Tag Archives: George Foreman

Let's call it 'Deflate-gate'


You’ve heard it said that “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

The New England Patriots won the American Football Conference championship in a rout over the Indianapolis Colts. Now it turns out they might have, um, cheated just a bit.

How? It’s those footballs they used. Eleven of the 12 balls the Patriots used were deflated by 2 pounds of pressure, making the balls a little easier to catch in the rainy and cold weather conditions that plagued the game in Foxboro, Mass.


This isn’t the first time the Pats have been caught and/or accused of cheating. Remember “Spy-gate,” when the Patriots reportedly spied on the New York Jets’ practice sessions prior to a game?

What should the NFL do?

Well, you can’t replay the game.

But the team ought to pay a price monetarily. Fine the coach, or whoever was responsible for the deflating the balls. Perhaps you can force theĀ Patriots to surrender a significant portion of their earnings from the sale of “AFC Champs” gear or the proceeds from whatever they earn if they win the Super Bowl.


This all kind of reminds meĀ of the controversy that ensued after Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in October 1974 to regain the heavyweight boxing championship. The “rope-a-dope” tactic, in which Ali leaned against the ropes and allowed Foreman to wail away while Ali covered up, worked to perfection partly — it was alleged — because someone loosened the ropes, forcing Big George to lunge a little farther to throw his haymakers. The late Angelo Dundee, Ali’s trainer, denied messing with the ropes.

I mentioned that to my wife this morning. Her answer? “George is a big, tough guy. He should have just stepped in a little closer to throw his punches.” Holy crap! I never thought of that. Good call, honey.


AFC loyalist that I am, I plan to root for the Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. However, you won’t hear me hoot and holler if they win. It’s hard to cheer out loud for cheaters.


So long, champ

My pal Jon Mark Beilue hits it right on the button — like a left hook to the jaw — when he laments the passing of a great heavyweight fighter and the decline of a once-great sport.


Ken Norton died this week at the age of 70. He’d been in declining health and he died of congestive heart failure.

What made Norton so special? Well, in the spring of 1973 he broke the jaw of another pretty good fighter, Muhammad Ali, and handed The Champ the second defeat of his legendary boxing career. Ali would go on to reclaim the heavyweight title the following year and would fight Norton twice more: later in 1973 and in 1976, when he was still the heavyweight champ. Ali won both those fights.

Boxing meant something back then. There was an unwritten code that to be heavyweight champion was to be deemed the baddest dude on Planet Earth. I heard someone once say that title Heavyweight Champion of the World was the most honored of all sports titles.

No more.

Ken Norton wore that crown for a time in 1978. The World Boxing Council bestowed it on him when it took it from Leon Spinks, who had defeated Ali for the title in 1978. Norton would lose the title to Larry Holmes in a grueling 15-round fight.

Norton was a very good fighter. Was he great? Did he attain the level of some of his peers, such as Ali, Joe Frazier, Holmes or George Foreman? Probably not.

However, he fought at a time when being champion meant something. These days, with so many governing bodies granting titles left and right, with so many weight classes — super and junior middleweights, welterweights, lightweights, featherweights, etc. — no one can name any of the champions in any of these classes. They’ve even added a super heavyweight division — on top of the “normal” heavyweight class. Heck, I remember when the late heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson, who weighed all of 185 pounds, would fight guys 30 or 40 pounds heavier … and would beat them like a drum!

Yes, Ken Norton represented a much-missed era in professional sports. It’s been cheapened and become almost farcical now.

Rest in peace, Champ.