Judging Presidential Losers (1796 to 1824) Vol. 1

The Faces Of Defeat

Thomas Jefferson, 1797 to 1801

  • Better relations with France

  • Support of Maximillian Robespierre

  • No Alien & Sedition Acts

  • No all powerful SCOTUS

  • No Quasi-War with France

  • Further hostilities against Great Britain

  • Jefferson appoints Levi Lincoln to Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall becomes an influential senator from Virginia

Would He Preserve Peace?
Peace with Revolutionary France, continued bitter relations with Great Britain despite the earlier passage of the Jay’s Treaty. A earlier Jefferson administration in a more turbulent time is very murky and hard to gauge. Overall, I say worser relations and a potential earlier embargo on Great Britain leads to a Quasi-War with the Brits in place of the French.

Jefferson was a fan of the Provisional government in France and didn’t think highly of Napoleon. Maybe the U.S sends troops to stop Bonapartes rise? Or maybe the U.S is drawn into conflict with Napoleonic France? Hard to say. Maybe the Quasi-War Adams lead the U.S into becomes an actual war under Jefferson. 
Score: Negative one point

Would He Ensure Liberty?
No Alien and Sedition Acts, which George Washington supported Adams signing because after crushing the Whiskey Rebellion the pro-Jefferson tabloids heckled the general mercilessly. 

But then there’s his many slaves…

Score: Plus one point

Would He  Provide Prosperity?
Jefferson accurately assessed the tyrannical nature of finance capital and capitalism as a whole. Alexander Hamilton ensured only the elites would gain power and a responsive government, in a purposeful nature. That being said, to reaffirm what I said earlier his alternative was this fallacy of the Yeomen farmer not having to rely on the government to whip up revenue, the slave masters will force the slaves to pick cotton and tobacco to do it. This is also tyrannical. 

In the end Jefferson’s alternative to Hamilton’s dystopian pleasuring of the rich was an agricultural based economy profiting off exploiting non-whites. Not good.

Score: Negative two points

Would He Be Effective?

The Democratic-Republicans possessed a 12 seat advantage in the House of Representatives, but the Federalist enjoyed a 19 to 10 margin in the Senate. Plus he undermined Adams during his presidency as Veep and I doubt if we reversed the roles it be any different. Jefferson would be even more handicapped by the machinations Hamilton.

Score: Negative one point

Final score: Negative three-points 

In the election of Adams vs Jefferson did Americans make the right choice? Eh, not really. But both options sucked so I’d call this a wash. I think if Adams and Jefferson switched presidential victories they’re more effective in a positive sense by what they would and wouldn’t have done. 

John Adams, 1801 to 1805

  • No Louisiana Purchase

  • Hamilton is too busy to duel Aaron Burr

  • No disastrous Embargo of 1807 against Britain, leading to better relations and free trade
  • Possible war with France

Would He Preserve Peace?
Peace with Britain and Adams was a good enough diplomat to avoid escalated conflicts with France so… three points

Would He Ensure Liberty?
Cc: Alien and Sedition Act. Negative three

Would He Attempt To Provide Prosperity?

The north and southern states competed directly with one another setting up different economies with conflicting interests. Not much is said about Adams on the domestic front, but we know Jefferson spent like an asshole and it wasn’t for internal improvements or stuff the people actually needed. I’ll cut Johnny some slack and give him a plus one score.

Would He Be Effective?

Adams enjoyed a fourteen seat majority in the House and thirteen in the Senate. I believe he would be effective. Plus two.

Final score: three-points

Did Americans make the right decision? 

Eh… no. I think the Louisiana Purchase was a horrible idea as I don’t find slaughtering native Americans to make room for slaves all that enticing. I don’t believe Adams would have done this and given the icier relationship the U.S would have with France I say this deal doesn’t get offered to the U.S and maybe Spain ponies up the dough for it. Jefferson’s ideals was based on never ending expansion, but once the frontiers closed his libertarian values became null and void. The “Revolution of 1800” which saw the demise of the Federalists Party could have very well been the death-nail for the Dem-Reps.

So… no. I’m more sympathetic to Jefferson’s point of view on government than Hamilton, as the former didn’t call the people the great beast. But I’d rather see slave power curtailed rather than it work hand and hand with capitalism.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 1805 to 1813

  • Further aristocratic dominance

  • No War of 1812; or at least not yet

  • Inadvertently stunts the growth in popularity of Andrew Jackson

  • Very Pro-Slave for a Federalist

Would He Preserve Peace?

Peace with Britain, yes. That’s enough. Plus three. 

Would He Ensure Liberty?
Nope. Pinckney was very pro-slave for a Federalist and believed political office should be held exclusively by aristocratic elites, such as himself and even proposed the president serve a twenty-year term. Yikes. Negative-two.
Would He Provide Prosperity?
No embargo of 1807 leading to an economic collapse so… sure. Solid, conservative governance. Positive one. 

Would He Be Effective?

In OTL the Federalist were beyond toast. Maybe Adams winning in 1800 butterflies this, but we’ll just assume America grows to despise the Feds anyway. The Dem-Reps would throughly kick Pinckney’s ass. So negative one. 
Point total: negative 2 points

Did Americans make the right decision: Madison was by no means a good president. He was tricked by Henry Clay into starting war with the British, let the charter of the nat’l bank expire meaning the U.S had no money to support its war efforts and he vetoed an internal improvements bill because according to his Jeffersonian ideals trying to make the roads and bridges of colonial America more habitable is unconstitutional. Gotta love that Constitution. 

That being said, Pinckney was an elitist dope propped up by Hamilton. It was either going to be Pinckney or Rufus King acting as Hamilton’s avatar, he went with the former because the latter exercised more intelligence which is a big no no for Hammy. 

That all being said… I’m not too fond the Madison administration and think a Pinckney victory in 1808 keeps the Feds alive and more importantly avoids a pointless war with the Brits, and even more importantly minimizes Andrew Jackson’s celebrity. 

