So, unless you've been living under a rock for three days, or you haven't heard of this snazzy new invention called 'Twitter,' you've probably heard about the little dust up that occurred two day ago between Pat McAfee and this blog. If you want details, and some colorful (and humorous) comments directed at yours truly, please read the article. For a short synopsis, we wrote an article highlighting a Tweet Pat made which commented on the Patriots trading Randy Moss for only a third round pick. Like many people, Pat seemed to be scratching his head about the value given back for Moss. Pat's intent was to compliment Moss.
We agreed with Pat.
So, the element of Pat's Tweet which we highlighted in our article was, for us, the sense that Pat was questioning the judgment of Patriots overlord Bill Belichick. It certainly wasn't unreasonable to do so, as many others were scratching their heads over this odd trade while also questioning the general sanity of Belichick for pulling the trigger on it. On PTI on Wednesday, Tony Kornheiser called the compensation the Patriots got back for Moss 'garbage,' and stated that if anyone else in the league other than Belichick made this kind of trade, they'd be, essentially, roasted alive.
So, like many people, we thought the trade was dumb. We also thought that Pat thought that the trade was dumb. We wrote an article about it, and as is custom with all our articles, a Tweet was sent out to our followers in the Twitterverse. The Tweet read, 'Pat McAfee Kinda Sorta Thinks That Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Is Dumb.'
At that point, the Internet equivalent of Russell Crowe in Gladiator galloped up in front of my face and screamed: Upon my signal, UNLEASH HELL!
All kinds of silliness was then set loose into the wide world of Internet media. It seems as if all kinds of people, from NFL execs to other players to major media outlets, started believing that Pat McAfee was QUOTED as calling Bill Belichick 'dumb.' It was a facepalm moment for me; the kind of thing when I sit back in my chair, shake my head, scratch my newly grown beard, and wonder if people have anything better to do with their time than to take Tweets from me THAT literally.
Anyway, for a brief moment, people thought we had another Mike Vanderjagt situation. The parallels were too obvious. Both are kickers. Both went to West Virginia. Both are known to have goofy, fun-loving attitudes about life and football. So, if Pat were quoted as calling Bill Belichick 'dumb,' the 'circle would be complete,' as they say.
Back in 2003, Mike Vanderjagt famously went on Canadian TV and called out Peyton Manning and then-head coach Tony Dungy following Indy's 41-0 playoff loss to the New York Jets. This was followed by Peyton Manning saying, in an interview at the Pro Bowl, that Vanderjagt got 'liquored up' before doing his interview and shot his mouth off. Peyton then called Vanderjagt an 'idiot kicker.' Three years later, in 2005, prior to a playoff game against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, Vanderjagt ran his mouth again, saying the injuries the Patriots had sustained prior to the game made them 'ripe for the pickin'.' The Colts lost 21-3.
So, here we are, five years later, and (for many) it seems the Colts had another loud-mouthed kicker from West Virginia making bold claims about Bill Belichick and the Patriots. I got numerous calls, emails, texts, and Tweets from people asking me 'Did Pat really say that?'
For those of you out there who are white hot, seething mad because you think Stampede Blue has pissed off Pat McAfee and made him hate our blog, relax. I've chatted with Pat privately, and all is good. Obviously, I'm not going to publish what our dialogue was, but I feel comfortable in saying that he enjoys what we do here (as many Colts players do), and he is not angry. Naturally, Pat probably freaked out when he saw that maybe someone was putting words in his mouth about Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and needed to respond. I'm not mad at him for what he said on Twitter, and in the end it could spell a better overall relationship between Colts players and this blog.
Lots of players and NFL people read this blog, and I have always gotten the strong sense that this little fact really annoys Colts management. Personally, I consider that a badge of honor.
Regarding Pat, I do not write articles, and create Tweets, with the intention of getting players I like into trouble or putting them in bad situations. I'm critical of players, like many of you are. I'm a fan, first and foremost. But, I don't go out and write stuff hoping to get people burned. Having met Pat, interviewed him, and spoken to him recently, I can say without question he is NOT Mike Vanderjagt. If anyone stated or wrote that we quoted Pat as calling Belichick 'dumb,' they're wrong. Pat never said that, and just as my Tweet was not intended to get Pat into any type of silly situation, Pat's Tweet wasn't intended to call out Belichick. I, personally, saw that angle in his Tweet, but that wasn't what Pat intended, in my opinion.
