Another day, another source of bulletin-board material for the New England Patriots.
The latest culprit: Joe Rexrode, a Tennessee Titans beat reporter for The Tennessean.
Rexrode on Thursday published a story titled, “Patriots are great, sure, but they’re also confirmed cheaters.” In an attempt at fairness, Rexrode sprinkled in other instances of cheating across sports in the United States and repeatedly asserted that New England is great. But make no mistake: This article is a history-mining attack on the Patriots’ credibility.
“Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. And a cheater,” Rexrode wrote. “Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. And probably a cheater.”
You can see where this is going.
“No, Patriots fans, the fact that Belichick is incredibly good at his job does not invalidate the evidence resulting from the ‘Spygate’ investigation of 2007,” Rexrode wrote. ” … No, non-Patriots fans, ‘Spygate’ and ‘Deflategate,’ the case of Brady using slightly deflated footballs for better grip in the cold of a 2015 AFC title game blowout of the Colts, does not invalidate any of the achievements of Belichick and Brady.”
Rexrode went on to mention that Patriots fans are the only ones who question the validity of both Deflategate and Seth Wickersham’s recent report of turmoil inside Gillette Stadium. (Pats supporters, of course, are used to people questioning their integrity.)
Now, there’s further mentioning of the other scandals, both Patriots-related and not, but the real gem comes toward the end of the piece.
“Which brings me to a funny conversation I had recently on 102.5-FM with Willy Daunic, “3D” host and Nashville Predators TV play-by-play announcer,” Rexrode wrote. “We were talking about the Titans’ 17-14 playoff loss at New England in 2004.
“One thing Daunic remembered about that game is being impressed with the way Brady threw the ball around despite temperatures as low as minus-5. … Hmmmmmmm.”
Listen, writers are entitled to their opinions, and it’s not like the Patriots make it easy for people to say nice things about them. But if the point of the story is to remind readers the Patriots are cheaters, but also that they’re great and that cheating doesn’t matter, then why write the story at all?