So no, the U.S did not make the right choice. Though I understand why they turned their noses up at the snobby, pretentious Anglophiles based in the northeast. 

DeWitt Clinton, 1813 to 1817

  • Superior handling of the economy

  • Superior handling of the War of 1812; Madison was guilty of keeping incompetent generals in charge because political differences

  • Focus on Internal Improvements

  • Establishment of the 2nd Nat’l Bank; Madison let the first bank’s charter expire and collapse

  • Possible gut punch to influence of slave state oligarchs, of which they’d of course recover from but whatever

  • No Hartford Convention (and all their good ideas) leading to the collapse of the Federalist Party

Would He Preserve Peace?

Yes. A thousand times yes. Clinton would inherit a war that was rotten from the jump and considered un-winnable. A peace deal with the Brits. Plus 3 points. 

Would He Ensure Liberty?
De Witt was based in New York during a time where slavery was being phased out entirely above the Mason-Dixon Line. The planter elite would despise him so.. two points

Would He Provide Prosperity?

Clinton proved to be an inspirational, determined and resourceful political figure in New York helming the Erie Canal Commission. He proved effective in garnering $7 million in funds for the project labeled by his detractors as “Clinton’s Ditch” and he had the last laugh by 1825 when he sailed from Buffalo to New York City. He wouldn’t veto the Bonus Bill like Madison did, leading to a construction of roads and canals the country sorely needed for trading purposes. Three points.

Would He Be Effective?
A Clinton election leads to an Era of Good Feelings differencing only in the fusion of the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists. Clinton wasn’t a Fed, rather a Dem-Rep gone rogue. His near victory caused Madison to reestablish the National Bank and govern more like a Federalists. It’s safe to assume Clinton was the best president this country turned down. Plus two. 

Final Score: Plus nine points

Did Americans Make The Right Decision?

No. Madison sucked. He wrote a shitty document that hampers our ability to fix things to this day and his fumbling of the war caused the city of Washington to be burnt down due to him keeping incompetent generals in service because of political affiliation favorable to him. He sucked. He blowed. I’m glad he’s dead. 

Rufus King, 1817 to 1825

  • Continuation of the Proto-American System based on internal improvements and the Nat’l Bank

  • Another blow to the planter elite suffering a defeat against a anti-slavery Federalist

  • No Monroe Doctrine

  • No Panic of 1819

Would He Attempt To Preserve Peace?
I believe so yes. As I stated before the Federalists casted their lot in with the British and as far as survival of the United States is concerned that was likely the right call. One point.

Would He Attempt To Ensure Liberty?

In one of Rufus’ last political acts he denounced the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which while it did prevent an earlier Civil War, and prohibited slavery in the north it served to strengthen the Slave Power in congress and did little to quell the thirst the planter elite had in expanding their empire up north despite the recent ruling. King was deeply anti-slavery and while vetoing this bill definitely leads to a Civil War, perhaps with generals like Winfield Scott on the side of the Union the Confederacy is crushed as is the practice of slavery. Two-points.

Would He Attempt To Provide Prosperity?

For all the boasting I just made about King’s principals, the Federalists are still the party of the aristocratic class of the north. While DeWitt was also of this ilk, his record as Mayor of New York and later Governor showed an ability to expand beyond that. King would be a solid, steady man at the helm.Not a champion of the people by any stretch of the imagination. Zero points.
Would He Be Effective?

By this time the Federalists were deader than dead and if by some miracle King won it leads to a Civil War meaning the bulk of the Dem-Reps up and abandon the country all together leaving behind some loyalist Jeffersonians, but many more Feds… so yes. He’ll be effective. One point.

Final Score: three-points

Did Americans make the right decision?

James Monroe steamrolled opponents in two presidential contests only to be forgotten in history immediately after his term… While in office he didn’t accomplish anything spectacularly good, rather acting as a bridge from the first era of American politics to the next. Monroe was the David Woodley/Don Strock Miami Dolphins stuck between the Bob Griese and Dan Marino eras. Destined to be forgotten and did little to make a case for himself to be remembered.

Andrew Jackson, 1825 to 1829

  • More stuff for the barbarian to destroy

  • Perhaps is less vindictive as his wife is still alive and hasn’t made enemies in John Q. Adams and Henry Clay
  • Earlier Trail of Tears
  • Possibly U.S involvement in The Fredonian Rebellion in Texas

Would He Attempt To Preserve Peace?

Jackson probably invests the military to assist the rebellion in Texas and maybe we get the territory into the Union sooner. I think a Jackson administration at this point in time mirrors James K. Polk’s tenure in office two decades later. A presidency built off expansion of the border and financial sturdiness thanks to low tariffs and free trade.

If Jackson wins the war versus the Mexicans, three-points. If he loses it negative three.

Would He Attempted To Provide Prosperity?

On the economic front Jackson wasn’t very invested in his earlier days. The deficit would continue to decline as it did in OTL. One-point for being a rather inconsequential figure in that regard.

it just so happened that man Jackson wanted hanged was a worser figure in U.S History John C. Calhoun so i guess it wasn’t all that bad.

Perhaps we don’t get those tariffs in the first place as Jackson only did this to piss off the protectionist in the north (I don’t know why, I tried understanding his reasoning but it comes across as a guy with too much time on his hands coming up with elaborate schemes to get one over on his advisories). The tariff was designed to fail in Congress, make Van Buren and the south look reasonable as they were extending an olive branch to the northern protectionists lead by Henry Clay… only they took that offer, thereby pissing off Calhoun.

On second thought… negative two points.

Would He Attempt To Ensure Liberty?

Let’s see… loved to own and slaughter blacks and natives, and threaten representatives if they didn’t agree to his tariffs. Jackson leads an earlier exodus of the natives from their ancestral land. Negative three-points.

Would He Be Effective?

Andy Jack knew how to get his way. If Jackson was Trump, then Martin Van Buren was the Mitch McConnell the real puppet-master. He killed Clay’s bank, won numerous other legislative battles and throughly transformed the United States mentality and forever broaden their ambitions for westward expansion.

