Saturday, September 26, 2009

5 comments Why Do I Believe He Is Trying a Reverse Jinx Here?

We have been forced to read a couple "The Patriots are dead!" articles this past week because they dared to lose one game to the Jets, who are a team that is apparently rapidly improving. I just didn't think we would get to read a "Patriots are dead!" article from Bill Simmons.

Under the byline is a little message that says "Special to ESPNBoston.com." I guess all of his articles can be classified under that heading now can't they? The question I have is whether this article is for real or not? We all know Bill's need to be superstitious and how he truly believes he can jinx his favorite teams by talking about how great they are or by saying anything positive about them. For example he regrets comparing the perfect (at the time) 2007 New England Patriots to the 1986 Boston Celtics because it "jinxed" the Patriots into losing the Super Bowl. Again, remember Giants fans, you didn't win the game according to Bill you either (a) got lucky with the David Tyree catch or (b) Bill jinxed the Patriots. Bill also believes because a bird crapped on him the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.

So to my surprise his Friday picks column has him burying the Patriots for this year. I was initially surprised and then I thought about it. I didn't think this could be true, so I know he is trying a reverse jinx here. He wants to bury the Patriots in hopes to reverse jinx them and watch them come alive and go on a big winning streak so he can later make a huge dramatic point out of what happened like the Patriots did something absolutely unfathomably incredible by "turning around" their season when they were 1-1. The end of this dramatic point will involve him writing about the entire city of Boston being behind the Patriots and talking about the Patriots everywhere or everyone walking around in a stupor the day after the point or event that involved the Patriots happened. I just have a feeling something like this is going to be written by Bill.

Anyway, I don't believe the Patriots are dead and I don't believe Bill believes that either. He is trying a reverse jinx.

(Important note: My father is a charter member of this group. In fact, when I told him that I planned to write this column, he hissed things like, "it's too early," "we'll be fine," "you give up on our teams too easily," "this reminds me of when you quit on the Celtics two springs ago" and "you're an a**hole and I wish we weren't related." All solid points.)

For those of us who believe Bill is a massive fair weather fan when it comes to the Boston Bruins, it's good to hear his father absolutely agrees with us...and why wouldn't he, he knows Bill better than we do.

For the second camp, it's more complicated. You wouldn't call them naysayers, just realists. And here's the reality: Today's NFL isn't built for teams to succeed year after year indefinitely. Extending the Malibu analogy, a good foundation only lasts so long. You still need to take care of your house. Need to wash the salt off your deck every day, update the furniture, keep a fresh coat of paint on there, check that foundation every few months to make sure it's fine. You cannot slip. You cannot fall behind. You cannot take anything for granted. Or else your house will start to look like crap.

As always, Bill couldn't just say the initial sentence, he had to extend his word count out by using an extended analogy that talks about what he is trying to say, rather than just rely on the first sentence to express his feelings. Everyone knows teams in the NFL aren't built to succeed every single year forever in the salary cap era. We don't need a house analogy to understand it.

Things fell apart in 2006 when only kicker Stephen Gostkowski panned out. The Pats took Laurence Maroney over D'Angelo Williams, traded up from No. 52 (Greg Jennings) to No. 36 (WR Chad Jackson, a bust) and chose tight end David Thomas over Owen Daniels.

Along with Bill's endless need to type about "what if" situations concerning the history of a team (example: "what if Len Bias never died?"...yeah, well what if he was never born or he was born and wanted to become a quarterback?..."what ifs" drives me crazy at times because there are so many different ways any situation could play out, so I find them pointless), I also don't like it when the "what ifs" extend into the NFL Draft.

Every team can look back at drafts and think of players they should have taken, so looking back and regretting things like this is absolutely pointless, outside of the need to drive yourself crazy or second guess every decision your team made. At the time, these were thought to be good moves because Williams was too small to be a running back in the NFL, Jennings played against lesser competition in college and Owen Daniels excelled in the Big 10, which doesn't impress some people. Looking back like this only serves to re-write history to second guess the coaches and drive yourself crazy.

Like with so many other teams, you could play the "damn, we could have had so-and-so" game with every Pats draft from 2005 to 2009 -- Frank Gore, Justin Tuck, Santonio Holmes, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jon Beason, Steve Slaton, etc. (it's a long list) -- but Belichick's Patriots were never "like so many other teams."

Yet because every team can do it, he still will write down a list of players the Patriots passed over as if this were still exclusive to them.

Undeniable Truth No. 3: A modern NFL team crushing an entire decade, with a salary cap in place, is about as difficult as having a four-hour craps run without crapping out.

