Monday, 26 January 2015

Deflategate: How do I cheat thee? Let me count the ways...

About the NFL letting teams ‘control’ the game balls, that was done with the expectations that the teams would go about this in good faith. As pointed out in numerous reports, some QB’s have different tastes as to how their football should feel, so the League gave teams latitude as to how their QB’s and kickers could prepare the balls, as long as they respected the standards. If it means more offence and a more fan-friendly game, why not, right?

What the Patriots did was to submit legally inflated balls for the pre-game inspection that the referees perform a couple hours before the game, to keep everyone honest. The Pats, and they’ll have to prove to me that this isn’t what happened, then went back into the bag before kickoff and actively deflated the balls. They queered the game, post-inspection. This wasn’t no accident no-how. There was clear intent.

The balls didn't deflate due to climate, as Bill Nye denied.  They didn't all magically settle at the very same deflated level.  Eleven out of twelve balls, with one mysteriously unaffected by the rigorous process Bill Belichick described.

This was done underhandedly. They tampered with the balls before kickoff. This is active cheating, like a race car being prepared in contravention to the standards of the governing body, or players using illegal sticks, or pitchers doctoring the baseball.

The fact that they beat the Colts handily doesn’t diminish their culpability. For me, this plus Spygate plus another episode brought up by a commentator who used to play for the Pats, and recalled a game when they were facing off against the Peyton Manning Colts at the height of their offensive prowess, and somehow accidentally the sprinklers were left on all night so the field was a soggy mess to slow down the Reggie Waynes and Marvin Harrisons, they prove that Bill Belichick will stop at nothing, not dishonesty or legality to win games.

If he got caught with Spygate and now this, there are twenty more incidents that he knowingly bent or broke the rules that he didn’t get caught.

Throw the book at them. Sean Payton took a year suspension in the teeth and never said a word. I want Bill Belichick to get the same treatment.

Once the dust settles, most probably what will happen is a system like in baseball, where the refs rub a certain number of balls prior to every game with a specific proprietary mud, to take the sheen off, and that’s the ball everyone plays with, no exceptions. And if a player is caught doctoring a ball by scuffing it or adding a slick substance to it, that’s outright cheating, it’s not a ‘little tug of the jersey’, it’s a suspendable offence.

But again, the Patriots are caught red-handed, not the Jaguars or the Browns, or the Raiders of old, who as Lisa Simpson said, were likely to win because “they always cheat.” The Pats, not the Raiders, are the new rogue organization, who don’t believe that there is such a thing as dirty pool.

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