Once again, Boston Globe reporter Ron Borges was seen standing on the dock waving his little pink hanky as the U.S.S. Credibility sailed out to sea.
It's no secret to anyone who follows football that Borges has a boatload of problems with the way the New England NFL franchise runs its ship. The state-of-the-art, privately funded stadium, the profitability, the adoration, the resurrection of the laughingstock franchise, the team-first philosophy, the budding dynasty status, the NFL record 34 wins in two seasons and the record-tying three Super Bowl titles in four years are not enough to impress Borges. He remains hung up on the fact that New England fails to follow the formula set by the failed Houstons, Indys and Detroits of the pro football world, wildy throwing money at any player with two gonads and a helmet.
Each time New England makes a move that's even slightly questionable, Borges dives off the deep end. Perhaps it's an effort to rescue his reputation, which walked the plank long ago. (Keep in mind that Borges is the same guy who called Patriots fans "idiots" last season for preferring Tom Brady over the Picasso of Choke Artists, Peyton Manning.)
For proof, we cite a section of his most recent "Football Notes" column, which was published Sunday, April 3. Deep into the column, Borges questions sports agent Kristen Kuliga for failing to shop around one of her clients, Patriots fullback Patrick Pass.
Pass recently signed a deal with New England with which he'll earn, according to Borges, $1.2 million over the course of the next two seasons. It's hardly chump change for most people, though it's essentially the NFL minimum for a player with his experience. (Borges, by the way, incorrectly reports that Pass is a four-year veteran; in fact, Pass is a five-year veteran. The 2005 season will be his sixth in the league.)
Borges is incredulous because Houston fullback Moran Norris, who has "even less offensive production" than Pass, signed a better deal with the Texans.
It would have been a perfectly sensible article, if not for two little problems:
• Borges has an itchy trigger finger, with a history of firing unprovoked broadsides at the New England franchise.
• Borges tipped his hand with his lead to the segment. "Sometimes," writes Borges, "agent moves make you wonder."
In other words, Borges can't for the life of him figure out why Pass would sign what seems to be an under-market deal with New England. The only explanation he can come up with the agent's incompetence.
Hey, for all we know Kuliga is an immigrant chambermaid who doesn't know football from tonsil hockey. We have no insight into the reason behind Pass's deal. But neither does Borges, because he failed to offer any. In fact, it seems he wrote the article without interviewing any of the parties involved, as evidenced by his failure to include quotes from any of the parties involved. He simply looked at two deals and drew his own conclusion. And, of course, this conclusion painted a New England player as a dolt being manipulated by an incompetent agent and devious franchise management – the latter of which is a favorite Borges topic.
Of course, there are three other possibilities that Borges conveniently overlooked and failed to offer in his "analysis." These are three possibilities that would be obvious to any semi-astute football observer with the most tenuous grasp of the salary cap – you know, like the snot-nosed, second-string tackle on a Pop Warner team. These are the three other possibilities:
1) Houston is a second-rate organization that just overpaid for Norris, a player who, despite his ability to "block like a mule," as Borges wrote, has accounted for just 53 yards of offense in a four-year NFL career. (Yes, 53.) Surely, they could have got the same production from another player, without dishing out nearly $2 million over two years - including a completely inexplicable $600,000 signing bonus. Of course, there's a reason why Houston, which won four games in its inaugural season (2002), has won just 12 games since.
2) Maybe Pass, like many other players on the New England roster, is happier rich and winning Super Bowls than he would be slightly richer with no Super Bowls. Pass probably could have got a better deal than Norris – if he told his agent he wanted to play for a second-rate team like Houston.
3) Perhaps Pass realized that if he wanted to play for New England and have a shot at a fourth Super Bowl ring in his six-year career, he'd have to do it for short money. Otherwise, New England would get someone else who could give them the same production – 141 yards rushing and 215 yards receiving in 2004 – for short money. In the age of the salary cap, teams must get rid of players if they can get the same production for less money. It's the new math of NFL success and obvious to anyone who follows football, including that second-string Pop Warner tackle. The Patriots understand this. One would assume that Pass does, too. Borges does not. It's amazing that he still fails to grasp the concept.
Like we said, we have no insight into what went down between Pass, Kuliga and the Patriots. But neither does Borges. We simply offer you three additional scenarios. Borges offers you his weekly attempt to torpedo anything associated with the New England NFL franchise.
Hey Borges, here's a little hint: your credibility might float a little longer if you didn't drill a hole in its hull every time you put pen to paper.