There was some discussion this week about a scoreboard error at Gillette Stadium which made Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff think it was the wrong down. This not only shook up his pre-kick routine on the sideline, it also seemed to force him to rush his lining up for a 32 yard field goal. A field goal he famously missed.
There was an attempt by some to turn this into SpyGate 2.0. It's being called ScoreboardGate. And one Ravens coach (Randy Brown, the Ravens' kicking consultant) when asked about the possibility of the Patriots intentionally sowing confusion said "I don't think you can rule anything out in New England, can you?"
The story never took off, despite considerable effort from the bombastic and outlandish wing of the sports media. Outside of Boston, some people tried to make a name for themselves by spewing innuendo, and implying some scoreboard trickery. And inside of Boston, fans and media stalwartly defended their team against an attack that never really came.
WEEI.com's headline, for instance, read "Ravens blame scoreboard for missed kick." Which wasn't true at all. The Ravens didn't make any assertion. The aforementioned Brown was led to say what he said. Which was kind of stupid, but the kicking consultant is hardly the voice for the entire Ravens organization. And head coach John Harbaugh called the whole notion of foul play "nonsense." None of the Ravens made accusations. All accusations were made by sports media people, who then tried to generate a story about the accusations that they themselves made. Sort of like accusing someone of being an alien, then referring to them as an "alleged alien."
The media tried to make a story out of nothing, but their wheels never got any traction. Mainly because despite the confusion, Cundiff should have still made the kick. And also because any sensible person could realize that the scoreboard's error was due to miscommunication over a ruling on Anquan Boldin's fumble out of bounds, which brought the ball back to where he last controlled it, not where it left the field of play. Moreover, the circumstances were so weird that the notion of premeditation was absurd.
Imagine Belichick telling a scoreboard operator, that just in case the Ravens fumbled a ball out of bounds past a first down marker, to screw up on the down and distance, thus confusing the placekicker. That's a little far-fetched, even for the Arlen Specters of the world. And he's the guy who came up with the Magic Bullet Theory.
Terrell Suggs had the best dismissal of this non-story, when Skip Bayless tried to jumpstart the conspiracy theories.
I'm glad Suggs called out him out. But asking Skip Bayless not to be a douchebag is like asking water not to be wet.
Even after Bayless tries and fails to get Suggs to accuse the Patriots of cheating (using a gentle sounding euphemism like "home-cooking"), he then tries to get Suggs to badmouth his own coach. He tries to start one fire, then moves on to start another.
Bayless is a tool. And that's why he has a job. Which makes him an even bigger tool. And makes people who watch him, even if they hate him, tools. Because people do like to watch him be a douchebag, and that's why he gets paid. And that pisses me off.
I want a "Be an Analyst, Don't be a Douchebag" t-shirt. Of course Bayless is such a tool that he'd probably be the one selling them.