I think if the Patriots are done, which I am not convinced about, this is the entire reason. It encompasses all other reasons. It is so hard to draft well for a long period of time, draft better than every other one of your competitors, still keep those guys around you drafted and stay under the salary cap. I think this reason would encompass all of the rest of the reasons Patriots would be dead...assuming they are, which I am not doing.

Can the Patriots pull it off despite the days of Tuck Rule-level breaks being long gone? The team's luck shifted in the 2005 playoffs (a gut-wrenching fumble call), then in the 2006 AFC title game (Jeff Saturday recovering a go-ahead TD in Indy's end zone and Reggie Wayne catching his own fumble on the biggest drive), then in Super Bowl XLII (the Helmet Catch), then in Week 1 of the '08 season (Brady's knee), then in Week 1 of the '09 season (losing Mayo days after the Richard Seymour trade). You need to be lucky to keep succeeding in the NFL.

Of course it wouldn't be Bill Simmons if he didn't throw a little luck that went against the Patriots into the equation. They are the only team to have injuries and tough plays go against them in the history of football. This is a fact unless you want to look into it, in which case you will find it is not fact.

Undeniable Truth No. 4: In retrospect, it sure seems like the Football Karma Gods weren't a huge fan of Spygate.

Football Karma Gods? That is some Easterbrook stuff, you can be better than that Bill.

Thirty-two years old now, Brady has mellowed considerably from the days when he gleefully head-butted teammates and sprinted toward touchdown celebrations like a maniac. He doesn't move as well. His timing is way off. He seems a little, um, jittery every time 300-pound guys roll near his legs. He might shed that rustiness this weekend; he might not shed it until November; he might need the whole season to bounce back like so many others who had knees rebuilt.

This is something that is being underplayed. Tom Brady may need a good while to get completely comfortable in the pocket. He had a guy fall into his leg, which greatly injured his knee and it is human nature to be constantly worried this may happen again for a little while. Throw in the fact his knee is a year off a major surgery so it may take some getting used to being on the field again and we may be expecting a bit much of him right now.

For the first time since 2002, I have absolutely no idea what's about to happen with my Patriots from week to week. Everything is in play: 12-4, 5-11, a "Have They Had It?" S.I. cover, you name it. The foundation is swaying. For once, nobody can say, "It's the Patriots, they'll be fine." This is the National Football League.

Fortunately after two games of the season we know how every other NFL team is going to do this season, no team is in flux and no team can have pretty much anything happen this year...except those Patriots. They are such an enigma. Bill can be such a drama queen at times over things. You want more drama from him?

From his Twitter account:

On my bday: Nomar hit on wrist (99), Pierce stabbed (00), Bledsoe hit by Mo Lewis (01), Lester nailed by linedrive (09). I have a complex.

Compared to Pierce being freaking stabbed (and almost dying) and Bledsoe being hit by Mo Lewis and having blood fill up in his lungs, I would say Lester possibly missing a start isn't so bad. Sure it looked bad at the time but come on, I know they all happened on his birthday but he really isn't comparing these events is he?

Not to mention, was Bledsoe getting hit by Mo Lewis really that bad for the Patriots in the long/short run?

5 comments:

Go said...

He thinks his birthday has craazzzy events? Check out what happened on mine.

'86 - Al Bumbry drops fly ball and Os lose

'90 - Chris Hoiles got hit by a foul tip in the wrist and didn't play the next game.

'97 - Brady Anderson threw out two base runners.

My birthday is defintely more tragic then his. I'm just so jinxed.

AJ said...

Check out mine...

1861 - American Civil War Starts


Not sure what this means, but I think we should all look for bad things to happen on my birthday and no one elses (I was the only person in history to be born on my date).

Bengoodfella said...

Go, you do sound jinxed...and I am merely referring to being a Baltimore Orioles fan. You guys got screwed on that fly ball in Yankee Stadium in 1996. You are a cursed team, quick call your local sportswriter and tell him/her this.

Damn AJ, you are a lot older than originally thought. The world is cursed because I was born on the day I was born.

Go said...

Living in D.C., being an Os fan, and loving baseball is a curse I wouldn't wish on anyone. But no one can out-jinx (I'm sure that word is in Easterbrook's dictionary.) Simmons or a Boston sports fan. Every non-New Englander is against them.

Bengoodfella said...

My uncle used to live in Baltimore so I went to a couple O's games the last year they were in Memorial Stadium. I don't remember much about it but I obviously follow baseball and have sympathy for any team in the same division as Boston and the Yankees.