I have a history of hating the Patriots. They have been too good at football over the last decade and a half and they beat my favorite team in the Super Bowl, which did not please me. I almost got in a fight with three Patriots fans in Charleston, South Carolina in the early 2000's because I insisted Tom Brady wasn't as good as he's given credit for while arguing with them and waiting in line for a hot dog from a street vendor at 2:30am. I was very inebriated AND wrong, which are two states of being that go hand-in-hand well. I'm still not a huge fan of them, partly because of their famous fans (Hey, Bill Simmons!), but I get over it and I'm more impressed by their long-term excellence at this point. So it turns out they deflated footballs against the Colts (at least during the first half) in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts. They then used regular footballs in the second half and buried the Colts. It seems like they played better without the deflated footballs. Either way, this is not legal and they are being killed by the general public. By "the general public" I mean "sportswriters with hot takes." I'm not going to defend cheating and I do believe the Patriots will be and should be punished in some way, but it's never enough with the media for the Patriots to get punished, something VERY SEVERE must be done. Sportswriters say this is the ABSOLUTE TURNING POINT AND HERE'S SOMETHING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION THAT'S BEING WRITTEN BY ME RIGHT NOW SO PAY ATTENTION. That's how hot takes happen.
Again, I'm not going to defend cheating, and once they figure out who deflated the balls then the punishment needs to be handed down, but these draconian hot takes just make me laugh. I can still agree the Patriots were in the wrong while also laughing at those who react strongly to the Patriots being in the wrong. They'll be punished, it's just a matter of when and how badly. It's fun to discuss sportswriters freaking out over the integrity of the game being ruined. I love a good disaster.
I'll start with Gregg Doyel, who
spent most of the week up to the AFC Championship Game getting in
contrived and immature fights with the New England media as a way of
getting the word out there that he now works for the "Indy Star" and
furthering his burgeoning brand/app/whatever. There's no such thing as
bad press and Doyel got some press for getting in pissing contests with
the New England media. So of course he jumps on the story of the
Patriots deflating footballs.
Here's the thing about DeflateGate, this silly idea that the New
England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship
Game against the Colts:
It's not silly.
It's the Patriots.
seems to use this reasoning a lot. It's not whether Gil Hodges should
be in the baseball Hall of Fame or not, it's that he is Gil Hodges and that's why he should be in the Hall of Fame. The state of existing is the only reasoning Gregg needs.
Lots of people will forever believe the Patriots cheated the Colts on Sunday. Why? Because it's the Patriots.
Insightful. It needed to be mentioned twice apparently that the Patriots are the Patriots. I feel prepared to move on now.
Either you are, or you are not, willing to cheat.
And Belichick is. The NFL found him guilty of – even responsible for – the Spygate scandal during the 2007 season.
And yet, Belichick managed to escape the death penalty. How could that be?
With very few exceptions, people can be divided into various either/or categories: Employed or unemployed. Smoker or nonsmoker.
Cheater or not a cheater.
with very few exceptions there are no shades of gray. It's one extreme
or another. This is EXACTLY how life works. No areas for maneuvering
between two extremes. Welcome to the Gregg Doyel reality, now have a
seat on the couch or chair, but don't even think about putting your feet
on the loveseat because it doesn't exist in his reality. There's a
couch or a chair. Choose one.
Indiana knows about this. The Hoosiers hired Kelvin Sampson in 2007,
shortly after he had been busted for NCAA recruiting violations
involving impermissible phone calls at Oklahoma. The idea in
Bloomington, surely, was this: No way he'd do it again.
coming to work for the "Indy Star" Gregg has also been doing a lot of
this "I'm an Indian/Indianaite/Indianan like you and here is an example
specific to Indiana" stuff.
He did it again.
Cheaters cheat. It's what they do.
Now then, is that a definitive statement that Bill Belichick or the Patriots cheated the Colts on Sunday? Nope. It is not.
it is a definitive statement. Cheater or not a cheater. Belichick has
been proven to be a cheater so that's what he is. Remember, "divided
into either/or categories" that's how it all works?
