid enforcement of the rule provides an inadequate PR boost, the rule should be retroactively changed. Moral rectitude demands it be thus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
49

The outcome of this should be that the all 48 balls have their pressure tested before the game, at halftime, and after the game, and the data should be posted for the stats nerds to obsess over.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
50

It's 44 balls. 11 x 2 x 2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
51

45: I was wondering how he estimated a 30 minute equilibration time, though. I don't have a good sense of how well-insulated footballs are. Maybe I should ask him. Also, he was interviewing my girlfriend for a job today, so I hope he wasn't too distracted by thinking about football during her talk.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
52

Maybe your girlfriend happened to know how pig hide works as a heat transfer mechanism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
53

52: them's fighting words


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
54

Sports are more enjoyable if you think of them as competitions between organizations with unequal access to resources, many of whom cheat and lie if it benefits them and the likely punishment isn't fatal to their twin goals of winning and lording it over others whose defeat is in itself a sign that the losers are deficient in will, skill, or morals.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
55

54: So, just like everything else ever.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
56

It would be totally awesome if Belichick came forward and said yeah, we inflate and measure our balls in the sauna so they're softer on the field. And there's nothing in the rules prohibiting this. PHYSICS, assholes, deal with it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-15 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
57

Since we are already deep into the weeds on NFL rules and officiating, this behind the scenes account of a ref crew preparing and officiating a game (Ravens v. Bears, December 2013) might be worth a read for some. I found it pretty fascinating (it's actually the third in a series of three on a week in the life of a crew).

Describes the ball checking:

The Kicking Ball Coordinator (every game has one) walks in and sees Mackie. "Got the 'K' balls?" he says, and Mackie hands him the six balls that one team rep from both Baltimore and Chicago will be able to condition for the next 45 minutes; the proviso is they're only allowed to use brushes, towels and water to get the sheen and wax and new-football feel off for the game.
"Got the game balls yet?" Mackie says to the locker-room attendant, and as if on cue an orange bag of 24 game balls arrives from a Bears equipment man. Minutes later the Ravens' bag of 24 shows up. Usually it's 12 per team, but with the threat of bad weather each team conditioned 24 balls during the week--the Chicago balls will be used when the Bears are on offense, Baltimore's when the Ravens have the ball--and now Mackie, Waggoner and Paganelli go to work to get the balls prepared. One by one, as if on an assembly line, Mackie checks with a pressure gauge to see if the balls are filled to 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch of pressure. Those that aren't get taken to the bathroom. There Paganelli uses an electric pump to fill up the balls, Mackie checks the pressure, and Waggoner puts the good ones in the sink, until all are perfect.
It's not mentioned, but presumably the non-kicking balls are also allowed to be "conditioned" using brushes, towels and water--I assume before the ref crew inflates them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 3:41 AM
horizontal rule
58

Didn't Joe Paterno get in trouble for conditioning balls in that way?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:13 AM
horizontal rule
59

I think SP's comments could lead us to the most adolescent-giggle-inducing headline of all time. Maybe "Belichick relieves pressure in Brady's balls with Gay-Lussac"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:39 AM
horizontal rule
60

The non kicking balls are conditioned by using them in practice during the previous week.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:47 AM
horizontal rule
61

60: Ah yeah, did not realize that.

Footballs are sent directly to teams. Equipment managers can brush them and even use a damp towel to rub off the oil used to preserve the leather to the preferences of each quarterback. The quarterbacks can even practice with the footballs during a game week as long as the footballs remain in good enough condition to pass the referee's inspection as a new ball.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 5:13 AM
horizontal rule
62

This behind-the-scenes account (plays video) says that the refs rarely used a pressure gauge on the non-kicking balls; just felt 'em.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 5:29 AM
horizontal rule
63


I'm close to having a "Say it ain't so, Joe" moment with Belichick. Can someone point me to something psychologically comforting so I can go on loving the Patriots with a clear conscience? (And don't say "Boston sports radio", because I'd sooner root for the Jets.)



