Deflategate…ugh…

…my first impression when this first arose?  STOP THE INSANITY!!  To steal a popular phrase from the 1990’s.  I was like…are you kidding me?!  The ball was lighter than it should be.  Ok, maybe it was easier to grip, but could the ball travel more erratically or something if there was less air than normal in it?  Or some other negative factor to balance the positive?  I mean, what’s the difference??  It’s a pound or two…big deal.

Now…it is I that is deflated…along with thousands of New England Patriot fans it would appear.  Controversy around the team…AGAIN??!!  Right before the Super Bowl?  Ugh…

It’s really unbelievable.  There is no other way to describe it.

I really want to wait until the investigation (or “investigation”?) is over and all the facts are in to form a final judgment on this situation.  But the dribs and drabs coming out from “anonymous sources” are certainly not promising.

Part of my first inclination was also that everyone hates the Patriots.  Belichick is an arse.  Brady is a pretty boy.  People are jealous of Brady’s life as a whole I guess.  Spygate still looms overhead, the Pats have not won a title since.  The Patriots, and Patriot fans, can be overwhelmingly arrogant.  The Pats have been extremely successful since the Kraft’s bought the team…they win over 10 games and the division every year, and are about to go to their 7th Super Bowl in just over 20 years of owning the team.  Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell are close and everyone hates Goodell now, so by the transitive property…etc., etc., etc.  This was just another thing to pile on.  Just because.

There’s no doubt that all of the items in the above paragraph play some sort of role in this whole scandal.  But that overshadows the likelihood of what actually happened:

The Patriots are guilty…again.

The troubling thing is that the Pats did not need to do this to beat the Colts.  And it’s my opinion that every team/player/coach/manager/etc. does something to push the edge of the rules/limits of good sportsmanship to gain a competitive advantage, whether it be spying, deflating, freezing out the visiting locker rooms, turning off the AC at the old Boston Garden for a June basketball game, watering down the base paths against speedy teams, stealing notes out of the visiting locker room trash cans, PEDs, salary cap shenanigans, kneeing someone in the junk at the bottom of a pile, corking bats, scuffing a baseball (or adding Bullfrog, if you will)…the list is endless.  The stories today rehashing how Aaron Rodgers likes to overinflate the balls and “try and get away with it”; Eli Manning and what he does; Brad Johnson paying someone to doctor the balls before his Super Bowl, etc…these stories are just a miniscule sampling of the hijinks that occurs in sports.

I absolutely do not blame parties for looking for their particular edge.  But the simple fact is that the Pats need(ed) to be more careful than everyone else, since they got caught once and are under the microscope waaaaaaaaay more than other teams.  The fact that they are so brazen and figured they weren’t going to get caught, well…it’s just surprising.  Or is it?

Stories coming out today indicate that the Colts had brought this up to the league after their November game.  If they did, shouldn’t the Pats have been aware of the complaint?  And presumably the league told them to stop?  And then the Patriots clearly did not?  Similar to the whole Spygate thing…where every team videotaped as a rule, the league sent out a memo telling all teams to knock it off and the Patriots clearly didn’t?  That’s part of the problem, they didn’t stop after being told to.  Maybe other teams didn’t stop either.  But since teams look a little more closely at the Pats, they needed to be smarter.

I still have many unanswered questions, or clarifications of some of the information that has been thrown out there already.  Were the Colts balls definitely tested, and when?  Were the balls re-inflated at halftime, or were “backup” balls used?  If backup or re-inflated balls were used in the second half, how could it be 28-0 Pats in that half and only 17-7 in the first half with the supposedly advantageous balls?  If Mark Brunell, Jerome Bettis and Louis Riddick can have a whole ESPN segment being adamant that a deflated ball was better and then showed by example how they could press their fingers deep into a deflated ball, how come the officials on the field did not notice it?  I mean, they handled the ball before every play, how was that missed?  Was all the testing done like has been reported, with gauges and not “feel”?  Is the weather during the game a factor, as well as weighing indoors and testing outdoors after being in the cold and rain for a few hours?  And then some.

So we shall see.  I assume that the NFL will try and wrap this up quickly, so next week’s focus can be on the actual game at hand.  But can they really wrap this up that quickly and have definitive answers?  Not so sure.

Either way, it’s a loss for the team and the fans.  If the Patriots win, they cheated.  If they lose, it’s because they couldn’t cheat.  It’s unfortunate for the football world actually.  Because this Super Bowl actually could be a good one.

There’s no doubt in my mind that, regardless of the final results of the investigation, that Bill and the team will use this as more motivation for the Super Bowl.  The whole “no one believes in us” kind of garbage that underdogs usually like to rally around.

But the stain that never went away with Spygate is now infinitely bigger.  The legacy is forever sullied.  It’s never going away, even if somehow they are exonerated in this particular case in the end.  That’s unfortunate, to say the least.

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About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on January 21, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Peter Schwechheimer

    the cheated again

  2. Overall your post is spot on. I will say that your examples of pushing the envelope vary.

    There is “in game” rule bending. Trying to get away with something that is illegal by the letter of the law, but if the ref doesn’t see it you get away it. As they say, holding could be called on every play, that is illegal per the laws of the sport but no one turns themselves in. Or jabbing your fingers in someone’s eyes at the bottom of a scrum, the list goes on and on.

