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Indirect Kick: Just cool it with Deflategate

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game Deflategate suspension nullified in federal court on Sept. 3. PHOTO COURTESY KEITH ALLISON/FLICKR

On Jan. 18, 2015, following a 45-7 onslaught against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady were accused of under-inflating 11 of the 12 game balls used in the first half. Brady was suspended four games by the NFL and the team was fined $1 million and stripped of two draft picks.

Despite Brady’s exoneration on Sept. 3, people still just want to take shots at the Patriots. And it doesn’t make sense. Yes, the Patriots are one of the top teams in the NFL, always seemingly championship contenders, but there are other teams in the same boat.

Let’s look at the Green Bay Packers, for example. Since the dawn of the Super Bowl era, the Packers have constantly been on the hunt for a championship. They usually win their division, and have made plenty of appearances in the NFC Championship Game.

Back to the NFL rules for a second here. The NFL mandates that game balls be inflated to anywhere between 12.5 and 13.5 psi.

Digressing back to the Packers: quarterback Aaron Rodgers has said on the record that he over-inflates footballs purposely because he finds them easier to grip. He admitted to that he believes there should be no maximum air-pressure requirement, only a minimum. So where’s his four game suspension?

I respect Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s a classy player and his State Farm commercials are quite entertaining. But rules are rules.

Looking more in-depth at the accusations of Deflategate, the Wells report said the balls were only under-inflated during the first half. The score at halftime in the AFC Championship was 17-7, Patriots. One of New England’s touchdowns was scored in part because Colts return man Josh Cribbs botched a fair catch, leading to a red-zone chance for the Patriots.

During the second half, when the balls were found to be inflated properly, the Patriots scored 28 unanswered points to silence the Colts for good. Clearly, the accusation of cheating doesn’t work in this case, as 28 points don’t just score themselves. The Colts’ defense in the second half had more holes in it than the Wells Report.

The main reason behind Brady’s suspension, besides allegedly deflating balls on purpose, was his failure to give investigators his cellphone, which Commissioner Roger Goodell said Brady asked his assistant to destroy. Now wait a second here, if investigators never asked Brady to hand in his cell phone, then how was he failing to cooperate with an invisible request?

This whole accusation and Deflategate malarkey is simply a farce and an embarrassment to the NFL. If Ray Rice was only suspended two games, a punishment later rescinded, for assaulting his fiancé in an elevator, how can Brady be suspended four games for deflating footballs?

In the NFL rule book, under-inflating balls is punishable by a $25,000 fine and potentially more discipline. So why weren’t the Patriots treated fairly?

The ridiculousness of Deflategate has got to stop. As of now the case is over, so why are we still talking about it? Since the case ended, ESPN, among other news sources, has begun to discuss Spygate again, a violation by the Patriots from 2007.


You’re grave-digging that far just to fill air time? It’s sad that the so-called and self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports is just trying to buy time before they can go back to worshipping LeBron James again. It’s disappointing, that’s all I can say.

Also, I don’t get America’s fascination with calling every scandal something ending with the suffix “-gate.” It really is getting old. Take, for example, the new weekly edition of “What Can the NFL and ESPN Accuse the Patriots of Doing This Week” in “Headsetgate.”

To remind you, the Patriots and Steelers’ opening game was marred by the issue of radio interference on the Steelers’ headsets. They heard the Patriots’ radio broadcast in their headsets instead of their own coaches. First of all, the headsets are provided, operated and maintained by the NFL. Any problem with the headsets is on the league and fall under the category of “technical difficulties.”

It is important to note that the Steelers’ bench is directly below the broadcast booth. Also the Patriots shut down their headsets during this time so there should be no complaints of the situation being unfair, considering the NFL is at fault.

But as for discussing Deflategate — yes, it wasted months of our lives. These unfounded accusations have gotten to the point of head-hunting, and the NFL is trying to destroy one of the world’s best franchises by taking down the one of the league’s poster boys. But it’s over, so let’s make like Elsa and “let it go.” Everyone from ESPN to Miss America is trying to keep this topic on the surface so that teams will hate the Patriots.

And as a Patriots fan, I say, “Let everyone hate us,” because it only gives New England more bulletin board material and a deeper motivation to win. So cool it about Deflategate and just enjoy the NFL season. As for hating the Patriots, go ahead, it’s fine. I hate the other 31 NFL teams anyways.

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Daniel Shulman is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Journalism through the College of Communication. A native of Stoughton, Dan is a sports fanatic who loves everything Boston sports related. He is currently a Sports Hawk at the Boston Globe in the High School sports department. He is also a statistician for both Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey. Aside from writing, Dan has an interest in music, movies and cooking.

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