Resolve this year to lay off your conspiracy theories

Resolve this year to lay off your conspiracy theories

A New Year’s resolution is something I never make.

I don’t try to lose weight, and I’ll never pledge to stop swearing as much as I do. I realize such resolutions would only be a waste of time.

However, I am full of suggestions when it comes to others trying to live up to impossible standards set for the New Year, even though I’m not going to be the one to tell you to drop a few pounds.

The gyms are busy enough without the first-two-weeks-of-January crusaders.

One resolution would be for you to stop repeating this ridiculous nonsense that the New England Patriots are cheaters and the league is rigged in favor of Bill Belichick’s team.

Yes, of course the Patriots have bent the rules. We know that for the same reason every cyclists in the Tour de France knew Lance Armstrong was a total fraud. Many (if not all) of the riders were cheating, and they watched the great American pull away from them day after day.

So, Armstrong was either superhuman, or he was a cheater. We all know the truth now.

There’s an old saying, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

While as wrong as that saying seems to be, it is certainly a reality in the National Football League.

Whether it’s spying, deflating or manipulating the injury report, every team is trying to get an edge. Well, every team except the Cleveland Browns, that is. They are clearly not cheating.

You’ll point to Spygate and Deflategate as examples of New England cheating, and I could go on for days about out silly those two made up controversies are.

Lately, though, football fans have been screaming because the league’s laughable catch rule — and the moron enforcing it — benefited the Patriots in a couple of late-season games.

The most notable bad call clearly stole a win from the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose fans make Raider Nation look well adjusted.

The following days saw a barrage of accusations that the league was cheating for the Patriots.

If you think that is the case, you should take off your tinfoil hat.

If you say that and are a Steelers fan, then you clearly don’t remember Super Bowl XL. That’s the game when Ben Roethlisberger somehow scored a touchdown with his head — and that wasn’t even the worst to benefit the Steelers in that game.

That bad calls weren’t because the NFL had a conspiracy for the Steelers or against the Seahawks. It was because NFL officials are, for the most part, horrible, and the replay system makes them even worse.

If the Patriots are indeed the darling of the league and the beneficiaries of a conspiracy, then why were they brutally punished twice for infractions anyone with a hint of common sense could tell you every other team (except the Browns) has also committed?

Why did your great-aunt know the name Jimmy Garoppolo at the beginning of the 2016 season?

Why did the league spend 18 months and millions of dollars on lawyers to suspend Tom Brady for four games for allegedly letting a sliver of air out of the ball?

From the NFL to high school, every team doctors its own footballs so they are comfortable to their quarterback. Of all the people you’ve heard call Brady and the Patriots cheaters because of Deflategate, not one ever played quarterback.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has said he puts more air in the balls than the league allows. He does it for the same reason Brady, allegedly, likes the ball with less air. They get a better grip.

The NFL has lots of problems, and the Patriots are not one of them.

If nothing else, you should be thankful for the villain the Patriots have become.

The Cowboys used to be the team we all loved to hate and root against. Since Jerry’s Boys have only been relevant for two seasons over the past 22 years, you should be grateful the Patriots stepped up and filled the huge void.

The biggest problem the NFL faces is the NFL.

There is a penalty flag on nearly every play, and the replay official clearly knows less about football than your great-aunt.

The league should get rid of replay, send replay official Alberto Riveron to North Korea, and decriminalize the act of playing defensive back.

It should also enforce the rules on the one team that really is cheating, the Green Bay Packers.

Well, at least the Packers will be cheating the next time they play a game with Rodgers as its quarterback.

Rodgers, who is the best quarterback in the league right now and one of the greatest of all time, broke his collar bone on a dirty hit by Anthony Barr of the Vikings in the middle of October. The hit sent Rodgers to the injured reserve list.

Amazingly, the quarterback came back two months later, was activated off the injured reserve list, and played in one game.

After the Packers lost to the Panthers and fell out of playoff contention in Rodgers’ return, the team decided to shut down the quarterback for the season. They didn’t want to risk further injury in meaningless games.

So, the Packers placed Rodgers back on injured reserve with his “clavicle” injury.

In doing so, the team made a clerical mistake.

The NFL has rules to prevent teams from manipulating the injured reserve list. That means that if a player is activated from the IR, then placed back on the IR with the same injury, that player must be released by the team once he is healthy.

So, as soon as Rodgers is cleared by a doctor to play again, the Packers must release the quarterback, according to the rules in place. Rodgers should be subject to waivers, and the Browns, who are probably dumb enough to pass on him, have the first waiver claim.

The New York Giants are No. 2, and they would never pass up on the chance to add such a great quarterback.

It’s a real rule, too, and other NFL teams have complained that the Packers are getting away with breaking it.

Of course, the NFL is not going to let Rodgers be released. The league that fought to suspend Brady over a little air in a football is going to rewrite its IR rules to protect a quarterback who admittedly adds too much air to footballs.

If we were talking an offensive lineman or a linebacker, the player would definitely be let go. In this case, the NFL is once again making a bad call in favor of the Packers.

As an irrational fan of the Chicago Bears, I can tell you that Packers have gotten every call since the late 1980s. Whether it’s Dez Bryant’s non-touchdown, Don Majkowski running past the line of scrimmage to throw a touchdown, to Benny Cunningham’s touchback this season, every call goes the way of the Packers.

In fact, the only blatantly bad call that went against the Packers since 1988 was the Fail Mary in Seattle. It was so shocking that a call actually went against the Packers that the call was given a name. It als immediately settled the NFL officials strike.

Sure, I should probably follow my own advice, remove my tinfoil hat and stop spouting ridiculous conspiracies about the NFL.

I would, but I don’t do resolutions.

— Bill Foley, looks good in his fitted tinfoil hat, writes a column that usually appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74



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