Deflate-Gate: Big Deal or Overblown?

It was the storyline that dominated all of Super Bowl week: the allegations that the New England Patriots deflated the majority of their footballs in an AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Does the hype fit the crime? Our writers debate.

[twocol_one]Deflate-Gate Is Not A Big Deal
Josh Velez

People let’s be real! The Patriots were beating the Colts whether or not they deflated the footballs. The Patriots are guided by playoff veteran QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick (21-9 in the postseason.) Let’s compare numbers between the Colts and Patriots. The Colts should not be worried about the Patriots using a deflated ball. They need to address their defense; maybe their defense should be fined for not showing up to the game. Ex-Steeler LeGarrette Blount ran through the Colts’ defensive line. On 30 carries he ran for 148 yards with three touchdowns. As for the Colts defensive backs, how does Julian Edelman have nine receptions with 98 yards. Let’s time travel back to November 16th, week 11 of the NFL season. The Patriots dominated the Colts, 42-20. People let’s be real! The Patriots are only hearing these accusations because they won. What if they lost? I am sure the NFL would still fine them, but the media would give them no attention. All focus would be on Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning’s predecessor, as he made it to the Super Bowl. Let’s just drop this deflate-gate scandal, as the NFL has done. I do not believe a deflated ball plays defense, so let’s criticize the Colts’ defense before the Patriots. According to, Ex-QB Jeff Blake responds to the deflate-gate scandal saying, “So I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s nothing that’s not been done for 20 years.” Along those lines, Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers reports that he over inflates the ball. According to NBC Sports, Rodgers reportedly told Phil Simms, “I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.” Quarterbacks have different preferences. If a QB can play with an overinflated ball without getting reprimanded, then there is no need to take actions towards the Patriots. I applaud Tom Brady and Bill Belichick for handling the situation professionally, not allowing the media to get the best of them.

If the numbers do not convince you, let’s take the scientific perspective. The weather certainly could have played a role in the football losing air. The footballs are stored in temperature controlled climate, around 70 degrees. Then they are taken into the arena where the temperature drops 20 degrees. For all you science majors, what happens to gas (air) molecules at lower temperatures? They move slower, therefore leading the pressure within the football to decrease. I am not a Patriot fan, neither a fan of science, but when the facts are there why argue?
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]Patriots Should Be Punished
Alex Kraft

There’s something admirable about someone who will do whatever it takes to win. Who, even when the game is hardly in doubt, will go that extra step to ensure that they do not have to return home as losers.

Yet, as the New England Patriots put the finishing touches on a 45-7 undoing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, that admiration quickly turned to disgust with the revelation that the team had allegedly removed air from 11 of the 12 footballs used in the evening’s contest. The deflated balls ultimately would be easier to grip and hold on to, given that the game was played in pouring rain. And thus, the controversy that was uninspiringly dubbed “deflate-gate” was born.

I have my doubts about how much the under-inflated balls really impacted the outcome of the game that day. The Patriots 42-20 defeat of the Colts on Nov. 16 of the regular season showed people just how incapable the Colts’ defense was of stopping the Patriots’ attack. There was no reason to expect a bounce-back performance in this game, deflated footballs or not. But that’s not why I believe if the team is confirmed to be guilty of deflating those balls that it is definitely a big problem.

Fans go into sporting events expecting each team to stand an equal chance of winning. Now obviously disparity in skill level will prevent those odds from being perfectly even, but that’s the beauty of sports: the only deciding factor is skill level (discounting fluke occurrences like injuries or poor officiating). The moment that integrity is compromised, no matter how small the breach, it reflects poorly on the league and those involved. This sentiment was reflected by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when he said in a Jan. 30 press conference, “Whether a competitive advantage was actually gained or not is secondary in my mind to whether that rule was violated.” In a business, when a rule is violated repercussions can be expected. Suppose a cashier steals five dollars from the register after his/her shift. Obviously it doesn’t hurt the company tremendously, if at all. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the act is against company policy, and looking past it certainly will not discourage similar behavior in the future.

Even so, this story would almost certainly be all but forgotten if it had happened to any other team. For coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots, this is not their first case of pushing the boundaries between competition and cheating. They are repeat offenders, the storyline that has driven the narrative from the get-go. In 2007, the Patriots were severely disciplined by the league for videotaping opponents’ hand signals in an incident known as “Spygate.” A stigma was born the day they were proven guilty of doing so, and it still surrounds the team in the minds of some football fans and media members. Unfortunately this latest misstep, if proven true, cannot and will not go unpunished, even as the team celebrates its fourth Super Bowl of the millennium.

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