But it's a definitive statement that his past history of cheating makes
this allegation – which is ludicrous and absurd and really, really, hard
to believe – not so ludicrous. Not so absurd.
if you are still a little butt hurt that you talked trash all the way
up to the AFC Championship Game about how the Colts would win and then
they got their ass kicked. It makes it easier to believe the allegations
are not absurd in this instance.
Butt hurt or not butt hurt. That is the question. Choose one.
This sort of thing has happened before. Deflating a football is a thing,
thanks to Lane Kiffin's 2012 USC Trojans, who were fined and
reprimanded by the Pac-12 for deflating footballs against Oregon. Kiffin
denied it. A team equipment manager was fired. Was the equipment
manager acting on his own? Well sure, that's possible.
Just like it's possible the Patriots are utterly and completely innocent
of the allegation against them now, that they deflated one or more
footballs on the sideline after NFL officials had examined them before
Maybe Lane Kiffin did it. Bill
Belichick is close to Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin is Nick Saban's
offensive coordinator and Lane Kiffin has deflated balls before. Where
was Lane Kiffin on Sunday evening?
First, any idea how easy it is to deflate a football?
No Gregg, I have no idea how to deflate a football. It sounds like a complicated procedure.
It requires one little needle. That's it. Hold the ball, jab the needle, listen for the hiss. Take the needle out.
Take the needle out or don't take the needle out. One or the other.
Second, any idea how awkward it feels to write this story from here, in
Indianapolis, as if deflated balls might be the reason this city's team
lost on Sunday? The footballs aren't the reason. That game wasn't about
the Deflatriots. It was about the Patriots. They're better than the
Colts, so much better than lots of us – the line starts right here – had given them credit for. The Patriots were tougher, more skilled, more poised and more innovative. In hindsight the Colts had no chance.
way to bring the story of the Patriots deflating footballs back to you,
while also linking your old hot takes. Really the deflating of
footballs was about Gregg Doyel more than anything.
Third: What if?
Great point. It gives me a lot to think about.
What if the NFL finds that the Patriots were in fact using a football
that was deflated below regulation levels? Maybe the NFL won't be able
to determine when or how it happened.
Belichick will have to be stripped of his hoodie and forced to work
slave labor in the mines of whatever country has the most dangerous
mines to work in.
Maybe then Belichick will
get the black lung after a day or two of working in the mines and he'll
die. Because that's what Belichick deserves, to die.
I'm kidding of course. Doyel's suggestion isn't this extreme, but is equally as stupid.
I'll tell you what should happen: The Patriots should be removed from
the Super Bowl. Which means the Colts should be going to Glendale.
Indianapolis writer thinks the Colts deserve to go to the Super Bowl.
Homer or not a homer? Choose one and there is no gray area.
on the Patriots deflated those footballs, but I'm not sure that was the
difference in the game nor does a satisfactory punishment seem to be to
allow an unworthy team to be in the Super Bowl.
Will this happen? Of course not, which is why I'm mentioning it way down
the story – it has to be said somewhere – but not starting this column
with that idea. Because it's a preposterous idea, not worthy of the
headline. The NFL would never, ever remove the Patriots from the Super
Bowl, even if it does find they were using illegal footballs.
Nice troll job, Gregg. Here's how this troll job worked.
-Gregg says what SHOULD happen.
-Gregg says this won't happen.
-Gregg says his own idea of what should happen is so preposterous it doesn't deserve being mentioned in the headline.
again, the preposterous idea of what should happen wasn't so crazy or
unworthy that Gregg doesn't think it shouldn't happen.
It's a nice way of coming up with a crazy punishment and then not standing by it.
Cheating can't be tolerated. Simple as that. A team can't use an
under-inflated football, get caught, and then be allowed to play its
next game – a game it reached by winning the one with the deflated
football – as if nothing happened.
can't be tolerated. I can agree with that. But I thought sending the
Colts to the Super Bowl was an unworthy idea that didn't merit a
mention. Now all of a sudden it's the idea Gregg is building the end of
this column around.
Contradictory or not contradictory. Choose one and there is no gray area.
Not a fine, not a docking of draft picks, not even a lifetime suspension
of Belichick, though I would support all three, if the Patriots are
found guilty of cheating. Sorry -- left out a word. If the Patriots are
found guilty of cheating … again.
preposterous idea that won't happen and doesn't seem worthy of a
headline is the best punishment for the Patriots in Gregg Doyel's
opinion. I wonder if he understands how stupid this sounds.
