Tom Brady and What We Tell Our Children

By now, all of America has heard of Tom Brady and the deflated footballs of Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Of all of the hot air that has been spewed on the topic, from retired athletes on ESPN who have taken one too many blows to the head and don’t have a ring to show for it, to nerds on Meet the Press who tend to keep to the croquet circuit, and the late night talk show hosts who have staffs of writers feeding their lines into teleprompters—of all the nonsense and bullshit—the one comment that has bothered me the most is, what do we tell the children? At first, I thought this was utter nonsense.


What do we tell the children? How about we tell the 22% of children living in homes below the poverty line that instead of feeding them, we are going to devote an inordinate amount of resources to a negligible decrease in air pressure in footballs in an uncompetitive 45-7 game? How about we tell young men that how you throw around a woman matters less to the billion-dollar suits than how you prepare the ball you throw around on Sundays?


But as this quagmire progressed, and the billable hours racked up, and a wishy-washy report came out, I thought: what a great opportunity this is to teach our children very important lessons. That the story of Tom Brady and his Deflated Footballs (but really—we can’t even prove that they were deflated now, can we?) can serve as an example of what America can be, at its best and its worst. That the America we want to live in is one that celebrates success, and does not vilify it. That the America we want to live in is one that does not embrace individuals who make excuses for their own failures, but rather encourages each person to strive to be his or her best. That in our America, we believe in fairness of the justice system, and that no person is sentenced, quartered, tarred and feathered—until the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that he is so deserving of that punishment. These are the values that separate America from the rest of the world. If football truly wants to be America’s game, then it needs to be the game of the great America, not the sad America.


Children of America, these are your lessons:


That the America we want to live in is one that celebrates success, and does not vilify it. If I had children, I would explain to them the American dream is still alive. Look at how Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft pick, destined to ride the bench before retiring to a job selling life insurance, was able to become the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Kids, this teaches you to always do your homework and be prepared, because when opportunity knocks, you have to be ready otherwise you will lose your chance at greatness. The more success you achieve (the first, second, third, and fourth Super Bowl, or perhaps the garage full of Super Bowl MVP trophies), the more important it is to handle that success with grace, humility, and dignity, like Tom Brady. Recognize, like Tom does, that the most important part of your life is your family, and you put their privacy and well being ahead of anything else.


That the America we want to live in is one that does not embrace individuals who make excuses for their own failures, but rather encourages each person to strive to be his or her best. Here is the ugly truth: not everybody has the same work ethic as you’ll have. Not everybody will be able to be as great as you are. They will look for excuses. They will try to tear down what you have built, disparage your accomplishments, and bring you down to their level. These people are sad and desperate, and they will try in every way possible to justify their own failures not by correcting their own actions (not by working harder or getting smarter), but instead by fabricating reasons for why they can’t be as good as you (you had other advantages, you had a privilege they didn’t have, you achieved through nefarious means). They won’t understand, kids, that your success came through your own blood, sweat, and tears. They won’t understand that you have crafted the rules to give them the advantage—superior draft picks—or held you back so that everyone could be on the same level, regardless of ability—like salary caps—and that despite this generosity, they continue to fail. That you should somehow apologize, or be punished, for their failure, is utter nonsense. Fight for an America that rewards success and corrects failure. It is important to give others a helping hand, but do that by raising them up, not by bringing yourself down.


That in our America, we believe in fairness of the justice system, and that no person is sentenced, quartered, tarred and feathered—until the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that he is so deserving of that punishment. Kids, only dictators like Vladimir Putin use cronies to conduct investigations and then label them as independent, and only terrorists like ISIS have show-trials with pre-determined results. We don’t want to be the Kim Jung Un of the world and feed our uncle to the dogs. The only thing that separates America from becoming a failed state is our justice system, and this justice system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Kids, this system recognizes an important point: that the only thing worse than assassinating someone’s character by accusing them of committing a crime they didn’t do is to then force them to serve the sentence. If anyone is going to take your reputation, your property, or your freedom, they damn well better be able to prove it in clear and convincing terms in broad daylight.


It is important, now more than ever, that parents sit down with their children and tell them the story of Tom Brady and the Deflated Footballs. The future of America depends on it.


 Note: This guest post was written by Andrew Bridson. Once the Editor figures out how to put his name on the Author list, her name will no longer errantly appear where Andrew’s should.

Our Patriots Save the Date went viral today

Holy moley.

So, my fiancé gave me free reign to do whatever for our Save the Dates. There’s your mistake. If you’re marrying a girl who was raised in a football-obsessed, competitive, New England family, something Patriots will end up in the wedding. It could be as small as people tossing the pigskin on the venue’s lawn.

But, we love laughter. We love to make people laugh. My college superlative was Most Likely to Make You Laugh.

I needed to up the game for my wedding.

So, I designed our Save the Dates from the popular meme of Bill Belichick with his usual deadpan face, and the text “Let’s Party”. I replaced the normal block-like font with a thinner, more classic font, used my limited Photoshop skills to edit out logos etc. We thought they were fun, and that even our friends who were Giants and Seahawks fans would laugh. (Ha ha, you have to look at Belichick’s face taped to your fridge until October).

