With the story about the New England Patriots having under-inflated footballs for one game finally, mercifully appearing to die, and the Patriots taking on the Indianapolis Colts (who started the whole mess in the first place) tonight, I decided to offer my final thoughts on the issue.
Two things to get out of the way up front. First, the nickname for the story is beyond stupid and will not be justified by way of writing it here. People are aware that the Richard Nixon Watergate Scandal was names as such because Watergate was the name of the hotel it occurred in, right?
Second, Tom Brady swore under oath that he did not give any kind of instructions to under-inflate the game balls, so if he’s lying that could lead to a prison sentence for perjury. You’d have to be an idiot to think that a millionaire with a seemingly idyllic family life, no history of criminal activity, and four SuperBowl championship rings would risk going to jail just to avoid being suspended for four regular season football games.
The part that really pisses me off about the way this whole story blew up is that real crimes committed by NFL players are forgotten by the public at large a month or two after they end, because the NFL wants these stories to go away as quickly as possible. Greg Hardy beats the hell out of his girlfriend, Michael Vick murders dogs for profit and pleasure, and Ray Rice is caught on camera knocking out his fiance and dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator like a cave man. These are genuinely horrifying actions perpetrated by employees of the NFL that, quite frankly put, should have led to these men being banned from the NFL for life and some sort of appropriate prison sentence.
However, since neither of those things happened, Commissioner Roger Goodell would like to direct your attention elsewhere as soon as humanly possible. “Here’s something that’s technically against the rules,” he’s saying “But nobody actually got hurt or worse, so let’s all watch how I deal with it.” And then he blew it anyway by overplaying his hand.
“Seems like someone tinkered with game day equipment, so here’s a fine,” should have been the resolution. He got the fine, but then his impotency complex over not properly dealing with the real scumbags led him to push things way too far.
There have been so many Performance Enhancement Drug suspensions DUI’s, and other crimes that I stopped trying to keep track years ago. Why the NFL would allow violent criminals and drunk drivers to ever have another chance to make millions of dollars representing the NFL on national TV every week, but choose to go after one of their model employees, is beyond me.
Bottom line, the amount of air in footballs should be decided by each team individually. This is not like P.E.D’s, which are actually illegal for recreational use and create long term medical problems for users. With P.E.D use, the issue is that it leads to clean players saying: “If these guys are getting an advantage by pumping steroids into their bodies, therefore risking their future health, then I need to as well in order to keep up. How is that fair?” Which is a fair assessment, because it’s not fair at all. Which is why P.E.D use carries a justified fine and a suspension.
You know what carries no medical drawbacks whatsoever? Air. There is absolutely no reason why teams shouldn’t be allowed to decide how much air is pumped into their footballs. This quarterback is more comfortable with more air, that QB is more comfortable with less air. Okay, let’s just have them do that then.
Again, we’re talking about their own team’s footballs – they are not touching the other team’s footballs. In soccer and basketball, both teams use the same ball, so it’s understandable why there would be such regulations. Every football team brings its own bag of balls to every game, with the other team rarely touching those balls. So it’s pointless to say this amount of air is okay, that amount of air is not. I’ll even go far enough to predict that in two or three years this rule will be changed, or eliminated altogether.
So, let’s lay this story to rest the way that Tom Brady and The Patriots have been laying their opponents to rest so far this year (under unnecessarily intense scrutiny, I might add). R.I.P to the under-inflated footballs during one single game story, and I look forward to be proven a prophet when this moronic and pointless rule is killed in the near future.