    There is pushing the envelope when it comes to home field advantage. Painting the visitors’ locker room pink, turning off the AC, letting the infield grass grow when you have a ground ball pitcher on the mound etc. To me those are part of home field, why it counts for something. I know you hate these examples, but there are some venues in soccer that are down right frightening to play at when you are a visiting team – the fans are out of control. Is that pushing the envelope? Maybe. Does it cross the line? No. Look at Duke and Cameron indoor, they put the student section right on top of the court…

    But then there is pushing the envelope that impacts the integrity of the game, that is where I put things such as Bonds and Clemens using PEDs, Lance Armstrong doing blood doping, Spygate, Bountygate, NBA officials betting on games, Bucky slapping bullfrog on the baseball and now Deflategate. These are now activities that enter the realm of the integrity of the game itself. These activities are egregious in that they touch how the game is actually played – giving one side an unique apparent advantage. You might argue that watering down the base paths to slow a fast team down is in this realm, but both teams have to still play on that watered down surface.

    I think that is why this latest scandal cannot be simply swept under the rug. I agree with you – regardless of the outcome the Patriots, and Belichick in particular will not avoid the scarlet letter of cheating. Reality is the only person to blame on this is Bill.

    And now we are seeing the spin coming from Foxboro…which is worse than the actual crime. Hearing BB say he has no idea about the football process is ridiculous. And when Brady says he never pays attention to the ball is also ridiculous. Because as you pointed out. The crime was so ridiculous, the risk, as we are seeing, is so much greater than any advantage it gave the Patriots. Maybe a true sign of hubris.

    • I can appreciate the different levels of pushing the envelope and see the different degrees of seriousness of the “crimes”, for sure. I personally just have a hard time believing that a ball deflated by 2 lbs challenges the integrity of the game. I just don’t see it, though admittedly I am not, and have never been, a professional athlete, or anything even close to it.

      We have heard a lot of feedback from players, coaches and other people within the game and right now it is a mixed bag on whether ball deflation really matters. Also, some of the Patriot supporters are definitely supporting only because they are backing the team, or Bill, Brady or Kraft, more specifically. They may think there is an advantage, but are supporting their friends. On the flip side, you know some of the people bashing the Pats have axes to grind, no question. Jerome Bettis (Steelers), Mark Brunell (Jaguars), Brian Westbrook (Eagles), Marty Hurney (ex-Panthers GM), etc…do these people really think that a deflated ball is an advantage? Or have they lost to the Pats in the past and are still bitter? In some cases, definitely the latter.

      To me, there are still too many unanswered questions at this time, as I stated in the piece. 2 additional days have done nothing to clear things up. And now, D’Qwell Jackson is coming out and saying what was reported of him being the one that started this whole thing is wrong. He didn’t notice a difference in the ball, as was previously claimed. On top of that, he claims the Pats were using Colts balls at the end of the first half. So based on this, how many other reports from “anonymous sources” are flat out wrong? We just don’t know…about anything. Who’s telling the truth, is it really an advantage, what sources are accurate, etc. Nothing. It’s all speculation at this point. And again, unfortunately, the Patriots are guilty, before proven innocent, because of actions (as well as further suspicions) in the past.

      I will concur that Billy B. stating he has no idea seems very far-fetched. As local radio hosts put it yesterday, we can’t laud Belichick for knowing the rulebook inside and out on the ineligible linemen stuff against the Ravens, then 2 weeks later believe that Bill doesn’t know the process for the game balls. Hard to fathom that. Since he knows when any random person takes a crap anywhere in the facilities, how long they were in the stall and what shade and texture it was, etc. That being said, there has also been some feedback that many offensive coaches have never talked about psi in footballs in their lives. So maybe there is some truth…but again, who knows?

      • Who knows how much the air pressure in the ball helps or hurts. But we all know that at this level, the athletes are meticulous about every little detail. The fact these quarterbacks know if they like the football with more air, different scuff or as Brady claims “at 12 psi”, tells me that they care. Whether it makes a physical or psychological difference is irrelevant – it matters.

        The issue is you “doctored” arguably the most important part of the game – the ball. End of the day isn’t that the most important part of any sport?

        Once you start messing with that, you have touched them core element of the sport.

        The fact so many people are speaking out against the Patriots is no surprise. As you yourself stated, the patriots and their fans can be arrogant and unbearable – is there a tinge of jealousy? Absolutely. But their holier than thou attitude only makes it more intolerable. The Patriots, the Patriot media and fans have reminded us of “the patriot way” of being smarter than everyone else – yet when there are incidents such as this it flies in the face of that self created myth. Reality is the Patriots are like every other team.

        End of the day the cover up and the tangled web they are weaving to try an wriggle out of this, is much worse than the crime. Patriot fans will continue to blindly eat up the horse bleep Belichick and Brady are shoveling. Patriot haters will chalk this up to another act from a rogue and arrogant organization.

        Whatever happens in a week will almost be inconsequential to how the team is regarded. But end of the day there is no one to blame for this but the Patriots themselves and one could argue Belichick will have to bear the brunt of this…not that he cares…and that might be the biggest reason for all this.

      • Welp, ALL balls are doctored by ALL QB’s…up to 2:15 before game time that is, so I guess everyone impacts the integrity of the game. Since every ball is doctored to some degree, the only way I’d buy that argument is if they played with the footballs right out of the box…and they don’t. We are just talking about weight here. There are many factors that can affect the weight of a ball over time, regardless of how short the time span may be. I’m no expert on that fact, but the bottom line is that I am just not buying that it matters at all. You and hundreds of thousands of others can if you wish, I am not. The simple fact is that this topic is severely overblown and I think most people want to move onto the actual game…

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