Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Your Handy-Dandy Guide to Mickey Loomis Conspiracy Theories

While the draft has distracted the NFLigentsia from the latest chapter of New Orleans Saints-related skullduggery, rest assured it hasn't gone away. This go-round, as you're no doubt aware, is about the revelation that already-suspended Saints GM Mickey Loomis apparently had a wiretap on opposing coaches so he could listen in on game calls. 
Now, I have no idea if this is true or not. If it is, then Loomis is probably done as a GM, and with good reason. If it's not - and the Saints are adorably mathematically incompetent when they say this is 1000% false - then it'll all blow over. But in the meantime, there's a whole section of the chattering class, only some of whom can blame concussions for their wonky logic, who have worked up all sorts of contorted reasons why even if Loomis did illegally - and yes, the word is "illegal", as in "your ass is going to jail" - wiretap opponents, it couldn't possibly have given the Saints any kind of advantage. Here's a few of the more popular ones:

The Whistleblower Was A Disgruntled Ex-Employee, So It's All Made Up - Oddly enough, guys who are still happily employed rarely blow the whistle on their employers. For some reason, "I love this place and my job so I'm going to fuck us over by admitting guilt, and ruin my career in the process" isn't a terribly popular goal to put on one's employee review form. Odds are, if a guy's blowing the whistle, he's disgruntled. And it just might be the stuff that he's blowing the whistle on that ungruntled him.
Loomis Was A Cap Guy, So He Wouldn't Understand What He Heard - The theory here is that since Loomis came up as a numbers/salary guy, the stuff he overheard from coaches would be, in the words of the Tick, some crazy moon language. He'd never understand it, therefore he'd never be able to use it. This, of course, ignores the fact that we have this thing called "recording technology". We also have this thing called "video". We even have the ability to match a "recording" to "video" so, theoretically, Loomis could have seen which crazy moon language terms matched up to which plays on the field. Astonishing, really.
Alternately, he could have just shared the feed with someone who knew what the hell these guys were talking about. Either works.
By The Time He Figured Out What They Meant, It Would Be Too Late - After all, games are short and schedules shift around, and how many times were the Saints likely to play a given opponent in the time frame when this was apparently going on? Well, yes, there would be some one-timers. There would also be divisional rivals who'd show up on the schedule twice a year, every year. That's a fair number of games, don't you think? And, there'd be the coaches who'd move around and take their terminology with them, rendering the stored knowledge of how they called plays potentially useful indeed.
So, yes, by the time Loomis figured out what one play call meant in one game, it might have been too late. Might. Then again, who's playing just one game?
There Wouldn't Be Enough Time For Loomis To Have Relayed The Signal Anyway - Supporters of this theory like to posit that the only way Loomis could have communicated what he overheard was via a complicated series of intermediaries including multiple assistant coaches, a party-line operator from a 1940's screwball comedy, and SETI. Because there were so many intermediate steps between the wire and the sideline, they say, the information couldn't possibly arrive in time to be useful. This, of course, posits that the only way Loomis possibly could have conveyed the info he got to the coaching staff would have been verbatim, and very slowly. Even a single bit of info - like, say, blitz or no blitz, communicated by a light that went on and off as needed, could have been incredibly useful. Or maybe he could have sent a picture. Or a quick text. Or communicated by the sorts of signals that baseball coaches love to use - body language. Or, well, you get the idea.
And, as above, if Loomis and his people had then broken down the intercepted voice with game film, it would have been trivially easy to translate, summarize, and pass along opposition plays in a heartbeat.
The Saints Didn't Win the Super Bowl While He Was Doing This, So It Clearly Couldn't Have Done Any Good - Yes. Because incompetence at cheating should be rewarded. The logic of this one is so self-evidently idiotic - expand it out and you get "guys who did steroids but still sucked shouldn't get suspended", which sportswriters would never go for - that it barely rates a mention. Whether the local gendarmes will feel the same way, well, if they were Saints fans they might. Conversely, they might be really pissed at Loomis for not having signed Drew Brees before he got suspended.

So, in conclusion, Loomis didn't do it, he was set up, even if he did it eavesdropping wouldn't have done any good, and what the hell, he didn't benefit from it so let him go with a stern talking to. 

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