There’s always something, some bitter pill prescribed to the masses insistent on finding a loophole that might, in some possible way, help deter from reality.
The New England Patriots didn’t even have the luxury of being able to celebrate their latest trip to the Super Bowl for a few hours before some semblance of controversy naturally rammed its head into the achievement. Such is life at the top of the NFL.
Following Sunday night’s 45-7 thrashing of the not-ready-for-prime-time Indianapolis Colts, WHTR’s Bob Kravitz, formerly of the Indianapolis Star, reported on Twitter that a league source informed him that the NFL might look into the possibility of the Patriots deflating balls in the AFC Championship game. According to multiple sources, the league confirmed on Monday that it is indeed looking into the accusations.
While they’re investigating, can they also put out an APB on the Colts?
This is perfect. Let’s kick off this Super Bowl fortnight with a big bowl of stupid.
Let’s just review the rules involved here. According to the NFL code, which has been known to benefit the Patriots from time to time, footballs must be inflated with between 12 1/2 and 13 1/2 pounds of air, and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the referees two hours, 15 minutes prior to kickoff. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing, and the visiting teams, at their own discretion, may bring 12 more of their own for testing in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs will be sealed in a special box for the kicking game.
As Rule 2, Section 2 states, “In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors, and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.”
So, an official handles the ball prior to every snap, which accounted for a ball being taken out of play at the start of the third quarter, with the Patriots offense on the field and leading the Colts, 17-7. If that was indeed the incident to which Kravitz’s source is referring to, perhaps it’s just to make a mental note that the Patriots scored 28 unanswered points from that point forward. But hey, maybe the refs were in on the take. It’s also possible they were merely swapping out the kicking ball for one of the in-game variety.
Here’s NFL vice president of Officiating Dean Blandino on the matter Monday morning:
Now, never mind the challenge it would be simply to alter the game ball while on the sidelines. The home team is responsible for providing attendants who supply the refs with the game balls. That would mean in order to play around with the ball’s inflation, it would have to be done in the clear open, before dozens of cameras and thousands of fans.
But let’s play along. If the theory is correct, and a deflated ball would be easier for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to grip in wet, windy weather, it’s amazing how beneficial it was in helping LeGarrette Blount run with it for 148 yards and three touchdowns. That’s pretty much exactly what Blount did to the Colts last January. Same thing Jonas Gray did to them in November.
The Colts want to blame the pigskin? Pathetic.
Brady laughed out loud when he was informed of the controversy during his weekly spot on WEEI Monday morning.
“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” he said. “That’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
Of course, it would be idiotic to suggest that any inflation or deflation would have had any effect on the hapless Indianapolis Colts, who were a Tom Brady interception and a dumb Vince Wilfork penalty away from being shut out by New England’s defense. But any Patriots fan worth his or her weight in Lombardi merchandise knows the agenda here. The Patriots haven’t won the Super Bowl since they got busted for taping the opposition.
Ah, yes, because the scope of Spygate wasn’t overwhelmingly stupid enough, please welcome the latest sidebar to derail any worthy accomplishments of the Patriots. Also, if you find any remnants of Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s head after it exploded watching offensive lineman Nate Solder rumble into the end zone, please send them to Baltimore, as soon as possible.
Trickery. Deception. Cheating. These are the ways of Bill Belichick’s Patriots, the perception New England has earned in an NFL that is otherwise polished and clean with innocence.
You know that by now.