New England Patriots up to same old tricks

Ladies and gentlemen, the New England Patriots are at it again.

As if it wasn’t bad enough they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 in the game of the season by a controversial catch that wasn’t, prompting another surefire, off-season look at the “what is a catch?” rule, they ripped their hearts out yet again the following week by signing Steelers lifer and Pittsburgh’s former favorite son, James Harrison.

The frighteningly svelte Harrison played in Pittsburgh for fourteen seasons.  He has 80 career sacks with the Steelers.  Although he has slowed down some over the years (he’s 39 and hasn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2010), he’s still a physical specimen.  The guy looks like he could leg press Heinz Field without breaking a sweat.  Ever the consummate Steeler, he will now be wearing a Patriots uniform for the remainder of the season.  It’s enough to make Steelers fans throw up in their Terrible Towel.

The question here is not whether Harrison will make an impact.  It’s whether the Patriots won the upper hand.

The answer is… they did.  They almost always do.

The New England Patriots have become masters of the waiver wire, picking up league veterans who still have something to prove.  While Harrison may not be the beast he once was, while he may have little left in the proverbial tank, at least he has the Steelers thinking about things.  Even at 39, an inspired James Harrison is nothing any opponent wants to see in January.

Steelers fans feel betrayed, even though theirs is the organization that cut Harrison.  It’s as if it Ben Roethlisberger ran to the top of that skyscraper screaming “Noooooo!” at the top of his lungs as Tom Brady flew off in that fancy, million-dollar helicopter with Demi Moorrison choosing the far more handsome option and Pittsburgh knowing they’re about to show him a damn good time.  The Patriots offered him an indecent proposal he couldn’t refuse.  Heck, he and Brady even posed all chummy on social media a day after the deal.

I have this suspicious feeling that Harrison, Brady and Belichick have already spoken a few times about the Steelers’ playbook.  What’s worse is so does Pittsburgh.  Even if they haven’t, the Steelers are losing just enough sleep over the fact that they might be.  This is SpyGate legit-style.  As if the Pats weren’t in the Steelers’ heads enough with that last loss, signing Harrison sealed the deal.  We’ll see just how much in a few weeks when the two teams [are slated to] play each other again with a lot more on the line.

This Harrison move might be much ado about nothing but it’s already something as it has every Steelers fan mumbling “Fuck New England” under their breath.

The week after Pats-Pitt, New England benefitted from another controversial call overturned, this time against the Buffalo Bills.  What appeared to be a Kelvin Benjamin touchdown was negated.  The Pats went on to win in a rout, 37-16.  Perhaps Bills running back LeSean McCoy said it best when he told reporters “They always find a way to get it right for the Patriots.”

The Patriots have won five Super Bowls in the past fifteen years.  They seem to get the better of everyone, the currently irrelevant Giants excluded.  And before you argue that the Pats gets a favorable shake from the league, keep in mind this is a team that was fined $500,000 for Spygate and had what appears to be this year’s league MVP suspended for another controversy of the same last name.

This is what shrewd, winning organizations do.  Having grown up a Red Sox fan, I saw countless former Red Sox players head over to the Evil Empire because for the longest time, you had to go there to win.  The Steelers obviously have a proud history AND a recent history of winning but no NFL team can compare to the recent success of New England.  In a league that bends over backwards to promote parity, they are the exception to the rule.  Any aging vet knows by going there, he has a chance to win.  A good chance.

Like them or not, and the majority of you probably don’t, signing Harrison was a slick move with low risk and little cost.  Even if he doesn’t play a down, which trust me, he will, he’ll still have given other teams in the conference, particularly New England’s main rival, something extra to think about.

And that gives New England one giant leg up on their competition.

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12 Replies to “New England Patriots up to same old tricks”

  1. Hey Rev,
    It is my opinion that the league should seriously consider correcting the rule on what constitutes a touchdown catch. The Steeler player had caught the ball and maintained control through a football move and broke the plain of the goal line with said control. Touchdown! Why is the rule different for a receiver’s catch and a hand off to the running back? The answer my friend is there should be no difference. Needless to say, but I will be rooting for the Steelers.

