Thursday, May 21, 2015


From  Patriots Super Bowl Ring Parody
    Yesterday, it was all over the news that Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, announced that the Patriots would accept the punishment handed down from the NFL in regards to the under-inflated football scandal.  The Patriots will be fined $1 million, lose two draft picks, and Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of next year.  Brady is, however, appealing his suspension.  There has been almost no limit to the interpretations of Krafts acceptance of the penalty in the press.  For me, it is Kraft cutting his loses, realizing that there is probably no defense for what they did, and moving forward.  There might have even been a negotiated settlement for both the NFL and the Patriots to put this behind them quickly.
     Let me state that I am a Patriots fan.  I am not a live and die fan as I am for the Michigan Wolverines, but I generally like both head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  They have accomplished some great things.  Belichick has coached in 31 post season games (29 of them with the Patriots).  He has won 22 of them (21 with the Patriots).  Brady was his quarterback for most of those.  They have been in five Super Bowls together and have won four of them.  This is quite impressive.  I like Belichik because he is a great strategist.  He is a great strategist, first, in terms of continually refreshing his roster and thus always be competitive.  Secondly, given time, no one prepares better game plans the Bill Belichick.  I am a Brady fan not only because he went to Michigan but more so because I was not high on him when he was there.  I guess I am compensating and reveling in his remarkable NFL legacy.
     Deflategate is not the first cheating issue the Patriots have been accused of.  There was the Spygate scandal of 2007 when the Patriots were caught taping and deciphering the New York Jets defensive signals early in that season.  One transgression might be forgivable.  Two?  That could be a trend or the tip of the iceberg.  I am still reeling from the disintegration of my admiration for Lance Armstrong and would hate to see a repeat of that.  I really don't want to have to say, "Say it ain't so Bill.  Say it ain't so Tom."
      Yet, football at this level is war.  Even more so, it is big business with big egos who want the brass... er... gaudy gold and diamond ring.  There are those that will do whatever they think they can get away with to increase their chances of winning.  I am not condoning it but stating what has to be an obvious fact.  That is why there is a league with rules.  That is why there are referees in the games.  That is why there are league officials that review records and game films.  They want enforce the rules.
      To me, the NFL has some responsibility here.  There is a term we bandy about almost without thinking about it:  A level playing field.  In sport, if the playing field is not level, it could favor one team or the other.  The way sports like football get around it by switching sides so both teams has the same amount of time with the field, wind, and sun being either an advantage or a disadvantage.  When it comes to the footballs themselves, the NFL has fumbled.  Why would they allow each team to have and manage their own balls that they use on offense?  There should be a game ball.  It should be in possession and control of the referees to ensure it is a regulation ball and properly inflated.  The same ball should be used the entire game with strict rules of when, why, and how it can be changed during the game.  I, for some naive reason, assumed this was the way the sport was run and thus did not full get what all the fuss was about when the Deflategate story first broke.  Basically, the NFL needs to make it close to impossible for this to ever happen again... by simply leveling the playing field.

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