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Posted 19 Jan 2015Patriots are under investigation for deflating game balls during the AFC playoff game
No sooner did the New England Patriots clinch a trip to the Super Bowl than fresh allegations of cheating emerged against the franchise late Sunday, this time involving deflated footballs.
A reporter from Indianapolis, whose Colts were annihilated by Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and company, tweeted after the 45-7 loss that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether pigskins were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.
“The NFL is investigating the possibility,” Bob Kravitz, of WTHR, tweeted, adding that, “at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it.”
New York Newsday confirmed the report in a tweeted early Monday, saying that NFL spokesman Michael Signora saying the league is looking into whether footballs were properly inflated during the game.
If the Patriots did cheat, it would not be the first time. The team was penalized a first-round draft pick, fined $250,000 and head coach Belichick was personally fined $500,000 after an investigation by the NFL determined the team had illegally videotaped their opponents hand signals during a game.
And unsubstantiated accusations of cheating have long dogged the team, stemming from their Super Bowl wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The St. Louis Rams claimed the team illegally videotaped their walk-through practices prior to the 2002 game, and players on the other defeated opponents have said the Patriots seemed to have inside knowledge of their playbooks.
The Patriots lost the Super Bowl in 2008 and 2012, both times to the New York Giants.
Deflating footballs would theoretically have made it easier for quarterback Tom Brady, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns, to throw and for his receivers to catch in the bad weather of Sunday’s game in Foxboro.
According to NFL rules, home teams are required to provide 36 balls for outdoor games and make the balls available for testing with a pressure gauge prior to the game.
The Patriots were also accused of flouting the rules in the game before Sunday’s contest, in which they beat the Baltimore Ravens using unorthodox formations that Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said were designed to confuse the officials and his defense.
However, the margin of victory and the fact that the Colts used the same game balls make it unlikely the cheating, if it occurred, had much of an impact on the game’s outcome. If the allegation is proven, the NFL could take away draft picks from the Partriots.
The University of Southern California, under Lane Kiffin, was fined for deflating footballs in 2012 against arch-rival Oregon. Kiffin blamed a student-manager, who was fired.
Super Bowl XLIX takes place Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona. The defedning champion Seattle Seahawks, who punched a return ticket with a 28-22 win over the Green Bay Packers prior to the Patriots-Colts game, are a two-and-a-half-point favorite in early betting.
Posted 17 Jan 2015Per ESPN
After 14 years with Jets, Terry Bradway is sacked -- and fans rejoice
By Rich Cimini | January 16, 2015 8:00:22 PM PST
What took so long?
That was the immediate reaction Friday to the news that former general manager Terry Bradway was fired by the successor to his successor's successor. Got that? Oh, never mind. The point is, Bradway, whose scouting acumen with the New York Jets was trumped by his survival skills, finally got whacked.
After three days on the job, Mike Maccagnan's popularity already is soaring.
Bradway is a good man who got on the bad side of the fanbase because ... well, he was in the draft room for 14 consecutive years, presiding over -- and later participating in -- some really bad decisions.
He's the guy who traded up for Dewayne Robertson. The guy who drafted a freaking kicker (Mike Nugent) in the second round. Who traded out of the first round to pick up Doug Jolley. Who got fleeced by the Washington Redskins, who stole Laveranues Coles from under the Jets' noses.
He got demoted after Herm Edwards was fired, yet still managed to keep a significant role in the Mike Tannenbaum-Eric Mangini administration. He was in the room when Vernon Gholston was drafted -- and everybody in the room should've been sacked, something Gholston never did.
Bradway also was there when they drafted Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Kenrick Ellis and Stephen Hill. Bradway didn't pull the trigger on those picks, but there's something to be said for guilt by association.
When they fired Tannenbaum, Bradway somehow managed to convince John Idzik to keep him around in an important job. He landed a nice title, too -- senior director of college scouting.
Maccagnan wasn't going to fall for that, no sir. He told the Jets in his interview that he'd clean house if he got the job, and that's what he's doing.
Bradway goes. So does Jeff Bauer, the director of college scouting. Rod Graves will be a goner, too. Did anybody really think Maccagnan would retain Idzik's right-hand man?
They're starting fresh, and that's a good thing. Except for a few hits in recent years (Darrelle Revis, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson), the scouting department has done a poor job. Maccagnan will bring in his own people to fill the Bradway and Bauer roles, and the word is that he's looking for young up-and-comers.
Bradway had some moments. His first draft was very good (Santana Moss and Kareem McKenzie in 2001), and he pushed Tannenbaum to trade up for Revis in 2007. How'd he last so long? Someone once told me Bradway was Morris the Cat -- i.e. Nine Lives.
Now he's gone. So is Idzik. And Jets fans are celebrating.
Posted 3 Jan 2015http://m.nydailynews...ticle-1.2064861
Doug Marrone was frustrated on his way to work three weeks ago.
The Bills were 8-6, positioned to end a 14-year playoff drought, but the debate raging on sportstalk radio inside his SUV that morning centered on his future.
Should new ownership fire the head coach after the season?
