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The Deflategate Cocktail of Misery

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 8, 2015

QuarterbackSome questions I have with respect to Deflategate:

1) Why, if as it appears from the Wells report the NFL was already suspicious of New England tampering with game balls, were the balls not tested before the game? 

If the integrity of the Conference Finals Playoff game was of any importance to the league office, should not have the NFL have made sure all balls were inflated properly at the beginning of the game? The outcome of the testing would theoretically have been the same, and if the balls were improperly inflated, it would have been exposed. This suggests to me that the integrity of the game was of secondary importance to the NFL. We can only speculate about what the primary aim of the NFL league office might have been.

2) Why, if 3 out of the 4 Indianapolis Colts balls tested at halftime were also deflated, was not every Indianapolis ball tested?

Apparently there wasn’t enough time to test all of the Indianapolis balls at half-time. Really … an entire half time expires and the NFL only has time to pressure test about 15 balls? And they stop testing when a similar trend of deflation is found within the group of Indianapolis game balls?

You would think that (if the NFL was really concerned about the integrity of the game), then 3 out of four Indianapolis balls under-inflated at half time would have warranted further investigation as well. Could they not have tested them after the game?

3) Why are teams even allowed to handle the balls prior to the game?

MLB Baseball requires the umpires to rub down the baseballs prior to the game and it is my understanding that neither team is allowed to handle them until the umpire releases each ball during the game. In light of the recent events, it seems rather ludicrous that the NFL had not taken similar pre-emptive steps to prevent a scandal like this from ever occurring.

4) Why did the Colts know that the balls might be tested, but not the Patriots?

I get it, you suspect the Patriots are tampering with the balls, and so you devise a plan to catch them. However, this is like a ref in hockey skating to one bench and telling the coach that he would be watching for a certain infraction closely and calling it by the book, but not telling the other team. This doesn’t pass the smell test of fairness. We want a level playing field, that must include equally transparent disclosure of information to both sides.

5) Is the NFL not aware that in their zeal to catch a team skirting beyond the edges of fairplay, that they appear to have trampled those same edges of fairplay much more aggressively?

Don’t get me wrong, if the Pats and/or Tom Brady broke the rules, they deserve punishment of some sort. But this whole incident has been mishandled by the NFL right from the start. They appear to have knowingly allowed the Patriots to play one half of Football with footballs they believe might have been tainted. They appear to applied a different standard of ball testing to the Patriots than they did to the Colts. Their own process of handling the games balls could have been changed prior to the events that transpired to ensure the game was not affected. And their own Commissioner promised that the investigation would also focus on how the NFL could have done things better, but it appears to have not even considered this possibility.

6) Am I wrong, or does this just smell like a league office completely out of touch with reality?

I am not saying the Patriots are innocent. What I am saying is that the NFL league office has to look themselves in the mirror and realize that their actions do not look well here. Because they appear to have acted hastily with an uneven hand, the controversy is sure to reflect as badly upon them as it does Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Comments Welcome!

4 Responses to “The Deflategate Cocktail of Misery”

  1. Harvey said

    Think money, it may well answer all your questions.

    • You will have to do better than that. What possible monetary motive is at issue here?
      From where I sit, it appears that everyone connected to Deflategate loses.

  2. Earl said

    Chip. I have been officiating football for 23 years. We test the game balls before each game. Whenever a team tries to sneak in a underinflated ball or we notice that the ball is softer, the referee tosses it out. The umpire has to handle the ball on every play. You can quickly tell the difference between 11 and 13 PSI. Someone needs to ask what the heck were the officials doing? Once the ball is in the game, it’s the officials that decide if it stays or goes. The NFL needs to ask the officiating crew why they didn’t notice anything….they probably have but are hoping this goes away.

    • Thanks Earl for an official’s perspective on this.

      I have to admit I was also wondering why a DB who handled the ball only once when he intercepted it noticed something was wrong, and yet the officials who handle the balls on every play apparently did not notice anything.

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