I was supposed to buy stamps and send them out on Saturday. I procrastinate. I feel like a bad, lazy bride, so I figured I’d do something and sent a photo of our Save the Dates to the New England Patriots on Facebook.

Then, it blew up. Most people thought they were funny (actually 99%). Then you had the random future serial killers who were like RAH I HATE EVERYTHING HAPPINESS AND JOY AND LAUGHTER SUCK. Oh well. That’s the internet for ya, I suppose.

Thank you so much to all the media outlets who have picked up our Save the Date. We truly hope you got a good laugh. But don’t crash our wedding. Seriously, there’s a fire code. :)

Why Aaron Hernandez SHOULD be allowed to watch the Super Bowl

Michele McPhee broke a story for ABC News yesterday that former New England Patriot TE Aaron Hernandez, currently on trial for murder, would not be allowed to watch the Super Bowl in his solitary confinement cell today.

While I understand why prisoners are not allowed televisions, cell phones, or to read newspapers in solitary, I actually think they should allow Hernandez to watch the Super Bowl. Why? It’s simple:

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Addressing the (Underinflated) Elephant in the (Locker) Room

I’ve been asked so many times over this past week or two about my opinion on Deflate-Gate. Can I first just say how stupid it is that anything that the media deems remotely “scandalous” now deserves the -gate suffix? It’s irritating.

Anyhow, I’ve expressed my feelings over time in 140 characters or less. I’ve laughed at some memes, called people out when they weren’t thinking rationally about the whole thing, but I haven’t written a blog about it. Well, for those asking, here you go:

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Getting back to running after the flu

Has anyone else gotten absolutely laid-out sick this winter? It seems something is going around – some sort of flu/cold hybrid that is resistant to the flu vaccine. Anyhow, I got it. I got it BAD. And I couldn’t run, much less get up off of the couch, because everything hurt. The medicines I was taking weren’t working to clear up my awful sinuses, so my head felt like it was being squeezed by a vice.

Have you been there? It’s terrible. And then, you fall out of your routine. You’re tired while you’re sick, and then when you’re on the mend, you’re tired from being sick. Meanwhile none of your responsibilities have gone away. As soon as you feel better, it’s back to work, school, etc. Heck, if you’re a parent, you don’t get the luxury of any days off. So your routine suffers. And you’re miserably tired, just trying to catch up on all the sleep you missed.

Plus, if you were sick over the holidays like I was, you still eat all the deliciousness put in front of you. You can’t move or go anywhere, so why not eat your mother-in-law’s homemade peanut butter butterscotch fudge rice krispie treats? Speaking from personal experience. They’re incredible, by the way. SO incredible.

Anyhow, when your doctor forbids you to run or exercise, it breaks the routine. And then I always find that the other pieces fall too. Like diet.

Has this ever happened to you? How do you get yourself back on track?


In Defense of Rex Ryan

Let’s get this out of the way. I feel bad for Rex Ryan.

More on that later.

First, I wasn’t too thrilled with the Patriots for most of yesterday’s game. The offensive line, which seemed to have turned over a new leaf a few weeks ago, was right back to its old shenanigans. Also, the Jets defense was GOOD. Very good. Rex Ryan had our number, there. We allowed FOUR sacks in the first half. That is unacceptable.

But the Jets truly beat themselves here. They could have beat the Patriots. They really should have beat the Patriots. But after a third-down sack of Geno Smith, a random sideline argument between Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg, and a partially blocked Nick Folk field goal, the Jets had put the final nail in their own coffin. Actually, the nail in the coffin for the Jets was that the Patriots properly used their timeouts and were able to wind down the clock and have Brandon Bolden convert on a 3rd and 1.

The Jets seemed to be in great shape after Marcus Williams’ interception at the Patriots’ 30 with 7:18 left in the 4th quarter. On 3rd and 4, the Patriots blitzed and sacked Geno Smith for a 10 yard loss. The line of scrimmage was at the 42, well within kicker Nick Folk’s range. The sack brought the Jets back to the 52-yard line, the upper limit of Nick Folk’s range. Then they had to waste a timeout because the play clock was winding down, and they stink at clock management. At 4:38, the Jets wasted another timeout on a replay challenge. In the final 1:55, Rex would have no timeouts left.

Does Rex Ryan ever agree with his offensive coordinators? Remember Brian Schottenheimer? Rex Ryan likes a run offense. They have always done better with the run offense. They have fared poorly when they use the pass offense. Why they hire OCs with a different approach is beyond me. If you can’t develop a good QB, stick with the run.

Back to my first point. I feel bad for Rex Ryan. Yes, his clock management isn’t great. Yes, he does a lot of it to himself. The man is a great leader, however, as evidenced by the players who will constantly go to bat for him. His first year as head coach, he sought to remove players from the distractions they faced on and off the field, and moved the practices to SUNY Cortland, away from the media attention. He tries to develop team chemistry and loves his players. But his execution skills have lacked as a Head Coach. I do think he is a good coach, but he needs something to work with. I could be the most talented potter in the world, but if you have me use Play-Doh as opposed to Sculpey, it probably won’t result in a masterpiece. The talent is there but the material will cause some limitations. I truly believe that is the case with Rex Ryan. As a Patriots fan, I love beating him, and as a football fan, I hope we play against him again as a Head Coach, wherever that may be.