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False Start: Belichick’s a Playa and Crushes A Lot, Week 1 Picks

Bill Belichick Does Work

My sister looked at me the other day and said, “Ryan, do you write anything other then your weekly ‘Media Musings’ column?” It hit me. I dropped the ball. Actually, to steal a line from the HBO documentary “Too Big To Fail”..


Now that we’ve established that, lets move forward and talk about, you know, sports. Every Friday (Thursday in this case), coupled with “Media Musings”, I’ll deliver you a NFL-centric column along with my crappy NFL picks.  I used to do this on my old website before my editor at SoB, KC Downey, scooped me up to write here (Editor’s Note: Damn right!).  They’ll be anecdotes and comedy, because I’m original like that. So without further adieu the debut of the False Start column.


When Randy Moss was excommunicated from Foxboro last season both Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock compared him to being the “crazy ex-girlfriend.” The analogy was a lay-up. The Patriots moved on, Moss pined. And we’ve all been there: the bad break-up where someone is left distraught and the other person moves on.

The Script’s entire catalog appeals to the lovelorn, while the ‘mover-on’ just buys the new LFMAO CD and hits the town. The lovelorn looks at their club-banging lover like a callous assassin in one of the Bourne movies. How could you just move on? Did that relationship mean anything?

Finally the emotionally destroyed moves on after going through denial (read: looking at your phone with every vibrate thinking the departed is texting to ‘talk’) and, ultimately, acceptance (read: Keeping yourself busy, finding alternative ways to being happy, and realizing life goes on).

But Simmons, Whitlock, and I all missed the boat. Moss, as I’ve written before, is the personification of the Katy Perry song “Hot N’ Cold.”  He’s in great shape and ready to contribute. Oh, wait, you don’t want to offer him a multi-year deal? In that case, he is just going to call it quits. Him doing the unexpected is actually expected.

HOWEVER, what Moss and the aforementioned prolific writers (notice how I included myself in that group) failed to realize is Moss may be the unstable girlfriend, but the real analogy is that Bill Belichick IS the stone-cold killer. He is Jason Bourne. Moss doesn’t have a play. He is the lovelorn soul frantically texting looking for any semblance of hope in the form of T9, to no avail. In the grand scheme of things, Moss is just a blip.

Belichick remembers the ’07 season as a great one-year relationship. No animosity is present. Like Jerry and Elaine in Seinfield, there’s no discord present for the Yoda of coaching. There never is. Truth is, The Hoodie is a cross between the sleaze-bag Matthew McConaughey plays, before he finds out what true love is, in anyone of his 87 terrible chick flicks; and Tucker Max. Belichick goes through personnel without trepidation.

To Belichick, Brandon Tate epitomized Distance Distortion Factor (DDF), or the saying, “Good from far, but far from good” theory. Your buddies make fun of you for taking that type of girl on a second date when it was clear she was damaged goods. After all, hadn’t we been there before? (Chad Jackson)

Darius Butler was that terrible one-night stand. You probably deny it ever happened much like I deny the existence of “QB Vision” in Madden ever existed.

And Brandon Meriweather? The Big Bang Clock? He was the MySpace musician you met under the pretense that they were ‘interesting’ and ‘unique’. Turns out you can actually pull some tomfoolery on the Internet, who would have thought?

Lets put it this way, a lot of “football-centric” terms I hear I shrug at. They can be explained to me. And then explained again with no real understanding. Part of this is because I never played, and part of this is because I don’t care about the X’s and O’s like Ron Jaworski. But I knew it was a red flag as I joked to my buddy Saturday, “I don’t really know what a ‘bad angle’ is. I’ve heard the term plenty of times, but you know Meriweather had issues when I could point to a play and say ‘THAT is a bad angle.”

And how are we supposed to feel about this? Belichick always does what is best for the team and, really, that’s all that matters. Since 2000 there have been two popular theories put in place in Foxboro, “In Bill We Trust” and “The Patriot Way.”

Both phrases are ideologies put in practice mostly by us, the fans. And neither is pragmatic. “In Bill We Trust” is like saying, “Eff it!” and assume the autonomy Belichick presumably has is justified. It’d be like the government giving banks $125 billion dollars without any provisions (I really shouldn’t watch impressionable movies before writing a column). Meanwhile “The Patriot Way” is a mantra that died back in ’04. But, as fans, we are like Moss – we have no play – so even though the Pats are rolling to Miami with Patrick Chung and Big Play Willie Clay as our starting safeties, I say to myself, “In Bill We Trust.”

On to my crappy picks…

(HOME Team is in CAPS)

PACKERS (-4) over Saints – The Super Bowl champion always wins this game.
Always. It’s almost like the last part of their coronation. Though the real reason I’m picking the Pack to cover is Aaron Rodgers and his BAMF handle-bar mustache. Well played, sir.

Steelers (+2.5) over RAVENS – I’m told I should watch this game since it represents “hard-nose, old-school football” (Read: There will be a lot of punting and a great field position battle! Sign me up! Can we get that game on EVERY TV in the bar?)