I hate every single thing the man did, but he accomplished what he sought to do… three points.

Final score: Plus one-point if he wins the war with Mexico; negative five points if he loses.

Did Americans Make The Right Decision?

Well in ‘24 they did support Jackson, only the House chose Adams instead. Maybe if Jackson wins here he’s less vindictive and deranged… maybe he even steps down after one term because there’s nothing galvanizing him to continue serving. I’m actually leaning towards no. We didn’t make the right choice

More Thoughts On The Return of Al Horford

It’s no secret the Celtics lacked significant enough cohesion on the offensive end. For a multitude of reasons the team never jelled, some of the cause of players not being fully healthy and outside forces out of their control. Despite his scoring prowess once he lost a step there wasn’t much Kemba Walker could contribute to the team if he is to remain inconsistent from the field. Then there’s Jaylen Brown, while his scoring has improved his inability to pass and dribble left much to be desired. Jayson Tatum was always a good passer, but when given floor general duties it essentially sacrificed his scoring as he became more passive looking to get others involved at his own detriment. The idea proposed by Jared Weiss that Tatum is selfish and needs to be more deferential to his teammates is laughable. I’ve been watching him for four years and the only criticism I had was he wasn’t asserting himself nearly enough.

A common trait that seems to define this generation of superstars to me is they lack the assertiveness of generations past. What a selfish prick like Michael Jordan or LeBron James would do if a coach didn’t let them touch the ball during crucial stretches of a game would be akin to spontaneous mutiny. But Tatum is far too reasonable to go to such an extreme and that’s why we lost in 2018. So get the fuck out of here if you’re trying to paint him as a self centered individual.

What the Celtics needed post-Kyrie was a point guard that’ll give the rock up and initiate offense. Basically a Mike Conley. But the Kemba signing worked and we’re a Tyler Herro anomaly or a Gordon Hayward injury or an Al Horford reneging on the Sixers away from being champions. But, as always, the breaks of the game went against the Celtics. So we have to regard the signing as an a abstract failure despite it very much not being. It’s nice that the discourse around the league treats Coronavirus as a knee sprain. A setback that is natural when playing basketball. 

Everyone gets so touchy when you say this season, and the previous one, are fake. “You wouldn’t be saying this if your team won.” Yes, I in fact would be saying this. I just have this part of my brain that processes irony. It’s like saying my teams win only because they cheat. Okay, so what if you’re right? What are you going to do about it? 

But the takeaway the front office for the Celtics was it was time to move away from score first point guards and enter an era where everything is geared around your two all-star forwards in a similar vein to the Los Angeles Clippers and things have been working out pretty well for them. Remember when I called them a bunch of tissue paper thin mentally weak cowards? Well as of two weeks ago that seems to be all but buried as they sure showed me what for. Good for them. No really, good for them. 

The moving of Kemba for Horford improves the Celtics passing and defense. A sad turn revaluation last season was Brown’s off ball defense being below from suspect, and Marcus Smart either taking a step back due to injury or his aggressive play coupled with the injuries he’s accumulated in his career leading to his wear and tear and regression as a defender. It hurts my soul to type this.

While many have you believe Horford is washed, they are merely letting his lost seasons in Philadelphia and Oklahoma cloud their judgment. Now I’m not one to use advanced metrics, as they are for nerds who need to be shoved into lockers and shunned from society… but when the numbers are to my liking that’s a different story. 

Last year old Al’s defensive metrics are very friendly to him. 
Defensive Real Box Score +/-: 83rd percentile
Defensive Box Score +/-: 88th percentile 
Luck-adjusted Regularized Adjusted +/-: 77th percentile

Finally, the Thunder’s defensive rating of 109.1 with Horford on the floor ranks fifth in the NBA, vs the 113.9 with him off; ranking 26th. 

He isn’t done folks. I’m perfectly aware my endorsement is akin to the kiss of death but what am I supposed to do in the face of this mounting evidence supporting the idea Horford just found himself in odd situations? The Thunder had to send him home because he was helping them win too many games. That counts for something. 

He’s still a very good passer and creator. While his athleticism has waned, he still can utilize his lanky frame and play bully-ball. Something the Celtics have missed from their center for some time. Though I do believe Tristan Thompson wasn’t too bad in his role. Oh, shut up! Your boos mean nothing to me I’ve seen what makes you people cheer!

As far as the Celtics center situation is concerned I believe we are in a “wait and see” period. Moses Brown is under contract until 2024, they are in rush to play him. Robert Williams can be sign and traded if the fit with him and Horford doesn’t work out. Thompson came along nicely late in the season and is making only $9.5 million. Not much you can get for him, so you might as well keep him. Horford is good for 20-minutes per night and unless you’re playing the Sixers that’s fine with me. 

The Celtics lost a transcendent scorer that’s likely Hall of Fame bound if he recovers like I still believe he will. But what they gained was much needed roster flexibility and established a clearer vision going forward. Not a bad trade in the moment. But of course, hindsight is always a bitch. 

Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso Has Come Home

This is something i did not want. Kemba Walker is due for a major bounce back season coming off a campaign plagued with anomalies that’ll be impossible to duplicate. Even in his hobbled state he averaged only one less point per game than he did in his previous season. 

What the Celtics did essentially was get themselves out of paying a large sum of money, risking a potential downgrade in on-court value, to raise their ceiling for improving the team in 2023. Outgoing walker being due $73 million over the next two seasons vs returning Celtic Al Horford being set to earn $53 million over the same course of time, add in flipping the sixteenth pick in the draft for entering his third year center Moses Brown, I’ve seen teams do worse in salary dumps. 

Dumping Walker leaves behind a need to replace his point totals, and the likelihood of the “solutions” being in-house. Primarily Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard. What Smart will need to do is improve his finishing around the room and develop an inside game. He is the main initiator of the offense now and it is a must he does more than what he is usually asked for. Which is why I’m skeptical that he’ll succeed and always stood by keeping Walker. 