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 5:47 AM
horizontal rule
64

63: you want to love an NFL team with a clear conscience? They haven't had any active players called out as rapists recently, Gronk seems very committed to not getting a DUI, and none of the stars that I've noticed are grossly hypocritical public christians. What more do you want?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:06 AM
horizontal rule
65

63: You're not a true sports fan until you realize that it is an indefensible act that makes you a worthless person.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
66

Surprising English usage of the day: "if you're aware you're seated in the exit row, I just need a verbal."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
67

I've heard doctors say that when they put in orders over the phone. "Can I give you a verbal [order]?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
68

It's called "an audible" when football players do it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:44 AM
horizontal rule
69

67: "Sure, what are you wearing?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:50 AM
horizontal rule
70

I know this defies the laws of gravity, but, you see, I never studied law


Posted by: Opinionated Bugs Bunny | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
71

The team should advance but everyone on it who knew or should have known that the balls were under inflated should be banned from playing in the superbowl. That includes everyone on the team who handled one of the suspect balls, as well as the head coach.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
72

56 is brilliant.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
73

I'll be the first to suggest that Boston sports fans eat a plate of dicks*, but re: 15 and subsequent, aren't there in fact rules about this? Which state that the penalty is a loss of draft picks?

* My sainted grandfather is dead and never got to witness the transformation of Boston sports fans from Cubs-fans-but-assholes to Yankees-fans-but-convinced-the-world-is-against-them and will be spared this repast.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
74

73 was me.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
75

In a Slate piece on Belichick, Kotsko got cited. I don't know if that counts for tenure-related citations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
76

I think it's noteworthy that, as soon as a Colt got his hands on one, he noticed: that tells me we're not talking about an insignificant difference.

Oh, and FWIW: people keep saying that Blount's 3 running TDs prove it was irrelevant*, but of course the deflated ball is easier for everyone to grip, including RBs. Experienced followers of the NFL may be aware that running backs sometimes lose hold of ("fumble") the ball, especially in wet conditions.

*I mean, the balls were irrelevant to the outcome regardless - the Pats were clearly the better team with a better plan - but most defenses mention the Blount thing


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
77

Cubs-fans-but-assholes

Most of my fellow Pirates fans would argue that this is a distinction without a difference, but I've barely been to Wrigley since they stopped being perpetual losers*, so I can't say.

*that is, I think that the Cubs fan==asshole thing mostly dates to the '90s/early '00s teams that were consistently decent to good, when the bleacher bums went from being amiable drunks with low expectations to obnoxious drunks with high expectations.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
78

73.1: I thought it was a fine, but god knows I don't care enough to find out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
79

There's probably a conversion factor where so many dollars in fines equal a draft pick. Draft picks are the platinum pieces of the NFL.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
80

The fair thing would be to let the Patriots play in the Super Bowl, but allow Seattle their choice of rules to ignore.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
81

I don't think that Seattle can claim any damages. It was the Colts who were hurt if anybody was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
82

80: they already get to ignore holding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
83

73.1: If I understood correctly, the minimum penalty is a minor fine ($25k?), but the league has discretion up to and including loss of draft pick. The minimum fine, presumably, is for accidental underinflation - a single ball or whatever, failure to keep the balls up to standard.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
84

I'm surprised the league isn't more open to replaying games. Especially playoff games. Think of the additional ad revenue.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
85

Given how much of a factor injuries are, especially at the end of the season, I can see why they don't want to raise the issue.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
86

Goodell does have authority up to and including reversal but he would need to invoke the section of on "Extraordinarily Unfair Acts."


COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY
Article 1 The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective
measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which he deems so
extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major
effect on the result of the game.
NO CLUB PROTESTS Article 2 [yadda, yadda, yadda]
PENALTIES FOR UNFAIR ACTS
Article 3 The Commissioner's powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft-choice
forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game's result or the
rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred. In the
event of rescheduling a game, the Commissioner will be guided by the procedures specified in Rule 17, Section 1,
Articles 5 through 11, above. In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity
for hearings, use of game video, and any other procedure he deems appropriate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
87

We could have two Superbowls: one Seattle-Indy, one Seattle-NE. If Seattle wins both then they are unambiguous champions. Otherwise, whichever team has the largest margin of victory wins. If two teams tie in margin of victory, then those two teams play in a third Superbowl. This process would not be completely fair to Seattle, but it would be less unfair to them than letting Indy be cheated out of a chance altogether. And most importantly, think of the ad revenue!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
88

At the commissioner's discretion, they can conduct a trial by ordeal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
89

87: 2 Superbowls right after each other! Way to cheapen the brand!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
90

Why don't they just take all the stats on the teams and players for the season and put them in a big model to get the probability that every team had to win the Super Bowl if it were played. They would only have to play the Super Bowl if one or more other teams had a probability inside the 95% CI of the leading team's probability.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
91

||

Sheldon Silver arrested, holy shit. Really can't wait for LB to weigh in here. Wow.


|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
92

99: They've got 48 Super Bowls already recorded. They could just broadcast one of those.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
93

99 = 90


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
94

Couldn't have happened to a nicer lawyer named Shel Silver, of whom there are many, any of whom could be responsible for what he's accused of.

Seriously, I'm delighted. I wonder if this loosens anything up in the legislature, or if everything continues sclerotic with a slightly different cast of characters. (Embarrassingly, it's been years since Bruno's been gone, but I don't remember offhand who replaced him leading the state senate.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
95

91: didn't happen soon enough for the poor Jets. Can you imagine how games they would have won if Silver was in jail?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
96

Meanwhile if Marshawn Lynch isn't willing to obey the rules I think he should get replaced in the Super Bowl by somebody who is willing to talk to the media, like Rex Ryan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
97

96: Honestly, the world would be infinitely more entertaining of 97% of the people (in whatever profession) who are expected to talk to the media were replaced by Rex Ryan. No brainer.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
98

Well, Rex has some time on his hands at the moment. Obama seems not to have any fucks left to give. Maybe replace Jay Carney?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
99

New York State Assembly Leader?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
100

(That is, Speaker.)

I'm sure it'll get edited in a moment, but check out the current beginning of Shelly's Wikipedia article:

Sheldon "Shelly" Silver (born February 13, 1944) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician from New York. He has held the office of Speaker of the New York State Assembly since 1994. Luckily for the citizens of New York State, he was arrested on January 22, 2015. This will no doubt become a state holiday, as we've waited years for this to finally happen.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
101

||
I just discovered a forensic scientist with the same name as me, as well as someone doing cool laser research. If I ever need to pad my publications list it'll be trivial.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
102

To be fair, Marshall Lynch holding his dick is considerably more likely to swing the outcome of a game than deflating the football. It's just that powerful.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
103

100: The stuff after "since 1994." is already gone. Too bad.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
104

Why did Silver have such power? I've understood he had it but never understood why. Is it some procedural feature of the NY Legislature (like, the Speaker has the power to unilaterally prevent anything from coming to the floor on his say-so)? Or is it just that NY State government is insanely corrupt down the line and Silver ruled with an iron fist over the money flows to Assembly Democrats? Or both, or neither?


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
105

Silver is a terrible, terrible man, with whom I had several very unpleasant dealings when I worked for the city. In probably his worst move, despite his district being in NYC, he gave up a commuter tax that produced hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue in a failed attempt to win a single state senate seat for the Democrats. I am positively giddy.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
106

100 is so great.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
107

Man, it'd be awesome if NYS politics became roughly comprehensible. One of the things about corruption isn't just that it's, you know, corrupt, but that it also makes the functioning of everything opaque -- things happen or don't happen for undisclosed reasons, and you can't tell whose interests are being served or neglected intentionally and whose only by happenstance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
108

Is it some procedural feature of the NY Legislature (like, the Speaker has the power to unilaterally prevent anything from coming to the floor on his say-so)?

