If the Patriots Are on the Field, You Can Bet Something Shady, Gray-Areaish, or Slick Is Going On

There was a revealing, and, as yet, unnoticed moment in yesterday’s Super Bowl game, that was most revealing about the character of Tom Brady. The Barometer’s husband and son began hooting during the fourth quarter about the play that resulted in the ball going back to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tom Brady dropped the ball and the Eagles’Derek Barnett picked it up with less then two minutes to play. The excitement over Barnett and the turn of the game has shifted focus away from Brady’s beneath-dignity move. Watch and re-watch the video. You can see Brady’s head turn after he dropped the ball. He is looking directly at the scrambling Eagles. It is then that Brady raises his hand in the air (with no football) and pretends to throw the air ball. Brady was using a fake throw to try and get an incomplete pass call. And no ball for the Eagles. No Super Bowl. No call to destiny. No Philadelphians. finally able to exercise their unalienable right to roll cars over and smash store windows in celebration.

In the NFL, if the quarterback drops or loses the football while he is bringing the ball forward in a passing motion, and the ball touches the ground, it is considered an incomplete pass. If the quarterback drops or loses the football at any other time, it is considered a fumble, as if any other player had dropped it, and becomes eligible for pick-up, as Barnett did, and a field goal, which the Eagles did, taking them to the final, victorious score of 41-33.

Brady has pulled this make-it-look-like-an-incomplete-pass-move before. Sam Jennings, Barometer offspring, shared that Brady pulled the stunt in 2002 when the Raiders’ (from whatever city they were in then) quarterback, Charles Woodson, sacked Brady, which, at least initially, appeared to result in a fumble. Taking full advantage of that fumble was Raiders’ linebacker, Greg Biekert, who picked up the ball. That pick-up from a fumble would have been game-over for the Patriots and a victory for the Raiders because only a minute was left in regulation play.

Officials reviewed the play, and eventually determined that even though Brady halted his passing motion and appeared to be in the process of “tucking” the ball back into his body, it was rather an incomplete pass and not a fumble under NFL rules at the time. The original call in the Raiders’ favor was reversed. The Patriots got the ball back and positioned themselves for a 45-yard field goal that tied the game. In overtime, the Patriots got yet another field goal, which made them the winners of Super Bowl 36 (enough with the Roman numerals). Some say that was the beginning of the Patriots/Brady/Belichick franchise that brought 5 Super Bowl championships. Yesterday the streak was broken as Brady was hoisted by his own petard. His fake post-fumble pass looked desperate and not worthy of a world-class athlete. Also, it did not work. The inexplicable and gray-area behaviors of Brady and the Patriots finally caught up with them.

Some would say, “Do you think he was really that stupid?” The Barometer is reminded of a Gunsmoke episode in which Marshal Dillon warns a rancher to be on the look-out for a bad guy who is a suspect and the rancher is a potential witness against said bad guy. The conversation that follows goes, “I really don’t think he is that stupid as to try to hurt me.” The wise reply is, “Sometimes desperation is the same thing as stupid.” Desperation begets desperate moves, which are generally some form of cheating and always stupid.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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