AFC North

Trolling Thursday: Addressing Deflategate for the Last Time

Trolling Thursday: Addressing Deflategate for the Last Time
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Deflation is often associated with negative outcomes

 

Many opinions have been shared regarding deflategate, as well as the potential impact deflated footballs could have in a given game. Not surprisingly, opinions on the impact of deflation range from “absolutely” to “wouldn’t even notice”. Some have focused solely on the AFC Championship game, some on lessons in physics, while others like to use statistical analysis to show an improbable trend starting in 2006 when the rules changed. I’ll stick to the facts at hand (well, mostly) and let you decide.

I’ll begin with some interesting quotes from investigators and the accused party as a whole:

“This would clean this up a whole lot quicker if they would actually cooperate and turn over the kind of information we were seeking, so it is virtually impossible to get to the facts surrounding it.”

“he has never lied to me.”

“I fully complied with every rule”

“I didn’t see any reason to keep them. After all, they were private and personal.”

Oops. Wrong quote pile. The quotes above were for my piece on a political classified email scandal, not Deflategate. How could I have mixed those up. The actual quotes from Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and the investigating team, are completely different such as…uh… no they are pretty much the same. Speaking of quotes, if you don’t like trolling, don’t read anything involving deflategate, and certainly not the message boards of said articles, but it doesn’t stop there. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threw his trolling hat in the ring yesterday, moments after Patriots owner Robert Kraft bashed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, by praising the job Goodell has done. And this comes from a guy who’s Cowboys team was docked $10M in cap space for two years by the very same commissioner. Not to be out done by billionaires, Jets fans added their two cents with a clever banner.

Despite all of the chatter from both sides,  we may never know the extent of Tom Brady’s involvement, knowledge of ball deflation, or more importantly, the duration of this practice, partially because of lack of evidence in part due to poor cooperation and the destruction of Tom Brady’s cell phone. As it stands today, early evidence indicated that Brady knew ball deflation was taking place, was involved at some level, and was in communication with the accused deflators. His recent actions certainly haven’t helped his cause, especially in the court of public opinion. He initially he refused to provide his e-mails, text messages, and phone records to league investigators, and did not publicly addressed the controversy early in the investigation. It also didn’t help that he denied knowing the deflator, and was not sure of the deflation rule even though he was involved in lobbying for the change. Add to the list of cell phone destruction (well the important cell phone, not the one he used prior to November 6th 2014 that was somehow still intact, the firing of the deflators in question, the ridiculous explanation that “deflator” was another word for “losing weight”, the deflator using a urinal in a bathroom that had no urinals, and the debunked environmental defense explaining the football air pressure, and it becomes a tough hill for Brady to climb.

One thing everyone can agree on is that the deflation of balls had nothing to do with the 2nd half outcome of the AFC Championship game, because the footballs weren’t deflated. Other than that, questions will always arise, and no answer will satisfy the homer or naysayer. Would the tone of innocence be the same in New England if instead of Tom Brady as the accused, it was say, Ben Roethlisberger, or better yet, Eli Manning who was involved in deflation, obstruction, and destruction of potential evidence? I would lean towards “probably not”, and that the intensity would be 10-fold. Imagine the outcry regarding the two Super Bowl losses, and definitely that David Tyree catch. Maybe I’m not sticking solely to the facts as I mentioned above, but I can reference the reaction in New England before and after the Jan 2013 AFC Championship game and the Ray Lewis Antler Spray accusations, which suddenly became a banned performance enhancer.  There are still jokes made about his antler spray application today (although it is funny and I may have added an off-color comment or two). The fact is, while concentrated IGF-1 IS a banned substance in the NFL, antler spray has less IGF-1 than a steak… which means it isn’t really banned, and is almost as effective as snake oil. According to the NFL, Antler Spray has always been a product, not a substance, but you probably won’t read that in many local publications, especially not in January 2013. At that time it was discussed as a banned, illegal substance, and Ray Lewis was a documented cheater.

Take away historical cheating accusations surrounding the Patriots, their denial, evidence destruction, past fines, and lost draft pics, and this whole controversy really gets down to how much the deflation of balls has helped the Patriots. Answer? Who knows. Maybe very little, maybe more than anyone cares to admit. The new NFL air pressure rule was implemented in 2006 allowing teams to control their own footballs whether they are at home or on the road. Coincidentally that’s precisely when the Patriots became the best ball securing team of all-time. The statistical analysis used to show lack of Patriots fumbles (a study controversial to some) is not necessarily a smoking gun, but it is curious at the very least. Some in the media and many Bostonians quickly dismissed the findings based on a host of possible theories such as superior coaching, superior scouting, the practice of acquiring players who don’t fumble, etc., and some even conducted their own simulations with footballs deflated versus footballs with normal PSI levels. The only problem with the the latter is… that has nothing to do with the findings. The statistician only states that something drastically changed in 2007, and one explanation could be the rule change. Regardless, nobody’s mind is going to change based on these findings. That said, IF the Patriots fumble statistics drastically change this year and are more inline with their pre-2007 numbers, things will get a little more interesting regardless of anyone’s current feelings on the author’s findings. If the fumble numbers continue to be a statistical anomaly, questions will continue to arise as to what else the Patriots may be doing because of their checkered past. Or in other words, things will continue as they are today.

Well, there you have it. The last article on deflategate, at least here at the AFC North. The players are heading to camp, some fat and out of shape, so the focus will turn to which of the four North teams will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl 50 (L).

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