It’s a shame the Patriots jettisoned Antonio Brown. He and Bill Belichick have so much in common. Both, for example, are excessively self-entitled.
January 2007. Belichick’s Pats had beaten the Jets, 37-16, in a playoff game. Belichick was headed across the field to shake hands with Jets coach and protégé Eric Mangini. After two regular season games, Belichick appeared to have snubbed Mangini, so if there was added attention to this one it was on Belichick.
Belichick was followed by NFL-credentialed photographers hustling to do their jobs, trying to capture that handshake-or-whatever shot.
But suddenly, and for some still unknown reason, Belichick whirled to his left in a sudden unprovoked rage, grabbed the camera held high by veteran Boston Globe photographer Jim Davis, then violently shoved it into his face, specifically his shooting eye socket.
Shocked and injured, Davis staggered.
Surely, Belichick would be arrested, charged with an unprovoked assault. And if local law enforcement let it slide, the NFL wouldn’t.
But nothing happened. Nothing. It doesn’t even appear on his permanent record.
We’ve since learned that Belichick, apparently in a private moment, apologized to Davis, who graciously let it go. But it wasn’t up to Davis to act; it was up to the NFL.
The story — the highly public reality — quickly blew away as befitting the entitlement of a coach en route to his fourth Super Bowl.
So why would Belichick today think he’s bound to answer to the NFL freight-hauling public as to why he chose to sign Brown when the civilized world recognized Brown as a rotten and perhaps felonious act?
Why wouldn’t Belichick be rude and defiant rather than issue even bad answers to good questions? He acted similarly this summer when the Pats returned recidivist drug rules violator and WR Josh Gordon.
Why? Because he’s self-entitled. And for no good reasons he’s right!
Randy Moss was perhaps the most talented and selfish NFL wide receiver of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Talented enough to play 15 years, yet so selfish — a divisive pain in the fanny on and off the field — as to have been expendable to five teams. His sustained employment became a matter of desperate need-entitlement, same as Brown.
Yet, Moss was hired by Fox and then ESPN for those reasons: a talented but intolerable me-first guy. That Moss’ on-air judgments would be suspect, even dubious, given his past, no one at Fox and then ESPN foresaw?
So Monday, prior to ESPN’s Skins-Bears, Moss ripped Brown as both extremely talented and extremely selfish, thus now extremely expendable. He asked aloud who is holding Brown accountable for Brown.
Thus, we were left to think “Look who’s talking,” as if Moss’ unaccountable conduct didn’t help pave that path for the likes of an Antonio Brown. But self-awareness is often at extreme odds with self-entitlement.
They don’t live in the real world, not ours, anyway, not the one in which we’re held accountable for our sins. We’re just supposed to provide unconditional devotion and PSL fees to the NFL.
Bill Belichick may owe NFL fans his living, but no explanations. One-way street. Like so many players, he demands respect in exchange for none. He’s entitled.
Announcers bring the noise
I’ve tried, so help me, but this is the mandate: Game telecasts will be slathered — drowned — in verbal excess no matter how foolish, annoying and senseless.
Why? If I knew you’d be the second to know. Spin the dial:
CBS’ Rich Gannon during Sunday’s Jets-Pats said, “Belichick doesn’t tolerate quarterbacks who don’t take care of the football.” Strong stuff. What coach does? But who, other than Tom Brady, has Belichick had to tolerate the last 19 seasons?
CBS’ SEC analyst Gary Danielson was cherished for speaking plain football. Then he began to parrot modern nonsense, thus players who were once “open” are, as he said three times in consecutive sentences during Saturday’s Notre Dame-Georgia, “out in space.”
NBC’s Sunday night NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth was valued as a concise observer. He didn’t deliver speeches or player assessments after every play. He does now, relegating himself to background noise. Why would he copy Moose Johnston?
Fox’s Ronde Barber is another thrown into the analyst mix apparently with instructions to say far more than needs to be heard. He finally ended Sunday’s Giants-Bucs filibuster with, “And so the Tampa Bay kicking-game woes continue, again.”
And Fox’s reprised “novel” idea of teaming Tiki Barber with Ronde and Kenny Albert was a repeat of last season’s feckless gimmick, more intrusion than inclusion. Don’t know if it attracted additional viewers, but it annoyed existing ones.
Then again, when Fox promotes Michael Vick as a panelist on one of its FS1 NFL shows, does it think the intelligent are moved to tune in or to shake their heads in pathetic wonder?
Giant farce from Francesa
Some perform without a net, others without a conscience. Thus credit Mike Francesa with this: He never tires of being a transparent rotten guesswork artist, a pompous, condescending, self-inflated bag of wrong-again swamp gas.
If Daniel Jones plays well Sunday, “Let’s Be Honest” will claim to have discovered him in third grade. As is, chronicled by @backafttathis, Francesa in April said that having applied his expert examination of Jones while he played at Duke — fat chance — “He’s not a good athlete” and “does not have a good arm.”
He also pilloried the Giants as inept — “a laughingstock” — for selecting Jones with the sixth pick.
This week, as if he’d said nothing to the contrary, Francesa said Jones has a good arm.
ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” continues to violate the Geneva Convention. After Cleveland’s Yasiel Puig did his career usual — posing a double or triple into a single — Matt Vasgersian piped, “Have you ever seen a single hit that far!?”
Yeah, all the time, these days, Matt, especially from Puig whose “style” of play is featured in Rob Manfred’s “How To Have Fun Playing Baseball” campaign for kids.
Vasgersian explained that Puig “thought” it was gone. No foolin’. Is Vasgersian the last to know that we now see such indefensibly minimalist play every game?
Next, Alex Rodriguez rationalized it with, “It’s OK in July, but not in a pennant race in September.” Yeah, those July games don’t count.
A “Now See This!” ESPN graphic Monday night provided statistical proof that the Browns’ Baker Mayfield is a more accurate passer when he throws within 2.5 seconds of the snap.
In other words, this exhaustive research proved that shorter passes are easier to complete than longer ones. Who knew?