Spygate, Deflategate, What’s Next?

Courtesy nationalreview.com

Courtesy nationalreview.com

Calvin Chmura, Public Relations and Promotions Manager

In the AFC Championship Game, the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. The Patriots scored three rushing touchdowns thanks to LeGarrette Blount, who has had a lot of success after leaving the Steelers in the regular season. The Patriots and Tom Brady have reached their sixth Super Bowl since 2000. It was a huge win, but after D’Qwell Jackson of the Colts intercepted one of Brady’s passes, he wanted to keep it as a souvenir. Jackson had no idea what kind of role he would play in a large scandal.

Jackson didn’t think anything of it, but when he gave to the Colts’ equipment staff, they knew something was definitely wrong. They contacted Ryan Grigson, the General Manager of the Colts, who contacted the NFL. The ball seemed underinflated, almost two pounds underinflated than the required amount. Footballs, especially in the cold, are easier to be thrown and caught if underinflated because there is more leather to hold on to. In the cold, hands are cold, and it makes life a lot easier if a softer ball is used.

Now each team has twelve footballs that they bring to each game, and each football is check by officials two hours and fifteen minutes before kickoff. Everything checked out before the game, but during the game, the referees handle the footballs for spotting the ball after every play, so they have to have felt a difference in the footballs. After further investigation, it turns out eleven out of the twelve footballs on the Patriots sideline were underinflated by about two pounds psi in the first half of the game, but in the second half they were inflated to required pressure.

Head Coach of the Patriots Bill Belichick tried saying he had no knowledge of the under-inflation of the footballs. But in a later press conference he claimed it was because of the cold weather and “it reached its equilibrium at some point later on, you know an hour, two hours. That level was below what was set in this climate condition” along with a lot of other scientific terms in a press conference, clearly attempting to try and just move everyone along with large words and ideas that are just way over the media’s head.TV show host Bill Nye (The Science Guy) spoke out about the press conference, stating “what he said didn’t make any sense… Rubbing the football, I don’t think you can change the pressure. To change the pressure you need one of these, the inflation needle.”

Quarterback of the Patriots Tom Brady also had a lot to say in his press conference. Brady took the media through the process before a game, how he picks his footballs which footballs he wants to use. He also went on to say that once the game begins, he doesn’t think about the football and thinks about the game. He continued to say that he also “had no knowledge of anything.” Coincidentally, he also referenced the cold weather and Mother Nature. “Once I approve the ball like I said, that’s the ball I expect out there on the field… I like them the way that I like them which is at 12.5 I mean to me that’s a perfect grip for the football.”

Okay Tom Brady, if you like the footballs at 12.5 and you approve of them, how do you not notice the change of about two pounds in pressure? You touch the football on every single play when you are on the field. If there is a process that you go through before the game and the footballs you want to use are handpicked, how on Earth do you not notice the difference? 12.5 pounds of pressure is the perfect amount according to you, so wouldn’t you notice the difference? All of these questions can be answered on the next episode of “Bill Belichick: The Science Guy”! Seriously Tom, no one is buying your answer. An underinflated ball is better in cold weather because the outer surface of the football will not harden like a normally inflated ball, so it is much easier to grip. Naturally any quarterback would appreciate a better grip.

I’m not saying that this would have changed the outcome of the game. The footballs were inspected at halftime and were inflated back to the correct amount of pressure, and the Patriots ended up scoring 28 points in the second half. But “Deflategate” isn’t about the impact of the game, but it’s about the impact on the integrity of the sport. Every other team in the NFL complies by the rules. Well, most of them anyway.

But this is not the first time the Patriots have been caught cheating. Back in 2007 the Patriots were caught filming the sidelines and were even accused of filming practices of other teams attempting to gain an added advantage. Both the Patriots and Belichick were fined, but it didn’t matter anyway, because the fines did not put a dent in their finances at all. Many believe the fines were a quick opt out so that the controversy didn’t turn into something bigger. Well here we are, as another Super Bowl approaches, and the Patriots are in trouble again. Will anything happen to New England? Probably not, once again. Commissioner Roger Goodell and owner of the Patriots Robert Kraft are close friends; I think they can agree on a price.