Evidence suggests Tom Brady cheated. It might not be evidence that would hold up in a court of law, but it was enough evidence to get him a four-game suspension in the court of football. Deflating footballs, as silly as it sounds, does constitute an “integrity of the game” foul. And such infractions have been heavily punished throughout the course of major sports history.
Brady cheated. He tried to make himself a victim. He got caught. And now he’s being punished.
But I digress: this isn’t so much about Deflategate as it is about a fun web site called Your Team Cheats (thanks to our pal Diddy for raising awareness about this site. His real name is Paul. This is #hisimpact).
It is devoted to cataloging every misstep from every NFL player or organization, and it is a good reminder that there is nobody that can be sanctimonious in all of this. From the least-mentioned team (Jacksonville has 12 “cheat points,” most of them either PED problems or parts of leaguewide scandals) to the most-mentioned (Denver with 49 cheat points), no team is spared.
Note: The Patriots are suspiciously right in the middle of the pack with 25 cheat points, so this site MIGHT be the work of a New England fan, but it’s still worthwhile.
Cheat points are earned based on criteria determined by the site, while badges are also given out for cheating in manners such as “Everyone was doing it.”
It’s fascinating stuff; here’s a snippet of the Vikings, who have 23 cheat points (less than the cheating Packers who have 27, but still). Four of those points were earned for “Noisegate”:
During an ESPN.com chat, then-ESPN analyst Jeremy Green admitted the Vikings used fake crowd noise when his father, Dennis Green, was the coach there. Both the Colts and the Vikings, who play in domed stadiums, admittedly play loud music to distract the opponent, and are famous for unfailingly-loud crowds, but both teams staunchly deny they artificially enhance their fans’ cheers.
Former New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy was convinced that the Vikings augmented the crowd noise through the public-address system tin the 2000 playoffs.
When does it go from gamesmanship to cheating? Are they really just one in the same?
I have not yet read Pedro Martinez’s new memoir, which just came out last week, but when it comes to athlete stories this is one that could be particularly interesting — and for more than just a mention of Twins bench coach Joe Vavra.
Per a review in the New Yorker, Martinez writes about being scolded by his minor league manager in Great Falls, Mont. (in rather harsh language, please be warned of that) because he and Raul Mondesi went onto the team bus in their uniforms without taking showers.
The manager is only identified as a “white guy from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin” in the review, but seeing as how Vavra fits that description and was in fact Pedro’s manager in Great Falls, we can connect the dots.
Per the review: Martinez and Mondesi didn’t realize that they were supposed to shower before the bus ride. Pedro began to cry, he tells us, and though he and the manager seem to have patched things up, he never forgot what it felt like to be called “dirty.“
The review gets into more detail about the larger context of how Martinez viewed the exchange. I might be inclined to give Vavra the benefit of the doubt (the players hadn’t showered and were literally dirty, I would imagine), but then again I wasn’t there — and at the very least, I am interested in reading more.