I don't understand the details, but something like this is the answer. I'm not dead sure if it's actually something in the Assembly rules, or merely a culture of total obedience to the Speaker, but the Assembly rules have something to do with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
109

Ohio had a longtime speaker of the House. who was known for being extremely powerful. I don't know that he was corrupt, but it seemed suspicious to me that so many buildings were named after him while he was still in office.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
110

I think my tower was the one named after a former governor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
111

They both had names starting with 'R', so I get confused. Anyway, every time I drive through West Virginia, I come out the other side convinced that we should have a constitutional amendment prohibiting naming anything after an elected official in office (or still alive).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
112

Some people I'd be willing to make exceptions for if they were willing to be buried in the foundation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
113

Actually, anybody willing to be buried in the foundations should get an exception. I think the lack of human sacrifice is part of the reason for our crumbling infrastructure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
114

Now I'm daydreaming happily about the FBI going through NYS government like a mowing machine through a hayfield. (I should make it clear that anything I believe about corruption in state government is from reading the papers; at the level where I deal with people, everyone's painfully honest and conscientious.) But you figure that if they got Shelly, he can't have been alone, and the legislature and the top levels of state government can certainly use the shakeup.

Cuomo had his chance to clean house in an orderly, state-gov't controlled fashion, and didn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
115

114: I am wondering how worried Andrew is. The "Corruption Commission? What Corruption Commision" routine is being cited in the Times as the moment at which interest in Silver began "heating up."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
116

at the level where I deal with people, everyone's painfully honest and conscientious.

If only you'd have applied yourself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
117

failure to keep the balls up to standard

I put Oil of Olay on them every morning, and now they look half my age.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
118

I figure he's got to be in at least some trouble in the sense of "What did the Governor know and when did he know it?" He mightn't be implicated in anything corrupt benefiting him, but he shut the Moreland commission down for some reason (that is, that they were going to find out something politically inconvenient, which the Silver stuff would certainly qualify as, but who's to say that's all), and my understanding is that he's a micromanager, so he'd probably know details. Doesn't mean they can pin it on him, or that anyone's going to try, but I bet he's sweating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
119

According to the NYT, Silver said, "I hope I'll be vindicated." That sounds like he's trying to distance himself from himself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
120

Are we sure which Shel Silver he was talking about?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
121

The one who wrote that horrible "Giving Tree" shit, I hope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
122

But also "A Boy Named Sue". Not all bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
123

110: Rhodes Tower (named after governor)
or Riffe Center? (named after speaker)

I worked in between those buildings in a building named after a bank.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
124

With the Caribou Coffee on the ground floor?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
125

My boss used to go every morning and get a large coffee and ask for double-cupping so she wouldn't burn her hands. Then, she'd go over to the counter with the milk, pour half of the coffee into the other cup and fill both cups with milk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
126

I think writing "On The Cover of the Rolling Stone" should give Silver the right to at least three lobbyist-funded junkets to the Playboy Mansion, and "25 Minutes to Go" and Reversal of Fortune should get him exculpated for the underinflating the United Jewish Council of the East Side, possibly with a loss of draft picks.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
127

Now I'm daydreaming happily about the FBI going through NYS government like a mowing machine through a hayfield.

And now I'm wondering how many different agricultural metaphors LB has at her disposal. I'm less of a lifelong city dweller but it never would have occurred to me to bring up mowing machines or hayfields.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
128

124: Yes, but Caribou moved out of Ohio, so I'm not sure what's there now.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
129

Shel Silverstein wrote lyrics for Dr. Hook? I'm going to have to complain to my parents for never telling me that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
130

128: Probably lost too much money on dairy products.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
131

I actually went immediately for "A scythe through a hayfield" and rejected it because I'm not sure what the difference is between a scythe and a sickle or whether you use either on hay. Then I thought (this is true) "What am I doing using an agricultural metaphor, isn't there something within my direct experience that fits?" Couldn't come up with anything, and I have seen a hayfield being mown (my FIL owns a hayfield, and a tractor), so I went with it.