Meantime, allow the system to run its course. The Patriots are innocent until proven guilty. They deserve that.
Even if lots of us have made up our minds already.
Because the Patriots deserve that, too.
(Bengoodfella burns himself closing the article because the hot take is still simmering)
Now Bob Kravitz chimes in with his own hot take about what should happen to the Patriots.
If the NFL deems that the Patriots doctored the footballs to the team's advantage in Sunday's game, one of two things must happen:
Indianapolis writers are all about there being two options. Obviously the two options here are:
1. Death penalty
2. Life imprisonment without parole
If Patriots owner Robert Kraft has an ounce of integrity, he will fire Bill Belichick immediately
for toying with the integrity of the game for the second time in his
otherwise magnificent career — the first issue being the SpyGate fiasco
that earned Belichick and the team fines and a forfeited first-round draft choice.
Okay, that could happen. It sounds sort of dramatic though.
If Roger Goodell has an ounce of integrity,
could stop here. The answer to this is known already. If it helps the
NFL, Goodell does it. If it hurts the NFL, Goodell Jedi-waves it away.
and he's not spending all his time going to pre-game soirees at
Kraft's mansion, he will not only fine Belichick and take away draft
choices, but suspend the head coach for the upcoming Super Bowl.
Does this sound excessive?
The whole "ounce of integrity" thing sounds a bit dramatic.
It is very hard for me to believe — no, it's impossible for me to
believe — that this was one large, cosmic accident. A deflated football,
and we're talking about two pounds worth of deflation,
but not a real two pounds of deflation. A typical football weighs less
than a pound. Otherwise quarterbacks would be slinging just short of the
equivalent of two newborn babies around the field in the form of a
football. So two pounds of air isn't two pounds like most people think
of pounds. It's noticeable, but not to the extent Bob Kravitz paints it
as being. The Colts-Patriots officials touched the football after every
play and managed to not notice the ball was semi-deflated.
It's very hard for me to believe that some rogue ball boy, acting on his
or her own, unilaterally decided to use a pressure gauge to
independently take some of the air out of the ball.
There's only one way this could happen, and that's with Belichick's full knowledge and approval.
it could also happen with the approval of Josh McDaniels without
Belichick knowing. Think Jon Gruden knew that Brad Johnson took air out
of the football during the 2003 Super Bowl? Maybe, maybe not.
Go ahead and chalk it all up as sour grapes on the part of the Colts,
who would have lost badly had they used a beach ball, a hockey puck or a
badminton shuttlecock. But, the Colts noticed something odd about the
football when D'Qwell Jackson intercepted Tom Brady. Jackson himself
told me he didn't notice anything strange, but, then, the Colts want to
distance themselves from this thing as much as they can.
D'Qwell Jackson did or didn't notice something strange? Kravitz says
Jackson noticed something strange, but Jackson claims he didn't notice
something strange. Of course, Kravitz assumes Jackson is lying in order
to show his ounce of integrity in protecting the very same cheaters that
Kravitz claims lack integrity for covering up the use of deflated
footballs. Jackson is either lying or he isn't.
General Manager Ryan Grigson walked over to the Colts public relations
spot and took a phone call, and seemed quite perturbed. This was very
unusual for a general manager who spends his time quietly watching the
game from the press box.
Was this investigation inspired by the Colts? I have no doubt that it was.
if Jackson is lying about noticing something strange, what does that
say about his integrity? Or does he have integrity by staying out of his
whole thing? What if Tom Brady is lying about noticing whether the
football was deflated or not? Is he staying out of it or lacking an
ounce of integrity?
This was cheating — pure and simple.
And either Kraft or Goodell
have to do something very dramatic to make it clear that this kind of
nonsense will not be tolerated.
If it was anybody but Belichick, if it was a coach who has no history of attempting to circumvent the rules, it would be worth a fine and maybe a draft choice.
the penalty of deflating footballs isn't such a big deal, but because
it's Bill Belichick it becomes a much bigger deal. Because as
sportswriters love to point out, sports doesn't deal with innocent
before guilty, but apparently sports does have an off-the-books "three
strikes" or "repeat offender" rule that should be used for Belichick's
And here, too, is the shame of it: Belichick doesn't need to cheat. His
team is that much better than anyone else, save the Seattle Seahawks.
