“Deflategate”: Is New England Compromising Pro Football’s Integrity?

Photo courtesy of Rhonda Wise/Associated Press
Photo courtesy of Rhonda Wise/Associated Press

As I’m sure most of you have heard, the New England Patriots are at it again.  If you haven’t been following the NFL headlines over the last three weeks, you need to know what happened in the AFC championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts.  Each NFL team is responsible for providing the officials with 12 of their own balls before the game.  The officials will weigh the ball two and a half hours prior to kickoff. The footballs are then locked up by the officials until they go to the field to begin warm-ups.  In this case, 11 of the 12 balls provided by the New England Patriots were found to have been deflated by two pounds, hence the “Deflategate” title.  During the game, Tom Brady threw an interception in the first half and when the ball was picked off by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, Jackson ran over to the sideline . He told coach Chuck Pagano that the ball felt light and underinflated.  This prompted Pagano to notify the Colts GM, who then reported it to league officials. This prompted an full-scale investigation by the league in response to the Colts complaints. Obviously the deflating balls did not necessarily affect the outcome of the AFC championship game because it was a 45-7 stomping, but who knows if this is the first time that the Patriots have done it.  How do we know that the same thing didn’t happen a week prior against the Ravens?  This ended up being a much closer game.  How do we know that Brady hasn’t been doing this his entire career?  The Patriots, who have a history with their “Spygate” scandal, have had a bit of controversy attached to their franchise in the recent past. The worst part in all of this is that Brady and Belichick are going to try and get a lowly ball boy or equipment manager to take the fall in order to save their own image.  I think this is a classic Patriots move and because of this, I think Brady won’t be remembered for the Super Bowls he’s won and the numbers that he put up in his career. He will be remembered for allegedly altering footballs en route to a Super Bowl win.

One of the funniest things about this situation involves Brady and Coach Belichick during interviews. To me, it definitely seems like 10 minutes prior to each interview, they got together and said, “Hey, what are we going to say so that our stories both match up”.    If I were Roger Goodell, I would penalize the Patriots harshly.  This is not their first incident and I can almost guarantee that it will not be their last if Goodell does not drop the hammer.  Taking away a sixth round draft pick doesn’t entirely fix the problem. A 6th round pick usually won’t make a team, or if they do they will be just on special teams or on the practice squad.  Or a 6th round pick could lead your team to four super bowl titles in a fourteen year span. That sixth round pick was Tom Brady out of the University of Michigan. Given this, the Patriots shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice any draft picks.

Roger Goodell is definitely not seen as a favorable individual by NFL fans right now.  It seems to me that if you’re an NFL fan, that isn’t living in New England, you rooted against the Patriots during the Super Bowl.  are going to be rooting against the Patriots and hoping that they get the punishment that they finally deserve.  No matter the outcome of Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots playoff run This Super Bowl run will always have asterisk next to it.  In my opinion, this isn’t strictly about the deflated footballs, it’s not about the advantage, if any, that the Patriots had.  It’s about the integrity of the sport and the arrogance of a football coach who, if guilty, will have once again shown that he thinks he is bigger than the game.

Tim Price

Staff Writer for The Mountain Echo

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