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NFL shouldn’t deflate Coach K

first_imgIt’s one of the best names of all-time in the sports world. It looks like it should be pronounced “crazy-zoo-ski,” yet it somehow comes out to “shi-shef-ski.”But Mike Krzyzewski will be remembered as one of the great names in sports for more than just its crazy spelling; that became abundantly clear this week. The legendary college basketball coach became the first to win 1,000 games as a head coach in men’s Division I basketball this past Sunday when his Duke Blue Devils defeated St. John’s.Krzyzewski had already claimed the record for most all-time wins — surpassing his former head coach from his playing days, Bob Knight — a couple of years ago with 903. However, the new milestone is almost as noteworthy. Throw in four national championships at Duke and two gold medals as the U.S. men’s national team coach and you have one of the greatest — arguably the best — basketball coaches in the history of the sport.However, the coach dominating most of the headlines in sports recently hasn’t been Krzyzewski. It’s a different head coach with a chance to add to his legacy with one more big win, only he is in danger of being remembered for all the wrong reasons.As fellow Daily Trojan columnist Regan Estes noted yesterday, the sports media coverage of Deflate-gate has been so overblown that it’s almost not worth talking about anymore. More details are sure to come out about it before the Super Bowl this weekend, it should come up a couple times during the actual game and it will likely still be a topic of discussion this offseason.What matters is this: 11 of the 12 balls used by the New England Patriots during the AFC championship game were confiscated at halftime by the NFL, the balls were determined to have air pressure lower than the league mandated minimum and FOX Sports reported yesterday that there is video of a Patriots staffer taking balls from the referees’ locker room into a separate room instead of directly onto the field before the game.Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been at the heart of the controversy. He and Patriots owner Robert Kraft denied any knowledge of the incident, and it could be a big coincidence. But not only is this the only time something like this has happened to an NFL team, but it also just so happened to occur to the team busted by the NFL for illegally videotaping opponents in 2007, leaving even Boston sportswriters to doubt that this could all be random.Was it the difference between winning and losing for the Patriots? Almost certainly not. The ESPN “Sports Science” program broke down data on an underinflated ball’s improved grip and called the difference “miniscule.” But that’s not the point.The point is that if the Patriots did do that on purpose, they’ve created a meaningless media firestorm that must be distracting them as they prepare for the Super Bowl. If they win, the title will certainly come with an asterisk. The trick could even result in a penalty from the NFL, though I doubt it would be anything significant and highly doubt it would come out before the big game.Overall, the incident is just a big downer for the country’s biggest single sports event. It’s everything we don’t and shouldn’t like about sports.And I’m not going to really root for the Seattle Seahawks in spite of New England. Maybe this makes me an ungrateful USC fan, but I don’t love Seattle head coach Pete Carroll as much as I did when he was the head coach here. Like Belichick, Carroll won several championships for the Trojans and the program he built here brings words like “dynasty” to mind, but his legacy at the school will always be tarnished to some degree by a cheating scandal.I absolutely adored Carroll while growing up. I honestly might not be studying at this university if it wasn’t for him. But I’m still disappointed that he chose to go back to the NFL just before the NCAA sanction storm hit, and I probably always will be unless he comes back to coach here again.Honestly, I’m probably not even going to watch the Super Bowl. It’s a fantastic heavy-weight matchup, but there’s no underdog and I have no real interest in what the result is. The men’s club lacrosse team also has its quasi-Super Bowl this Saturday when we make the trip up to visit the mighty UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, so Sunday will be homework day.That’s what makes the timing of Coach K’s milestone so great. I don’t want to hear anymore about Deflate-gate and you probably don’t want to hear anymore about Deflate-gate either, so let’s look at what truly is a great, feel-good sports story.What I love about Coach K isn’t from any real personal connection to Duke — I do have a cousin who went there — but because he just does things the right way. There’s no point-shaving, institutional oversight or even a real recruiting violation on his record. The closest he’s come to a violation was being investigated for having a phone call with a recruit after the recruit finished a summer tournament but before the recruit had arrived home from it, a rule which ESPN’s Dana O’Neil described as “simply inane.”Beyond just rule following, his priorities seem to be in the right place as well. He’s known for recruiting players he knows are more likely to stay in school all four years and graduate on time instead of players waiting one year to declare for the NBA draft. In an age where recruiting violations and “one-and-dones” seem to be the norm, it’s amazing he can still have so much success year after year without any “everybody else was doing it” excuses. To then replicate that success with the national team, where instead of working with amateurs, he’s responsible for managing the biggest superstars and biggest egos in the whole sport, shows that he’s really on the next level when compared to other college coaches of similar stature.The No. 4 Blue Devils take on undefeated ACC rival No. 2 Virginia on Saturday. Maybe I’ll record it and watch that on Sunday instead.Luke Holthouse is sophomore majoring in policy, planning and development and broadcast/digital journalism.last_img

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