The Patriots Are Caught Cheating Again [Opinion]
One of the NFL's most successful and elite teams is also one of its most corrupt. In what has been referred to as "Deflategate" the New England Patriots were found to have 11 of their 12 game balls for the AFC championship game verses the Colts underinflated by two pounds of air per square inch.
The issue would have never even been discovered had the Colts lone interception in the AFC championship game by D'Qwell Jackson not occurred. Once Jackson intercepted Brady's pass in the first half, the ball was given to the Colts equipment manager who noticed it felt a bit light to say the least.
What is stirring up real controversy here is that the referees are obligated to check each game ball that will be used prior to game time and then they are supposed to keep a close eye on those footballs as well right before kickoff. The question remains here, are the Patriots the only ones cheating or are the refs involved as well? I suppose it is not beyond the realm of possibilities that the officiating crew could have possibly overlooked the fact that all but one of the Patriots' footballs were significantly underinflated. If the refs were actually naïve enough to not realize this then it further proves their incompetence in this 2015 postseason.
Some people may wonder what kind of advantage a deflated football can give a quarterback. By deflating a ball it changes the way it's gripped by a player and how it travels through the air. Without question even though it seems that the Patriots were up to their old tricks, they were clearly the better team and would have beaten the Colts regardless of how inflated or deflated their footballs were. Still this issue coincidentally involving the Patriots raises eyebrows because they were involved in the 2007 "Spygate" controversy where Coach Belichick was caught having one of his defensive coaches videotape the Jets' defensive coaches signals during a game from a sideline location.
The sad thing here is that Bill Belichick and the Patriots will probably receive an insignificant fine for their actions and may lose a draft pick or two. The NFL's model franchise is quite simply so good that even if drafts picks are taken away, they will find a way to rebound. This latest scandal could further tarnish the Pats' image. For some reason I think the team could care less what people think of them, after all if they win Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks then 'Deflategate' may be forgotten.
Cheating has and will always be a part of sports. Teams and athletes will do just about anything to gain a competitive edge over their opponents. If cheating leads to a team like the Patriots winning a championship it can be asked was the risk worth the reward? Sadly, in a world where all people remember are champions, the answer may be yes.