Disclaimer – This entire blog is being written under the assumption that the Patriots deflated 11 out of 12 balls after the referee inspection and during the game. Very similar to the USC thing a few years ago. I’m not ruling out alternate scenarios, just for clarity I’m living under that assumption.
So obviously “DeflateGate” is the hot topic in the sports world right now. Everyone on both sides chiming in with their take. And I have to admit, they all absolutely suck. Michael Wilbon saying the Patriots shouldn’t go to the Super Bowl because of this is simply moronic. If Patriots fans want to say they hate us because they ain’t us, it’s takes like Wilbon’s that make that possible. The Patriots should get the appropriate punishment, be that a fine or a draft pick, nothing more, nothing less. Just because they have had success in the past and had a checkered history with spygate doesn’t mean all of a sudden we should be massively changing rules and tossing teams out of the Super Bowl. The Wilbon’s of the world make it impossible to actually have a discussion about this. He is a pendulum that swings one way, and then forces it to swing all the way back in the other direction, to just as moronic a place, where people are saying, no big deal, if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying, Bill Belichick is a genius etc etc. It may not be a big deal in the fact that the Patriots still would have won against the Colts but it’s a big deal in the fact that it all just seems so unnecessary and shady. Most Patriots fans have to feel at least a little piece of embarrassment right? I would. Just play the team straight up. Unlike the formation thing against the Ravens, which was admittedly genius and well within the rules, this, if done the way I’m assuming, is essentially cheating. It’s minor of course, but don’t pretend it’s not cheating. There’s a rule, and then the rule was broken, that’s cheating.
The best analogy I could think of is this. You remember when you were a kid and you would do random races? Race you to the stop sign, race you to the wall and so on and so forth. Everyone would agree, we’ll say 3…2…1….GO and leave on GO. Then every now and then there would be the kid who would start running on 1 instead of GO. This kid would say afterwards, oh well I thought we were going on 1, no one told me that it was specifically GO, the way I’ve always played it is 1, and sort of plead ignorance. Even when you were a child and had no idea how the world worked you knew in your brain that that kid sort of sucked. Nothing he did was life changing, but he was shady and looking for a competitive edge in ways that were basically cheating. That’s how I see this one. Football will go on, and nothing major should come of this. If you’re a professional sports writer who says that Bob Kraft should fire Bill Belichick then you should never write another sports column again. Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL and it’s not even close. This stuff doesn’t diminish that fact, it just makes it all seem sort of weird. A “why even risk it?” type of deal. And no rule was broken in a way that this should be a huge deal, but you can’t deny something feels little “off”, like when the kid went on 1 instead of Go.