The media loves DeflateGate. There are countless stories on it, including this one. A bad drawing of Tom Brady is national news. It’s debated every morning on talk radio and television. It’s a huge story, one that’s gathered extra force since it happened in the offseason.
The fans love DeflateGate or hate it; either way, they talk about it. They defend their team or attack a team they hate. They argue endlessly about what Brady knew, where the evidence is, what every little decision means, what Brady’s legacy looks like and whether or not the Patriots’ Super Bowl win is worth anything.
You know who doesn’t care about DeflateGate at all? The players. The vast majority of them could not care less.
Some of them—just 28 percent, but still—don’t even think the Patriots actually intentionally decreased the air pressure. Maybe they bought the cold weather explanation. Maybe they figured the Patriots were shooting for the lowest legal PSI and just missed accidentally.
What’s more important, though, is that 72 percent do think the Patriots did it, but the overwhelming majority aren’t bothered by it. Only 16 percent reported feeling upset by what happened.
The reasoning? Everyone does it.
68 percent of the players said other teams are involved in similar things. They just didn’t get caught, and the Patriots did. No wonder they don’t care. This could have been almost any team in the league, and they know it.
Plus, if everyone does it, there goes the competitive advantage that Brady gained.
Not that “everyone does it” excuses cheating. Lance Armstrong’s camp has argued that everyone doped on the Tour, and that doesn’t make it right. But this does show that perhaps this is a situation that has spiraled massively out of control.
Remember, when Brady was first asked about all of this, he laughed and didn’t make any comments. Because he, like the rest of the players, knows that this is just what happens. Sure, it breaks the rules, but it’s what people do. No big deal. He literally didn’t think it was a problem and never thought it would get this far. No one did.
So, what do other players think of Brady’s suspension? They hate it. 80 percent of those polled said four games was too many.
The rest of the NFL, the people who were supposedly wronged by this whole thing, don’t want Brady on the sidelines. They think it’s ridiculous, and they’re probably laughing as it plays out in the public eye. All those fans fighting so vehemently on Facebook are probably hilarious to them. They just want to get back to football.
Now, this could be a bit self-serving. They may have said any suspension was too long just because they don’t like Goodell and they don’t like his power. After all, 88 percent stated that he shouldn’t be the judge and jury, handing out punishments as he pleases. They want him out of that position, so they may be voting more against him than for Brady.
Still, look at this from a player’s perspective. They’re not up in arms at all. They really don’t care what the Patriots did, even though most of them think the Patriots’ broke the NFL’s rules. Sure, the Ravens and Colts have come off as a bit salty after losing in the playoffs, but most of the league isn’t looking at it like that.
It really shows what a mess this has become, how it’s now a battle of two massive egos more than anything else, and how it has less and less to do with real football each day that it drags on in court.