Accusations Don’t Add Up
The Saints are vehemently denying the allegations, but their recent record regarding forthrightness is disinclining most from accepting their denials at face value.
There are a couple of factors that make me question whether the eavesdropping actually occurred.
The Saints were worse at home than on the road during the period in question, (11-13 vs. 12-12). Secondly, the logistics are a problem. Many play calls of NFL teams sound like something out of Dr. Seuss, and each team has its own shorthand. A prying GM would have to decipher the coded play, signal it to a conspiring coach on a sideline, who would relay it to a defensive captain, who then would disseminate an appropriate defensive play – all in about eight seconds.
Perhaps, but not likely. One of the only people who sounded believable was then-defensive coordinator Rick Venturi, who first expressed surprise and then said, “If we’d had an ability to do that, I might still be in coaching.” Venturi ended his tenure with the Saints in 2006. Because there are legal issues being investigated by the police and FBI, commissioner Roger Goodell will wait until those agencies have weighed in before passing judgment. Regardless of whether the Saints were able to use the snooping technology, if it’s proved they engineered it, Goodell will have to act. And that would make Loomis’ future as uncertain as that of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
* On the eve of the NBA playoffs, the league got a reminder of how dangerous a flagrant foul can be when Metta World Peace, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest, delivered a vicious elbow to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden. Harden was concussed, Artest suspended for seven games, which the Lakers will likely survive, but the league may want to watch the situation with the Clippers’ Blake Griffin. Combining sensational dunks with some trash-talking theatrics, Griffin is being singled out for some extremely hard fouls. Some of them have been outright muggings, and it might be better to send a message now before Griffin is seriously injured.
That said, the playoffs should be terrific. Any one of five teams could come out of the West: Thunder, Lakers, Spurs, Clippers and Grizzlies are all very good, while the East looks like it could come down to the Bulls or Heat. Just for fun, I’m picking the Heat over the Thunder in six.
* After last week’s lackluster performance in the LPGA Lotte Championship at Ko Olina, I’m hoping Team Wie will decide to get the lead out – as in moving on from coach David Leadbetter. Not that he can’t coach, but Michelle Wie has not improved under his tutelage. And you hope that change would come soon because Wie has almost become irrelevant in women’s golf.