By Kevin Luo
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve probably heard of the “Deflate-Gate” scandal surrounding the New England Patriots. The Patriots’ footballs in the AFC Championship Game were found to be deflated, allowing for better grip of the football in the cold weather. Now, I like talking about shrinking balls just as much as the next guy, but this story has become too much.
I get it. Most of the football world outside of New England hates (and envies) the Patriots, especially QB Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, so all negative topics about them are magnified exponentially.
This story deserved one day (two days max) of major coverage. The Ray Rice scandal was getting less coverage than this, and that’s a real problem. It’s as if the rest of the sports world has stopped for “Deflate-Gate,” and I am more than sick of it.
Let’s start with my first problem with this story. The Patriots-Colts game where this controversy took place was a total manhandling by the Patriots. The Patriots actually played better in the second half when the footballs were replaced by properly inflated ones when they outscored the Colts, 28-0. Many Colts players have come out and said that they were simply the worse team that day.
Next, let’s talk about the scientific plausibility that the Patriots didn’t actually do anything wrong, which “Dr. Bill Belichick” discussed in his press conference. Everyone seems to think that Brady or Belichick stuck a needle into the footballs and deflated them right before the game like they’re Barry Bonds or A-Rod or that, alternatively, they ordered someone to do so.
Had the ball been inflated to its minimum level of 12.5 pounds per square inch (PSI) in a warmer environment, the balls could’ve easily deflated a decent amount in the colder field environment. Another potential factor, proposed by Belichick, is that the team performed a form of pre-game rub down of the footballs to prep them for the game. This prepping may have caused them to temporarily increase the balls’ PSI, but the PSI would go back down once the ball was at its equilibrium state. Both of these theories are possible and are technically legal under the NFL’s ambiguous football preparation guidelines.
Lastly, my biggest issue with the inflation of this story is that nothing tangible is going to come out of this anytime soon. It’s been a week of speculation over what happened when nothing definitive is going to come out before the Super Bowl. Super Bowl Sunday will come and go with this situation remaining an ongoing investigation. So unless something tangible comes out about this case, it doesn’t need to be discussed 24/7.
The NFL would never do anything to jeopardize its most important event like suspending Brady or Belichick for the Super Bowl unless there was no other choice. So anyone calling for one of them to get suspended for the game should just save their breath because it isn’t happening.
Overall, the sports world needs to chill about “Deflate-Gate.” The Super Bowl is this upcoming Sunday. Who is going to win the game? Who will be the X-Factors? How will the Seahawks cover Gronk? How will the Pats contain Russell Wilson? Let’s pump some air into topics about the actual game.