3 Dumb Things That Happened This Week
By TJ Hatter
One year ago I got my car. I hate cars. I lived overseas in Scotland and Israel and Cambridge and have lived in the shadow of New York City all my life. I am well aware that public transportation and walking are far healthier alternatives than relying on this hunk of junk to get to where I want to go. Furthermore, because I've spent so much time on car dependent Long Island, I am acutely aware that these aren't loveable horses you name, nor are they love seats that transport you to your destination. They are death traps that move.
So I took the instrument of my impending death to the dealer to be serviced this weekend while I was writing this column. And another thing, an auto mechanic is one of the last legal professions, (unless you're in Nevada) that promise to do things for you for cash only. They're about as trustworthy as their counterparts that you encounter at the same street corner. It's just that less grease is involved in the latter.
So the debut 3 Dumb Things That Happened In The NFL This Week debuted way too early. Because this past week hit the trifecta of stupid, touching each level of major football in it's own moronic way. Once again, I could write about the Team in Washington and their stupid this week, but I've done that and frankly, I can do it again next week and the week after and dear God, how do you people survive rooting for this franchise? At least Cleveland is sympathetic... usually. Anyway, these three are still more stupid than that story. Yes, really.
The Original Story From Cleveland: Does everyone associated with this organization have a clause inserted into their contract that they have to do a few stupid things a year? Is there a bonus associated with doing stupid things? Seriously, that would make Rob Chudzinski's firing make a lot more sense. He just quietly did his job to the best of his ability. We can't have that in Cleveland! More dumpster fire level stupid is required! So, out of absolutely nowhere, Mike Pettine, new Browns Head Coach/Manziel bartender, in an attempt to distinguish himself from his patron, Rex Ryan, brought up the fact that Bill Bellichek might have gotten the Jets playbook via Nick Saban. Apparantly Rex handed out playbooks more frequently than he filmed foot fetish videos with his wife. This is next-level trolling. Even the biggest of meatheads learns how the media works after a few years as a coordinator in New York. Pettine knows what time of year this is. He knows how Sportscenter works and he knows that this is a story that will get big play among keyboard warriors like me. The only reason to let this out is to bite the hand that fed him, which is the same reason he took a lateral move to Buffalo last season and, through sheer Peter Principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle) found himself as Johnny Manziel's caddy for the next few seasons, until one or both of them flame out.
Reaction from Rex Ryan: Because he's in New York, there is no question that Ryan had to respond or be hounded by the 24/7 insatiable beast that is the local media that NY Coach/Manager/GM must deal with. His response was classic Rexy, a bit of flippant bravado and entertaining soundbites. But there is a legitimate question as to why, in the notoriously paranoid NFL, Rex is handing out playbooks in such a relaxed matter. It's a rather small point and Pettine is being petty by bringing it up, but it is curious to say the least. It's also odd that Ryan and Saban would have that degree of interaction, particularly in a business that is notoriously cliquish where internal rivalries flourish. Unlike a lot of the stories that crop up when you're a figure in New York, this one was actually interesting and noteworthy. If for no other reason that it shows that Ryan is less neurotic than most of his contemporaries.
Reaction from Saban & Belichick: There is utterly no reason to take either of them at their word on this or any other issue. These two are looking for every single advantage they possibly can. They have no problem fudging the facts to get ahead and honestly, they don't care about anything other than football and winning. In this business, that's the bottom line. The denial has all the credibility of a toddler denying it ate the candy while the wrapper sits next to him in his crib. Honestly, even if Saban didn't send a copy of the playbook to Belichick, it wouldn't change the way we think about either of them. That is to say, we know that they are vaguely sociopaths that care only about winning and will do anything that brings them closer to that goal. Even if it's something as petty as looking at the Jets playbook. Particularly on offense. Come on guys, it's not like you needed an extra advantage on that side of the ball. Though, in the future, do us all a favor and let us know when you're doing this so I can pick your defense up in my fantasy league.