Senator Specter is a Slimy Little Weasel

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It has been widely reported that several months ago, the New England Patriots were heavily penalized by the NFL for, in violation of NFL rules, videotaping the New York Jets' play calling in the first half of the first game of the season.

The NFL made clear that this action did not affect the outcome of any game this season. The question is, did it affect other games in previous seasons? Or did past similar actions affect games this season?

What has gone less reported is the fact that the New York Jets also previously videotaped the Patriots, and that many other teams have also done such videotaping. And what is clear is that the same information could be acquired without violating league rules, by using binoculars and pad-and-pencil, so the advantage of using videotape is at best marginal anyway.

But this has not prevented people from wondering aloud whether the Patriots "cheated" to beat other teams in past years, including the last two teams the Patriots beat to win their last Super Bowl in early 2005 (both from Pennsylvania): the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship, and the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.

But especially the Steelers.

It was a widely practiced activity, and it provided no significant advantage. But, a rule is a rule, and the league wanted to not only enforce the rule, but prevent it from happening again, so they fined the coach half a million dollars, the team a quarter million, and took away the team's first-round draft pick. It's the biggest penalty for a team or coach in league history.

So, most fans recognize the complaining for what it is: sour grapes. Even most Eagles fans and players just shrugged it off and joked about it.

But not the Steelers.

The coach, players, and fans of the Steelers have been very vocal in claiming that the Patriots "must have known" what plays were being called, and strongly implying that the Patriots "cheated," despite no evidence of this existing.

So, they want evidence. But how to get it? Or if you can't get it, at least imply that it might have existed at some point, but there's a coverup, in order to discredit your opponent and try to make yourself feel better about getting beat 41-27 in the title game?

Simple: have your Senator raise the issue in a congressional hearing. And do it two days before the Patriots are set to play in the Super Bowl for the title of Best Team in History, as the only team ever to go 19-0.

So that's what they did. Seantor Arlen Specter (R-Heinz Field) is trying to use whatever means at his disposal to discredit the Patriots' devastating win three years ago over the Steelers and their previously undefeated quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger (hey, I spelled that correctly from memory!).

It's really one of the more descpiable things I've seen in politics. Politics in sports is bad enough (cf. the steroids hearings), but trying to discredit one team in favor of your home team is just incredible. Is it too much to ask of our Senators to act like adults?

I have nightmares of Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) facing off against Senators Specter and Dick Lugar (R-IN) over the credibility of the Patriots' championships. Is this really what our Senate is supposed to be doing?

Granted, I am a lifelong Patriots fan. And it's not like Seahawks fans like the Steelers, either. But most people would recognize this as ridiculous no matter which team was their favorite.

My pick for tomorrow: Patriots over the Giants, 34-17.


waltman said:

We Pennsylvanians have known that Specter is a slimy little weasel for a long time. We just wish he'd used his magic weasely powers a few years ago when it was the Eagles playing the Pats in the Super Bowl. :)

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 2, 2008 11:09 AM.

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