You know what the biggest shame in this latest assertion against the New England Patriots is? It’s that the team doesn’t need to do this type of stuff. It’s well-coached and has more than enough talent to be winning without spying on other teams and deflating footballs.
Let’s be completely honest here first; the New England Patriots did not win on Sunday night because the footballs Tom Brady was allegedly throwing were softer than they should have been. Brady could have been throwing and handing off marshmallows and the outcome would have still been in their favor. That’s just how dominant they were over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Title Game.
Therefore, this isn’t anything like SpyGate where the Patriots were clearly gaining an advantage over their opponents. There is no doubt in my mind that a portion of their success prior to being caught was due to the illegal taping and observing of their opposition.
My assertion is usually countered by Patriots’ fans who claim the great Pittsburgh Steelers’ teams of the 1970′s were “all on steroids.” They, and many other teams of the 70′s were indeed dabbling with roids and here’s the key part; they weren’t illegal then. What the Pats were doing in SpyGate was illegal and that’s an overwhelming distinction.
So here we are again with more allegations of a Bill Belichick-led team doing something against the rules. My honest opinion here, and it was kind of backed up by Aaron Rodgers yesterday, is that most teams mess around with the game balls to a certain extent. In case you missed it, Rodgers said he liked balls to be “over-inflated” because he has larger hands.
In case you aren’t aware of the rules, an official NFL game ball must be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of air per square inch. If you take air out of the ball, it becomes easier to grip and to catch. Brand new NFL footballs are not as “new” as you might think when they actually hit the field. Teams are given game balls a few days in advance so that quarterbacks can smooth out the leather.
Some QBs will do this themselves while others rely on ball boys to do it. Essentially, it involves rubbing the balls over and over. This gets perspiration into the leather and takes away that hard, coarse feel to them. Now assume these balls are going to be wet. Taking some air out helps quite a bit in terms of grip.
The irony of the current situation is that D’Qwell Jackson of the Colts was the one who brought it to the attention of his team and Head Coach Chuck Pagano. He did this following an interception in the first half. For a linebacker, a guy who rarely touches a ball, to notice an obvious difference tells me that there is something to this.
The problem is Rodgers’ statement though. You have the league investigating a situation where two of the most high-profile quarterbacks in the league are now involved. What will come of this in my opinion is nothing other than a serious “talking to” by NFL officials.
Honestly? That’s really all it should be because “deflate-gate” is not anywhere on par with SpyGate. But why do these things keep following New England? Perhaps that’s the bigger question in all of this. I can’t recall one team being a part of so many odd things as this one has.
Keep an eye on the smoke because there is likely to be a Patriot nearby.