One of the most interesting episodes of the favorite TV show of my youth the Adventures of Robin Hood was “The Truce”.

The episode starts with Robin Hood stopping someone in the forest to rob him, the target challenges Robin to an archery contest. Robin wins and the man throws down his purse in disgust accidentally dropping a medal showing he Mark Crispin Champion Bowman of England.

Meanwhile the Deputy Sheriff is tricked into a 500 mark wager against Lord Redford who has stated his archer can beat the Deputy Sheriff’s man who too his shock discovers Redford has hired Crispin as a ringer before he could. Desperate to avoid the loss he offers Robin Hood a one day truce, half the prize money and a & safe-conduct in writing (threatening to tax the poor for every penny he loses if he declines).

Feeling confident the Sheriff offers to increase the wager by 100 marks, Redford agrees and proposes doubling the wager so now the bet is 1200 silver marks.

At the shooting field when Robin wins round one Crispin recognizes him and Lord Redford hints to the Sheriff that he should admit and denounce him. When Crispin makes an excellent shot on a spinning moving target the Deputy Sheriff, in a panic approaches Robin and says the following:

Deputy Sheriff: I forbid you to win.

Robin turns to him and answers:

Robin Hood: My Lord you seem to think I can win or lose as I please. That is a very difficult target.

Deputy Sheriff: I see

Robin Hood: A man could be excused for missing it entirely.

And that exchange is a perfect example of the situation that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady find themselves in every single time they make it to the NFL Playoffs.

Tom Brady a sixth round draft pick in 2000 went from backing up arguably the best quarterback in NE Patriots history at the time (Remember Drew Bledsoe?) to becoming not only the best Quarterback in the teams history but one of the best of all time. As Wikipedia puts it:

In Brady’s fourteen seasons as a starter, the Patriots have earned five trips to the Super Bowl, winning three. He has also won two Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to ten Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with twelve. He is currently fifth on the all time list for career passing yards and fifth for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 18–8; his playoff win total is the highest in NFL history. He helped set the record for the longest consecutive win streak in NFL history with 21 straight wins over two seasons (2003–2004). He also set the record for most consecutive playoff wins with 10, and in 2007 led the Patriots to the first undefeated regular season since the institution of the 16-game schedule. He has thrown for more passing yards than any quarterback in NFL postseason history and is third for career postseason touchdown passes, and has the sixth highest career passer rating of all time (95.9) among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 career passing attempts.

Brady and Joe Montana are the only two players in NFL history to win the NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP awards multiple times. Brady and John Elway are the only two quarterbacks to lead their teams to five Super Bowls. He was also named the NFL MVP in 2007 and 2010 (becoming the first player to be unanimously chosen as MVP in the 2010 season) as well as 2007 Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press, the first time an NFL player has been so honored since Joe Montana won the award in 1990. After the 2010 season, Brady was ranked as the best player in the NFL. He was also the first quarterback to throw for 50 or more touchdowns in a season. In 2010, he set the all time record for consecutive passes without an interception (335), and broke his own record for season TD:INT ratio at 9:1 (which has since been broken by Nick Foles).

And if Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks ever what about Bill Belichick?

In his fifteen years as coach of the Patriots his team has made the playoffs 12 times winning their division each of those years. He has gone to 5 Super Bowls winning three.

To put that in perspective in the first 40 years of the Patriots history the pats made the playoffs 10 times going to the Superbowl twice and losing both of them.

In other words over the last fifteen years this has been one of the best teams of all time.

This comes at an odd price, the price of expectations.

Every single time the Patriots take the field they are expected to win, it has reached the point that when New England dropped two games early articles began to be written asking if he was finished.

Of course As I type this Brady’s Patriots have just taken a 4 point lead over Baltimore in the 4th quarter of an exciting game that can go either way so he’s without a question not done, but consider, if Baltimore comes back to win the only topic in New england will be what’s wrong with the Patriots.

The newspapers will not talk about the excellent Baltimore team that is only 3 years removed from a Superbowl. They won’t consider the excellent coaching on the other side or the fine effort, it will be what’s wrong with the Pats.

And even if the Patriots beat the Ravens if next week they lose to Andrew Luck’s Colts or Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos the same questions will be asked despite the skill of either team (particularly the Broncos).

And lets say they manage to win again and get to the Superbowl, no matter who they face if they don’t manage to win, the only thing that will be talked about in New England is their failure.

Those are the wages of the Patriots success and in many ways it’s unfair.

Then again I suspect there are a lot of teams who have been on the outside looking in that would love to have that expectations problem.

FYI if you want to know how that Robin Hood story ends, here is the episode in question.

As I type this the Pats have just intercepted the ball in the end zone with under two minutes to go. Barring a huge mistake they now only have two more obstacles to overcome to meet those oversized expectations.

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by baldilocks

Nearly all major news agencies have been reporting on the recent Islamic terror attacks in Paris: the ambush of Charlie Hebdo journalists and responding police officers and the hostage-murders at a Kosher grocery store. But those of us who pay closer attention to what’s going on in the world know about this also.

abubakar-shekau
Newsweek say that this is Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. (YouTube)

Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist [sic] attack that Amnesty International described as the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

[…]

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.

“The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press.

He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” Gava said.

An Amnesty International statement said there are reports the town was razed and as many as 2,000 people killed.

Boko Haram’s previous high body count in Nigeria was achieved last year: 600.

It’s interesting to note that the name ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘books forbidden’—that is, books for girls and women. However, I doubt that any of these demonic vessels are, themselves, making their way through the Great Books.

Also interesting: how the mainstream media treats Islamic terror in Europe as compared to how they are recently treating far worse attacks in Africa and in other places which are openly acknowledged to be Muslim lands. There’s not much outrage. But, this wasn’t always so.

Here’s why this slightly smaller, Nigerian version of 9/11 gets less coverage in the mainstream media: the continent is conceded as theirs—or so the designated reporters of the news now believe.

We’ll see how long it takes for Europe to be deemed Muslim. French Jews aren’t waiting around for the announcement this time.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.

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“Because you’ve had ninety years and haven’t done it!”

Sen Pat McNamara (Michigan) 1957 in reply to Senator Richard Russell (Ga) who asked why Michigan could handle its affairs concerning Civil rights but wasn’t prepared to let Georgia do the same

If you want to understand what the media is doing with Radical Islam & Charlie Hebdo consider this:

Imagine, just for a moment that here in America there was an active terror group and targeted certain people who had different cultural beliefs.

Picture that the members of this group terrorizing hose who violated their cultural and/or religious norms that they followed, further picture them imposing said norms on any who visited and/or retaliating against any locals who allowed said visitors to influence them.

Picture the locals who did not actively participate in said terror to approve and support it socially, culturally and financially.

Now go a bit further and imagine that due to their financial and political strength and the worry about the power that would be needed to defeat it, people in the financial, entertainment and political world, while knowing and understanding what is going on, choose to ignore downplay their actions in order to function in their areas, sell to their supporters or obtain their support for their own power and purposes.

What would we think of the people who perpetrated these actions. What about those who enabled them or profited by them?

Of course even a rudimentary knowledge of US history will make an explicit explanation of this example unnecessary but consider that the same media that self righteously condemns those who in the past enabled this national disgrace, not only are mimicking said enabling in the present but do it while exhibiting that same smug self-righteousness as their ancestors who did the same thing for the same reasons.

In the final hours of the Christmas season I’ll give the last word to St. Stephen who died for pointing out the very same thing:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors.

Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.

You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.” When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him.

they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, 4 and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.

Acts 7:51-54, 57-58a

Some things simply never change.

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