“The New England Patriots have cheated their way into Super Bowl XLIX.”
Everyone’s been hearing about it for nearly two weeks now. Every news article, television channel, and internet homepage displays the next update on the current “investigation.”
The Patriots, three time Super Bowl champions, had apparently fixed the AFC Championship game two weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts. The game ended with a final score of 45-7, a complete blowout.
But an issue with the game was brought up Monday morning, a day after the world let the fact that the Patriots were off to another Super Bowl sink in.
Out of the 12 footballs provided by the Patriots, 11 were not inflated correctly. These balls were under inflated by two pounds per square inch less than what the league requires; the NFL states that balls must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. It has been said that during halftime, the officials were alerted of the deflation.
“The deflated balls in the first half held the Patriots to only 17 points, and the under inflated ball led to Brady throwing an interception in the second quarter, giving up 7–that’s dangerously close. When the officials finally got it right in the second half the margin got back on track–28 to 0. Thankfully the officials caught it in time,” said Michael Tarnowski sarcastically when he heard of the “problem” Monday morning.
And because of this incident, instead of preparing for the biggest game of the season, the entire New England team has been facing constant blows from the media, NFL followers, and even fellow players throughout the league.
“You’re forfeiting your spot in the Super Bowl. We’re vacating it. Get out! You’re a cheater, you’re a lying franchise,” said Michael Wilbon on the set of Pardon the Interruption.
Quarterback, Tom Brady, and head coach, Bill Belichick–two of the biggest leaders on the team–have had the worst of it. With dozens of questions flung at them every day for the past week, the winningest duo (161 games to be exact) has done their best to remain patient for the media.
After a week of being tormented, Belichick put together what some consider to be the best conference of all time. For over 20 minutes, Belichick went through every small detail of the way the Patriots, and every other team throughout the NFL, preps the balls for each game. He also reported the results on a study him and members of the team conducted over the week: footballs are able to become deflated for a number of different reasons.
“I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I’ve put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us…At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage,” said Belichick.
But despite the neverending harassment, the entire New England Patriots organization has also been focused on defending their accomplishments and teammates.
Robert Kraft, owner of the organization for 21 years, defended his team only hours before landing in Arizona–home of this year’s Super Bowl. Belichick and Brady were the only two scheduled for the press conference, but Kraft took the podium before their allotted times.
“I have spoken with coach [Bill] Belichick. I have spoken with Tom Brady. I have taken the time to understand to the best of my abilities what goes on in the preparation of gameday footballs. And I want to make it clear that I believe, unconditionally, that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of NFL rules,” said Kraft.
And although the same questions have been asked repeatedly about these deflated balls, this “investigation” is still the nation’s largest problem.
“I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expected hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation,” Kraft said.
Only last year, Ray Rice, former running back of the Baltimore Ravens, was found guilty of assaulting his fiancee. After the NFL spent nine long months defending their beloved star, a video of the assault was leaked to the nation. With the entire footage available to the public, the NFL could do nothing else to defend their player, so they had to suspend Rice indefinitely.
Now, a couple of deflated balls has nearly the entire nation turned upside down. As the runner-up to the Dallas Cowboys as the most hated team in the NFL, the Patriots have generated far more interest in “Deflate Gate” than any murder or assault within the league has.
My grandfather, Mike Tarnowski, a die-hard Patriots fan who is sick of the constant hatred, said, “Prediction: ‘Spike-Gate’ is coming. If Brady throws 2 or 3 touchdown passes to the Gronk in the first half, the…media loons will say that Gronk’s spikes had changed the curvature of the Earth which had worked against the Seahawks in the second half and they were unable to catch up. Next year they will make him spike the ball with his left hand.”
The fans are sick of hearing about this, the players are sick of hearing about this, and the nation is sick of hearing about this. The organization has answered every question to the best of their ability, but the media remains determined to pin the NFL against New England.
As Bill Belichick says best, “We’re on to Seattle.”