Jags Fans Assaulted Outside Gillette
Will Moss Incident Be A Distraction?
This was a very busy week for me, and I was unable to take time to address several stories that came to light. Of course, we have a "giant" day tomorrow, so will keep even these comments brief.
There was an incident after the Patriots-Jaguars game in which a pair of Jaguars fans, accompanied by a pair of cousins, who were Patriots fans, were allegedly assaulted in a Gillette Stadium parking lot. The story in the Boston Herald recounts few details, but it resulted in at least a black eye and some cuts.
The severity of the attack is not the issue. The issue is that visiting fans were attacked. But let's not get confused with the incident where 60,000 Colts fans booed 14-year-old Anna Grant during a Punt, Pass and Kick awards presentation in Indianapolis last week.
I called, and rational people everywhere (including Colts fans who deluged the Indianapolis Star with comments) agreed, that these fans were utterly classless. There's really no disputing that. But classless supporters are trying to use this attack on Jaguars fans to say that Patriots fans are the real classless ones.
Don't be ridiculous. There's a huge difference between 60,000 people engaging in infantile behavior and one-hundreth of 1 percent of that many engaging in criminal activity. Yes, the fans who attacked the Jaguars (and other Patriots) fans are criminals, and they should be punished. Jail sounds good to me. Unfortunately, they will probably never be identified now, and they'll get away with nothing.
The sad fact is that incidents like the one in which those fans were attacked are isolated but common, and they happen everywhere. Heck, researching this, I typed "Jaguars fans attacked" into Google, and two of the first four links are about Jaguars fans being attacked in Pittsburgh (two weeks ago, a fan was hospitalized) and San Diego (in 2004). That one left a Jags fan unconscious.
These are just incidents involving Jaguars fans! Can you imagine how often this occurs at all 32 NFL stadiums? How about major league baseball fields, or basketball and hockey arenas, or following soccer matches?
Of course, no one at SB Nation's Jacksonville Jaguars blog could be bothered to use Google, choosing instead to rage against Patriots fans in ignorance. No mention of the Pittsburgh incident, recently or in the past. I guess it's not a big deal if a division rival's fans beat the hell out of yours.
You'll also notice in the Big Cat Country posting that our good friend in Indianapolis tipped them off to the Foxboro incident. That's fine. The Jags' blogger certainly has the right to know about the incident, though it's unfortunate he's uninformed how prevalent incidents like these are (so prevalent that they rarely make newsprint), especially when his fellow fans are involved. What's obvious is that you-know-who continues the baseless vendetta against Patriots fans. They're still trying to convince rationally-minded people how classy they are. You know this because they tell you -- right, LaDanian?
Again, let me reiterate, because I know some people missed it:
To say that the conduct of these few fans is "unacceptable" is a vast understatement. Their conduct is criminal. Not only is there no place for it in sports, there's no place for it in society. That's why we have laws and police. (Where were the police, incidentally, and were they ever called?)
I think those Patriots fans (if they were Patriots fans) should be punished appropriately. If they can be identified, they should be arrested and charged with assault and battery and possibly compensate their victims monetarily. By the same token, let's not pretend that a very small percentage of losers -- because they're in every community in the country -- are representative of anything but their low-life selves. That's different from an entire community acting like buffoons.
What About Moss?
This currently amounts to nothing more than "he said, she said." Allegations from every angle. No real evidence of anything -- yet. Randy Moss's past clearly impacts public perception of the incident, but public sentiment is rarely admissible in a court of law. Meanwhile, Moss's attorneys have couched the aftermath of what they term a very minor incident as a major attempt to extort money from Moss.
There's really nothing more to discuss until more concrete facts come to light. Anything else is mere speculation.
But there is some speculation to deal with, and that's whether this incident and its aftermath distracted the Patriots or Moss last week against Jacksonville and whether it will distract Moss or the team this weekend.
In both cases, I think the answer is no. The Herald's Mike Felger has said that he believes that this case directly impacted the Patriots offense and Moss's performance against Jacksonville, and he's espoused that view interminably on ESPN 890 AM. But nothing that happened last week supports that.
Yes, Moss caught one pass. Tom Brady threw to him just once, so he couldn't have caught more than that. Otherwise, Moss was responsible for several very important downfield blocks and generally played well as much as cameras focused on him. There were no allegations from Ron Jaworski or anyone else that Moss appeared to be "dogging it" -- well, except from Felger.
Moss supposedly told his side of the story to Bill Belichick last Friday, the day before the game. Not nearly enough time for Belichick and his staff to completely rework the offense the Patriots practiced all week. Furthermore, Brady went 26 of 28 and was just a pair of drops (one aided by an over-agressive defender). Most of the receivers were pretty wide open, which just kind of indicates that the Jaguars were probably covering Moss. Laurence Maroney also ran very well, which just kind of suggests the Jaguars were focusing on passing defense.
All of this reinforces what I said for weeks before the game that the Patriots were getting teams to focus their defenses on Moss and that New England would adjust its offense appropriately. I don't think this incident (by the way, no police called, no charges filed) had anything to do with it.
Will it have anything to do with this game? I doubt it. I don't see any reason why it would. Until someone comes up with some kind of logical explanation of how it would, I'll stick to that.
I haven't presented a defining moment in a few weeks. Clearly, there's been so much else for Patriots fans to discuss, there just hasn't been the time.
But fear not, plenty of other SB Nation bloggers and writers from sites elsewhere have been plastering Samsung's site. A chunk of the talk revolves around the Packers-Giants game, and most of the Patriots-Chargers posts favor New England. That is, except for the post that is by far the most popular, and that's the one that predicts a Chargers' upset.
You can check out all the posts at Samsung's Defining Moments site.