Enough with Deflategate

This New England Patriots scandal is irrelevant:

It’s that shiny object that shows up to distract us from things that matter. And in the whole cosmic scheme of things, everything matters more than this does.

OK, so the Patriots deflated their balls and it’s illegal.

So why does the NFL let teams supply their own balls? If it’s such a big deal, shouldn’t the league be in charge of the balls?

OK, so the Patriots have cheated in the past.

So why did the NFL punishment for those incidents have all the impact of a mosquito biting a sperm whale? The Pats still make the playoffs and still end up in the Super Bowl.

OK, so the cheating in a playoff game allowed them to get into the most recent Super Bowl.

So if that’s the case, strip the Patriots of their Super Bowl title. If the NFL isn’t going to do that, shut up already! As far as the league is concerned, it pays to be a cheat (and a wife beater, and a.

And Deflategate is a stupid name. The -gate suffix is now a cliche. Call it something daring, like “Ballbusting.”

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At least the New York tabloids know what to call it.

Airborne on the race track

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champ Helio Castroneves lost control of his car during practice for this year’s Indy. As you see in the above clip, the car spun around, went up in the air, landed upside down, then flipped over to what was left of its wheels.

There was a time when a crash like this would have been fatal. Castroneves walked away.

Just for context (from a 2011 piece on the 100th anniversary of the race in Car and Driver):

Few—if any—venues have made a higher sacrifice to the deities of speed. In the 100 years of the Indy 500, 60 event-related fatalities have occurred at IMS, including 38 drivers, 12 riding mechanics, five spectators, two pit-crew members, two firemen, and one young boy who wasn’t even within the Speedway grounds.
Wilbur Brink, age 12, was in his front yard on Georgetown Street during the 1932 race, when Billy Arnold’s Miller crashed on lap 162. A detached wheel bounced out of the track and across Georgetown, where it struck young Brink, killing him instantly.
The breakdown of driver fatalities in the 500 includes 14 in the race, five in qualifying, 17 in practice, one in testing, and one during his driver’s test.
The foregoing omits the five deaths during various 1909 races that led IMS owners to pave the track with bricks, as well as a single test-session death in 1910. It also omits 31-year-old Stephen White, whose alcohol intake reduced his judgment to “Darwin Award” levels three nights after the 1991 race. White snuck his truck onto the track late at night and was laying down a hot lap when he managed to hit a van. He died in the crash.

If I ever get into an accident, I want to be in a car like the Indy drivers are using today.

A Viking garage sale

This is amazingly weird in a heartwarming kind of way:

That happened last year, and Bud just announced he’s holding another garage sale in a couple of weeks.

If you know football, you know that Bud Grant holding a garage sale in Minnesota is like the late Tom Landry having a barbecue on his back porch in Dallas 20 years ago or the late Vince Lombardi holding an open house in Green Bay in the 1960s and inviting everyone in the state to drop on by if they feel like it. Fans stop by the house of one of the legends of football, get some memorabilia (or furniture, or power tools) and grab an autograph. A lot better than going to a trade show, standing in a slow-moving line and paying 50 bucks for a quick scribble.

And Bud gets rid of all the junk in his house at a nice profit. Everybody’s happy.

If you don’t know who Bud Grant is, here’s a little note from the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

In Bud Grant‘s 18 years as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from1967 through 1983 and a one-year final stint in 1985, his teams compiled a .620 winning percentage (158-96-5) in regular-season play. His 168 coaching triumphs, counting 10 post-season wins, place him among the all-time greatest coaches.

At the time of his retirement, only George Halas, Don Shula, Tom Landry, Curly Lambeau, Chuck Noll, Chuck Knox and Paul Brown had engineered more wins in pro football play.

As you can see, this is a huge frickin’ deal.

And they’re off …

About 170,000 friends and I were at this year’s Kentucky Derby. Here’s our view from the first turn of the big race:

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Let’s just say my horse wasn’t the one that won. Though I did win the previous race, I left the track with less money than I walked in with. My son, on the other hand, made more than he betted. My guidance as a parent leaves much to be desired.

Which brings me to my next point:

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It’s been 45 years since Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Esq. penned these immortal words, and although Churchill Downs is far more diverse and affluent than it was in 1970, the mood remains the same. Very tanned and very drunk people, each mellowed by at least a half dozen Mint Juleps, are gathered in a glorious scrum of gambling and elaborate hats. … and not just on the women:

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I was with a group from out of town, who went through the wrong entrance of the Downs, finding themselves in the middle of the infield, a general admission haven of bloated besuited frat boys and short-skirted soro sisters whose first order of the day was to get as ingloriously inebriated as humanly possible to the point where you couldn’t tell which member of an embracing duo was holding the other up. A Douchebag Bonnaroo, if you will. Fortunately, the visitors made their way to our box seats, where we enjoyed a higher class of bourbon, broads and betting.

The lines were Soviet-era Moscow long at the hundreds of gambling booths. Even though it was, at times, an hour between races, people committed the most unforgivable of racetrack sins. I suffered from hordes of people delaying the line for the ninth race by scanning their smartphones and making wagers for their unattending friends for the 11th race. The howls from the back of “Make your bet, already!” never phased them. Even worse, I stood behind a sauced middle-aged couple who had been throwing dollars at the gods of gambling all day and knew that some of their betting slips contained winners, but they didn’t remember which ones, so they handed a stack of paper (I’m guessing at least 30 different bets) to the guy in the booth who proceeded to run each one through the scanner to figure out which ones had the payouts. End result, $151 in winnings. Oh, and I didn’t get to bet on that race. But the time I got to the booth, I had to figure out who I would bet on in the subsequent race, only to find that one of my horses, the favorite, was scratched.

Right now, it’s 4 in the morning and I’m ready to crash. So, after all that, would I attend a Derby again?

Hell, yeah! Where else are you going to enjoy a fashion show like this?

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