Monday, November 29, 2010

Tale Of The Videotape

It didn't take Shank long to revert to form. Today's column concerns the Denver Broncos and various fines involving a videotaping of the opposing players' walk-through session.

Sound familiar? It should. And in case you forgot, guess who's here to helpfully remind us? Call this the Anatomy of A Smear.

First - Shank wants to make sure this story gets adequate coverage:

I don’t expect to hear much about this on any of the Patriots’ Pravda news outlets, but you can be pretty sure the New York tabloids are going to run hard with it. The headline in yesterday’s Daily News was “It’s Spygate II in Denver,’’ and the vaunted Post went with two stories, one titled “Pats’ coach will always be tied to scandal,’’ and the other with a subhead stating “Incident also has Belichick ties.’’

You bet it does.
Attempt to further propagate the story through additional media writeups.

Second - Of course, these guys (Shank, et. al) don't mean direct ties; what follows is classic guilt by association:

Bill Belichick’s bio in the Patriots media guide proudly features a half-page section entitled “Bill Belichick’s Tree.’’ It reads, in part, “Bill Belichick has had strong influences on hundreds of coaching, personnel, and football operations staff, many of whom have been hired to coach and manage other teams.’’ The lengthy list includes McDaniels and Eric Mangini, both of whom broke into the NFL under Belichick. Young Scarnecchia also broke into the NFL with the Patriots. He is listed as a “video assistant’’ in the Patriots’ staff directories of 2002, 2003, and 2004. He is also the son of Dante Scarnecchia, a beloved presence as an assistant coach on the Patriots’ sideline for the last 27 seasons.

Dante Scarnecchia is one of the finest men you’ll ever meet. He has been a part of all six Patriots Super Bowl teams and currently serves as offensive line coach and assistant head coach. In 1992, he served as Patriots’ head coach for seven games when Dick MacPherson fell ill. He is certainly not responsible for the actions of his son.
Certainly not! So a few people are off the hook. Interesting. On whose doorstep do you think this one will end up?

Now we have the first spy sanction since then, and there are Belichick footprints all over the place. The head coach of the Broncos was one of Bill’s guys. The guy caught taping was one of Bill’s guys and is the son of one of Bill’s present guys.

Oh, and just for good measure, we learned that Steve Scarnecchia was one of Mangini’s video operators when the Jets ratted out the Patriots in 2007. More than that, some folks think Steve Scarnecchia was the one who ratted out the Patriots.
Third - passive-aggressive assertions; "Belichick footprints all over the place". Now, for the passive-aggressive disclaimer (emphasis mine):

It’s important that we remember that Saturday’s sanction was against the Broncos. It is not a Patriots matter. Asking Belichick or any of his people about this is wildly unfair. It’s strictly a matter between the Commish and the Broncos.
So far, it's "Belichick footprints all over the place", but "It is not a Patriots matter". Got that?

So where does Shank finally come down on the matter? As if you have to ask!

But once again, the trail of espionage leads directly back to Route 1, and that is . . . unfortunate.
It's fair to conclude that Shank, a fifth-degree black belt in the dark arts of character assassination and innuendo, is trying to tie this to Bill Belichick any way he can. If he's called on it, he can simply say he was repeating what the New York papers were writing, and he'll say it in spite of his statement ("directly back to Route 1") to the contrary. Talk about a clean hit!

How long did Shank's faux fondness for Belichick last, barely one month?

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