We'll find out more about that next Sunday.
Not if Gregg Doyel has his way.
Let's be honest about this: If the balls were properly inflated this
past Sunday, the Patriots would have won…um…45-7. The footballs had
little or nothing to do with the outcome. The Pats simply ran over the
Colts. They out-coached them and out-played them. Badly.
Which is why it would be stupid to remove the Patriots from the Super Bowl.
Winning without honor, without integrity, is not winning. (Unless you're a myopic Patriots fan).
can agree that winning without integrity isn't winning. To deflate a
football against the rules is to lack integrity. I can't figure out how
much integrity it really shows is lacking. The Patriots didn't win
because they deflated the football. That much is agreed upon. Is
deflating the football lack as much integrity as a baseball
groundskeeper who landscapes the foul lines to favor the home team's
hitters (such as helping the ball stay in play on bunts, etc)? Is
deflating the football lack as much integrity as the Minnesota Twins
starting fans behind home plate when the home team is at-bat? If Clayton
Kershaw was found to have scuffed a baseball during a playoff game and
the Dodgers went on to win the series, should Kershaw not be allowed to
play in the next series when the Dodgers advance? Should the Dodgers
even advance to the next series because they had a player cheat in the
previous playoff series? I don't know the answers to these questions, so
that's why it is hard for me to jump on the "LOOK AT THE LACK OF
INTEGRITY!" train because I have no idea how deflating a football
equates to other equal or non-equal minor changes that are legal or not
legal in other sports. Does it lack integrity that Boise State's
uniforms blend in with their playing surface, thereby giving the team a
slight advantage at home?
It was instructive to spend early-morning Wednesday on a couple of Boston
radio shows. They wanted to know if Aaron Rodgers should be penalized
for admittedly over-inflating footballs. (Not if they're within the
prescribed PSI). One wanted to know if Pete Carroll should be fired
because so many Seahawks have been popped for using
performance-enhancing drugs. One moron even rolled out the Nixonian
“well everybody cheats'' argument, which inspired blind laughter on my
part. All deflections from the issue at hand.
are deflections, but also legitimate questions that need to be asked.
If Seahawks players were busted for PED's, doesn't that lack integrity
too? Why shouldn't Pete Carroll pay for this transgression? If a head
coach knows the football his team is using was partially deflated, then
wouldn't that same coach know his players are using PED's? Maybe.
Kraft needs to do the right thing. Goodell needs to do the right thing.
Belichick should not be coaching in the Super Bowl, or worse.
worse. What's worse than not coaching in the Super Bowl? Should the
Patriots be forced to trade Tom Brady? Perhaps the Patriots should be
stripped of all draft picks until Bill Belichick is publicly drawn and
quartered. Bob Kravitz knows deflating the footballs had no impact on
the Colts-Patriots game and there is really no precedent in the NFL for
deflating footballs, but one thing is for sure. The response must be
severe, swift, and be "the right thing" even though few people even know
what the fuck that is.
Chris Chase chimes in with his own hot take about how the Patriots should be disqualified from playing in the Super Bowl.
Cheat on a test in school? You fail, no questions asked.
Really? No questions asked? No questions like, "How did you cheat?," "Was anyone else cheating?," nothing like that?
Cheat on your taxes, the IRS will find you. It won’t be pretty.
They may not find you. I've seen plenty of people who cheat in minor ways on their taxes who have never been caught or audited.
The New England Patriots cheated in the AFC championship. As such, the team should be disqualified from the Super Bowl.
(The hot take sizzles on the ground)
Deflating 11 of 12 balls in Sunday’s game, as has been reported by ESPN, is a major violation and something that had a great affect on the game.
Apparently it has a 30+ point effect, even though the Patriots only used the deflated footballs during the first half.
