Editor’s Note: Well, we have got a treat for you today. A man who identified himself as a “long-time BSMW lurker” contacted us this morning with his thoughts about this weekend’s draft, which he seemed intent on sharing as soon as possible. Though his name was unfamiliar to us, he describes himself as a writer who is currently “between assignments” at a major metropolitan newspaper. We’re happy to welcome our new friend ‘Rog’ as a Game Day contributor.
By Rog Bornes
Game Day Contributor
A History Lesson
20 years ago this month, Sugar Ray Leonard beat Marvin Hagler to become the middleweight champion of the world.
Eric Mangini knows a little something about boxing, and a little something about history. Believe me, he could tell you everything you could ever want to know about that fight.
What does that have to do with yesterday’s draft, you ask? Maybe nothing. Perhaps however there is another possibility.
You see, maybe history is repeating itself.
Back then, everyone around here from the governor of Massachusetts down to the guy who collects your tolls would have told you that Leonard had no shot. Hagler’s too experienced, too tough. Hagler has no weaknesses. Hagler knew every trick in the book.
The only question New Englanders had was “what round?” Hagler was thought to be indomitable by the average New England sports fan — much like another man who lives south of Boston and likes to dress in sweats today.
Eric Mangini and his capable general manager Mike Tannenbaum have had their eyes on the prize for months, much like Sugar Ray. In this case, the first objective was obtaining Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis. Mangini and Tannenbaum knew that Revis was also in Belichick’s crosshairs because of the rapidly escalating Asante Samuel situation that sources tell me is getting worse every day. Rather than relying on the Hagler strategy of sitting back patiently, the Jet brass took a page from the daring Leonard and jabbed the Patriots by swinging a lightning fast deal with Carolina to pick Revis at 14.
Some will say the Jets gave up too much, and they may eventually be proven right. Some of those same people probably thought that Sugar Ray was dancing around too much and was only going to win the early rounds. While the experts blithely assumed that Belichick had all the leverage with his two picks and higher position, it was Mangini and Tannenbaum that struck first in this draft.
Later, Mangini and Tannenbaum struck again with a blinding overhead right cross when they made yet another timely trade to grab inside linebacker David Harris – yet another player that Belichick was reportedly salivating over – in the second round with the 47th selection overall. Mangini and Tannenbaum have figured it out quite an impressive strategy given their youth when compared to their front office and coaching brethren. When you draft great players while simultaneously keeping them away from your main rival, you’ve gone a long ways toward winning a division title.
Like Hagler, Belichick made his first pick in Brandon Meriwether at 24, and then adopted a bit of a defensive position by trading pick 28 to San Francisco for a 4th round selection tomorrow and a first round pick next year. He later traded his last first day pick in the third round to Oakland, and probably managed to get a good night’s sleep before he spent Sunday using his unsurpassed intellect to scour the later rounds of the draft for the next Tom Brady.
The main question for Patriot fans to ponder is whether Belichick woke up Sunday morning with a bitter taste in his mouth thanks to the blows rained on him the day before by the Jets.
Or, given who ultimately won the fight 20 years ago, should I say sweet?
Many folks around here that have jumped on the Patriot bandwagon in recent years may not recall the name Christian Peter. Based on the team’s moves this past weekend, the only logical conclusion is that Myra Kraft is now one of them.
Perhaps, like John Philip Sousa, she just loves a parade.
For the uninitiated, Peter was a defensive lineman out of Nebraska who had a bit of a checkered past. Besides being a monster on the field, he had a proclivity for contacting others off the field. His favorite hobby off the field apparently was groping inebriated 19 year old women whose previous life experience probably wasn’t much beyond husking corn.
It is fair to say his surname represented his personality far more aptly than his first name.
Like many big men on campus, Peter was no longer able to be the bully he was once he entered the NFL. He came in as a modest fourth round pick of the Patriots in 1996 (I’ll leave it to you whether or not it is a coincidence that he was picked during Belichick’s first year with the organization). However, when the press got a hold of some of Peter’s, ahem, adventures, Myra pitched a fit and Peter was quickly shipped off before even trying on a set of pads. He then went to the New York Giants where he spent the majority of an undistinguished six year career.
You see, if Christian Peter had the talent of a Richard Seymour despite lacking Seymour’s sense of honor, he might still be here getting ready for his 12th season. Teams will always make room for guys who can get it done on the field. If you start hearing chatter from a NFL team about making a roster decision based on a guy’s ethics and morals, you can be sure the guy isn’t going to Honolulu anytime soon.
No one doubts that Brandon Meriwether has the talent to play on an NFL field. Because of that, all you’ll hear from the front office this time is about “misunderstandings” and “due diligence” when it comes to Meriwether’s character.
There will be no search for a smoking gun in the incident where Meriwether caused just that after his associate had been shot at 6:30 in the morning outside of Meriwether’s house and Meriwether attempted to respond in kind. “Due diligence,” they’ll say. “He was just protecting his home.”
I’m sure as an NFL safety they’ll also teach him to put a hat on the ball when tackling an opposing skill position player. He seemed to be a bit confused about the concept back in October against Florida International when he was last seen swinging his helmet and kicking at opposing players without a football in sight. Meriwether was arguably he most vile participant in what was easily the most disgraceful event to happen on a college football field in many, many years.
To explain away the kicking, maybe coach Bill and husband Bob told Myra that Meriwether and Hurricane kicker Jon Peattie went to the wrong meetings that week.
You know, just one of those “misunderstandings.”
Belichick and Kraft could raise Houdini from the dead and have him do that swinging medallion trick to Myra, and she probably wouldn’t forget Randy Moss’s colorful history. The enigmatic wide receiver from Marshall might have better name recognition to the average Joe on the street than Superman, and believe me – Joe doesn’t exactly associate Moss with truth, justice and the American way.
People don’t exactly forget when a guy tries to drive his car through a female traffic officer with a big bag of weed in his glove compartment.
Of course, judging from some of the nepotistic employees the Patriots have on the sidelines, they’re not exactly in a position to pass judgment on the latter charge. Pass and puff is more like it.
Moss is the darling of fantasy football players everywhere, who of course know nothing about what it really takes to walk off a winner on the battlefield that is the NFL. They look at his statistics when he played in a dome, or even farther back when he racked up receptions in college playing 1-AA football, and assume that he’s going to walk onto the Patriots and relive the good old days.
It says here he won’t.
NFL defenders have been onto this guy for a few years now. You punch him in the mouth a few times by hitting him at the line of scrimmage, and as my father was fond of saying, it’s like dumping a bucket of water on a lit matchstick.
There are some who would float the theory that Moss will be on his best behavior thanks to the mentoring of Troy Brown. Yes, along with playing receiver, returning punts, returning kicks, filling holes in the secondary, raising his family and helping pretty much every charitable organization inside of 495, Troy Brown should also be expected to take this lunatic under his wing because they happened to go to the same school many years apart.
Maybe they should propose to Troy that he also offer drug counseling to a certain adolescent member of the sideline staff who had a recent indiscretion.
If he’s as stubborn as his Dad, Troy, good luck getting him to listen.
Material from the AP Wire, Reuters, Mike Sando’s blog, the Weekly World News, the KFFL messageboard, and late night AOL chat transcripts may have been used in the compilation of this article. Followers of the BSMW message board will no doubt recognize the handiwork work of our old friend Div here. The rest of you – please, no e-mails. This has merely been a recreation of actual events.