This has been some insight into why I have such a hell of a time getting anything written. Every sentence is like trying to find the perfect rock to fit into a drystone wall.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
132

Not that I know what's that like firsthand, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
133

They used to cut hay right behind my house. We lived in town, but there was still a small field (maybe 15 acres) behind our house. My brother and I once lit it on fire through the careless discharge of illegal fireworks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
134

If you wanted to extend the metaphor, there are various raking and turning steps that could be compared to the courts. Then the baler could be prison.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
135

Finally, the horses come.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
136

Like a steamroller through a watermelon patch.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
137

133, 134: Maybe you could have a second career as an agricultural metaphor consultant.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
138

131: Yes, we frequently note what a slow writer you are.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
139

137: Or "accidental" arson.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
140

138: That's the beauty of blog comments. Here, I cut loose and go agricultural if it's the first thing that comes to mind. In any context where I'm tense about the results (which is literally everything else), I stare at it for half an hour, then go have a sandwich. Repeat twice per paragraph.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
141

17 - Also, I think JRoth is missing Lemieux's joke; he's not mocking coverage of this because he's got a man-crush on Brady and thinks that cheating is a non-issue (he says in comments that he thinks whatever in the rules -- a fine or loss of draft picks -- is appropriate), he's being hyperbolic about it as a joke about what he wants to see as a Seahawks fan, although he's missing the obvious options of a Colts/Pats rematch the day before the Superbowl or possibly just making Brady wear potholders over his hands.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
142

140: Just like Flaubert except substitute a croissant for the sandwich.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
143

141: I'll admit I'd forgotten his Seahawkery. Per 24, I don't regret misreading him (assuming you're right).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
144

Re: Shel Silver, did anyone buy him a Mercedes Benz?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
145

Huh, apparently the Mercedes Benz song wasn't written by Silverstein at all. Not sure how that non-fact got into my head; probably via the Cover of the Rolling Stone song.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
146

121, 122, 126, 129: I did not realize that Dr. Hook had covered the first thing that brought Silverstein to my attention "Freakin' at the Freaker's Ball*".

It seems that the lyrics got PCed a bit:

Shel:

Oh the white freaks black freaks yellow and red ones
Necropheliacs a lookin' for dead ones
Tickers the sickers they're gettin' their kicks
With the womans libbers and the sexist pigs
The plastercasters castin' their plasters the masturbators baitin' their masters

Dr. Hook:

White ones, black ones, yellow ones, red ones
Necrophiliacs looking for dead ones
The greatest of the sadist and the masochists too
Screaming "Please hit me, and I'll hit you"

*Which made it a bit jarring for me when I found out about his children's book side.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
147

144, 145: Michael McClure was the interesting guy involved on that one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
148

114: a mowing machine through a hayfield

Grant through Richmond.
shit through a goose.


Posted by: Ulysses Simpson | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
149

I think I like Sherman through Georgia better, once we're talking Civil War. But that is a good one.

(I've heard the other as "Grass through a goose" -- on the grounds that it doesn't start out as shit. And it implies speed, not so much devastation, right?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
150

I think the grass is pretty devastated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
151

The mower is at least a quick death.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
152

Correct. For instance, I never once sentenced anyone to die by being eaten by a goose.


Posted by: Zombie King Abdullah | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
153

There is still one King Abdullah left.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
154

Abdullah II: Electric Boogaloo? Abdullah II: The Enjordaning?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
155

Grant through Richmond.
shit through a goose.

