I’m going to preface this post by saying that it isn’t easy for me to talk about football because I know very little about it. That’s because football bores the crap out of me and I have never had, nor will I ever have, any desire for more than a basic knowledge about the sport.
That’s being said, I am aware of the latest scandal to rock the NFL. It’s being called #DeflateGate. In a nutshell, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is being accused of illegally using saggy balls in last Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts because saggy balls are apparently easier to grip than firm balls. (Apparently Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s balls are firmer, rounder and much harder to grasp than Tom Brady’s.)
What started the investigation was a Tom Brady interception by Colts player D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson went to the sideline and immediately told members of the Colts personal that the ball felt funny. Jackson’s suspicion went all the way up the team and NFL ladders where it was taken extremely seriously.
As everyone in American probably knows, officials discovered that the Patriot’s footballs were deflated below the minimum allowable level, making them easier to hold on to in cold and wet weather.
You probably also heard that twelve game balls were pulled and of those twelve, eleven of them weighed about two pounds less than what is legal. That probably didn’t happen by coincidence or accident and that’s probably cheating. The thing is, they don’t know who may have done it it, why it didn’t get caught and whether it was intentional.
Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass about saggy balls. What I do give a rat’s ass about is cheating. Most people seem to feel that cheating is wrong and that since the NFL learned about this, it is their responsibility to punish Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization. But there are people on the other side of the controversy who have pointed out that deflating the balls didn’t matter in the long run because the Colts were so awful that the Patriots won the game with a score of 45-7.
It is apparently also an open secret that practically every team messes with their balls in some way or another before games. (Word is that teams prefer their balls to be smaller and soft so they’re easier to hold, even for guys who have big hands and a strong grip.) Why should the Patriots take the fall for something practically everyone does?
Let’s address these one by one. To the folks who believe the Patriots would have won the game without saggy balls, if they’re so good, they wouldn’t need to cheat. Cheating implies that you’re not as great as you think you are. A true, confident team (or athlete) doesn’t need to do all that finagling to win because they know they’ve got the skills to win.
As for the fact that “everyone does it”, that isn’t good justification. The Patriots got caught. The other teams didn’t get caught. Therefore, the most sensible course of action would be to punish the Patriots and make an example out of them (Patriots response: Oh nuts!) to remind all their friends that this is not acceptable behavior. Then their friends will say, “I guess we better not do that so we don’t get punished too.”
That is how life works…or…that is how life should work. I mean, if you don’t punish someone who breaks the rules, then why do you have rules in the first place?
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing about it. I think it's time to go eat donuts.
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