Still, Smart is only 27 and his trajectory compared to Kyle Lowry at their respective seventh seasons are remarkably similar. Difference is with Lowry is his shooting percentages rose to All-Star levels in his age 27 season, which is what Smart will need to do now. No ifs, ans or buts. 

Looking down on the depth chart the aforementioned Pritchard can fill the role Terry Rozier once did and that’s camping out in the corner and being the backup ball-handler. Pritchard is faster than Smart and if the latter had the formers speed I really think I’d be more comfortable with our guard situation. 

Receiving old friend Alfred after two years journeying the pitiful situations of Philly and Oklahoma kind of adds more depth. Prior to this we had five NBA players, not counting Tristan Thompson because he’s a center and we couldn’t get away with playing him next to Robert Williams. Today I am certain Rob will coexist with Horford. All this talk that he’s knees are gone are likely half correct. But it says something that the Thunder sent him home because he was helping them win games when the front office wanted to tank. 

He still shoots a respectable percentage from the field, a crisp 36% from three-point and he can still get up for an alley-op on occasion. Horford is far from done and, if I am to be frank, is gonna age better than Walker… (Now watch Kemba put up 25 in OKC and make the All-Star team next season). 

Our starting lineup as of today, (assuming Evan Fournier re-signs, which this trade makes easier to do) is Smart / Jaylen / Jayson / Rob / Horford; with Fournier and Pritchard. That’s seven NBA players ready to contribute at the drop of the hat. I am bullish on 2nd year Pritchard because I feel he is always good for one or two long range threes a night. But you need more than that to win. You need Pritchard to average more points and be able to command the offense. You also need one of Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith and Jabari Parker to become a contributor off the bench. If I had to make my bet, it be Jabari because of the painful irony he’ll be hitting free agency next year. A perfect double sword I am all too useful as a fan.

Bottom line: this trade makes sense. It hurts to see Kemba go as he did everything he could here to bring us a championship. But plans changed and getting off of his contract seemed like a must.  

The Bitter NBA Watcher

Time to write has been scarce on my part. Growing up has meant a gradual loss of free time and facing massive exhaustion upon completing my duties I am unable to muster the energy needed to pen my already half assed columns. Life was so much simpler a few short years ago. It also helped I wasn’t a black-pilled nihilist utterly disgusted with the eebs and flows of basketball. 

I’m going to be honest with you, dear reader… I haven’t watched much basketball these last couple months. Most of that has been by choice. The Celtics being a miserable affair on a nightly basis, followed by me bogging myself in the same Twitter arguments left me wanting to create much distance between me the game. While all the other teams have fun because Coronavirus hadn’t handicapped them, I stew about handwringing over the uncertain future that lays ahead. Frankly, I am curious and worried Brad Stevens won’t have it in him to make the trades needed to revamp this roster which had several issues. While general managers hardly form emotional attachments to their players, to make it easier to cut and have contentious contractual negotiations with, a coach NEEDS to have one. 

There’s been some scuttlebutt about Marcus Smart hitting the trade bloc and that Dallas was a potential suitor. I advise you don’t put any stock in this at all. But I can also say that even if Dallas had players I would want in return for Smart, I doubt Stevens has it in him to cut loose someone he’s worked with everyday for seven years. 

Team-building is important. But over the course of the last couple of years I’ve noticed it’s decline in the past. The Miami Heat were Trail Blazers when they carved out three max contract slots for Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Having little to no imagination for how the rest of the roster came together the top heavy squad relied on Mike Bibby and Noris Cole to provide the spark guys like Jeff Hornacek and James Posey have for their respective teams in the past. 

The Miami ideology worked itself out in the end, even after a defeat at the hands of Dirk and the Mavericks. Mercenaries like Shane Battier joined the fold and acted as the adhesive for when the big three started to lose their grip. When the walls began to cave in middle of the fourth, facing a potential 2-0 hole vs the OKC Thunder who were their good guy doppelgänger, Battier abruptly stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer that sailed Miami to the much needed win. If he hadn’t been there the Thunder, who once upon a time wasn’t a ticking time bomb, would be up in a series nobody expected them to be in vs the franchise that desperately needed to win now least they show their pride the door.

Team-building. It matters. 

Fast forward to now… who the hell makes that shot for the Nets if Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden aren’t doing so well. Because EVENTUALLY they’ll all go cold during a critical stretch. I’ll tell you what happens… it’ll wind up matters very little and this top heavy roster that fell into the laps of overachieving idiots like Sean Marks and Steve Nash cruise to a championship because the NBA is not a league where you can afford things like patience and roster construction. Just wait for dumb luck to strike and cash out all your draft picks for the disgruntled star that suddenly became available.

People say the Celtics in 2008 did the same thing, but Ainge gave “his friend” Kevin McHale a draft pick that could have been Stephen Curry if he picked him over Johnny Flynn. The Rockets aren’t assured a damn thing with the bundle of picks they received.

The most talented team is undoubtedly Brooklyn. For Christ sake, the Bucks are letting Blake Griffin score off them. Things are real bad. On the bright side we can all finally agreed Kyrie sandbagged Boston in the Milwaukee series… right? Oh, yeah. Everyone thinks the people who live in New England are intrinsically evil and deserve hell.

We already know who will win the championship. That much is assured. The NBA is a league of unstoppable forces and immovable objects. One of those being LeBron, was sent home so the table is set for the three greatest scorers this league has ever seen to win a championship together and nobody outside of Twitter will give two shits because basketball isn’t as big as that hellscape of a platform says it is. 

In the more fun (but not better) conference the scrappy Nuggets face the Suns and Chris Paul hunting for his first ring. The Jazz play their first game in over six months vs the perpetually self destructing Los Angeles Clippers. 

Just how the stage is set for red headed bastard step child of New York to rise in the East, it is ready for the red headed bastard step child of Los Angeles to do the same in the West. Only the Clippers weak spots are more pronounced and insist on showing themselves at the worse times. How ironic, considering Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are probably the best equipped to handle the Nets. Second to Philly… which reminds me.

