Now lets say you're the person responsible for handling Brady's footballs, and Brady consistently likes the work you're doing. As that person, you've been deflating them below the legal requirement every time, towing the line, and your relationship with Brady is good. You do good work. The only guy on the Patriots who needs to like you is Tom Brady, and he does.
Then out of the blue an opponent intercepts a Brady pass, and decides to make a stink about the whole thing. It finally catches up with the person responsible for handling the balls, and now it's a big thing.
Now don't get me wrong, I think Brady was well aware that the balls were slightly under-inflated, or at the very least towing the line. He handles footballs constantly, so he knows the difference. I play soccer a decent amount, and I know immediately if a ball is not inflated to the proper pressure.
That doesn't mean he ever instructed anyone to cheat. Doesn't mean he thought the balls he was handling were below the legal limit. Not his job.
After the balls are deflated it ends up in the hands of an official, correct? Just like in a soccer match, I hand 3 balls to the officials after I've dealt with them. The officials then decide whether or not the ball is suitable. After the game begins the officials do not touch the ball(s) again until halftime, at which time they can reassess the air pressure, if they so choose. On many occasions balls have been swapped out at the officials request, and this is recreational soccer.
In the NFL, the officials touch a football after EVERY SINGLE PLAY. So after the balls leave the possession of the Patriots (or any other team), the officials in charge of instituting the rules are then in charge. And yet not one of these officials noticed the balls were slightly deflated. Not just that day, but EVER. Add to that fact, throughout the game they have the other team's balls to compare/contrast, so they certainly are aware there's a difference. Still, none of the officials did anything about it. Why is that? Does it not fall on their shoulders, before the game and before EVERY GAME, to make sure the balls are fit for play? Does not a NBA referee handle about 5-10 balls before a game to decide which one is best?
Again, don't get me wrong, Brady likes the ball less inflated than say Aaron Rodgers, but it's not his job to decide whether the ball is suitable for the field of play. Even if he did tell someone to deflate them, at what point would an official step in and say, "No, that's clearly too soft."? When it's completely deflated?
So again, I think he instructed someone to make it softer, which is within his right, but I'm not sure he would ever instruct someone to cheat. I also believe the ball he played with against the Colts is the same as the ball he plays with EVERY SINGLE GAME. Except no one ever decided to challenge the Patriots on it. When someone finally did, they recognized it was soft (why they did is a whole other issue we'll never know about). I'm willing to bet there are MANY teams doing the same thing, and that if someone grabbed a ball coming off Drew Brees's hand (small hands, not accusing) you might find it a bit soft. Just so happens no one decided to do that.
If this was the regular season this would be a non-story.
Yes, it's "cheating", and it may even make Brady a better thrower. I'm just not so sure it's his fault. That's why they pay officials - like 10 of them per game.
Normally I would never root for the Patriots. Primarily because I think Bill Belichick is a huge douchebag. I've heard stories; there's a reason he never has a lot to say. Someone with a lot to hide probably doesn't want to say very much. Lets just leave it at that.
Yet this time I am rooting for them to win.
Why? Because even though I once yelled "Fuck Michigan!" to Brady's face on the corner of Bleecker and 7th (when he was on crutches, no less), I think he truly is a legendary Quarterback and that the Patriots franchise has been nothing short of remarkable.
I cannot imagine listening to people for the next 20 years saying things like, "Yeah, but they cheated!...BRADY WASN'T THAT GOOD!"
He is that good. They are that good. They've been that good. We've all witnessed it. Everyone cheats. I don't condone it. But that doesn't take much away from what this franchise has done, and I can't imagine a world where we have to hear idiots doubting their entire existence until the end of time.
The Black Sox they are not.
In order to end any debate about Brady's greatness I want to see him win this Superbowl.
Then maybe get hit by a bus...
The Seahawks have this "Us against the world!" thing going on.
Hate to break it to you, but you're the reigning Superbowl champs. That's no longer a thing.
I appreciate the stance a number of their players have taken toward the NFL. Someone has to do it. Doesn't mean these guys are not super annoying.
Add to it, they shouldn't even be in this game, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, both teams shouldn't be. We should be watching Rodgers vs Flacco. But alas, we're not.
This is the first time I can ever recall neither team in a final of any major sport being what I consider 'championship caliber', and yet they both made it. Feels like we're watching the consolation game, but for all the marbles.
Oh, and lastly, I'm not so concerned with Brady throwing a deflated ball. But if I'm the Ravens I'm definitely concerned with Julian Edelman throwing a deflated ball!
His touchdown pass basically won the game for the Patriots, and I'm figuring his hands aren't very large. Maybe a ball fully deflated makes that pass tougher to throw? We'll never know.
Patriots 27 Seattle 20
On the back of Legarrette Blount.
Soft interior Seattle defense, injured Earl Thomas, 250 pound tailback? Patriots for the win.