Everyone knew the Bills defense was the driving force behind the upset win over the Packers in Week 15. Marrone’s offense had done little all season.
The debate didn’t make sense to Marrone, whose ornery disposition had turned off people at all levels of the organization for two years. He felt that he should have been praised. The lack of appreciation stung him. He was fed up.
Marrone’s relationship with the Buffalo media had long since deteriorated. The sportstalk radio discussion that morning was a shot to the solar plexus. The Bills lost to the lowly Raiders the following week to seal their fate. No postseason. Again.
Buffalo finished 9-7 after a meaningless victory in the season finale against a Patriots team that had already locked up the No. 1 playoff seed and treated it like an exhibition game. (Tom Brady played only two quarters and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was inactive).
Although the questions about Marrone’s job security from fans and media weren’t the primary reason for his decision to opt out of the final two years of his contract Wednesday, it played an important role in his departure. He was too thin-skinned to get over the criticism, according to sources.
When Woody Johnson interviewed Marrone Saturday to be the next Jets head coach, he likely didn’t see the side of the man who alienated so many at his previous job.
The Doug Marrone described by people who knew him in Buffalo is not what the Jets need.
“He’s a control freak,” one person said.
Marrone’s desire to have his hands in everything began even before the Bills hired him two years ago. His interview with the team lasted days, not hours, due to his need to ensure everything was to his liking, according to a source.
His power-play to ask for a contract extension with two years left on his deal despite nothing on his NFL resume (15-17 record, no playoff appearances) to warrant such a demand didn’t come as a surprise to people who knew him in Buffalo.
“It’s about power and control,” a source said. “That is what drives Doug Marrone. That’s why he is a very dangerous person to have inside the building.”
He wanted to approve video clips before they were posted on the Bills website, according to a source. He didn’t want any details of EJ Manuel’s interceptions during practices on the site, either.
Sources said that Marrone belittled people across all levels of the organization. From the front office to the media relations department to reporters to players, he tried to disparage perceived easy targets. His poor treatment of those people didn’t go unnoticed.
Marrone didn’t berate everyone. If he felt that you could further his cause, he would tolerate — or even engage — you. However, one person who was treated with respect by Marrone in the past two years told the Daily News that he never felt it was authentic.
Johnson told the News this week that he had fond memories of a one-day coaching clinic with Marrone in Central Park when he was the Jets offensive line coach under Herman Edwards from 2002-2005. A couple of former Jets offensive linemen had a favorable impression of the man too, but a lot can happen in a decade.
Power, control and circumstance change people.
Marrone was hardly a warm and fuzzy figure in Orchard Park, according to people there.
Many Bills players didn’t like him, according to sources. That fact alone doesn’t mean much considering that disciplinarians often aren’t beloved by everyone in the locker room. However, Marrone’s lack of people skills rubbed many co-workers the wrong way. He took a coarse tack that wasn’t well received in the building, according to sources.
Marrone called out injured second-year wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for not being able to play. Goodwin was marginalized after a promising rookie year. Marrone’s take: Got to be available.
Although Marrone had the support of respected veteran running back Fred Jackson and some others, sources said many players just didn’t respect a head coach who didn’t respect them. His public arguments with defensive end Jerry Hughes and front office personnel, including GM Doug Whaley, revealed his sharp edge.
Bills players learned of his departure via social media before he sent a generic text, final evidence that they were never his priority. He quit on them after two years regardless of what his apologists contend.
Marrone, however, wasn’t universally hated. He had the support of assistant coaches. Bills president Russ Brandon understood that it wasn’t in his coach’s DNA to be cheerful.
Marrone is, in many respects, the antithesis of Rex Ryan, dour and uninspiring.
His old-school style bled onto the field. He’s not a poor NFL coach, but he’s far from the creative, innovative offensive mind that Johnson’s franchise desperately needs. He’s never been a play-caller.
Marrone spent too much time in practice working with the offensive line, his pride and joy, rather than taking a broader interest in the team, according to people who knew him in Buffalo. Some NFL front office executives told the News that Marrone reminded them of Tony Sparano.
How can Johnson have any confidence that Marrone will be able to develop a young quarterback when he couldn’t groom Manuel?
Marrone’s archaic offensive principles drew criticism in Buffalo. He told Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to simplify his play-calling this season.
His players grew frustrated with the conservative style.
“It’s been too many times where... we don’t take chances,” defensive back Aaron Williams told the Buffalo News after a Week 11 loss to the Dolphins. “I feel like teams around this league, the reason why they’re successful most times is because they do take chances… I encourage Coach to be aggressive and just believe in the defense.”
The Jets supposedly prefer to hire a general manager before picking the next coach. However, there’s a growing sense that Marrone will want to have significant input in the next GM even though he hasn’t accomplished anything to warrant that authority.
Marrone’s inflated stock is the work of a savvy agent and well-placed friends. None of those apologists, however, can erase what people in Buffalo have known for the past two years.
Strip away the spin and here’s what’s left:
“He is the definition of average,” said a Buffalo source.
Woody Johnson can do much better.
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