Terra’s Take on Deflation Gate
Can’t New England celebrate a win this postseason without someone crying foul? Ever since the New England Patriots were caught cheating in 2007, videotaping the walk-throughs of the New York Jets, they haven’t been able to shake the label of “cheaters”. People say that the three Super Bowls were tainted and the fact that they haven’t won any since the “Spygate” fiasco somehow proves that the first three weren’t earned.
Well it looks like they could be in trouble again, due to an issue that has been brought to the league’s attention and started an investigation.
After the Conference Championship game, there are reports that the New England Patriots deflated footballs to make them easier for Tom Brady to throw. Now the league is looking into this, and if there is evidence that Patriots did, they could lose one, if not more, draft picks.
If the Patriots did doctor the balls, then why did they run it 35 times for close to 200 yards? The clip that keeps playing on the news shows has one of the referees throwing a ball to the sideline and getting another one. During the game, the commentators talked with their rules correspondent who said that the ball that was about to be in play was a kicking ball, not a field ball. It also occurred on the first play of the second half, so if it was a doctored ball, it’s not like the Patriots got much out of it. This accusation wouldn’t be as bad if it was the first complaint, but it wasn’t.
In the Divisional Round, the Baltimore Ravens called foul because the Patriots used an unorthodox formation where they took out one lineman and had a running back declare himself as ineligible to catch passes. Ravens coach John Harbaugh lost his mind and even took a penalty for running onto the field and yelling at the referees and wanted the league to look into this after the game. The league came out and said that what the Patriots did was perfectly legal and the Ravens had no case.
This is one of the many examples of people thinking that just because the Patriots won a close game, it was because they were sneaky and dishonest. They then ran even more of those plays the following week against the Indianapolis Colts and it worked for the most part there also.
Nobody knows who brought the complaint to the league. The Colts organization haven’t publicly said anything about it, but is that because they would come off as sore losers? If the referees are the ones who filed it, why didn’t they fix it during the game and still bring it to the league afterwards. They could have penalized the New England Patriots for the delaying the game while they found a ball that was suitable. Other than the one play that started the second half, it didn’t look like the refs were having a problem with the balls and they set it up.
Bill Belichick is going to go down as one of, if not the best coaches in the history of the game. He is someone that analyzes the rulebook, looks at the game film and takes pride in coming up with the best schemes. He is determined to not be beat by what a team does well while exploiting their weaknesses.
Looking at the two playoff games this season, you can see how well the Patriots game plan. Baltimore has a great run defense and a shoddy pass defense so the Patriots only ran the ball seven times with their running backs while they threw for 401 yards. Against Indianapolis, who doesn’t stop the run well, they ran the ball for 177 yards while only passing for a mediocre 226.
If the Patriots are found to have doctored the balls, would it surprise anyone? As a Patriots fan, I’m hoping they didn’t do anything wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. What will be most disappointing about this ordeal is that they didn’t need to do this in order to beat the Colts. Doing this gained them NOTHING. If there was a game to cheat in, not that I approve of it, it would be either their last game against Baltimore or the next game against Seattle. The punishment would most likely be around “Spygate” levels which would be a big fine and a forfeiture of a draft pick but that would be too light. It is clear Bill Belichick isn’t content with playing within the rules so suspend him a year or two. Maybe a timeout would make him change his ways.
The New England Patriots, love them or hate them, are one of the best teams in the NFL. I can’t even begin to speculate what would happen if they are guilty this time. If the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, do you think the Seahawks will wonder what backhanded thing New England did to beat them. It’s a shame that the Patriots are seen as a team of cheaters when they have been the most dominate team over the past 15 years.