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      Smack Zone — Bill Belichick

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      Great Moments in Stupid Sports Question History

      Today is Ask a Stupid Question Day. We know. It’s a stupid holiday. But hey, America! Actually, it was created in the 1980s by teachers to encourage more kids to ask questions in class. (So, it’s legit. Bet you feel bad for talking smack about it. Ha! Who’s stupid now? Huh? Don’t answer that.) The actual Ask a Stupid Question Day is supposed to be on Sept. 28, but they celebrate it on the final school day of September. Again, that seems kind of stupid. What was wrong with Sept. 28? It was a perfectly good Monday. Why do you hate Mondays, America? Don’t answer that. Anyway, sports and stupid questions go together like coffee and cream, like white on rice, like cold on ice. The two weeks of hype leading up to the Super Bowl are fertile ground for stupid questions. It most infamously gave us the twisted tale of the guy who supposedly asked Doug Williams how long he had been a black quarterback (or did it? Here’s the actual story in Snopes). But sports reporters don’t need a big event like the Super Bowl to drop a stupid bomb. The occasion can be as innocuous as a trip to Green Bay to face the Packers. Actual question once asked of Bucs coach Tony Dungy before such a trip: “Coach, do you like cheese?” Stupid is as stupid does, right? It's OK, though. Stupid questions will always make great fodder for satirical essays. Oh, we know it’s not easy coming up with brilliant ways to get athletes and coaches to make brilliant comments. Most questions reporters ask are vanilla and lame. In fact, good, reasonable questions often elicit the worst answers. So, today, we celebrate the stupid questions in sports. These questions, in particular, made history.

      1. We begin with one of our personal favorites: the great Allen Iverson .
      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI] 2. Another all-time great: After a long rant about how bad his team had played in a loss, Colts coach Jim Mora was asked about his prospects for the AFC playoffs. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwq7BYOnDrM] 3. Sometimes there is no question too stupid -- or intelligent -- to draw an interview subject out of his shell. Here is the quintessential pointed answer by a coach who knows how to stay on topic: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agZKF7U5s8A] 4. Before young Bryce Harper became famous for getting choked in the dugout by a hyper-angry relief pitcher, he was a 19-year-old phenom doing phenomenal things. He once was asked if he would celebrate one of those phenomenal things by drinking a beer. At age 19. He was asked that on camera. In front of a whole bunch of people. Ask a stupid question ... [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dF5NcRvVxk&w=854&h=480] 5. Then, there is the post-game blow-up of all time. Hal McRae, then managing the Royals, always felt bad about this explosion afterward. But he left NO DOUBT about how he felt about stupid questions that day. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kamDqL-AGzI&w=854&h=480] Happy Ask a Stupid Question Day! Remember, there ARE no stupid questions. Only stupid reporters, and hot-headed athletes and coaches who have no patience for stupidity.

      Pats Fan: Call Us What You Want, We'll Just Keep Winning

      [caption id="attachment_953" align="aligncenter" width="474"]New England Sports Fans The season is finally upon us. Tom Brady is free, but the witch hunt continues. And that's just fine with Patriots fans, says the author.[/caption] By Mackie, Smack Zone contributor Just a few days after Tom Brady’s suspension was overturned and sports fans nationwide returned to their cubicles following Labor Day weekend, Patriots fans looked to have won the battle against the NFL and the media. … Until shortly after, stories dropped from ESPN and Sports Illustrated with many anonymous sources claiming Spygate was much more elaborate than it was portrayed to be nearly eight years ago, and that it went much further than the illegal video recording of opponents’ play calls in about 40 games. The accusations included claims that since 2000, the Patriots had been cheating in ways that included going into visiting team hotel rooms to rummage through trash cans and sneaking into opponent locker rooms to steal play sheets in hopes of finding anything that would give them an extra edge. The ESPN article also claims that low-level Patriots employees would go into opponent locker rooms and steal game plan play sheets, and that the organization even went as far as to bug opponent locker rooms and/or coach’s boxes. Am I a Patriots fan? Yes. Am I saying that we’ve never done anything wrong and that the Patriots didn’t ever cheat? No, we got caught and we have paid the price after Spygate, from the league and publicly. Is Tom Brady guilty of “being generally aware or having an elaborate scheme” of deflating footballs before the AFC Championship game? Honestly, none of us can say for sure. But what I do know is this: The New England Patriots have already been labeled as cheaters by football fans worldwide since the Spygate scandal dropped in 2007. With the Deflategate controversy, the Patriots are still labeled as cheaters, regardless of the ruling. It’s safe to say this label won’t be changed in the minds of football fans anytime soon. I’m sure you’ve either said or heard statements such as “The Patriots are a bunch of cheaters, that’s why they win all the time, that’s why they beat us.” But how long do you want to beat that dead horse? It is dead. Stop beating the horse. Yes, the Patriots were caught and punished for recording the signals of opponents 8 years ago illegally on the sidelines, rather than the regularly practiced and legal recording of signals from the Press Box. They were punished for it eight years ago, and all the damage has already been done. Do we really want to reopen that wound by tossing anonymous accusations out from something that might or might not have happened anywhere from eight to 15 years ago? But then, if the movies have taught us anything, it’s that people don’t forget (NSFW, language): [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9tcA_AM4BE] Tomorrow night marks the beginning of the NFL regular season. It’s a shame that around the country, the main headline and topic of conversation isn’t about who the favorite team is to win the Super Bowl or each division, or how good everyone’s fantasy football team is looking. News media and fans around the country aren’t even focused on the fact that FOOTBALL IS FINALLY HERE or excited to see some football TOMORROW NIGHT. The funniest part of all this to me is that regardless of whether what the Patriots did was illegal or just frowned upon, whether they are considered cheaters or not cheaters, they were winning a mental game against the rest of the league by a longshot, while being able to concentrate on preparing for the game itself. Essentially, the other teams were so focused on the possibility and perception that the Patriots are cheaters that they were warped with paranoia that every time they faced off against the Patriots, New England would cheat in some way. It's a nationwide phenomenon, evidently: [caption id="attachment_954" align="aligncenter" width="474"]Pats Poll Cheaters Source: ESPN Sportsnation.[/caption] Commissioner Goodell and the rest of the NFL now have the Patriots on a tight leash, and it’s safe to say their every movement will be watched from here on out. Still want to call them cheaters and use that as an excuse for their success in the future? Fine, I encourage that. You want to know why? Because it’s what fuels a Patriots fan's passion: dedication and loyalty to our team. We Patriots fans are willing to put it all out there and fight to the figurative death. Our beloved sports teams have been the heart and pride of New England for as long as I have been alive and for many decades before that, back to when Red Auerbach led the Celtics to several championships, and even long before that. We aren’t about to abandon this great tradition, regardless of what people who aren’t us think about how our teams do what they do. (Which is, by the way, win. A lot. Deal with it.) So please, keep on calling us cheaters. When it comes down to it, all it does is make us look forward to kicking your team’s ass that much more! Mackie is a lifelong New England sports fan from down the Cape.