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Zapruder, Magruder ...


Charles Drago
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On the Fox Network's (go figure) football pre-game show last Sunday (November 11), former player and now sports commentator supreme Howie Long was pontificating on what has come to be known as "Spygate."

For all you U.K. pseudo-football fans: The three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were charged, earlier in the season, for violating league rules which prohibit the video taping of opponents' coaches as they send hand signals to the field. The resulting scandal earned its own "gate" label.

Now the Patriots are favored to go undefeated through the regular season and the playoffs -- an achievement accomplished just once, in 1972, by the Miami Dolphins.

The legendary coach of that team, Don Shula, is all over New England like a bad rash, claiming that their achievements this year forever will be tainted by Spygate's illegal taping.

Which prompted a frustrated Howie Long to opine, "Coach Shula should give all this filming and cheating nonsense a rest. After all, we're not talking about the Magruder Film here."

"That's the 'Zapruder Film,' Howie," said one of the other hosts.

"Whatever."

Congratulations to all of us for keeping history alive.

Charles

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Guest Gary Loughran
On the Fox Network's (go figure) football pre-game show last Sunday (November 11), former player and now sports commentator supreme Howie Long was pontificating on what has come to be known as "Spygate."

For all you U.K. pseudo-football fans: The three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were charged, earlier in the season, for violating league rules which prohibit the video taping of opponents' coaches as they send hand signals to the field. The resulting scandal earned its own "gate" label.

Now the Patriots are favored to go undefeated through the regular season and the playoffs -- an achievement accomplished just once, in 1972, by the Miami Dolphins.

The legendary coach of that team, Don Shula, is all over New England like a bad rash, claiming that their achievements this year forever will be tainted by Spygate's illegal taping.

Which prompted a frustrated Howie Long to opine, "Coach Shula should give all this filming and cheating nonsense a rest. After all, we're not talking about the Magruder Film here."

"That's the 'Zapruder Film,' Howie," said one of the other hosts.

"Whatever."

Congratulations to all of us for keeping history alive.

Charles

Charles ,

There is so much more to this that is pertinent. I'm a Dolphins fan and have to endorse Coach Shula on this one. Belichick has a team that can win championship rings without that extra help and yes Shula has suggested that a Bondesque asterisk be placed on their records. Here is why it's pertinent.

The hierarchy of the NFL have decided to punish The Pats and Belichick. Something in the region of $500,000 and a first rounder (conditional). But what of the evidence - what of the magruder films. Where are they? Destroyed, I believe was the commishes [Goodell] response. Who has seen them? not nearly enough to trust in the decision, a lot of owners and coaches are still in the dark as to what exactly was contained on the films used by the Pats. In fact there may only be Belichick and Goodell know - and only Belichick who really knows all.

On Goodells command all the evidence was destroyed, the results of the investigation remain unpublished {in fact can't ever be now produced since the evidence is gone}. The scandal has disappeared quicker than TO on a slant. It can never be resurrected. No-one knows the extent of the illegalities and never will know, truthfully. This isn't a tipped pitch. It's wholesale cheating and cover-up. A familiar pattern.

And it's not sour grapes.

Gary

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Gary,

We're not in total disagreement by any means.

Let's apply some good old fashioned deep political analysis to this deal.

Why were the confiscated films destroyed and the Patriots' punishment limited? Perhaps certain of the team's highest echelon representatives made it clear to the National Football League that, should this matter be pursued, evidence of league-wide cheating would be brought forward, thus reducing the NFL to a "sport" that should be taken as seriously as is professional wrestling.

Even deeper analysis: Place Spygate within the context of the NFL's current multi-billion dollar plans to expand to the European and perhaps even Japanese markets. How better to get ahead of the cheating curve (and make no mistake, the NFL has known about these activities for years) than by staging -- that's right, staging -- an incident in collusion with Patriots ownership? Get it over and done with now. Deflect all future suspicions and inquiries.

Keep in mind that Patriots owner Robert Kraft has the deepest of pockets, the broadest of shoulders, and arguably the only team in the leage strong enough, in terms of market share and reputation as well as financial resources, to take the hit and move on having sustained relatively minimal damage.

Deeper still: Patriots quaterback Tom Brady joins Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning as one of the two marquee players in the NFL. For fans of American basketball, you should recall how Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are rightfully credited with restoring their sport's national media viability.

