Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grumpy Old Men - New England Patriots Style...

The friendship between Brady (L), the Krafts and Bill Belichick have made them "My Family" Bob Kraft said Monday

Imagine if you will, a movie filmed in heaven...

...Burgess Meredith sitting in the owner's booth at Gillette Stadium, speaking randomly to any number of celebrities whom he had invited to watch his New England Patriots play - down on the field is Walter Matthau stalking the sidelines with his familiar scowl, Jack Lemmon getting last second instructions before trotting out on the field armed with a litany of tackle-eligible options.

After the Patriots score, Lemmon limps to the sidelines, Matthau is still standing where he was moments earlier with the same scowl, and Meredith is cutting penis references in the owner's box in response to yet another New England score.

"I've laid more pipe in this town than Foxborough Public Works!" He yells, alienating the women and children, making John Kerry pull his scarf over his face to hide his grin and causing Mark Walberg to laugh like a hyena and high-five everyone - except Meredith.
Kraft giving the business to the media and NFL on Monday

And, yes.

Absurd notion, but perhaps not so far off base - particularly in light of what the New England Patriots have had to endure this week amid rampant accusations of cheating, a venomous media who have been circling the stadium like sharks and the infantile leaking of rumors from the NFL home office - the result of which has been Matthau and Lemmon, er, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady left with their bits blowing in the wind.

So the crusty old Meredith decided he'd heard enough of the noise and took the opportunity to have a few words with these people who were gathered into a press conference upon the arrival of the Patriots in Arizona in advance of Sunday's Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.

I mean, Bob Kraft.

He had been hearing all of the negativity for a week, watching Belichick and, to a greater extent, Brady, squirm in the face of rapid-fire questioning of their integrity and that of the organization - and, to even more of his disgust, hearing reports that the NFL has been slowly leaking information to the press after each press conference, lending credence to the thought that his team was mired in a playground argument with a bully.

So Kraft took the opportunity to get some things off his chest in front of a captive audience, who thought they were there to make Belichick refuse to answer any more questions regarding the integrity of his team and to make Brady twist uncomfortably with the same - Kraft was not scheduled to speak but seized the podium first anyway and delivered a gut shot to both the media and the NFL in one powerful two-minute sermon.

"I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of NFL rules," Kraft said, following it up specifically, "I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported on."

At this point, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was seen speaking into his cell phone in the hallway, a dark cloud forming over his head, and the hundreds of members of the media who were gathered in the room began the uncomfortable squirming dance in their seats.

"I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment." he continued, then lowed the boom. "This would be in direct contrast to the public disclosure thus far, which has been driven by media leaks (from the NFL) as opposed to actual data and facts."

Ouch.  Direct accusations of conspiracy and dark malfeasance are rarely uttered by owners of NFL franchises, let alone on one of the biggest stages in the world of sports, but here was 73-year-old Robert Kraft giving the business to perhaps the most powerful commissioner in all of sports, as well as the increasingly rabid and irresponsible media - but he wasn't finished.

Not even close.

"Because of this, many jumped to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved" Kraft said, leveling a finger at the media present, "Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years.  They are my guys.  They are part of my family.  And Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult conversations over the years, and I have never known them to lie to me."

"That is why I am confident in saying what I just said, and it bothers me greatly that their reputations and integrity, and by association that of our team, has been called into question this past week."

Some may laugh off that last statement by Kraft, given that Spygate happened on his watch as well, but during that investigation, Kraft asked Belichick if the accusations were true, and when Belichick affirmed to him that they were true, Kraft's lone response was another question:

"How much good would any of that have done for us?" Kraft asked, and when Belichick replied that it was not much, if any, Kraft responded, "The you're a real schmuck?"

Bob Kraft does not pull punches.  he asks the hard questions and expects the truth.  He feels like that's what he got from his "Guys", but not what he's getting from the NFL, to whom he delivered a parting shot.

"If the Wells Investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this week."

And while an apology is nice to think about, perhaps Kraft should take the advice of Burgess Meridith from the film Grumpy Old Men, when he said "Hope and one hand and shit in the other, then see which one fills up faster."

Perhaps they should just win the Super Bowl and forget about all of this noise.  After all, through this episode they have learned just how depraved and irresponsible both the media and the NFL offices really are, and Kraft has said more than once that he doesn't associate with people like that...

No comments:

Post a Comment