You get an idea of the magnitude of what we’re talking about when you recognize and appreciate the fact that regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon network programming was interrupted to go to breaking news from Bill Belichick concerning what he’d learned in the past week about balls; more precisely, the amount of air inside them and what possibly could lead to the release of such air; real high-end, Physics stuff.
The coach looked haggard, drawn and without the usual imposing, Shrek-like intensity about him. He said “umm” a lot; some would say a sign of both his discomfort and his guilt. It makes you wonder what’s really going on behind those closed doors. As the league circles its wagons-the investigation is ongoing and nobody’s talking as per the NFLPA-allegations of outright cheating are beginning to be thrown about.
It’s like it’s something that everyone would like to see simply go away; evaporate into thin air, leaving no trace. Besides, it’s such an ugly word, this “cheating”. Whatever happened to the more colorful, and likewise less accusing, monikers like “crafty”, or “outside the box”? We’re witnessing the power of the Super Bowl; a raw example and in-depth look at the all-out might of the pageantry of the NFL. It makes you see things that aren’t there; ignore things that you should hold pertinent.
You see we’re not really worrying too much about Spygate; that was a long time ago and is more a distraction now than anything else. Besides, fines were levied and all was forgiven. We be cool. It’s not like once a cheat-sorry, there’s that word again-once an innovator, always an innovator, right?
Likewise, let’s forget about Tom Brady’s ball preference-softer balls- even though Belichick himself brought that fact to our attention early in the drama. That makes no difference, despite the fact that 11 of 12 were underinflated and despite the fact that an underinflated ball is easier to throw in bad weather conditions-like we had in the game against the Colts-as well as catch and hold. None of that is pertinent to anything; least of all the integrity of the Patriots outstanding win record. That can’t be under any type of scrutiny.
Let’s remember that the investigation is ongoing and even if it turns out the Patriots are guilty of intentionally deflating balls to give themselves an advantage in the Championship game, it doesn’t mean that their earlier victories should come into question. Drawing a correlation about the possibility of further guilt based on more than one guilty offense isn’t a normal practice. Considerations like that don’t happen in the real world.
Tell that to the fans. It’s disheartening to learn that a team possessing the caliber of excellence that the Patriots obviously bring to the table anyway, would stoop to such “shenanigans”. That’s my biggest beef; that in this super clean uber world of fair play sports, we’re finding out that quite possibly there’s been a whole lot of hinky “stuff” happening. Oh well, with any luck, the NFL will make me forget all about this in no time.
Some Sources: Belichick press conference video from USA Today, For The Win, Bill Belichick Dropped Physics Knowledge in Surreal Press Conference by Avery Stone; other material from ESPN Boston, “Belichick: Pats followed every rule” by Lee Schechter and the Associated Press.