No Brady and Manning, no Europe and Japan. It's that simple.

What Spygate does is help set up the ultimate battle: Brady and team as Darth Vader and the Empire v. Manning and team as ... well, whatever the good guys were called in "Star Wars." It's the oldest, surest game in the book: Evil v. Good. And it's the key to drawing and keeping audiences in thrall.

(Brady dates supermodels and fathers a child out of wedlock with one of them. Manning is the golden boy/family man who gets all the commercial endorsements. Oooh!)

Is all of this beyond reason?

For American football fans: Recall the Superbowl between the "unbeatable" Baltimore Colts of the old NFL and the Joe Namath-led, upstart New York Jets of the now vanished American Football League. The merger of the leagues was set for the next year, but the NFL had it all over the AFL in terms of quality teams and players.

The only way for the merger to be marketable as a truly competitive uber-League would be if the Jets upset the Colts.

Namath -- the Tom Brady of his swinging, bachelor pad time -- did just that.

But was the victory clean?

I believe it was Bubba Smith, the all-star defensive player for the Colts, who claimed that the game was thrown by his team. "I can prove it," he told chat show host Dick Cavett in later years.

"Not once in the entire game -- not once -- did our quarterback throw to a primary receiver. End of story."

For those of you not familiar with the game: Trust me, the ONLY explanation for this is that the Baltimore quarterback was bagging the game.

"I don't care how good the Jets' defense was," said Bubba. "It wasn't that good."

Take THAT, all who would believe that our forays into deep politics have no greater applications!

Charles

Edited by Charles Drago
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Excellent post, Charles!

It's alleged that after Broadway Joe made his famous "guarantee"

of victory, he murmured off camera -- "As long as they don't

change their defensive signals."

Don Shula coached those Colts. Later, as coach of the Miami Dolphins,

Shula's team led the NFL in the least number of penalties year

after year.

Was that due to the discipline he instilled in his Dolphins -- or a form of

pay-off for throwing SB3?

When I was 9 years old I used to watch roller derby and pretend it was

real.

As a 52 year old, I like to attend Oakland Raiders' games and pretend

it's real. After the blatant corruption of the Pittsburgh-Seattle SB a couple

of years ago -- that task gets harder and harder.

And as far as Tom Brady and the Patriots go -- it was a fumble!! :angry:

:D

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But was the victory clean?

I believe it was Bubba Smith, the all-star defensive player for the Colts, who claimed that the game was thrown by his team. "I can prove it," he told chat show host Dick Cavett in later years.

"Not once in the entire game -- not once -- did our quarterback throw to a primary receiver. End of story."

For those of you not familiar with the game: Trust me, the ONLY explanation for this is that the Baltimore quarterback was bagging the game.

Can't trust you on that Charles. Nor Bubba Smith.

http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/history/boxscore/sbiii

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Michael,

Kudos for not trusting me or anyone else who asks you to.

But the stats you offer don't address Smith's claim. By "primary receiver" he meant, of course, the number one intended receiver on any given pass play.

In other words, while talented receivers did catch many balls that day, Smith maintains that not once were they the primary intended recipients of the throws.

They were the second or third looks (choices, lads).

No one is disputing the number of receptions.

What is under discussion is the relative quality of those catches.

Just 17 receptions on 41 attempts.

And 4 picks (interceptions, lads)!!!

And 7 total points -- none of which were scored in the first three quarters.

So far, you've provided nothing to refute Smith's claim.

Huddle up, my friend.

Coach Drago

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But the stats you offer don't address Smith's claim. By "primary receiver" he meant, of course, the number one intended receiver on any given pass play.

In other words, while talented receivers did catch many balls that day, Smith maintains that not once were they the primary intended recipients of the throws.

Okay Coach Drago. Can you find me a source on the quote you attributed to Bubba Smith on the Dick Cavett Show? There has been much written about the possibility of a fix in Super Bowl III. Has any sportswriter anywhere mentioned the quote you attributed to Smith?

In his book Kill, Bubba, Kill Smith wrote that the game had been "set up" for the Jets in order to boost the AFL's credibility. Did he mention anything about primary receivers?

In a later Playboy interview, Smith said: "That Superbowl game, which we lost by nine points, was the critical year. The game just seemed odd to me. Everything was out of place. I tried to rationalize that our coach, Dan Shula, got out-coached, but that wasn't the case. I don't know if any of the teammates were in on the fix." In that interview, did he mention anything about primary receivers? Did he single out Earl Morrall as you did?