Why play Joel Embiid at all if you’re going to chicken out at the finish line anyway? A torn meniscus is not something to joke about, but Jo-Jo did look sublime out there in Game 1 and almost mounted a comeback vs Atlanta. Despite the loss the Sixers will defeat one of my favorite teams in the Hawks in rather decisive fashion. They will not shoot over fifty percent every night. This isn’t the bubble. 

If any team not named Brooklyn wins it’ll be a much needed win for team building. Each team having to show patience with a player or coach or signing quality role players to assist their star. Phoenix it’s DeAndre Ayton. Atlanta it’s signing Gallinari and Bogdan. For Philly it’s somehow turning Tobias Harris into their 2nd best player. For Utah it’s fixing Jordan Clarkson. For Denver it’s persevering through injuries. 

For Brooklyn… It’s the perks of technically being a big market team when fans don’t give two damns about you and won’t attend your games even if you advertise free beer. 

Well This Sucks: Ainge Retires, Stevens Promoted

If only the Boston Celtics did not lose to a team everyone believed they were inferior to and facing numerous injuries and setbacks defined by unprecedented circumstances. IF ONLY!

I can’t believe the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets ran a 62-year old man with heart problems from his job of where he was universally praised for doing by people who don’t search for clout on Twitter or television. I just can’t believe it. 

It’s ironic I’ve been pushing for Stevens to be fired for close to two years now and now that I’ve gotten what I wanted I’m conflicted. Perhaps it’s because internally I can never allow myself to be happy. For happiness demands emotional investment and causes exhaustion on my part. And it is possible I will dearly miss Danny Ainge being the general manager as I had supreme confidence in his abilities, and I doubt Stevens. 

Like him or not Ainge was a bonafide swindler, capable of convincing teams to do what wasn’t in their best interests. If luck was on his side Ainge would have at least another championship to his pedigree. But for whatever reason it seems God favors the Los Angeles Lakers, and despises the Celtics. 

A new coach is something to be excited for.  New voice was needed and as Stevens cited he was burned out from the grind and in retrospect it was pretty visible. Coaching in basketball isn’t very important. Historically there’s like fifteen that ever actually mattered in history. The last two championship coaches are at best middle of the road.

Thinking in the grand scheme of things, maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on trades too. The Warriors didn’t make a big trade or draft anyone good after 2016. The Lakers did nothing right and landed LeBron because he wanted to make movies and used his connections to lure Anthony Davis to join him. And for Masai Ujiri all he really did was take advantage of a scornful, petty Greg Popovich. So just like real life, the person who actually was the best at his job was always undone by dumb luck. 

So what do I make of this shake up? This seemingly end of an era that brought tremendous comfort? I don’t know but I feel terrible at the moment as scared at the uncertain prospects of the future…

Put Us Out Of Our Misery

First the positives: I’m honestly excited to see how Evan Fournier and Jabari Parker look on the Celtics next year if they are retained, given a full off-season and training camp to get integrated. People poo-pooing Fournier have little to no understanding of his struggles on the court are wholly attributed to his Covid diagnosis leading to issues breathing and restrained playing time. Side note: if you’re still mad the Celtics didn’t trade for James Harden what happened to Fournier likely happens to him. 

As for Jabari, I am biased in my rooting for him to succeed. Which is fine because there are plenty of people on the opposite end rooting for him to fail because he’s taking minutes from bench players we at this point should realize do not hold the key to our success. If Parker is taking minutes from Romeo Langford we have a problem. If Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye see their playing time reduced then that’s a different story.

In Romeo you have a consistent defensive stalwart. His weaknesses aren’t so crippling as Williams and Ojeleye. Langford deserves more time. Williams and Ojeleye are a shell game. You aren’t sure what you’re going to get, it is likelier you’ll get nothing from them as opposed to something positive. Parker is simply another shell. 

The problems with the Celtics this year is almost entirely disconnected from its on court product or front office performance. Truly this is a cursed team being exploited by a hyper capitalistic league and a bourgeoisie players union working hand and hand with management to craft a hellacious schedule designed to maximize profits at the expense of players healths. 

But the players didn’t want to spend eight months in a village they could not leave and the only available activity was work. So it’s their fault. Not Adam Silver (#BestSportsCommissioner). Not LeBron James, Chris Paul and Michelle Roberts. 

You know the old saying: if everyone is crazy you’re the one who is insane? That’s me this entire season constantly making my case this season is like pyrite serving as a gold substitute. Up until this point the league has had 160 in Covid protocols either diagnosed with the illness or exhibiting symptoms. Total days spent in quarantine is around 1,557. The Celtics lead the league in total players having been in Covid Protocol with 13 and days spent in said Covid Protocols with 167. 

Newcomer Evan Fournier landed here and from the jump he’s been sidelined, spending a total of four weeks away from the court and to this day says he cannot breathe properly. Similar to superstar Jayson Tatum who has spent 18 days in protocol and said earlier he needs an inhaler at the start and end of games. 

You’d think any sane person would agree with my assessment that the team was not dealt a proper hand and perhaps being compounded with a short off-season the Celtics were doomed to fail. Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Covid wasn’t a problem for them in the slightest, but the long playoff the previous season has left their superstars vulnerable. LeBron and Anthony Davis missing a large chunk of the season. Two more teams given the “underachievers” label is Toronto and Miami. Both made deep runs in the playoffs last year, were given little rest and play in Covid hot spots. 

When the Celtics have their best players available for long stretches they win games. When they don’t, they lose. Shocker. “I can’t believe Jaylen Brown and his group of D-Leaguers couldn’t defeat Lou Dort and his group of D-Leaguers!”

We’re all sick and the media suffers from severe narcism. There is nobody to blame here. Whatever basketball decisions you have quibbled with likely haven’t been given fair shots because the players kept getting sick. You’re mad Ainge didn’t draft or trade for whatshisface? Name that player I assure you he’s becoming ill the moment he lands in Boston. 

