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The Patriots Losing 2 Days of OTAs is All Joe Judge's Fault

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

Yesterday when it was first announced those notorious rules breakers the New England Patriots were once again caught red-handed living up to their team mantra, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin":

… I leapt to the conclusion it was because they'd conducted hitting drills during rookie camp or something. An assumption based on the fact that's what practically all OTA punishments handed down by the league over the last dozen years have been for. But an unfair one, as it turns out. 

Source - The New England Patriots were stripped of two organized team activities because of coaches' scheduling that resulted in players spending more than their allowed time at the team facility, according to league sources.

As part of its ruling, the NFL noted the "candor and full cooperation" of the Patriots, referring to it as "noteworthy and commendable." Nevertheless, the NFL still fined coach Bill Belichick $50,000, according to league sources, in addition to taking away the two organized team activities.

Which naturally begs the question of how this could happen, given that Belichick has been involved in NFL minicamps since a few years after mankind landed on the moon and a screwup like this has never happened before. Well, it seems we have our answer. And Giants fans would relate to the use of the word "screwup":

Source - Patriots’ Special Teams Coach Joe Judge directed special teams players to be at the Club’s facility longer than the maximum of four hours permitted during Phase Two of the Club’s program. …

It’s noted that Belichick, on April 19, forwarded to all coaches – Judge is named – the reminder about the four-hour window by the management council.

So there's yer problem lady. Belichick is the most hyper-prepared, detail-oriented coach that has ever spun a whistle cord. But he's out $50,000 not because he took his eye off the ball this one time. But because he's a great friend. I'll explain. 

This might be hard for you ladies to relate to, but every single male reading this will know what I mean when I say at some point in his life (and often for his entire life), every guy has his Worm. I'm not referring to a dirt-eating invertebrate (though they can be). I mean the Worm to their Mike McDermott:

That friend who isn't really all that good for you, but you're loyal to him because he's loyal to you. Yes, he might occasionally talk you into a game against a room filled with cops, get caught dealing off the bottom of the deck, and get you beaten half to death. But he'd also take a beating for you, so you stick by him.

I've got friends from childhood that I don't particularly like, our relationships aren't especially healthy, but I love them and we'll be friends forever and just deal with it. Guys who've gotten me in trouble and whom I've gotten in trouble. But you stick together anyway. In fact, my best friend in 3rd grade grew up to be a real life Worm. And were it not for the fact our teacher thought he'd grow up to be a degenerate (true) and there was some hope for me (debatable), separated us and assigned us to different 4th grade teachers, I might be sharing a cellblock with him right now. 

Again, every guy can relate. We all have that buddy who gets in trouble, drags us into it, and sometimes we're the only ones paying the price. As they say in Animal House when they've destroyed Flounder's brother's car, "Hey, you fucked up. You trusted us." But being a friend means you put up with it. And Joe Judge is most definitely Belichick's friend. I don't know if he qualifies as a "$50,000 Because He Lost Track of the Time" friend. Because I definitely don't have one of those and don't intend to make one. Ever.

My guess is, expecting Belichick to accept an apology is a big ask. Because he likes running practices like he enjoys breathing air and telling Lawrence Taylor stories. Plus, he specifically warned everyone about watching the clock and his right hand man still blew it. But I can say with certainty the way for Judge to get back in his good graces is to bring his special teams back to the Top 5 in the league status they enjoyed when he was in charge a few years ago. If he can't do that, I'd suggest he start updating his LinkedIn profile. And writing a check to Belichick for $50,000.