Saturday, January 24, 2015

What is WRONG with the NFL?

Whether you like football or not, you have not been able to escape the disaster that is "Deflategate".  In fact, I'm pretty sure people off the grid have hear about it by now.  In case you haven't, you're weird, but I'll recap.  In the AFC Championship game the Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 and advanced to the Super Bowl.  By the end of the night it was announced through various media outlets that the Patriots were being investigated for having under inflated balls (brace yourselves, I'll be saying balls a lot).  After a preliminary investigation it was concluded that the Patriots and ONLY the Patriots had 11 of their 12 offensive balls under inflated, by as much as 2psi or more.  So why do we care so much?  We care because this isn't the first time the Patriots have been caught cheating, its the third,

The first time was back in 2002 in the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams.  They beat the Rams 20-17 by kicking a last minute field goal.  Not long after that game it was reported that the Patriots had filmed the Rams practice before the big game.  Even though it was investigated, and there was plenty of evidence, Goodell decided to destroy all evidence related to the incident, a movement that surprised even the players involved.  Marshall Faulk who played in that Super Bowl was quoted with saying "Am I over the loss? Yeah, I'm over the loss," Faulk told Tom Curran of “But I'll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl.

That's a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl, that's fine. But how things happened and what took place … Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them, but if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don't burn 'em.  I understand Bill is a great coach,” Faulk said. “But No. 13 [Kurt Warner] will tell you. Mike Martz will tell you. We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn’t ran. . . . And a couple of plays on third down that we walked through also . . . And they created a check for it. It’s just little things like that. It’s either the best coaching in the world when you come up with situations that you had never seen before. Or you’d seen it and knew what to do.”  Marshall kept quiet about his feelings regarding the Super Bowl until recently and coincidentally AFTER he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Kurt Warner has stayed silent, and I fully believe this is because he has yet to get one of those scary ass head statues.  It will be interesting if he ever addresses the way he felt about the loss.
The second time, and probably the most recognized was deemed Spygate in 2007.  The Patriots were caught video tape handed recording the New York Jets defensive signals.  With further investigation it was found that the Patriots had been doing it to many other teams for many years.  Goodell ordered that all tapes be handed over, where he again destroyed the tapes.  He also handed down a punishment that included the loss of a first-round draft pick, fining the team $250,000 and Bill Belicheat (sorry Belichick) $500,000.  Now you would think this would deter them from ever attempting something illegal in the game again, but alas it did not.
I believe the problem here is Tom Brady, and of course money.  The Patriots are major money makers and are of course one of the more wealthy teams.  They have a lot to lose with yet another cheating scandal.  That is why I believe they tried to settle our gains.  Just a few days ago both Belichick and Brady help separate press conferences,  Belichicks was first, and to no ones surprise he claimed to have no knowledge, and told reporters they would have to talk to Brady about how he likes his balls (stop laughing).  Did he throw Brady under the bus a bit?  Yeah I think so, but just when you thought this story couldn't get any worse, Brady took the podium.  You would think that someone involved in a MAJOR scandal just a little over a week away from the biggest sporting event of the year would be offended, outraged, confused, and hurt by such allegations (if they were innocent).  This was not the case, Brady seemed to have a permanent grin on his face, scoffing at questions, answering sarcastically, laughing, and even joking with a few reporters.  It made him look so much worse than he did initially.  
Why do I think he is guilty?  Well its simple, per the request of Peyton Manning way back in 2006, all quarterbacks are allowed to inspect and see their footballs before the game.  This is to ensure the balls are to their liking, but still within the rules of course.  Then there is the fact that only the Patriots balls were deflated.  Some people have tried to say that the cold weather caused the balls to deflate, but I'm pretty sure if that were the case all of the balls on the field would have been the same.  Then of course one of my favorite quotes from Brady at his presser was that he didn't feel a difference in the ball.  So here is a guy that has been gripping, tucking (oh yeah that rule), and throwing footballs for almost 15 years and he didn't notice a difference?  How dumb does he think we are?  Either he has been playing with under inflated balls his entire career or he thinks we are all a bunch of idiots that will fall for anything that comes out of his smug mouth.
What should the punishment be?  I'll tell you one thing, people don't want to see another stupid fine, we are out for blood this time and for good reason.  Why should they be tolerated?  Why is it OK that this happened in a championship game of all games?  When "Bountygate" came out, which was the New Orleans Saints having bounties on certain players, they were stripped of their head coach Sean Payton for an entire season even though he claimed to have no knowledge.  What did commissioner Rodger Goodell have to say about that?  "Ignorance is no excuse".  That needs to hold up in this case as well.  Everyone is playing dumb, nobody knows what happened, its like the football fairy came and deflated only the Patriots balls, and then vanished into thin air (damn you Tink!).  Its ridiculous to even try and defend them at this point, which plenty of Patriots fans are still doing.  These are repeat offenders and as fans its time to get the word out that we wont tolerate this shit anymore.  Do I think that the deflated balls made the Patriots win a slam dunk?  No not necessarily especially since the problem was reportedly corrected by halftime, BUT does it matter?  Cheating is cheating to me, no matter how small.  Saying this isn't a big deal is like your spouse saying they hooked up with someone but it didn't mean anything, IT COUNTS.  
I look forward to the Super Bowl every single year, I love it, but this year is different.  Its simple, I don't want to see a cheating team play, and I think a lot of people feel the same way.  They don't deserve to be there plain and simple.  Belichick doesn't deserve to be there either.  The NFL really needs to make an example out of this situation, because if it gets swept under the rug and they try to make it go away without any repercussions (kind of like they did with Ray Rice until TMZ got ahold of that video) they will most certainly lose credibility, and our faith that they are keeping our sacred game fair. 


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