The 2014 NFL playoffs have had their moments when it comes to questionable calls and the league’s integrity over the last few weeks.
Last Sunday in the conference championship round of the playoffs, the NFL had another controversy on its hands, but this time it was caused by a team, rather than officials.
This past Wednesday ESPN reported the Patriots under-inflated 11 of the 12 footballs in their 45-7 AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts. Even though the game wasn’t close, the Colts wouldn’t have won whether the balls were up to standard or not, but it does still call the Patriots into question about their integrity and the way in which they play to win.
According to the league, each football must be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi). It was noted New England’s footballs were a whole two pounds under the regulated psi. Why is that important? ESPN analyst and former quarterback, Mark Brunell, said deflation of a football can give a quarterback an advantage when it comes to grip, especially in a rainy and cold game like the one played last Sunday, Jan. 18.
After an interception of Tom Brady, officials and players questioned the lack of air pressure in the ball. The accusation was valid because the Patriots attempted to do the same thing earlier in the regular season against the Colts.
Following the game, players and coaches of New England played dumb when asked about the deflated footballs, saying this is the first they were hearing of it. That is ridiculous. How can you not know? NFL referees are required to check two hours before games, which makes me feel like there was tampering going on by the equipment managers. At halftime, NFL officials reported 11 of the 12 footballs to be underweight. I am guessing the twelfth football was for the kicker who would not benefit from a flat football.
This is what the NFL does not need: a team looking for a way to tweak the game to its advantage. It is not even the first fault by New England. Remember the “spy gate” and the alleged filming of a Super Bowl opponent’s walk through? The Patriots have now added the “deflate gate” to their already poor resume of sportsmanship.
What’s next? What penalty will Commissioner Roger Goodell give out, and will it be enough to really affect their organization?
You can bet the NFL will be paying close attention to New England’s every move when they meet the Seattle Seahawks for the Super Bowl. The Patriots will not be able to cheat their way to another Super Bowl win this time.