By now, everyone in the sports world knows about “Deflategate”, but for those who may not know, let”s review: The New England Patriots deflated their footballs to below specifications, which led to an investigation and subsequent fine, loss of 2 draft picks, and suspension of Tom Brady for four games (which is under appeal). However, I believe there’s something more scandalous at hand. Let me explain…
If the powers that be in the NFL wanted to keep the NFL in the headlines during the off-season, what better team than the Patriots to lead that effort? Is there a more polarizing team in the league right now? Probably not. Yes, deflating their footballs was against the rules. But, was it a bigger scandal than a general manager sending text messages to the sidelines during a game (Browns)? Or, was it bigger than piping in crowd noise during a game (Falcons)? I ask you this: If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were found to have deflated their footballs, would it be a headline story? The answer is a resounding NO.
Now, let’s look at the punishment handed out by the ever-perplexing Roger Goodell. A million dollar fine, loss of a 1st and a 4th round draft pick, and a Brady’s 4 game suspension. The fine has already been picked up by Patriots fans in their rush to buy Patriots merchandise after the scandal broke. The draft picks were likely to be traded away anyhow. And, Brady’s suspension is under appeal, and will probably be reduced tremendously. But, the good news for the NFL is this: “Deflategate” has kept the NFL in the headlines during the off-season, and was the lead story on ESPN, the NFL Network, and talk radio for weeks. And, with the appeal, will continue to grab headlines going into the season. Considering Roger Goodell’s terrible year of issuing discipline, this is probably his best work. And, it’s not over yet.
I would, however, like to get to the meat of the matter. The footballs. Each game, teams are issued their own bag of footballs by the league. Each team will use its own footballs. The only time a team will use the other team’s footballs is during the event of a turnover. So, I pose this question. Why is air pressure of the footballs regulated? If a team wants to use a flat football, or an over-inflated football, who cares? The other team doesn’t have to use them. The rule is unnecessary, but look what it led to. A scandal that has me writing about it in MAY. Kudos Goodell. You played us all for fools. Now, do the right thing, for once, and abolish the rule. And, maybe fine yourself. God knows you can afford it, looking at your 44 million dollar salary.