So far, you've provided nothing to refute Smith's claim.

Huddle up, my friend. Coach Drago

Actually Charles, the burden of proof is on you, not me. You could begin by showing me evidence that Smith said what you claimed he did. And even if he did say it, that doesn't make it so. How could I be expected to prove that the best backup quarterback in the NFL threw to a primary receiver at least once? How could you ever prove he didn't? I do know he missed Orr in the end zone at the end of the first half.

You reproduced all those stats. What do they prove? Certainly not that Earl Morrall fixed the game. You'll need more than that. Has there ever been another member of that losing Colts team or the coaching staff even hint that Morrall threw the game?

For those of you not familiar with the game: Trust me, the ONLY explanation for this is that the Baltimore quarterback was bagging the game.

Charles, there are plenty of other explanations.

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Michael,

The Smith/Cavett exchange is from memory. I remain confident in that recollection, and I'll search the Internet for confirmation.

I'll also reach out to Cavett, who is a friend of a friend. And if anyone within range of this Forum has a more direct method, please do chime in.

But even if I find corroboration for my memory, you likely would argue that Smith couldn't really know.

Hike!

Charles

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Excellent post, Charles!

It's alleged that after Broadway Joe made his famous "guarantee"

of victory, he murmured off camera -- "As long as they don't

change their defensive signals."

Don Shula coached those Colts. Later, as coach of the Miami Dolphins,

Shula's team led the NFL in the least number of penalties year

after year.

Was that due to the discipline he instilled in his Dolphins -- or a form of

pay-off for throwing SB3?

When I was 9 years old I used to watch roller derby and pretend it was

real.

As a 52 year old, I like to attend Oakland Raiders' games and pretend

it's real. After the blatant corruption of the Pittsburgh-Seattle SB a couple

of years ago -- that task gets harder and harder.

And as far as Tom Brady and the Patriots go -- it was a fumble!! :angry:

:D

And as far as Jack Tatum on Darryl Stingley is concerned -- it was a clean hit.

And as far as Ben Dreith's roughing the passer call is concerned -- it was a legit penalty.

But who has time for grudges?

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Which prompted a frustrated Howie Long to opine, "Coach Shula should give all this filming and cheating nonsense a rest. After all, we're not talking about the Magruder Film here."

Charles

Not bad, Charles. The best quote I've heard from a gridiron player was the one made back in the seventies, just prior to the introduction of astroturf:

Reporter: How do you think you will perform on astroturf?

Player: Dunno. I ain't never smoked astroturf.

Ah, the seventies. You had to be there.

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Guest Stephen Turner

Now just remind me, this is the game where all the combatents :pop dress up in suits of armour to play, what is essentially, a game of rugby?

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Guest Stephen Turner
Pretty much.

Check out the stats for average weight of offensive and defensive linesmen.

Check out the sprint times for wide receivers and cornerbacks.

Do the physics.

Take off your pads.

Stephen Hawking, here you come.

Coach Drago

Charles, i'll take your word for it. :pop

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Excellent post, Charles!

It's alleged that after Broadway Joe made his famous "guarantee"

of victory, he murmured off camera -- "As long as they don't

change their defensive signals."

Don Shula coached those Colts. Later, as coach of the Miami Dolphins,

Shula's team led the NFL in the least number of penalties year

after year.

Was that due to the discipline he instilled in his Dolphins -- or a form of

pay-off for throwing SB3?

When I was 9 years old I used to watch roller derby and pretend it was

real.

As a 52 year old, I like to attend Oakland Raiders' games and pretend

it's real. After the blatant corruption of the Pittsburgh-Seattle SB a couple

of years ago -- that task gets harder and harder.

And as far as Tom Brady and the Patriots go -- it was a fumble!! :angry:

:D

And as far as Jack Tatum on Darryl Stingley is concerned -- it was a clean hit.

And as far as Ben Dreith's roughing the passer call is concerned -- it was a legit penalty.

But who has time for grudges?

I do! Rooting against is almost as satisfying as rooting for.

Of course, my perspective as a fan of the Raiders, the GS Warriors and

the SF Giants leaves me with more opportunity for the former than the

latter.

:blink:

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