Officially Deflated on Deflategate.
I know this isn’t about sustainability, but it’s on a topic that has been particularly beaten to death this week. This started as a Facebook rant but stretched on far too much to post as so.
I sure wish the NFL put as much effort into looking into domestic abuse and the safety of their players as has gone into the analysis of the pressure of footballs, a level of science that I'm pretty sure most players didn't even understand in high school science class. Hell, many media outlets were reporting that the footballs were two pounds lighter, not two pounds per square inch lighter, for several days. How on earth do you take that seriously if you know anything about football (or for that matter, physics)? The league doesn't even make the procedure about how this (and many other rules as I learned on Felger and Maz this week) public to anyone other than that the footballs have be at a certain pressure at a certain point before the game. The rules even state that if no ball that’s available meets these standards, then to just use the best one available!
Yet, suddenly everyone is an expert. No one addressed the fact that maybe the Colts sucked because they had to deal internally with not one, but two behavior issues with their own team. One guy missed the plane (which how you miss a charter flight that can literally leave whenever it wants is beyond me) and the other was a player facing rape charges and put on the NFL's exempt list.
Due to deflatefate, in the past week the media has exceedingly overlooked stories more worthy of attention. A doctor was shot in Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston this week and died. Nearly 1,000 people have been displaced with over 500 permanently without a home from a massive 5 Alarm block fire in Edgewater, New Jersey. Yemen collapsed. The Marathon Bombing, Odin Lloyd Murder, and Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting trials are all destined to start within the near future and are currently in the process of jury selection, and I’m sure there were plenty of other noteworthy events as well. Yet the leading story all week has been balls balls balls and literally nothing but hot air, euphemisms, and double entendre (and to be fair, if anyone could get through a press conference like that with a straight face, it was going to be Belichick).
As a fan, I'm very annoyed. There was no time to even get to enjoy the AFC Championship win. If there was any intentional act, it was beyond unnecessary and it’s offensive to the fans. This Sunday night after the game, I had commented that this has been one of the few times I’ve genuinely liked Tom Brady (I’m much more partial to Drew Brees). I’ve been a Patriots fan my entire life and after his first season, never really took to Brady that much. I’ve always just found something off. This year was like he got some kind of spark in him, and he’s been fun to watch. He seemed motivated. He seemed like he wanted it this year more than any other year, and he’s got the talent, team and support around him to pull it off. And now he might have been manipulating the system. Or not.
The public opinion is strongly turned against the Patriots who probably won't get a "neutral" site at the Super Bowl because they're cheaters (the opposing coach by the way, Pete Carroll got the hell out of USC for a handful of NCAA violations which he essentially avoided any form of punishment for by leaving while the rest of the school and players were thrown under the bus). Everything they do will be heavily scrutinized. And if they win it'll be because they cheated, obviously. I want a dollar every time there’s a close up of a football a Patriot is holding that isn’t relevant to the occurring play. I'm sure I'll feel differently when it comes to the actual game, but for me right now this doesn't feel fun at all.
The NFL dropped the ball on several other incidents already this year alone, but feels the need to use this incident to make an example. Why? Because there was literally no harm done. At all. Not a single person was put in harm’s way by the Patriots having deflated footballs. The Colts have even publicly said they just sucked.
D’qwell Jackson, the player who intercepted the football that supposedly brought the issue to the attention of the officials, “It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game. They outplayed us. We didn’t match their intensity. I don’t feel slighted at all personally. They created turnovers, they ran the ball on us. They won that game because of their intensity — not the pressure of a football.”
Dwayne Allen, “Not a story. They could have played with soap for balls and beat us. Simply the better team.” (Full disclosure, Allen was on my fantasy team this year).
There are no physical wounds or victims, and losing a game is just part of many players jobs. So it's easy to create a villain out of something that comes down to a non-issue and essentially had no impact on the game or really life in general. If you want to take away the points the Patriots scored with the deflated footballs in the first half (minus their field goal since Gostowski would have had a straight from the factory kicking ball), they still won 31-7. It did not impact the outcome of the game. People hate the Patriots over the Tuck Rule (which as far as I know they just had happen to them, they didn't actually write and they still had to get two field goals after that). They hate them for spygate, which they were punished for by the league. They hate them for almost going 19-0 that same year, when instead, Eli got to earn his spot at the adult table in the Manning house. I read an article that compares the deflated footballs to the Saints bountygate and that Belichick should be suspended for a year like Sean Peyton. Again, no one was hurt by the deflating of these footballs. If there was any actual advantage gained from this, I'm pretty sure it was negated by the fact Brady threw an interception with a supposedly underinflated ball. Some advantage. Is giving turnovers just part of their evil plan?
I’m not saying there wasn’t intentional wrong doing, but I’m not saying there was either. I’m saying, I’m sick of this story because it in no way matters. No one seems to have any facts other than at some point during the game, there were footballs that were less inflated than when they were measured 2 ½ hours before the game, which put them outside of the acceptable range. The Colts footballs supposedly measured within that range, but I haven’t heard if they measured the psi same as prior to the game. It’s become pretty obvious over the years that Belichick likes to walk the line with the rules, and whether this is another instance of that or not, I don’t know. I do know we are putting way too much emphasis on entertainment, and way too much scrutiny on the wrong parts of the league. Yes, the rules are important. No, we should not break the rules because that's part of life. For many this comes down to money, but for many others, it’s just a game. Let’s focus our efforts somewhere else.
On to Seattle.
To Support the Davidson family, family of Dr. Michael Davidson killed at Brigham’s & Women’s, donations and information is available at www.rtn.org/davidsonfund
To support those impacted by the Edgewater, New Jersey Fire, please visit: www.edgewaterstrong.com