Bill Belichick Was Right In l’Affaire Butler

Multiple reports are appearing that Butler was not on the team plane from New England to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis because of an illness.  Showing up a day late also meant he missed a day of practice.  Then he also had a “rough” week of practice once he did get on the field and was late for several meetings.  And he apparently missed curfew at least once, and had a meltdown with a member of the coaching staff.



According to the Providence Journal:

Butler stayed back in Massachusetts when the team arrived earlier this week. After having flu-like symptoms, he visited a local area hospital multiple times before getting clearance to join his teammates out north.



All of this resulted in Coach Bill Belichick deciding to sit him for the biggest game of the year.  Was BB correct in sticking by the team rules?  By all accounts he has very few team rules:

  1. Be where you are when you are supposed to be there
  2. Pay attention
  3. Put the team first

Butler broke all of these rules.

If he was sick and showed up a day late in Minnesota how was he able to be out at night?  Shouldn’t he have been resting?  As a professional athlete he makes a lot of money and has a lot of off season time.  He can go out when he wants during the off season.  But the Super bowl is a business trip.  Deciding to party rather than rest was putting himself above the team.

Why dress him if he wasn’t going to play? With multiple injuries and a shortage of bodies he was an emergency only player.  If Rowe or Bademosi got knocked out of the game Butler probably would have played more.

I can’t remember if it was Rowe, Harmon or Bademosi who commented after the game that they had gotten more reps in practice along side Gilmore.  But there was an answer from one of them talking about this.  So it wasn’t a complete surprise that Butler’s playing time would be limited.

Belichick is looking at the long view.  The reason they win so much and get to the Super Bowl is because they have discipline.  The players buy-in or they are gone.  Breaking the few rules they have results in consequences.  Belichick is willing to stand by the rules even in the biggest game of the year.

He has consistently leaned on his “dependable” players.  Not necessarily superstars but guys who will be there.  It doesn’t mean they will be perfect but often others will support them and together the team will prevail.  This is how Butler got into the SB v Seattle and made the game winning interception.  He had proved to the coaches through practice time that he could be depended on.

Imagine if that game had turned out different, that the Seahhawks had handed off to Lynch and ultimately won the game.  Many would have likely questioned why Butler was in the game.

Belichick’s view of the big picture, along with his attention to details, almost always pays off.  He knows it will pay dividends in the long run.  If he gave in he would eventually have no rules and chaos would reign (See Steelers).  In the end this was not about Belichick’s ego or pride.  It was about a team concept of supporting each other and enforcing the rules.

The fact that Belichick was willing to stand by the team rules in the biggest game of the year only proves to strengthen his credibility.

WEEI Hypocrites

The sports world is agog over the Brady-Reimer kerfuffle and more than anything it serves to expose the low class banter which passes for “sports talk” on a daily basis in Boston.

The incident which started the controversy happened Thursday evening live on WEEI.  Fill-in reprobate Alex Reimer, commenting on Brady’s FaceBook Series “Tom vs Time” opined that  Brady’s 5 year old daughter was “an annoying little pissant.”

To be clear, the reality of the offense is not merely that Reimer dragged an athlete’s child into the fray.  Or more accurately, the misdeed was not that the comment was more vulgar or offensive than the regular programming in general.  How could it be?  Both WEEI and WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub) regularly use disgusting vernacular everyday to describe those in the news.

This one “sucks,” that one “blows,” someone else is “an a-hole.”  This is the daily currency in which these outlets trade.  It’s not even new.

WEEI regularly allows Barstool’s gutter residing David Portnoy to be a guest across their platforms.  In 2011 Portnoy  infamously published a photo of Brady’s then-toddler son naked on a beach beneath the headline, “Check out the howitzer on Brady’s kid.”

Portnoy was “banned” from the station for a while but is back pushing his locker room trash on the public airwaves.   And don’t think the station won’t weigh ratings vs fallout again and bring Reimer back at some point.

The real offense here is that one of WEEI’s prime attractions, Brady and the Patriots, has signaled that the relationship, at least his weekly appearance, is threatened by the behavior of the radio host.

Today’s shows were awash in the irony of Minihane, Ordway, Merloni and others lamenting how Reimer went too far in commenting on the child.  But Reimer’s comment itself was nowhere near the typical vulgar and abusive regular talk that is a staple of the abovementioned broadcasters but is also matched by 98.5’s Felger, Mazzarotti, T&R and many others.

Yet these hypocrites were all “shocked” in the same way Captain Renault was in the gambling at Rick’s Americain Cafe in “Casablanca.”

The best outcome from this incident would be a retreat of the potty mouths back towards a more genteel sports talk environment on Boston radio.

Don’t hold your breath.

Patriot’s Matt Patricia Wears Goodell TShirt, Inadvertently Supports Crude Barstool Website

Patriot’s defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was pictured wearing a Goodell Clown tshirt while deplaning upon the team’s return to Boston following their win on Sunday.

Kind of surprised that anyone connected with the Patriots would “support” Barstool or David Portnoy.  We can only guess that Patricia doesn’t know, or remember, the history between the crude site and Tom Brady.

You may recall that it was Portnoy, in 2011, who posted a disgusting photo of Brady’s son.

Some perspective is appropriate.  And please note that Barstool/Portnoy and the word “appropriate” are words rarely found in the same thought.  The BS/P combo, and it’s element, are known for their crude, inappropriate, 12 year old teenage boy take on sports commentary.

Back in 2011 Portnoy made a decision to post a picture of Brady’s young son on a Costa Rica beach.  Benjamin was sans-swimsuit with his mother Gisele.  The photo was explicit in it’s view of the young boy’s body.  Larry Brown’s Sports site gives some details of the post:

The post was titled “Check out the Howitzer on Brady’s Kid,” and it shows a close-up picture of Tom Brady’s son in profile. Portnoy then presents some commentary on the naked two-year-old child’s large member and uses it as a way to compliment Tom Brady on his latest world conquest. (emphasis added)

In a normal scheme of things the photo itself was not disgusting.  It was the context.  In the same way that a woman’s hair can be beautiful, a woman’s hair floating in your soup is disgusting.

But this is what BS/P markets.  Crude, disgusting, inappropriate.  Another Boston sports site said at the time:

Barstool, by nature, is a profane site.

In the end BS/P pulled the photo.  WEEI banned the entities from their airwaves.  But time has a way of things fading.  Make no mistake about it, BS/P has not faded.  They are as blatantly crude today as they ever were, maybe more so.

At the time of the photo Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly weighed in with their view of the legal side:  The legal fallout from the Barstool Sports-Brady controversy

It seems that BS/P will do anything that brings clicks, and dollars, to their account.  Portnoy has been pictured holding a sign comparing Goodell to Hitler.  He was chastised by 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger for wishing bodily harm to Goodell.

Nothing is off limits, it seems.  We have a great history in the US of freedom of the press.  It is a critical right which should not be limited for frivolous activities.  But within that context we have the right as consumers to shun those who are using it unwisely.

Which is why I am a little surprised that Patricia and others would “support” by buying, wearing or otherwise publicizing BS/P and their crude view.