Pat McAfee is most certainly not Indy's 'liquored up' kicker, and if any of this silliness got him into any trouble, or put him in the uncomfortable position of having to answer for something he did not say, I am sorry. Pat knows this because I've told him privately. I write it publicly now so people can finally relax, chill, and move on with more important things... like kicking the crap out of the Chiefs on Sunday.
After the jump, a message to our readers and commenters...
Folks, I love you all. I really do. Many of you hate me and want to see me skinned alive before being dunked in salt water, and that's fine. However, one of the reasons I do things like lock comments, delete comments, and delete FanPosts that attack and insult me is because, in the end, it serves no purpose. Venting in comments is fine, and in this case it was probably justified because the whole thing got blown WAY out of proportion. But, in general, insulting me isn't going to get you anywhere, and when I lock an article about a specific discussion, that means continued chatting about that discussion ends there. If I start seeing FanPosts or FanShots popping up trying to circumvent that, those things will get deleted. It's how we roll here.
As some of you know, we have a policy here that insulting or attacking writers (or 'starting something' with them) is a bannable offense. This is often a general 'unwritten' rule of thumb for any site: Don't piss off the site admin because he or she can ban your ass.
I banned a few people yesterday (which is never fun) and I deleted some comments and FanPosts (which is even less fun) because, at the end of the day, I'm responsible for the content on this blog. And unlike Mike Florio or A.J. Daulerio, I would prefer my comments section not turn into a cesspool of 'I HATE BBS' venting. That said, another general rule of thumb around here is that anyone who gets banned can contact me and ask to be unbanned. I've done this many times before, and if folks who were banned over this (or anything else) want to return and contribute, just contact me and we'll chat.
The final thing I'd like to mention is that, as exampled by this and events which were truly news worthy (2009's Week Sixteen, the Super Bowl, etc.), our blog is no longer something that just reports news.
We make it. Sometimes unintentionally.
We've grown so big, and our profile is so visible, that people literally freak out when I Tweet something, let along write an article. I was told yesterday by a very well respected TV person (who I'm not going to mention because I'm sure he doesn't want to have to deal with people asking about me) that more than just a few Colts players and coaches read this blog.
This means that what you write, they read.
In many ways, this is what I have always wanted: A direct link between fans and the team that does not involve other media entities, like the Indianapolis Star, ESPN, etc. Because of this, it's forced me to rethink how we cover the team. This is why you've seen more articles that are, shall we say, a bit more edgy in their tone. It's also why you've seen some personnel changes around here the last year or so. With more eyes and more people locked in here on an hourly basis (again, forget daily, we're talking hourly) it means more content needs to get produced. More. More. More. It needs to be consistent, on time, of good quality, and frequent.
So much of our focus (Matt, Laura, mine, and the behind the scenes folks you never hear from) is to get you as much key information and commentary about the Colts as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, you'll love the news and cheer like maniacs.
Other times, you'll hate the news and shoot the messenger.
In general, we work our tails off to give you something unique and (in my opinion) important. We don't do it just to manufacture fireworks. Some people suggest that we approach everything as an opportunity to sensationalize things. Quite simply, these people are pathetically jealous of our blog's media profile, and we generally don't fret what they think about us. However, I do fret over commenters and readers like you. Like with Pat McAfee, I don't go writing article looking to piss off you readers.
If that Pat McAfee article pissed you off, I am very sorry.
Please know that, even when I am an angry ogre raging through an article's comments section, I do care what you write. What you say affects me. I've got a thick hide, don't get me wrong. Just know that, whatever you write, I do not dismiss it. I may delete it because, for me, it's not helping move the conversation forward. But, I do take it to heart. And if articles I write that, like the Pat McAfee one, really get you red-faced mad, I am indeed sorry. I don't write stuff solely to piss you off. I write stuff because, in my opinion, it's important. Often, I'm wrong in my assessments and people are 100% encouraged to disagree. But I do not go into situations thinking, 'How can I piss off my entire readership today!'
I hope you take that to heart as I often take your comments to heart.
As always, thank you for your continued involvement in Stampede Blue. Go Colts.