I don’t care

That’s my official reaction to “deflate-gate.” (though I continue to appreciate the staying power of the “-gate” suffix for all major American scandals).

If the Patriots are found to have deliberately doctored the balls, there should be a punishment, of course. And as many have noted this week, it makes no sense for game balls to be in the possession of teams, rather than game officials.

Beyond that – whatevs, as the kids like to say (or at least they did in 2011. Don’t know whether they still do).

I will say this – the only thing more annoying than endless chatter about a relatively trivial issue is endless chatter about how trivial that issue really is. It’s the latter sin of which the generally pretty good Jorge Sedano was guilty this morning. For at least the first 30 minutes his stint filling in for Cowherd, Sedano repeatedly said that the deflated-balls scandal is stupid, ridiculous and so on. At no time did he actually explain *why* he thinks as he does. More annoyingly, he was bound and determined to keep talking about it *by* talking about how stupid the controversy is. Other than the old “do-fans-have-a-right-to-boo” discussion, I am not sure there is a surer way to waste time on the air.

Sedano also made a very silly comparison between the deflated balls and use of pine tar by pitchers. Specifically, he dismissed as absurd the suggestion that Bill Belichick should be suspended for the infraction. To support that argument, he asked rhetorically whether Yankees’ skipper Joe Girardi should have been suspended when his pitcher, Michael Pineda, was caught early last year using pine tar to doctor baseballs. But of course, though Girardi wasn’t suspended for that infraction, Pineda was. He was both ejected from the game in which the umps caught him and then forced to sit ten games after that. Baseball doesn’t consider such an infraction to be as profound a transgression against competitive integrity as using unauthorized PEDs. And there is a debate, just as with deflated balls, about what kind of competitive advantage is really gained by using pine tar in the fashion Pineda did. But MLB still considers the practice a punishable offense. So it punished Pineda by making him sit.

I am not, to be clear, saying that Tom Brady – the presumptive beneficiary of the presumably doctored footballs – should be suspended from the Super Bowl.

I am saying, however, that when you use an example to support your position, it should be one that, you know, supports your position.

Not a good morning for Sedano.

It was a good morning for Gerald McCoy, the standout defensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was on set with Mike and Mike this morning and was a pleasure to listen to. An endless complaint about sports analysis – apart from all the other bigger-picture stuff – is how little sportscasters and commentators teach us about how the game itself is actually played. Rather than explain specifically what players are looking for when they study film, for instance, we get endless two-bit psychologizing. So the occasional real nuggets of insight are especially welcome manna.

At one point, the Mikes and McCoy were discussing the challenges of the read option. McCoy was then asked which QB was the hardest to prepare for. McCoy said it was Peyton Manning and was asked to give a *specific* example of why. McCoy said that Peyton was “like a computer,” who could read everything on the field. He recalled a game in which he was planning to fake as if he were going to rush Manning by adopting the usual stance one does in those circumstances. McCoy’s actual plan was to shift to a different part of the line. As Manning was barking signals, McCoy began his fake stunt. And Manning responded by calling out “93 is coming to the A gap.” McCoy’s cover was blown and he had no idea how Manning knew what he was up to.

It was just a fun little tidbit, but also a really vivid and all-too-rare glimpse into what is actually happening on the field, as opposed to the typically silly speculation about what’s going on inside players’ heads.

Will look forward to hearing more from McCoy.

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