Most of the season, the focus has been on Bill Belichick and Tom Brady recovering from their breakup in different places. Brady moved away, tried to start his whole life over (while still keeping his 6-foot-5 tight-end Teddy Bear for security), make a clean break, that whole thing. Bill is still trying to pick up the pieces and keep most of what he had before, trying to tell himself that Brady wasn’t that big of a part of his life, that he has a lot to offer and can find another. He’s a catch, after all.
Sometimes I forget the drama of Josh McDaniels trying to craft an offense without Brady, as he continues to measure the drapes in Belichick’s office. And it’s going swimmingly for everyone who thought that McDaniels, much like every other Belichick assistant has proven to be, is a world-class clod.
McDaniels authored another gem last night, with the Patriots mustering three points, including two trips to the red zone which produced exactly no points, with the Pats down 17 at each point and trying to get back into their Thursday Night game vs. loss to the Rams. When you have Cam Newton, everyone assumes you might try a QB draw around the goal line. Especially in a season when Newton has made it clear he would struggle to throw a ball into Boston Harbor at this point. That would call for something creative, something to make the throw easier, something to make the lanes clearer.
Or you can just shove Newton into the line like a frustrated child trying to force puzzle pieces together before throwing the whole thing against the wall. That’s what McDaniels opted for. L.A. won, 24-3.
The Pats are in the bottom-10 in offense, and have regularly looked like a car crash against any team with a pulse. McDaniels is slated to take over for Belichick one day, which is how they talked him out of taking the Indianapolis job a while back. Colts fans must pray to their Larry Bird shrines every night in thanks.
There will come a day when we get this for multiple seasons. It will all be all right when we do.
Before the game, Fox put forth perhaps the biggest piece of new stadium propaganda ever seen. Erin Andrews conducted a Zoom interview with Rams coach Sean McVay, with McVay on the SoFi Stadium scoreboard screen. It looked like this 1984 fever dream:
The rest was filled with glamor shots of the interior and exterior of SoFi, to the point where the ghost of Robin Leach kept showing up looking for catering. This is common practice of all NFL broadcasts, to glorify whatever the latest civic larceny NFL football is being played in to soothe the next community about its future fleecing.
SoFi Stadium isn’t the worst of the bunch, but it’s not squeaky clean either. The NFL’s broadcast partners feel the need to head these debates off at the pass, or at least play fireman after the fact. It’s pretty damn gross, because you never hear about the years and years of debt and problems cities are racking up for these monuments to the 1 percent. But hey, if you’re the NFL, and you have your own Pravda split up amongst three different networks, why not use it? .
In other weird administrative choices, the Philadelphia Phillies are apparently close to hiring Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations. While Dombrowski comes with some baubles, the Phillies are uniquely unequipped to meet his needs.
Dombrowski is famous for strip-mining a team’s farm system, especially when it isn’t crafted by him, for established stars and then throwing cash around for free agents. Well, the Phillies have a bottom-third farm system, and ownership isn’t keen on spending more money, even if Zack Wheeler isn’t on the trade block. Certainly after going big for players like Jake Arrieta, Wheeler, and Bryce Harper in recent years and getting a long stay in the middle for their troubles, the Phillies are not exactly burning to open up the checkbook again.
The Phillies don’t need a rebuild, which is good because Dombrowski isn’t inclined to do such a thing anyway. But a team that’s about to lose it’s best all-around player in J.T. Realmuto and needs to find a bullpen that isn’t full of pyromaniacs, they must’ve made some promises to Dombrowski to lure him away from Nashville.
It’ll make for good TV either way.