God through his Heaven
All's right with the world!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
156

146.last: I never heard of anyone who knew Boy Named Sue Shel Silverstein first. I and everyone else I know was always, "wait, the children's poet also did THAT?"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
157

The plastercasters castin' their plasters

Ah, Cynthia. Your infamy has faded but your work stands tall.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
158

156: May be an age thing. I'm not sure his kids stuff was that well known until Where the Sidewalk Ends. For instance, The Giving Tree was published in 1964, but apparently the first printing was only a few thousand. The new one for me looking him up is "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
159

I don't even care about football, but I strongly agree that it should be a forfeit. Don't care that it was a blowout anyway and the cheating probably didn't matter. You cheat, you lose. Seems like a pretty good way to disincentivize cheating.


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
160

||
Mentioned Berube's kid being on Jeopardy the other day (he won two, lost the third in Final). Looks like he is having a brief moment of minor internet fame due to one of his wrong answers (and a subsequent twitter apology). Clue was "This Australian hip-hopper used the pet name/street name system to come up with her rap name." He guessed Azealia Banks, instead of correct answer (question) Iggy Azalea. And apparently they have a feud going. (Some folks here are probably well aware of the two; I only heard of either of them through this.)
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
161

159 is, in its own way, genius.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
162

160: Surprised how widely it was picked up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-15 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
163

Speaking of bad journalism on this topic, has anyone noticed that reports keep talking about the weight of the balls? I assume this is ignorance about the difference between pounds and pounds per square inch? No one is accusing the Patriots of using a lighter than air gas in the balls, or shaving material off, are they? Anyway, ball weight is something I would expect to change in a game played in the rain.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:18 AM
horizontal rule
164

OT: How much damage would a really big fire (several smallish buildings burned out) do to a building located across the street (a four lane highway)?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
165

My guess is absolutely none, although depending on wind direction there might be a cleaning problem with smoke/soot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
166

I was thinking of smoke or water damage. One picture shows 7 streams of water being poured onto the fire. I don't know where that water would go.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
167

I mean, conceptually I understand it goes down. I just don't know where "down" would be in that particular block.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
168

Worried about the bar, eh, moby?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
169

It's not that. People I know have some property and a business down by where the fire was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
170

111: A rule against naming buildings after the living would prevent embarrassments like the Maryland congressman who was indicted in the courthouse named after him. To be fair, the were ultimately dropped.


Posted by: Grant | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
171

163. Didn't Mythbusters check to see if putting helium or hydrogen or whatever in the footballs made them go further? The answer was "Busted."

In any case, is there any "journalism" on Ballghazi that actually reports any facts? What was the "low" measured PSI, for example? Take a room temperature ball out into 40 degrees and the pressure is going to go lower. Every article on this seems to have concluded that obviously everyone on the Patriots was in on a nefarious plot. Personally, I blame the Ravens.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
172

The graphic at the top of this column is by far the best thing to come out of this scandal.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
173

(That column itself is the second best thing to come out of the scandal.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
174

44 to 171.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
175

Take a room temperature ball out into 40 degrees and the pressure is going to go lower.

I don't really care, but they tested *all* of the footballs at the half and none of the Colts' balls were under. Maybe that means the real scandal is the Colts were *overinflating* them!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
176

The allowed range is such that if a team inflated to the high end the cooled balls would still be within the low range, but a team that inflated to the low range would be too low on cooling.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
177

Didn't Aaron Rodgers cop to overinflating his? How people could abuse pressurized bladders like this I'll never know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
178

I just realized the historical significance of Ballghazi.

Does this mark the end of the -gate suffix for scandals? Has -ghazi finally ended its 40-year reign?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
179

The owners of the Watergate compliex paid reporters to use a different suffix. Once word gets out, Ghazigate will take the world by storm.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
180

178: Maybe this is proof that Obama is more corrupt than Nixon -- Republican talking point.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
181

-gate is for real scandals, -ghazi for trumped up ones. Now the argument can be whether it's ballghazi or ballgate.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-23-15 3:47 PM
horizontal rule