Patriots Stand Tall Amid Deflate-Gate Controversy


Unless you have been living under a rock, you should have heard the rumors about some footballs feeling deflated in the AFC title game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. Well, after further review, it has been reported that 11 out of 12 balls on the Patriots’ sideline weighed two pounds less than the league required weight. Yet, all 12 balls on the Colts’ sideline met the necessary minimum weight.

Some say that deflating a football allows a quarterback to have a better grip on the ball. Back in 2011, Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady said he enjoyed watching tight end Rob Gronkowski spike the ball after touchdowns because they become deflated and that is how he likes his footballs.

Looking at the Patriots’ winning margin of 45-7, possible deflated footballs were not the difference in the game. Yet, does this mean the situation should not be further investigated by the NFL? Absolutely not!

It is not like this is the first time the Patriots have allegedly done something to gain a competitive edge. Back in 2007, the infamous Spygate occurred when Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for having an assistant spy on the New York Jets.

There is a process used for getting balls approved before the game. Two hours and 15 minutes before the start of a game, each team submits 12 footballs to the head official they would like to use when on offense throughout the game. These balls are marked with a dot when approved and given to the team’s ball boy who puts them into ball bags where they remain on the sideline for each team. Whenever an official calls for a new football, the ball boy gets a new football from the ball bag and gives it to the ref.

Under no circumstances are the footballs allowed to be altered after being approved by the head official.

Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that 11 out of the 12 Patriots’ footballs were two pounds less than the approved weight? Some have tried to defend the Patriots and say the cold and rainy weather conditions could have deflated the footballs. In the words of NFL Hall of Famer, Chris Carter, during his weekly appearances on NFL Coundown, I say, “C-Mon, man!” Why would the weather alter 11 footballs, all supplied by the Patriots, but all twelve from the Colts stayed at the approved weight? Too much of a coincidence if you ask me.

The Patriots are saying all of the right things. Belichick has said the Patriots will fully cooperate as did a team spokesman. Brady laughed off the allegations in his postgame interview. My favorite was defensive tackle Vince Willfork’s response. “”I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “I don’t touch footballs. I tackle people.”

There is much talk about what the penalty should be if the Patriots are caught cheating. I believe I heard the minimum is a $25,000 fine.

Are you kidding me? That is pocket change to Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft or Belichick if he is the one fined.

The Patriots need to be hit hard where it hurts most. If guilty, they should be fined heavily, but what will hurt the most is in losing draft picks.

We all know Belichick is a master at evaluating talent and building his team through the draft. He is not afraid to draft a rookie and cut an aged veteran who has lost a step.

Without a doubt, Belichick is the best coach this league has ever seen. Part of my admiration for him is because he thinks outside the box. However, using an illegal tactic cannot be tolerated in this league after the off-field issues it has dealt with this past season.

Just like Commissioner Roger Goodell severely penalized players for issues related to the league’s conduct policy in hopes of preventing further situations from the same players or new ones, the commissioner needs to do the same with the Patriots if they are found guilty of any wrongdoing.

And that’s…as I see it.

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