Deflatriots (aka Spygate II)
After the New England Patriots annihilated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game Sunday to advance Super Bowl XLIX to play the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, a little speculation aired out (no pun intended). The speculation was that the footballs were a deflated in order for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to throw the football better, and the receivers have a better chance of catching the ball. Bill Belichick claims that he had no knowledge of the football being deflated while quarterback Tom Brady are calling the accusations "ridiculous." Now, this matter is being probed by the NFL. If the NFL proves the Patriots did any wrongdoing, they will docked future draft picks. The Patriots organization saying they will fully cooperate with the NFL in the midst of the investigation. But, this won't be the first time that the Patriots were involved in a scandal with the NFL.
In 2007, the NFL discovered that the Patriots were videotaping their opponents' practices in the infamous "Spygate" scandal. This was the first major scandal in modern pro sports since the historic 1919 Chicago White Sox "Black Sox" scandal. They were taping opponents' snap counts and defensive signals to see what type defensive schemes they would run, and track the counts before the center hikes the ball to the quarterback. Former Patriots defensive assistant Eric Mangini, who was the head coach of the New York Jets at the time, blew the whistle on the Patriots when he reported a Patriots video assistant was taping their defensive calls to NFL Security. It was found out later that Belichick sent a former assistant to the Jets' practice facility to film them. The NFL confiscated all the tapes and the video camera that was used. Belichick was fined $500,000, the maximum allowed by the league and also the biggest fine of any NFL member in league history. It also cost them their original first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Now, it has been discovered that 11 of the 12 balls used in the game were underflated. It is also being revealed that the balls were deflated 2 pounds per square inch below of what is required by the NFL's regulations. The balls are supposed to be inflated 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch in order to pass inspection by the referee, and marked with a dot to show that the balls passed inspection two hours before kickoff. During Sunday's game, Colts safety Mike Adams, who intercepted Tom Brady twice gave the balls to the team's equipment manager. There were concerns on both occasions by the team both balls were deflated. In fact, the Colts raised concerns to the NFL that they were aware of before the game.
It is ironic that the Spygate scandal and this latest accusation come on the heels of Super Bowls that the Patriots were participants in. Maybe if the balls weren't underflated still might not have changed the outcome of the game. Maybe the final score still would've been the same, or maybe the game would've been closer. You can never predict right with sports because it's a funny thing to predict. People use the old saying, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." But, if you're as gifted as Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkwski or Coby Fleener, you don't need to deflate balls to get an advantage because your God-given talent will do all the talking for you.
The Patriots should be punished to the fullest extent that the NFL allows them. They had already been punished heavily for Spygate eight years earlier, and it seems that they still haven't learned. They fail to realize, whether they know it or not, the league has them under a heavy microscope since Spygate. But, the responsibility doesn't just fall on the Patriots, it also falls on referee Walt Anderson as well. How did those 11 footballs can go out on the field without being inspected? How could he or the other refs couldn't feel that there was something wrong with the footballs after the players handed them to the refs? He should face some type of punishment for his neglect because it was on his watch. Now, the Patriots have been one of the most successful teams in pro sports over the last decade and a half. If they thought Spygate tarnished their legacy after losing two Super Bowls to the Giants; if they lose next Sunday's Super Bowl to the Seahawks it will ruin it.
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