Well after months of NFL action we finally have our Super Bowl match-up, the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots. The top teams from each conference this year. Quite a match-up. Seattle advanced with a historical come from behind win and the Patriots advanced with a blow out. Seattle in the Super Bowl, what’s new? The second straight year. New England in the Super Bowl, what’s new? Sixth time since 2002. Patriots controversy, what’s new? From Spy-Gate to Deflate-Gate.
What a better way to start the two week delay until the Super Bowl than with some controversy from a team that seems to pride itself on controversy, the New England Patriots. Word came out late Sunday night that the Patriots may have deflated their footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. Now anyone that watched that game knows that whether or not the Patriots deflated the footballs would not have changed the outcome of that game. The Patriots dominated all aspects of the game and the Indianapolis Colts did not show up. However the fact remains, yet another controversy surrounds Bill Belichick and his Patriots.
Let’s first take a look at the controversy itself. For NFL games each team provides their own set of footballs. These footballs are required to weigh between 14 and 15 ounces and are weighed by officials prior to the game. So the first question you ask may be “well don’t both teams use the same ball?” No. Each team provides 12 balls, which are inspected, and then given to a ball attendant. So when you see officials throwing balls over to the sideline, to get dried off or between plays, these balls are the team’s balls they supplied. So on offense a ref would throw the Colts ball to their sideline and vice versa for the Patriots.
Your second question may be, “well does a deflated ball really matter?” A deflated ball will make it easier to throw and easier to catch. This is extremely important in cold weather, as it was on Sunday, when a football becomes a rock; ask anyone who has ever played the game. So yes, deflating a football will help. However it is likely not going to result in the drastic difference as to overcome a 45-7 drubbing the Patriots put on the Colts.
And your final question may be, “so if it didn’t directly affect or change the outcome of the game, who cares!?”. This is the point of it all. Whether the deflating of the ball had an effect in the game is not the point, the point is that the Patriots broke rules…..again. And before you say nothing is proven, well the whole organization has lost any benefit of doubt from previous actions. Spy-Gate was not just a one time occurrence against he N.Y. Jets in 2007, but started in 2000 and was brought up back when the Rams faced the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Patriots have a long history of breaking rules. The point of the entire Deflate-Gate is that the Patriots were breaking rules to gain an advantage. They likely would have won the game anyways but they BROKE rules!
I liken this to Barry Bonds, and I think it is quite a good comparison. Barry Bonds was a sure thing MLB Hall of Famer. He was one of the game’s all-time best. But he broke rules and cheated by taking steroids and HGH. He would have been a Hall of Famer had he not done that but he decided he wanted any advantage he could get. Similar case for the Patriots. Together Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have put together a run very few teams ever have. They are a great organization with consistent winning seasons. But they have continually broke or skirted rules for any advantage they can get.
Now the NFL says it is taking Deflate-Gate seriously and looking into it. However this coming from a league that burned the Spy-Gate tapes within four days of receiving them, why? The same league that could not find video inside the elevator of the Ray Rice incident despite it being all over TMZ and the Ravens having a copy. So forgive me if I do not think the NFL will do its due diligence in the investigation of Deflate-Gate.
So in the end we are left with a great Super Bowl match-up, yet once again that will not be the focus. Instead of arguing over the birth of a dynasty (Seahawks) or the final exclamation point of a dynasty (Patriots) we will be left to wonder if the Patriots can ever win without controversy. While their tactics may not have direct outcomes on the game, if they didn’t help in some way, why would they risk it? That’s a familiar question that was asked of Barry Bonds and his home runs. So here we are; the New England Patriots, the NFL version of Barry Bonds and steroids. Once a cheater, always a cheater.