Let the Conspiracy Theories Begin

1195486247Back when I was a sportswriter in Philly there was a great high school basketball program in a place called Chester. Success at Chester was measured in state championships, nothing less. But wherever two or more folks from Chester would gather, the conversation would inevitably turn to the ones that got away.

In Chester, they even have a simple phrase that sums it all up: “The refs are cheating the boys.” And that is all the explanation anyone ever needs.

Last night in Baltimore, the Ravens summoned their inner Chester in a display of whining so profound one feels moved to send them a case of baby formula.

Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

Chris McAlister:

“It’s hard to go out there and play the Patriots and the refs at the same time,” McAlister said. “It is what it is. They put the crown on top and they want them to win. They won.”

McAlister is obviously referring to the NFL. The same NFL that fined the Pats $250K, stripped the team of a first-round draft pick, and was humiliated by the whole videotaping thing.

Bart Scott

“I didn’t hear a timeout,” Scott said. “How convenient.”

You may not have heard it Bart, but your defensive coordinator sure as hell called it. Maybe you should talk to him. Or did you impale him with that penalty flag?

The play that angered the Ravens the most was the defensive holding call on Jamaine Winborne against Ben Watson. Odd, isn’t it, that the so-called Bill Polian Rule would actually help the Patriots?

Replays showed that Winborne had Watson in an arm-bar more than 5 yards off the line of scrimmage. That’s a penalty. Now, it wasn’t as bad as, say, the takedown that Baltimore’s Derrick Mason performed on Asante Samuel on the final play of the game that allowed Mark Clayton to go up and catch the ball, but who’s complaining?

Look, the Pats had no business winning last night. They couldn’t tackle Willis McGahee, they dropped numerous passes, and they lost on special teams. It was their worst game of the year, by far, and if they play like this next week against Pittsburgh they will lose.
But they didn’t lose, and now the conspiracy theories will come fast and furious. It’s not surprising that they started with the Ravens, an undisciplined team that has been coasting on its reputation for the entire decade, but they’re not going away now.

OK, one more.

Added Mason: “It’s kind of like that old Bulls team when they were running the table. You were playing against Jordan, Pippen and the bunch and it was hard to beat them because everyone was on their side. That’s the way it is now. You’ve got Brady and the bunch. It’s hard to beat them when you’re playing against them and extra people.”