Deflategate Overblown


Are the New England Patriots guilty of deflating footballs to make them easier for Tom Brady to grip and throw and for the receivers to catch and to prevent fumbles? And if so, should they be penalized, even disqualified from the Super Bowl? In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Patriots fan, but since I did not grow up in New England I think I can be partial.

Before I address some of the facts, I want to go on record as saying that it is absolutely absurd that each team is required to supply 12 game fooballs.  In my view, the game should be played with footballs supplied by the NFL and that both teams play with the same football.  I mean really, how many footballs are needed to play a game?  The referees would be the keeper of the balls and one of them would have the responsibility of checking the footballs for psi say at the commercial breaks or at the change of quarters.

Now to the known facts.  The Patriot footballs were determined to be underinflated at half time, based on a complaint by a Colts defender who made an interception and noticed the ball didn’t feel right.  The footballs were then inflated to the proper psi for the second half.  Just how much of an advantage did the Patriots have?  Put it this way, the Pats scored 28 points in the second half, and held the Colts scoreless.  So even if you erased the 17 points the Pats scored in the first half, they still would have won the game 28-7.  Second, there is no direct evidence that a Patriots employee authorized or instructed someone to deflate the footballs, nor are there any eye witness accounts or video evidence catching a deflater in the act.  In fact, professors at Boston College and MIT say that footballs will deflate naturally if inflated at room temperature and then exposed to an extreme temperature drop, which was the case in Foxboro.  If the footballs were originally inflated to the minimum psi, they might have dropped to below that by halftime. But why weren’t the Colts footballs underinflated?  Well, the logical explanation was that they were inflated to the maximum psi and naturally deflated the same amount but were at the low end of the acceptable range by halftime or whenever their footballs were inspected, if in fact they ever were.  Third, with all the former quarterbacks talking about their preferences for football pressure and such, I can only conclude that football pressure customization is and always has been much more common than any of us are aware. I’m not saying Brady knew, but I am saying that if such practices are common, then no team really has an advantage.  And teams that don’t seek an advantage, won’t win.  But even if the Patriots were found guilty, the maximum punishment they should receive is a three game ban from spiking the football after they score a touchdown.  That’d be hard on Gronk, but a just penalty I think.

Deflate gate is overblown and is tailor made for social media.  Even some of the Colts players seem embarrassed by it all. The reality is that  Tom Brady haters secretly wish he were their teams’ quarterback and if being honest would admit that Bill Belichick is the best coach of all time.  11.5 psi can’t bring a dynasty down.

Time For Some NFL Name Changes


It’s time for some NFL owners to update the names or their teams, so I thought I’d get the football rolling:

Washington Lobbyists.  Alternative names: Filibusters, Obstructionists

New England Lobsters – Pat Patriot is a little dated.  Alternate names:  Academicians, Clam Chowder, Progressives

Tennessee Creationists

Arizona Thirst

Miami Swordfish – one bad_ _ _ fish and would look great on a helmet.

Houston Sprockets.

San Francisco Trippers – throwback to the 60’s.

Kansas City Ribs

Seattle Hipsters

Buffalo Loggers – Do they log in Buffalo?…I don’t know.

Carolina Moonshiners

Denver “Mile High” Stoners

Cleveland Smokestacks – in honor of that one I saw in Toledo.  Alternative name:  Squirrels

Philadelphia Freedom

Detroit Sturgeon

Jacksonville Bass. Alternative:  Anglers, Sprawl

Chicago Wind – although Syracuse and Buffalo are windier.  Alternate names:  Architects, Ferris Wheels

New Orleans Alligator Gar – would look sharp on a helmet!

Shut Up and Play Ball Y’all

Randy Moss said after the Patriots open day win that he doesn’t feel appreciated.  This whine came on the heels of Tom Brady’s big contract deal which makes him the highest paid quarterback in the game.  But Randy Moss is appreciated.  His teammates love him.  Tom Brady has nothing but high praise for him.  The fans love him.  His coach Bill Belichick loves him and says he’s a good player, which is about the biggest complement one could hope to get from the cerebral and ever stoic Wesleyan grad.

So what’s all the fuss?  It’s not about appreciation or love really.  It’s about business.  Moss said so himself.  As a fan, however, I don’t care about the business side of it.  I want the players to talk about the game during the press conference.  If asked about a contract, the player should offer no comment.  Instead, many chose to air out their business and try to negotiate through the public.

I would like for Randy Moss to stick around and play for the Patriots for a few more years.  And I hope he gets a fair contract, I do, but I don’t want to hear about his contract until the end of the season.  To all you disgruntled players out there, you are under contract, so just shut up and do your job.  Play ball y’all.

Team USA Ran Out of Gas

It’s all over for team USA in the 2010 World Cup.  They had a good run, playing England to a tie, winning their group and advancing to the knockout round, where they fell to a young Ghanian team…again, 2-1.  The match was statistically close, but Ghana seemed to play with confidence, especially after the German born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng scored right off the bat in the 5th minute.  That goal came on a mistake, akin to an interception in American football where the defensive back runs it back for a score.   The U.S. eventually tied the game to send it into overtime, but were burned again early after another miscue and just didn’t have the energy or the legs left to answer.

The U.S. may have had the better team.  They had the experience, lots of momentum and confidence, the best goal keeper and a prolific scorer in Landon Donovan, but they played sloppily with heavy legs.  Ghana on the other hand looked fresh, controlled the ball with crisp and precise passing and used their speed and keen anticipation to take advantage of every U.S. miscue.  And they had the home field advantage, and will have it from here on in as the last African team standing.  There was a lot riding on the game for Ghana and they rose to the occasion.  They will face Uruguay in the Quarterfinals.  If I were an Uruguayan player,  I’d be worried.

Latin America on a roll in the World Cup

I don’t like ties in soccer, or in the official lingo, draws.  I’ve been an advocate of sudden death or penalty kicks to decide a winner.  I’ve waged a tireless campaign to promote a new scoring system for soccer.  Ok, maybe not a tireless campaign, but I’ve devoted a paragraph in a previous post to the idea.  In first round World Cup play, I know ties, sorry, DRAWS, count as 1 point, but a draw means nothing to me as a sports fan.  To quote from my previous post, “…it’s as if the game had never been played.”

After looking at some of the results, I was curious to know which continent has posted the best winning percentage.  The result is probably not surprising, but perhaps sobering to European and African fans.  The prize goes to South America, which I am just going to call Latin America (LA) and include Mexico and Honduras.  With 6 teams, LA has posted 6 wins 1 loss and 3 draws.  Of the 10 results, 60% resulted in a team winning.  Europe, with 13 teams is 6-6-7 for a 32% winning percentage.  African teams have only posted 1 win so far.  The three Asian teams are 2-2.  No draws.  They play to win.  By contrast, the 3 English speaking New World teams – USA, Australia and New Zealand are 0-1-3.  The only delegation yet to post a win.

I have enjoyed watching some of the matches.   Team USA launched one of the most impressive comebacks I’ve ever seen in a soccer match against a tough team from Slovenia in first round play.   Chile’s victory over Honduras delighted the legions of fans in the Andean nation.  And Argentina with two wins in its first two matches may be the most dangerous team in the competition.   I’m watching the Netherlands v. Japan at this very moment.  Naturally, it’s nil – nil.