Fake News is Alive and Well in Sports
I gotta laugh.
Fake news is alive and well in sports as it has been in the news.
Meaning, when the actual event differs from the media, they are never accountable.
Prior to the incredibly over-hyped week four return of the great Tom Brady to New England, all we read and heard was the deep determination of Brady to embarrass his long-time coach Bill Belichick.
Brady was primed to roll up the score on the villain who had the audacity to allow the QB to depart, sign with Tampa Bay, and win a Super Bowl, thus exposing the coach as an utter fool.
Now, the much-heralded return to the scene of six Super Bowl triumphs, and the chance to the show the coach, on his home turf, who really was responsible for those trophies.
Brady vs Pats
Guess what folks?
They did it as a team.
For 20 years they combined, along with the others on the 50-plus man squad, to dominate the NFL.
Oh yes, the game of the ages.
How can any regular-season game the first week of October ever be the game of the ages?
So, in a contest that didn’t go the way of the media’s narratives, the World Champions needed a late field goal to edge the team rebuilding with a rookie quarterback, 19-17.
Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass, the rookie, Mac Jones fired two, and threw for more yards than #12.
Rookie Mac Jones
So what does that all mean?
It simply means the Brady did his job as the Bucs beat the Patriots. Tom Brady led his team to the comeback score after trailing, and that was it. He’s done this a million times.
It was never going to anything else, no matter how the game played out.
It had special emphasis, for sure, because the hero of the past decades of stellar performance was coming home for the first time.
Perhaps, not as significant because of the volume of success, but these homecomings have happened all the time.
So instead of reporting that the inflated build-up with all the revenge never really materialized, the media ran from that narrative, and acted as if they never suggested anything of the sort.
In reporting and interpreting the battle, they told how Brady got his 68 yards to pass Drew Brees as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards.
That milestone was never in question, Sixty-eight yards is nothing for Brady.
They also emphasized how he led the comeback top victory.
Is anyone shocked the World Champs beat a team building its roster, including a rookie at QB, who, by the way, shows impressive poise and promise.
But it was set up as the hero, Brady, against the bad guy, Belichick.
We all know, the player is adored by the fans, as he should be, not the coaches or the front office. Check out the Aaron
Rodgers soap-opera in Green Bay.
This saga was never about the Patriots rejecting Tom Brady and paying the price.
It was about New England no longer having the weapons for Brady to win. Remember 2019, when they lost to the Titans in the Wild Card matchup despite a 12-4 regular campaign.
It was about the club not wanting to pay him a load of cash that could be better spent on upgrading the roster.
It was about Brady, still extremely effective, to move on to a team with a chance to contend for a title.
It was a good plan for both sides.
It’s never easy to make a change like this after so much resounding success.
For both parties.
In fact, Belichick even made it possible for TE Ron Gronkowski to join Brady in Tampa.
That doesn’t sound like a coach trying to make things difficult for the man who was mostly responsible for all those championships.
As Bucs coach Bruce Arians said afterwards, “I don’t think Bill took a snap. It was his 22, playing their butts off, against our 22, playing their butts off”.
Why can’t we all just accept that Bill Belichick coached a team that captured an amazing six Super Bowl titles?
That Tom Brady quarterbacked all six. Brady has unquestionably become the greatest of all-time at his position.
The Glory Days
And he’s not done.
Belichick put together a roster, which was ever-changing, to achieve this enormous success.
At some point it comes to an end.
There are no villains.
The media, hardly enamored by the coach who gives them nothing in his press conferences by design, resent him.
Belichick refuses to analyze wins and losses publicly. That’s his right.
So “people close to the team”, who remain anonymous because they don’t have the courage to be quoted directly, feed the media negative stuff about the coach, who isn’t Mr. Popular anyway.
After the game
The media runs with it.
They embrace and overanalyze the comments by the quarterback, who has admitted his words are rarely the way he really feels.
But the media, not all, of course, but most, have an agenda.
And when that agenda isn’t really fact, they spin it differently, never admitting they may have been wrong.
It’s a far cry from the way I was taught at Syracuse University.
I’ve seen it for years in the way they handle the more serious aspects of world happenings.
I just happened to see it emerge again in the world of sports.
Last week. When it was Brady vs. Belichick in Foxboro.