The Unwritten Rules of Belichick

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The Unwritten Rules of Belichick

Dont pull into a parking spot if someones already backing in. Keep your head down in the locker room, and straight ahead at the urinal. Dont fart in the elevator. On a plane, the middle seat gets both armrests. In the car, the driver picks the music. On moving walkways at the airport, its highway law: Left side for business, right side for pleasure.

Dont re-heat fish in the office microwave!

As human beings, there are an endless number of unwritten rules that we navigate around on a daily basis, and for the most part, everyone does a pretty good job of staying between the lines. But inevitably, from time to time, we all find ourselves on the wrong end of a broken rule: Some wankster steals a parking spot right from under your nose. The guy in the aisle seat falls asleep with his elbow jammed into your ribs. You walk off the elevator smelling like rotten eggs and processed taco meat.

To be honest, I think we get more upset when people break the unwritten rules than when they break actual laws. Why? Because the real criminals will eventually get caught. If someones desperate enough to smash a car window or break into an apartment, chances are hell do it again and again and again until he's busted and brought to justice. We have ways of dealing with people who break real laws. The unwritten rules? Theres nothing. No consequences. Only frustration, anger and disgust. Honestly, I have more contempt for a guy who talks loudly on his cell phone at a restaurant than I do for a drug addict who pick-pockets strangers on the T. Is that wrong? I mean, at least the druggie will get caught. The guy at the restaurant will go on for the rest of his life torturing society with loud, one-sided conversations about the real estate market in Charlestown.

Anyway, we all know that unwritten rules play as big a role in sports as they do in real life. Id need a few thousand words to break down all the secret sports codes that if broken will send the offended party into a two-year-olds temper tantrum:

Dont watch a home run too long. Never break up a no-hitter with a bunt. Dont shoot threes in a blow out. Dont take slap shots after the whistle. Dont under any circumstances run up the score. Dont incite a brawl by karate kicking a catcher in the chest. And apparently, when a team waives a player with the intention of re-signing him, do NOT put in a waiver claim on said player.

That last ones a little tricky, and Im not sure it makes sense, but theres no question that it exists. Why else would 28 other teams pass up the chance to land the rights to a very capable 24-year-old, 6-foot-6 tight end who in three short years has gone from captain of Ohio State to undrafted free agent to Super Bowl Champion and who's only getting better. I dont care that hes out for the year, check out some of the tight end depth charts around this league, and tell me there aren't teams who need Jake Ballard. They all could use him even if it means waiting a year. But no one flinched. Well, no one except Bill Belichick, a fact that only further enhances the perception that this unwritten rule however ridiculous it might be does exist. That when the Giants waived Ballard on Tuesday, they assumed hed find his way back to New York. That despite all the reasons why numerous teams might take a flyer on the young tight end, Coughlin and Co. never imagined anyone would.

Lets face it: Bill Belichick is an unwritten rule breaker. He'd steal that parking spot from you in a second. Hes the guy who takes your armrest. Who farts in the elevator just because he has to. Who keeps flicking the radio back to Bon Jovi when all you want to listen to is Howard Stern. "Errr, I'm riding shotgun. It's my choice. Everyone know that's the rule"

And right now, the Giants are acting like we all would in any of those situations theyre pissed. Not only because they lost their tight end or that they lost him to a rival. But because there's nothing they can do about it. Because as "wrong" as it might be, Belichick didn't break any rules. There are no consequences for his actions. You want to try and get even? OK, now you're playing his game. Now you're down to his level. Now you've justified his original action and have nothing left to stand on. Basically, he wins.

And that's the thing about unwritten rule breakers: It always works out in their favor. They're the one with the parking spot while you're still driving around in circles. They're fast asleep on the plane while you're wide awake watching your fourth straight episode of VH1 Storytellers. Their stomach feels better, while you're the one who needs an emergency shower. Regardless of the situation and as much as everyone else might hate them they come out on top.

And while I hate that person in real life, I love him as my football coach.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”