  2. I literally HATE Boston sports with a passion as you well know…But how can you not admire what Belichick and Brady have done over the last two decades? Players have come and go, but has a two-man punch…With only one of them actually being on the field, ever been this effective over such a sustained period of time? It’s fucking insane.–f51gO8

  3. Deac…

    This is a rule that I think the league will once again look at in the off-season. It’s another case of paralysis by over-analysis.

    Look at what that call affected. It may very well have affected who wins the Super Bowl.

    I’m not sure why this is so difficult for them to figure out but I’ll tell you this. The way the rule stands now, as I watched that play and it went to replay, I knew they were bringing it back.

  4. The reviews should only be limited to challenges. The refs are watching @78rpm and the booth is @33rpm………Pardon the old vinyl reference. Goodell stated he wants a faster game. Notice during non-crucial periods of game time refs move the chains for the offense when reasonably close to a first down. Shanked punts are rounded off to the nearest marker. Reviews are too long and often subjective.

    Officiating is near chaos. Remember the Immaculate Reception with Franco Harris? They used replay in that instance. Refs were to timid to make a call. The only call the made was to an NFL official in the press box.

  5. A good vinyl reference is always welcome, Bets, you know that.

    And yea, it was only a matter of time before the Immaculate Reception was compared to something of this sort.

    I’m not too sure Goodell can have both faster and safer. And if by faster, he’s referring to the officiating, he should probably use the word efficient. That, along with being effective, would pretty much make us all happy.

  6. One of the few mistakes this franchise has made was trading away Jimmy Garapolo with an incumbent 41 year old, even if he is the GOAT. Not sure what happened there, but sure seemed like an un-Patriotiotic move as they didn’t really seem to get fair value in return.

  7. They had to move Jimmy G or franchise him next year. Kraft ain’t gonna pay a backup 24mil or sign him to a mega contract. Besides, I think keeping him around mighta gave Brady some anxiety. It was the smartest move they could make.

    To the skeptics that think a 41year old qb in GQ shape can’t cut in todays game……..Oakland’s George Blanda was effective into his 50’s.

  8. Bleed…

    Jimmy G was about to get paid and the Pats didn’t have the money to keep both him and that old guy they currently have at QB so they decided to move him. The couldn’t keep both at that price.

    I can’t help but compare it to what Denver had going on when they chose to draft Luck and move Manning. Manning ended up winning a Bowl in Denver. Luck currently can’t throw.

    It’s all a crap shoot. Sure, they look like they may have panicked considering how Jimmy G finished the season but time will tell. I’m not all that convinced quite yet they didn’t make the right move.

    After all, the Pats are poised to win another championship and SF might not even re-sign the kid.

  9. Bets…

    I’m with you on this one.

    Keep Brady’s uni clean and see what he can do. The guy friggin’ won MVP this year… or at least he’s about to.

  10. I wasn’t aware of the money side of it. Taking that into account it makes a bit more sense. Too soon to truly know yet but it sure feels a little like keeping Farve and trading away Rodgers.

    As long as Brady keeps producing, I suppose you can’t blame them. Dude is a God in Boston. Father time is undefeated but it sure would be cool to see Tom play at this level for another 5 years or so and validate the move.

  11. Yeah, Bleed, I think any Rodgers-Jimmy G comparisons are way premature.

    On a lesser scale, this situation is far more like what went on in Tampa when the Bucs had to release Mike Glennon because he was slated to make coin that contract year.

    Jimmy G was a solid back-up QB or what I like to call insurance policy. For a while, he was a guy who knew the Pats playbook that they could keep on the cheap. They could plug him in any time Tom Brady was accused of fiddling with a football.

    Once it came time to get paid, they had to let him go.

    People have doubted the moves this organization has made before. And they’ve been wrong.

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