Given the number of deflated balls, it’s almost impossible this was
accident, meaning that someone in the New England organization willfully
tampered with the rules to give his team an advantage.
exactly. Given that nearly all of the footballs were inflated to the
wrong pressure it could show this was an accident. If the gauge
measuring the pressure in the ball was in error or the person pumping up
the balls had the wrong pressure (by accident) then it was a consistent
error. If the footballs were all at different pressures with only half
of the footballs at the wrong pressure then I could see how the rules
have been tampered with. 11 of the 12 footballs being at the wrong level
could speak to a consistent error in measuring the pressure. Of course I
don't believe this happened, but a consistent error like this could
show malfeasance or possibly just a basic error that caused the balls to
be improperly inflated.
Of course, it’s not realistic to disqualify New England from the Super Bowl.
do the sportswriters who first suggest banning New England from the
Super Bowl follow it up with "That's not realistic"? Stop suggesting
this solution if the solution isn't realistic.
But, again, they should.
again, it's not realistic. But, again, they should. You know, if it
weren't unrealistic. But, again, they still should. Though it is
unrealistic. It's probably a good penalty. Even though it is
unrealistic. Still, the NFL should ban the Patriots from the Super Bowl.
It's just not realistic to do this. But, again, it should happen. If
only it were realistic. Which it isn't. Though it should be.
The defenders of New England have been even more laughable than they
were during the videotape controversy of 2007. “It doesn’t even help
that much!” Sure it doesn’t. That’s why they were doing it. Of course it
helps. Deflating gave Brady an easier grip on the ball (at least in the
first half; there’s question about whether the balls were re-inflated
at half time when it was 17-7).
I'm not a
defender of New England. I simply know it was an advantage that didn't
seem to show up too much on the scoreboard in the first half as compared
to the Patriots performance in the second half without the deflated
footballs. New England re-inflated the balls at halftime and began to
destroy the Colts from that point on...with re-inflated footballs. I
have no idea how much a deflated football affected this game and I don't
know if anyone else has this answer either.
it’s found out that Bill Belichick knew anything about this, even after
the fact, Draconian sanctions are the only way to go...If Sean Payton
gets suspended for an entire year because of Bountygate,
Belichick deserves at least the same thing. He affected the sanctity of
the game and fairness of one of the three biggest battles of the year.
would disagree with this. I think intentionally injuring opposing
players is worse than deflating footballs. I know deflating footballs
involves the whole "integrity of the game" thing, but intentionally
injuring opposing players is causing physical harm outside of the game
being played. I think that's worse.
Draft picks should be taken away, not for one year, but for two or
three, because the Pats are always picking toward the end of the first
round anyway. Or take away some salary cap space, like the league
unjustly did to the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
the NFL should choose to take away salary cap space in the same injust
way they did it to the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
But I’ll happily blame the Patriots for being skeezy once again. I’ll
blame Belichick because, as Goodell said about Payton during Bountygate,
the head coach is supposed to know what’s going on with his team.
so you are going to use Roger Goodell's words as it pertains to knowing
exactly what a supervisor's knowledge concerning his underlings actions
should be? Okay then.
I’ll blame Tom Brady who clearly knew the balls were deflated
but is getting off scot-free in this controversy because he’s the Golden
Boy and is handsome and is married to a supermodel. (It’s amazing how
no one criticizes Brady. He’s just as guilty as the others.) But there’s
blame for others too.
How about the Patriots'
center who handled the football on every play? How about the officials
who handle the football after every play? The officials are there to
enforce the rules and since deflating footballs by two or three pounds
is just SO FUCKING NOTICEABLE one would wonder why the officials didn't
But in the here and now, if the report is true, the New England Patriots
should be hit hard. But they won’t and the Pats legacy will grow even
This will not deflate the Pats legacy.
With a Super Bowl win in two Sundays, people will be inclined to say
Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time. But at what?
greatest coach at football. I can't wait for Belichick to be up for Pro
Football Hall of Fame induction. The NFL gets it's very own asterisked
PED user when Belichick comes up for enshrinement.
Mark Kiszla is also prepared to blame Tom Brady and wonders why nothing ever sticks to him. Kiszla says Brady is like Barry Bonds. Yep, those words were written.
As I was writing this post, I found these words from Boomer Esiason. It
doesn't excuse what the Patriots did or didn't do, but it shows there
is more than the "It's just like the Patriots to stretch the rules"
narrative that is being pushed. It seems other quarterbacks had an issue
with the integrity of the game, including Saint Peyton Manning, who
wanted to be allowed to scuff up the football. I'm sure he never scuffed
it up without permission though.
