Having spent the first twenty-nine years of my life in New England, I’m a Patriots fan. There are those who want Tom Brady’s head on a stake because he under-inflated his football. This has been the lead news story across the nation for the past week. Bill Belichick had a news conference in which he said he didn’t know anything about it. And then, later the same day, Tom Brady had a press conference in which he said he didn’t know anything about it. Mark Brunell, an ex-quarterback and analyst for ESPN, fought off tears of outrage while addressing the topic. Michael Wilbon, one of many ESPN know-it-alls, believes that if the allegations are proven, the Patriots should be disqualified from the Super Bowl.
I don’t know that there needs to be any more proof than there already is. When the officials checked the pressures at halftime, eleven of the twelve Patriots’ footballs, were found to be under-inflated. I don’t know why they checked the pressures of the footballs. The original line from the Colts was that D’Quell Jackson, the linebacker who intercepted Brady’s second-quarter pass, had complained that the ball felt a little flat. Which led to the complaint against the Patriots. Now, Jackson denies having noticed any irregularity. But I guess none of this matters. The Patriots’ footballs were under-inflated and the Colts’ footballs were not. Exactly what more proof does anyone need?
That said, I don’t care. Has anyone ever cared how much air pressure was inside a football until now? And does a slightly lowered air pressure give anyone an advantage?
I’ve heard the following argument put forth by sports talk guys: if it doesn’t give anyone an advantage, why is it a rule?
I don’t know. There’s a rule that you can’t celebrate too much after you score a touchdown. Does excessive celebration give someone an advantage? Does taunting give someone an advantage? Or wearing golden shoes like Marshawn Lynch wanted to do last week?
If you hate the Patriots, I’m sure you think I’m missing the point. the air pressure of an NFL football must fall between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI. That’s the rule. And rules, in the arena of any game, delineate what is legalfrom what is illegal. They are either abided by or broken.
Aaron Hernandez executed a couple dudes. There are no NFL rules that applied, but there are some rules outside the NFL that did apply. Ray Rice knocked out his fiancee in an elevator. Adrian Peterson spanked his kid with a switch. Sports talk was taken over by these stories for a certain length of time. It gave everyone a chance to preach sermons about what is right and what is wrong. I tuned out for a while because I didn’t want to hear what Dan Patrick or Jim Rome might think about the immorality of violence and murder. There are more enlightened opinions to seek in that area. But I do believe it was only right to give these topics a lot of airtime because violence and murder are big problems. Air pressure, on the other hand, isn’t. Gang members in Miami don’t commit air pressure violations. Women in Baltimore don’t wear sunglasses because they got punched in the face by air pressure.
The scary thing is, I don’t know whether I don’t care about Deflate Gate because I truly believe it’s not important, or because I’m a Patriots fan. Do I cling to whatever present beliefs I might hold regardless of any evidence the world might offer to the contrary? Or do I first observe the world and then shape my beliefs according to what it is I take in?
I don’t even know at this point. And, like I said, I don’t care. I just want the Patriots to win the next game.