Sunday, February 3, 2008

God's Eyes Were Watching Them

First, my apologies to Zora Neale Hurston for playing off the title of her classic novel. But I am a happy man tonight.

I learned that sometimes cheaters do get what they deserve. I finished watching Super Bowl XLII (42 for you non-Romans), and the New England Patriots, instead of taking another step toward NFL immortality, go down as the greatest team to not win the championship. It's a bit like being named Miss Congeniality at the Miss America pageant.

However, the Patriots should never have been allowed to get that close to a perfect season. That possibility should have been eliminated after the first game of the year, when the Patriots were found to have videotaped defensive signals of their opponent. Instead of forfeiting that game, the Patriots were slapped on the wrist, fined a few bucks and a draft choice not quite as good as the one they got to keep.

Actually, the team gets to choose whether to give up a first-round choice or a second and third-round pick. That's a bit like asking a convicted felon if they would rather do five years at Leavenworth or a month at summer camp.

The league, in the guise of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, caved to the wishes of the networks and possibly the owners. It's apparently okay to punish individual players but not entire teams. Now there is talk that the Patriots may have done something similar, videotaping the final practice of the St. Louis Rams prior to those two teams meeting in Super Bowl 36. The talk may or may not be true, but there is an old saying that "where there's smoke there's fire."

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