Lastly, the Celtics are at the end of one title window. One that began in 2017-18 and ended in 2020. Yeah, Davis was always the end goal but the team Ainge assembled staring Kyrie, Hayward and Horford was supposed to contend as well. Jaylen and Jayson were supposed to be the next generation pieces growing into their own right now as the older core aged out. 

When a team cashes in their chips for years of contention eventually they are paying the price, losing financial flexibility and finding themselves scrapping the bottom of the barrel. The reason the Miami Heat went out with a whimper in the last LeBron season wasn’t because of any sensational reason, but because they find themselves in the inopportune position relying on Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. The Celtics are in a similar boat relying on late first and second round picks to round out their bench. 

But to be fair, Ainge did address this by trading for Fournier…. it’s just he’s been sick. 

We need to be put out of our misery with a quick playoff exit. Here’s hoping we get it. 

Goodbye Old Friend, Happy Trails

You Will Be Missed.

He utters his boisterous phrase “I’ll go until the wheels come off” until years later he somberly admits, “They’ve finally fallen off.” The seventh round draft pick out of Kent State can no longer lace up the cleats after failing a physical leading to the termination of his contract. A crying shame as another hallmark of the Patriots second dynasty is shown the door.
On the bright side, Edelman won’t lose his entire contract. He’ll still receive $2 million thanks to the injury protection benefit as a part of the leagues collective bargaining agreement. 
I distinctly remember the off-season between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The question of what do we do about star wide receiver Wes Welker dominated the local media. Many assuming Belichick is too cheap to re-sign him and arrogant for believing there was a replacement for him in-house.
Well well well…
To be fair, Danny Amendola also came into town but he cost a pittance compared to what Welker received from Denver. Two-years,$13 million for Welker vs five-years, $31 million for Amendola. 
It’s cliche but Belichick was partaken with the scrappy Edelman while watching his team get decimated by Ohio State 48-3 because despite the lopsided score he hadn’t given up. His high intensity ceased to wane. 
Hard work and determination put Edelman a step below only the great Jerry Rice as a playoff performer. Ranking 2nd in most catches in the playoffs (118). 2nd in most receiving yards in playoff history (1,442). 2nd in most 100-yard receiving games (6). Fifth in most Super Bowl catches (24). Fourth in receiving yards in the Super Bowl (337). 
Put his statistics in January in context vs Rice, Edelman comes out looking even better. Rice played in 29 postseason games, Edelman 19. Both averaged the same amount of catches per game (Rice 5.9 vs Edelman’s 6.2). Finally, of all the Super Bowl MVPs only seven of them had been wide receivers. Lynn Swann, Fred Biletnikoff, Jerry Rice, Deion Branch, Hines Ward, Santino Holmes, and… you guessed it. 
In many ways, Edelman’s departure is a cause of celebration, not grief. He gets to retire with his head held up high, having accomplished so much more than anyone expected of him. From emergency defensive back in the 2011 season to emerging Welker replacement in 2013, and finally Super Bowl MVP in 2018, we may debate whether Edelman is worthy of Canton but there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind he deserves a special place at 2 Patriots Place in Foxboro.

Why Daniel Bryan NEEDS To Win At WrestleMania

This better be the climatic end to an epic triple threat or else it’s another chapter in the utter stupidity of WWE.

French novelist Milan Kundera once said of nostalgia “The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” 

For years fans older than I have yearned for the time when it used to be “better.” The last time it felt better to them was when the scrappy “B-plus player” Daniel Bryan overcame all the odds, the biases of Vince McMahon and Triple H and won the most prestigious prize in all of wrestling on its grandest stage. 

When the frustrated fans finally reached the illusive levers of power and turned away the corporate approved main event of Batista vs Randy Orton. The returning hero (Batista) taking on the dastardly champion (Orton) who just unified the WWE Championship with the World Heavyweight Championship. Not only to vanquish Orton, but also the recently made authority figure Triple H in a sort of epic clash of the famed stable ‘Evolution.’ 

Fans soundly rejected the premise and the treatment of stars not given their proper due. The sudden departure of the popular C.M Punk only aggravated them further. 

The powers that be will try to spin this as always their intention, but I can assure you their original intentions with WrestleMania XXX was for C.M Punk to face (and likely job to)Triple H; Daniel Bryan to face (and likely job to) Shaemus; and lastly, Batista to face Orton.

With little time to prepare for the sudden departure of one of its highest profile stars, and the main event of its biggest show of the year is at risk of being a historical failure. 

Vince called up Daniel Bryan to save the day. 

Fast forward seven-years later and the wrestling world appears so different, yet is very similar.

A compelling former champion returns to the ring after a decade of being forced away due to injuries. Edge returns holding the fans hearts in his hands. They are well aware of all the pain he’s gone through just to return to the only thing he’s ever wanted to do. 

He enters the Royal Rumble number one and battles 29 other men and comes out on top standing taller than ever. Fans rejoiced. Truly a culmination of all his hard work to return to the ring at the improbable age of forty-seven Edge was well on track to regain the title he never lost. 

He turns heel fifty-days later. Why? Because the WWE can’t book babyfaces to save their damned lives. 

Since winning the Royal Rumble Edge has been whining to anyone within earshot about how unfair it is for Bryan to get a title shot vs Universal Champion Roman Reigns at Fastlane; even if it doesn’t effect Edge in the slightest as is WrestleMania title shot is concrete. Shockingly, this made Edge come off as unlikeable to the fans. 

Yet he persisted and told Bryan to his face before his matchup with Reigns that did nothing to deserve a title shot and needed to step aside (apparently just let the bastard Roman walk into WrestleMania champion is better than having a good guy try and win it beforehand). 

Was he right? Was Daniel Bryan truly undeserving of a title shot at Fastlane? Why let’s see what he’s done as of late:  

  • Lost to Shinsuke Nakamura on January 8 edition of Smackdown and never got his revenge.
  • Lost to Cesaro the following week, didn’t get his revenge.
  • Didn’t win the Royal Rumble
  • Got beat in two-minutes by Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber.

