The NFL Dilemma: How To Handle Deflate-Gate?

Baseball was full of many scandals. There was Joe Jackson and “The Black Sox Scandal”, George Brett and “The Pine Tar Incident”, baseball players corking their bats, baseball pitchers scoffing the baseballs, and baseball players taking banned substances.

Now the NFL has deflate-gate starring Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Commissioner Goodell faces quite a dilemma. How do I punish the New England Patriots and or Belichick? Some of his options are suspending Belichick for the Super Bowl, suspending Belichick for a fixed number of games next season, taking draft choices away from the Patriots, fining Belichick and the Patriots, or some combination of the above.

After an exciting NFL Championship Game in which the Seattle Seahawks staged a dramatic comeback in the last five minutes of the game to defeat the Green Bay Packers in overtime, the second game to determine the AFL Champion was a 45-7 blowout won by the New England Patriots over the Indianapolis Colts. Leading up to the February 1 Super Bowl the stories should be about the actual matchup between the two teams and their quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady. However, what has dominated the talk is the deflate-gate scandal. Specifically, did the New England Patriots intentionally deflate the footballs that Brady used in the game?

It was reported that the Colts first noticed something unusual after linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Brady in the second quarter. Jackson reportedly gave the ball to an equipment person, who thought it seemed under-inflated. He allegedly told Colts coach Chuck Pagano. The Colts general manager was also notified and he notified a league official, according to the report. At half-time the officials checked the 12 Patriot footballs and it is reported they found 11 underinflated.

The Patriots are no stranger to controversy. In 2007, the team was punished for videotaping sideline signals used by the New York Jets during a 2007 game, in a controversy later named “Spygate.” Belichick was fined $500,000, and the team was docked $250,000 and stripped of its 2008 first-round draft pick.

When I first heard about the charges I like many other people thought it was just a funny story. I reasoned that both teams used the same football so what’s the big deal. Boy, was I wrong, it turns out each team prepares 12 balls to be used by their team and gives these balls to the officials before the game starts. The officials’ job is to check the air pressure in the balls. If the air pressure is low they bring it up. If it’s too much, they deflate it to the appropriate point. The balls stay with the officials until 10 minutes before kickoff. NFL rules prohibit any alteration in the balls after they are approved by the officials.

Before talking about cheating and penalties to Belichick and the Patriots, I ask the following question: Why don’t the officials provide the footballs used in a game? In the other major sports the teams don’t provide the balls; the officials provided the balls. This scandal never could have happened if the officials provided the balls.

In a two recent news conferences both Belichick and Brady denied any knowledge of how 11 of the 12 balls lost their air. Could it just have been caused by the cold temperature? Well, I must answer no since all 12 of the Colt balls had the correct pressure after the game. Brady admitted he prefers throwing a soft football. Clearly someone deflated the footballs.

There must be some punishment handed out to the Patriots and Belichick. The problem for Commissioner Goodell is whatever punishment he doles out it will be criticized by a large number of people. However, time is his enemy. Each day that passes without a decision impacts negatively on the Super Bowl.

Original Comments:

jim miller said…

As it is becoming clear, deflategate is much ado about nothing. In fact it may be the Colts that may be the culprits. That’s why Robert Kraft has demanded an appoligy from the Commisioner for the impugning of his team. It amazes me how quickly sports analysts were so quick to jump on the band wagon on how best to punish the Patriots before the investigation was even started. There sure is a lot of hate and jealousy out there for a perennial winner.

February 14, 2015 01:31:40

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