Home > media, sports > New York Sportswriter Counts His Chickens before They’re Hatched

New York Sportswriter Counts His Chickens before They’re Hatched

Thursday, December 9, 2010, 13:35 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Hubris. That is the only way to explain the actions of a certain New York Times columnist so sure of the validity of his own biases that he wrote—not merely as a building block to be completed later, but for actual publication before the fact—a column about how the New England Patriots’ Monday night loss to the New York Jets completed the disintegration process that supposedly began with the so-called Spygate incident. Or something. There was only one problem. The Patriots didn’t lose, to say the least.

The original Times headline — “The Day the Patriots Empire Began to Crumble” — certainly didn’t reflect the team’s 45-3 massacre of the Jets on “Monday Night Football.” Earlier links to William Rhoden’s piece with that headline were now redirected to a much-revised story based on the game’s outcome: “Patriots’ Romp Stirs Questions and Not Just for Jets.”

Oops. But not one to give up on a preferred narrative, however tattered, Rhoden’s second version of the story tries a new angle: OK, the Pats are pretty good and head coach Bill Belichick is a genius even without help from videotape of the other team’s coaches, but if they don’t win the Super Bowl this winter, will it be because of Spygate?

The column (which I won’t honor with a link, though you can get to it from the article quoted above) really does come across as that ridiculous. It feels like Rhoden is trying to jam the square peg of a grudge he can’t give up into the round hole of reality. You can just imagine him watching the game, turning a little paler and muttering, “Oh shit,” with each additional Patriots touchdown, knowing all the while that his original column is turning into Exhibit A for New Yorkers’ unwarranted pomposity. It was a Dewey-Defeats-Truman moment, one that was almost as embarrassing as the game itself, and all for a team that plays in New Jersey. Oh, the indignity.

Want to know what I think of the supposed demise of the “Patriots Empire?” I’ll tell you. I haven’t a clue. Maybe they won’t win another Super Bowl in my lifetime. Or maybe they’ll win this one and the next four after that. What I do know is this: if a team isn’t good enough, no amount of video footage of some opposing assistant coach picking his nose will bring them a championship, just as lack of such footage won’t somehow make all the other teams better.

Just ask the Jets.

(Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.)

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