Lions (+1.5) over BUCS – Everyone and their dog is all over the Lions as this year’s break out team that ‘no one sees coming.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with Detroit holding that title. But if EVERYONE is holding that stance then how can Detroit really be the leading nominee of ”Team No One Saw Coming” (TNOSC). By nature of the title, Detroit forfeits their nomination. Tough loss by default, but that’s what happens when the bandwagon fills.

The Bucs, along with the Chiefs, were last year’s TNOSC. However, unlike Kansas City, pundits are projecting Tampa Bay to jump a tier and thus make the playoffs. And, on top of that, I like Raheem Morris as coach.

(And believe me, that’s in my top ten list of things I never thought I’d say a year ago – joining the likes of “I think I’m subscribing to theory Lady Gaga has a penis” and “Plaxico looks like a threat in pre-season.”)

But then I thought about it. Maybe I only like Morris because he came up with term “Youngry” (young & hungry) and I’ve been using it in job interviews ever since. Also, is it possible the over-adulation of the Lions possibly make me UNDER-Rate them?

(Also something included in my top ten of things I never thought I’d say a year ago).

Confounded, I backtracked again. I thought I was sold when I realized the Bucs had home-field advantage. Only then I realized the Bucs play in Tampa Bay which is like saying the United States Mens National Soccer Team has home-field advantage playing Mexico in the Rose Bowl. Finally, the woeful Eminem commercial hyping up the Motor City came on and I was sold — Lions!

Falcons (-3) over BEARS – Mike Martz is excited at Jay Cutler’s improvement in his footwork. Somehow Chris Ryan of Grantland equates this to Cutler’s separation from Kristin Cavallari. Who knew breaking up with a C+ Reality TV star could improve your career and focus?

Bills (+5.5) over CHIEFS – How is Ryan Fitzpatrick not on the Patriots? You can’t see a bar like Murphy’s Law in Southie in an uproar after every play, “Cooooomeee ohnnnn Fitzy! Get yaawre head in the game, kid!”

The answer to that question has something to do with a guy named Tom and the Uggs he promotes.

TEXANS (-9) over Colts – Kerry Collins was awesome in Madden 64, which came out in 1997.

RAMS (+4) over Eagles – I don’t think the Rams will win. But they will compete.

Bengals (+6.5) over BROWNS – Neither of these teams will make the playoffs, unless the Ravens fold up shop. Other then that, the title of who wins the battle of football supremacy in Ohio is on the line. Of course, somehow even through all the scandal, Ohio State will retain the championship no matter what the outcome of this game.

REDSKINS (+3) over Giants – I live for certain things: The food coma after Thanksgiving dinner, watching A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve while it plays on a loop for 24 hours on TNT, and also Tom Coughlin’s look of confusion every Sunday from September to January. It’s good to have the NFL back!

Panthers (+7) over CARDINALS – You are telling me it’s not possible? Cam Newton cannot have a Matt Ryan-esq ROY campaign? You’re also telling me it can’t start in Arizona? And finally you’re telling me, after a suspect preseason from Kevin Kolb, Cardinal Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn’t begging Kurt Warner to come back?

One thing is for sure – Matt Leinart is definitely drinking with Brody Jenner right about now.

49ERS (-5.5) over Seahawks – Alex Smith and Tarvaris Jackson are both starting QBs in the NFL. Somewhere, right now, Brian Hoyer is drinking a glass of scotch slowly.

(And, no, he’s not at the same bar as Jenner and Leinart — Hoyer rolls at the BBC in Foxboro)

Vikings (+8.5) over CHARGERS – On one hand the Starcaps kids are out for the Vikes. Additionally, I’m still unsure if Donovan McNabb has been in shape since 2004. Bottom line is neither of those factors trump San Diego’s weird tendency to start slow.

Cowboys (+4) over JETS – The pure enjoyment I felt as Dustin Keller stepped out-of-bounds before the first-down marker during last year’s MNF opener against the Ravens was only matched by the disdain felt walking out of Gillette Stadium after the Pats lost to New York in the playoffs.

I want to feel the sunshine. I want to drink until the 5 in the morning. Mostly, I want to feel excitement in New York’s peril again.

Patriots (-7) over Dolphins – Chad Henne and Tom Brady both went to Michigan — that’s all they have in common. Literally. Pats win big. Side note: I understand Brandon Marshall has been diagnosed with a split personality and is bi-polar — any chance we could have his doctor take a look at Chad Ochocinco?

BRONCOS (-3) over Raiders – On my podcast Steve Gibbons, of, swore the Raiders are the best team to play with in Madden. That may be the case, but that means the game is as realistic as Halo.

About Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is the author of the weekly Sports Media Musings column at Sports Of Boston. Hadfield is known as one of the top sports media critics in Boston. He also contributes to Boston Sports Media Watch. In November 2011, Hadfield helped launch the new SoB Point Taken blog featuring his podcasts & musings on sports, media and culture. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

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