Doesn’t sound like a deserving candidate to me! But to be fair to Bryan, this isn’t his fault. WWE never had intentions of the thirty-nine year old sneaking into the main event. It was always supposed to be Edge vs Roman Reigns. In the first WWE event with fans in over a year the brass worried that the heel would garner more favorable crowd reaction than the Babyface. 

In comes old goat face again. Now Bryan has a one and three chance of repeating history. In what possibly is his last WrestleMania the stars are aligning in a way where he is the best possible outcome for the main event being him standing tall with the title over the two foes holding him down. After all, Bryan had Reigns tapping in the middle of the ring to the “YES Lock” only for Edge to break it up and assault both him and Reigns.   

So here we are, with two weeks left until WrestleMania Vince is given the option of either Reigns strengthening his stranglehold on the title his held since August 31st, or giving it the man he had to turn heel because they couldn’t get him over as a babyface, or the man that was always over no matter how poorly programmed. 

How do you screw a wonderful, inspirational story like Edge and make him so dreadful? A black mark on the WWE if I’ve ever identified one. In what has become a traditional seemingly is the WWE plans a story for WrestleMania and makes it a complete and utter clusterfuck. The last time the world title matches didn’t have any story to them was ironically last WrestleMania and that was due to the Covid-19 shutting down production of Raw and Smackdown to the point where they were taping the shows in a broom closet otherwise we would have saw Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar get involved in all sorts of hijinks! 

How he allowed himself in this position is beyond me. Nonetheless, I do not care that this is my bias talking I am right, Bryan needs to be the winner otherwise this whole journey was not only contrived, confusing and stupid, it also would have been for naught. Edge will can not be a credible champion after all the garbage they’ve made him do. It’ll be a bore to let Roman walk out of ‘Mania still the champion. Doesn’t mean they won’t still do it. But if you really want to create a moment we’ll all remember and essentially forget the slop we’ve been subjected to the last couple months and the injustice you have Reigns or Edge tapping to the “YES Lock” and the closing image being the fans serenading Bryan fireworks color the night sky at Raymond James Stadium. 

The Good News and Only The Good News

You watch how quick the Patriots put ink to paper on the nine players signed in the span of a few hours and tell me tampering is something the NFL cares about corralling with a straight face.

Of course who can blame them? Free agency is the backbone of Twitter’s favorite sport, basketball. I’ve seen a concerted effort on the part of the national and local media in Boston in desperately trying to make free agency as important to the NFL. Huge difference is a basketball team can “win the off-season” and have that lead to actual success. In a player driven league the NBA season is dictated by superstars up and leaving one team they want out of for a variety of reasons and usually wish to team up somewhere. The NBA Finals this year is gonna be between two teams who walked ass backwards into top-10 players despite not being all that well run. Doesn’t matter. The players wanted to go there. Pure and simple. Big markets consume us all. All hail the big markets! Goddamn the winter!

In football you can make a splash signing big names in the off-season and still, for lack of a better word, suck. Which is what makes this event so fascinating as a fan of the Patriots and admirer of Belichick. While he does spend capital more than anyone will give him credit for, I can’t remember a time when the man spent so frivolously.

Don’t get me wrong, “In Bill We Trust.” I will follow that man backwards into Hell without question. If you don’t you’re the insane one. Plus we shouldn’t get enamored with the initially reported price tags. Cam Newton isn’t being paid $14 million. His incentive-laden contract requires him to return to elite form in order to reach his desired benchmark. There are plenty of tricks, to save yourself some wiggle room. 

But why did Belichick spend so much so fast? Did he get the idea after watching his former quarterback win a Super Bowl for another team? Why yes, of course. If you’re a fucking idiot you’d believe this take that is constantly spewed on social media and the bad take men on radio looking for attention. 

The fact of the matter is this is the first year of the NFL’s new cap rule requiring a team to spend 89% of its salary in a four year window and the team was sitting on nearly $60 million in cap space. In 2022 the cap will hopefully grow exponentially with fans certainly returning to the stands. So the Patriots potentially aren’t locking themselves up for as long as we think. We’ll see how that cookie crumbles.

But what about the players they signed? Who are they and why are they here? 

The Patriots roster of 2020 had holes that needed to be addressed. Before you rush to blame bad draft picks and poor player development, I’d like you to let go of the delusion the team that won six Super Bowls would be bad at either of those things. Signing Kyle Van Noy does not mean Bill Belichick does not believe in the young linebacking core. Signing Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne doesn’t mean Belichick has given up on Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry. Just as when they signed Danny Amendola in 2013 did not mean they did not believe in Julian Edelman. Signing Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry does not mean Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are not long for this earth.

It means the Patriots could not wait around for picks to develop. It means the Patriots have a bunch of money to spend, a league mandate they spend it. What did you want the Patriots to do? I consider myself the biggest N’Keal Harry advocate in the world and while I don’t particularly care about the wide receiver position or believe you need a “Number One” threat to win a championship, I realize the team was very thin heading into the off-season considering Damiere Byrd is likely leaving in free agency. 

So let us run down the list of the newest New England Patriots and what’ll hopefully be the backbone of the Dynasty 3.0:

TE Jonnu Smith – 4 years, $50 millionNT Davon Godchaux – 2 years, $16 millionDB Jalen Mills – 4 years, $24 millions LB Matthew Judon – 4 years, $56 millionWR Nelson Agholor – 2 years, $24 millionWR Kendrick Bourne – 3 years, $15 millionDL Henry Anderson – 2 years, $7 millionTE Hunter Henry – 3 years, $37.5 millionC Ted Karras – 1 year, $4 millionLB Kyle Van Noy – 2 years, $13.2 million DE Montravius Adams – 1 year, $2.5 millionLB Raekwon McMillan – 1 year, $????

Players re-signed:
DE Deatrich Wise Jr. – 4 years, $22 millionQB Cam Newton – 1 year, $14 million DT Carl Davis – TBACB Justin Bethal – 3 years, $6 millionFS Cody Davis – 2 years, $4.3 millionK Nick Folk – 1 year, $1.225 millionC David Andrews – 4 years, $????FB Jakob Johnson – 1 year, $850,000

$297,575,000 spent over the course of a couple days. Half of one percent of the U.S budget of education. Was hoping to make a political statement with these statistics but it didn’t add up. 

