Photo of a deflated football.

Image Credit: Frankie Leon (CC BY 2.0)

Sure, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have been in question before concerning cheating. But when a team comes out on top 45-7, does it really matter?

In case you've been hiding under a rock for two weeks, there is a bit of controversy lingering heading into Super Bowl XLIV. Here's the situation. The New England Patriots met the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship game to decide who goes to the Super Bowl. The Patriots were victorious by a score of 45-7. Afterwards, there has been speculation that the Patriots staff had deflated their footballs used on offense to less than 12.5 PSI (pound per square inch). Did this trick give the team an advantage? Or did they even cheat the system? As radical as ESPN's Colin Cowherd's comments are at times, he made one last week about the ongoing "Deflategate" investigation that put this whole mess into better perspective for us all.

No, it doesn't matter. Because the only advantage would be being able to throw the football a little further due to an improved grip. An improved grip does not catch, run, score touchdowns, tackle, defend or kick. A deflated football even puts the kicker and punter at a disadvantage on Special Teams. After every play, the referees handle the football to mark the ball down. How come they noticed no change in each football's pressure during the game? Both Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck also said they noticed no difference in the pressure of the footballs and that's good enough for me.

Photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 

Image Credit: Andrew Campbell (CC BY 2.0)

You know what doesn't stand well with me? The poor locker room attendant under the NFL's watch that is going to take the heat for this if "Deflategate" is proven true. Gillette Stadium surveillance captured a Patriots' team employee taking both team's footballs into a bathroom in the bowels of the stadium shortly after the referees approved the balls. The employee was in the bathroom for a duration of 90 seconds. Not enough time to deflate 11 footballs but plenty of time to switch them out for another bag of footballs with less pressure. If true, did the locker room attendant devise this plan on his own? Not likely. In fact, all Bob Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have done throughout this whole ordeal is deny, deny, deny. Under NFL rules, a subject found tampering with footballs is subject to a $25,000 fine which would be a hit to the wallet of even an NFL player.

Here are a few details that caught my eye when discussed in the press.

  • Indianapolis Colts' safety Mike Adams intercepted Tom Brady twice during their regular season match-up at Lucas Oil Stadium. Adams made the team aware of the pressure of both footballs during that game and asked that they be saved as evidence.
  • In 2011, Tom Brady admitted to preferring deflated footballs when referencing Rob Gronkowski spiking footballs as a touchdown celebration.
  • Bill Belichick admitted that the team over inflates their footballs during practice, thus, making them harder to catch. 
  • The Patriots have been reprimanded by the NFL once before for spying and stealing the New York Jets' defensive signals (2007). 
  • Despite no determination in these accusations as of yet, companies like Etsy are already trying to capitalize on "Deflategate" ---> Deflate Gate T Shirts. What happened to the adage 'innocent until proven guilty'?

No matter what the outcome is, NFL fans are sick of this story and the Super Bowl is still less than a week away. It's become clear that the NFL will not pursue disciplining the Patriots organization until after Super Bowl XLIV. Doing so could sabotage the television ratings on the biggest day of the year in American sports. Roger Goodell isn't that dumb and we can all say that money will always be his motive. What Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have done in the NFL playoffs in the last decade is amazing. I am anxious to see if they can block out the ongoing media circus and defeat perhaps one of the best defensive teams in the NFL's history come Sunday. And in no way should the outcome of "Deflategate" taint their Super Bowl title if victorious.


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