Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit Loops

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to issue his verdict into charges Bill Belichick and the Patriots illegally videotaped the hand signals of New York Jets' defensive coaches last Sunday. Since Belichick already issued an apology, not something he's big on, we can assume Goodell is pondering the issue of sentencing for the miscreant coach.

Frankly, that is a dilemma for Goodell. The wanton flaunting of a written league directive calls for stern justice, but finding a punishment to fit the crime is almost impossible. A fine? Belichick's got lots of money, and money is not really what drives the man. Take away some Patriots' draft picks? That's a problem for Belichick's future, and a Super Bowl today is worth many a draft pick tomorrow, no matter how one wins it.

Some fans around the country who really hate Belichick have suggested Goodell suspend him for a game or two. While humiliating and expensive, such a punishment wouldn't hinder the Pats too much. It's human nature to want to excel when the boss is away. Belichick's ways are so ingrained into the New England organization, they'd take years to erase. In the final analysis, the Pats could beat any other team in the AFC East without any coaches and no punter.

These punishments do not get at what really lies at the center of the criminal's motive-winning, the matter dearest to Belichick's heart. They also ignore the medieval concept of compensation. The Jets, as victims, deserve something for being mentally undressed by Belichick's video eyes.

Here's one solution to Goodell's problem. The Jets play the Pats again in Foxboro on December 16. The commissioner should rule that the Jets, for the entire game, are allowed to cheat. They can violate any rule they want that doesn't involve players' personal safety. Crackback blocks would still be a penalty, but false starts? Go ahead boys, take as many of 'em as you want.

With two months to prepare, the Jets surely could come up with more creative cheating than Belichick did. Center-eligible passes with the entire offensive line in motion. Twenty players in the huddle, not 12. The radio frequency for Tom Brady's helmet would transmit nothing but police calls in Guam.

That would be the biter bit indeed. Belichick would see how it feels to be on the other side of football fraud to have victory unfairly tak..... Ah, just a minute.

There is one problem with my proposed punishment. Even if Goodell did impose it on the Pats come December 12, I'd still take them and give the points anyway.


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