Obviously it seems like the Patriots spent like drunken sailers. But let’s not look at the reported numbers and focus on incentives. Performance and in-game bonuses are likely the driver of these giant figures. 

For Smith only $31.25 million is guaranteed. $25 million is guaranteed for Henry. Interestingly enough the tight ends salary for 2021 is a measly $1,000,000 before jumping up to $9 million the next season. $10 million is guaranteed for Wise, who is also getting paid just $1 million for 2021. Judon is also getting paid only $1,000,000 for the season. Kind of amazing how New England spread the money around to minimize potential damages. 

To step away from the accountant side of football, it’s clear the Patriots are moving towards a run-heavy offense, taking advantage of lighter defenses geared towards defending the pass. Smith and Henry are great blockers. Only real blocking tight end they had was Izzo and he was a zero when it came to catching. 

While in the air the Patriots had tons of trouble, the rushing game was elite. Ranking fourth in total yards, third in rushing attempts and sixth in total touchdowns. Between Damian Harris, Cam Newton and Sony Michel the trio gained 1,732 yards on the ground. Though missing most do the season to injury Sony averaged 5.7 yards per attempt. If healthy the duo of Harris and Sony will be lethal.

The little we’ve seen of J.J Taylor was promising. But blocked by Rex Burkhead and James White sidelined 22 year old. With those two likely gone we’ll see a lot more of Taylor. What we lose in the departures of White and Rex is a back that can run and also catch, leading to a loss in diversity in the backfield. In the last game vs the Jets the Patriots targeted Sony for a 33 yard touchdown for his first receiving score of his career. Using recency bias I suppose Belichick will try to make Sony the dual threat back. 

But him and Harris have not caught ten passes in a season and we are unsure of how they’ll perform with the added responsibility.

O the opposite side of the field, good luck gashing this Patriots defense. Third down was their weakest point the previous season. Ranking middle of the pack in getting the last and most crucial stop. Opponents sitting at 40.9% off of 186 attempts. The Patriots even failed to stop teams on fourth down, as opponents had a 56% chance of advancing.

The story last season was the front seven was too old. Veteran Beau Allen was supposed to add something but he found himself on the injury list for all of last season and the team felt his absence. 

The new look like will address this issues. If the offense can avoid going three and out to the extent they did last year they’ll surely improve dramatically. 

The roster at hand looks like an all-timer. Something we’d rave about endlessly if we knew what this team trajectory was. If Brady was still here this would be the best patriots team on paper since 2014. 

Overall, I’m very optimistic in this team. We’re just getting started in the new league calendar year. Too soon to make a huge proclamation. But fans should be overjoyed at the money smartly spent by Bill Belichick and company. 

Cam Is Back. Ho-Hum

All this hysteria for a fifth-fifth highest paid quarterback in the NFL? Cam’s salary, without the bells and whistles, sits at a lowly $5,006,250. $3.5 million is guaranteed. The largest incentive is for $8.5 million for playoffs, being on the original roster of the Pro Bowl, making the All-Pro team, winning the MVP or Super Bowl MVP, etc. Adding up to at maximum $14,000,000. 

So what’s the deal with all the theatrics. Belichick didn’t give Newton the super-max. New England sits prettily at $50,000,000 in cap space and who is to say they are going to settle for Newton as their starter? Newton is being paid less than Chase Daniels and a little more than Jeff Driskel. That doesn’t scream “He’s our guy!” to me. And if it does to you: get help. 

Re-signing Newton is a low risk, high reward proposition. He’ll have a full off-season of OTA, mini-camp, training camp, and pre-season games to get more acclimated to the Patriots offense. To be honest, Newton was the best realistic option for New England. Jimmy Garroppolo and Derek Carr aren’t on the trade block. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jamis Winston and Mitchell Trubisky didn’t intrigue Belichick. The only alternative left was to throw Jarrett Stidham to the wolves and if he couldn’t see the field with Newton playing as poorly as he did at times, then it’s more than likely he isn’t worth the risk. 

Best case scenario is Cam limits the mistakes, takes better care of the ball this season and the Patriots spread the money around to load up at various positions. The defensive line is about to see stalwarts like Adam Butler and Lawerence Guy leave. The secondary is getting slower. At linebacker they are predominately inexperienced. They’ll need to get faster and bigger over the course of the off-season. 

And contrary to popular belief the Patriots did not have a dearth of talent on the offensive side setting up Newton to fail. On the contrary, the much maligned Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry made strides after a sluggish 2019 campaign.  

In 2020 the Patriots passing woes stemmed from Newton’s inability to make good, timely decisions. Most of his misses came from bad reads or over-aggressive passing. He’s too slow when he needs to be lightning quick. He’s too fast when he needs the softer touch. It goes on. 

An indicator of Newton’s woes is the CPOE + EPA Index as that takes into account both a quarterbacks’ completion percentage over expectation (CPOE) and their expected points added (EPA).

Newton ranked 24th in the metric with a poor 0.062 score. Good news for him, it was a slightly better mark than Tom Brady compared to last year after Julian Edelman suffered a severe injury that hampered him for the rest of the season. Brady’s stat was 0.042. 

With a strong rush attack returning, the emergence of Harry and Meyers, and the possibility of Devin Asasi and Dalton Keene playing more the Patriots offense is as a good as ready for 2021. Whether they fail or succeed is anyone’s guess. But I’m not going to advocate wasting money on Kyle Rudolph or paying Harry $700,000 to play for another team because “a change of scenery is needed.” 

The ironic part of the Newton signing is there isn’t much to say besides it doesn’t really matter. If Newton is truly awful this year, throw him out and find a new QB for 2022. If he’s good then you’re a playoff team and if you’re a playoff team in the NFL safe to say anything is possible.