Tom Brady is too good
to be true. At age 37, the sexy quarterback of the New England Patriots
looks cool, whether wearing a championship ring on his finger or Uggs
on his feet. He married a supermodel straight from the pages of the
Victoria's Secret catalogue. And his hair is perfect.
Not really. In his long hair phase, it was pretty disgusting.
Too good to be true. Isn't that what we once believed about Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong?
footballs is now equivalent to using PED's, slandering others when they
choose to call you out on using PED's, and cheating on your wife. Got
it. At least Kiszla comes out swinging and throwing his hot takes
around. I'd be disappointed otherwise.
In a league ruled by
quarterbacks, made filthy rich by quarterbacks and personified by
quarterbacks, Brady is the undisputed king. Oh, Peyton Manning might
sing about chicken parm in a television commercial. It's Brady, however,
who owns three Super Bowl rings. He's the No. 1 quarterback of his
Every generation is QB-crazy. It's the most publicized position in the NFL, which explains why fans are QB-crazy.
knucklehead calls for disqualification of New England from the Super
Bowl tournament because the Pats played with squeezably soft footballs
inflated significantly below the league requirements, let's make it
clear the Colts, the Broncos or anybody else weren't going to win in
Gillette Stadium on a rainy evening in January.
Because that's unrealistic. Though it should happen. But, again, it is unrealistic. Still, it should happen.
But as defensive
tackle Terrance Knighton, the social media conscience of the Denver
locker room, declared on Twitter: "If the footballs were deflated by
that amount, it's definitely cheating. Harder to fumble, easier to
catch, and helps you throw further."
Who would benefit the most from the deflated footballs?
well as Blount and the Patriots' receivers. They would all benefit the
most. Though I would also add that if the football is easier to catch
then the opposing team's secondary should find it easier to intercept a
pass, right? Maybe D'Qwell Jackson made the interception because the ball was deflated so much.
Long on the record
with his affinity for throwing with an underinflated football, Brady
tossed three touchdown passes against Indy in wet conditions where
having a firm grip on a slippery pigskin definitely could have helped
Manning is on record as liking a scuffed ball. If the Broncos ended up
using a scuffed ball, does that mean Manning did it?
But let me humbly
ask: If suspected cheaters in baseball are treated with such disdain in
Hall of Fame balloting and Armstrong fell so hard from grace for the
same transgressions committed by so many cyclists in a tainted sport,
then why is there not more outrage about the Patriots?
dear God. Because using a deflated football is the same thing as using
performance enhancing drugs? The are equivalent misdeeds? That's really
what Mark Kiszla is claiming? This seems like a pretty tenuous
comparison to me.
Because cheaters never win. Or so are we were taught in elementary school.
It's not the truth that hurts. It's the shrapnel from the shattered myth that makes us bleed.
I have known for years that cheaters do win. No shattered myth here.
Not all forms of
cheating are created equal. But, in his heart, maybe, just maybe, Brady
isn't all that different from Barry Bonds.
maybe Tom Brady is exactly like Barry Bonds. Really there is no
difference in these two athletes. It's like Kiszla has a hot takes
handbook with key words in it and he found the name "Barry Bonds" in the
book, so he felt like adding Bonds' name to this column for maximum hot
sports take result.
Tom Brady is more like Bernie Madoff. Brady asks for his fans to buy
into him as a clean-cut guy who plays the game "the right way" but he's
really taking the fans investment in him and then selling that
investment to Satan himself, while continuing to ask for more investment
in him as a football player and person, all while putting on a public
face of being an angel. This public face of an angel tricks his
investors into thinking Brady is doing something with their investment
of love and fandom that he really isn't doing. At the end of the day,
the fans have nothing to show for their investment in Brady, while he
rides off into the sunset with Super Bowl trophies, MVP trophies, and
his name as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Tom Brady is Bernie
Tom Brady you are a
PED user who ran Ponzi Scheme so evil, which affected the outcome of the AFC
Championship Game in such an obvious way, that even the officials who touched
the football after every offensive play didn't know you were obviously taking the
air out of the football. Go train for the upcoming baseball season
with Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez and may the fates deal with you as they see fit.