Swirling controversy surrounding Deflate-Gate

BY PRICE MEENTEMEYER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Patriots decisive win over Colts makes “Deflate-gate” a non-issue.


The Super Bowl is set to play in a couple of days, but one of the nation’s biggest sporting events may be overshadowed by the very odd, “Deflate-gate scandal.” Opinions have been swirling ever since the suspicions that the New England Patriot’s footballs were under the legal limit of PSI after their AFC Championship win against the Indianapolis Colts.

The official rules of the National Football League require footballs to be inflated to a pressure between 12 .5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch.   Underinflating a football may make it easier to hold, catch or throw. Each team provides its own 12 balls that only they can use on offense. Officials check these balls for legal PSI at the beginning of each half.

Many fans hold the opinion that “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” This refers to the Patriots receiving sanctions for another controversy dubbed “Spygate.” In 2007 the Patriots were accused of filming practices and learning their opponent’s defensive signals, which resulted in loss of draft picks.

Many fans hold the opinion that “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

Although some fans are skeptical about this controversy over the allegedly deflated footballs, many disregard the suspicions because the Patriots won very easily, 45-7, making an underinflated football a rather trivial point in the scheme of the game.

Former standout Westminster quarterback, Joe Plassmeyer, offered his opinion on the matter: “LeGarrette Blount rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns, so it wasn’t the deflated balls that mattered.” Plassmeyer added, “I don’t really see the benefit of changing the ball up because as a quarterback it would only throw you off. The referees check them all before the game for a reason. They have to be just right in order to be properly playable anyway. If they’re too deflated then it’s hard to throw.”

“I don’t really see the benefit of changing the ball up because as a quarterback it would only throw you off.”  –Westminster QB Joe Plassmeyer

Even with the controversy not necessarily holding up to the “so what” factor, the NFL must look into the matter. The many reports and lack of real evidence has made this story a mixture of different claims and accusations. Multiple sources have claimed a different amount of footballs from the Patriots locker room were underinflated. Some sources have even claimed there is an investigation over a possible video of an equipment staff member switching the inspected balls out.

Both Bill Belichik and Tom Brady have held press conferences denying such accusations. Belichik stated that the Patriots followed every procedure set by the NFL and that he closely reviewed their procedure for the game and found no wrongdoing. The Patriots head coach also stated multiple times that he “isn’t a scientist” and that weather had to play a large role in the alleged loss in air pressure.

Brady also held a press conference in which he denied having anything to do with altering the game balls. “It’s not like I squeeze the football, I grip the football,” he stated, referring to his pregame choosing of the game balls.

Even with the controversy not necessarily holding up to the “so what” factor, the NFL must look into the matter.

There likely won’t be a resolution to this strange controversy surrounding the AFC Champions before the Super Bowl. Last year’s Super Bowl was played amid similar negative connotations with animosity towards Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman, and his off the field antics. In this year’s Super Bowl, the Seahawks and the Patriots both hold “bad boy” titles and should make for a very interesting story line. Viewers shouldn’t be worried about a boring and uneventful matchup when these two teams line up for kickoff this Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

The Super Bowl is set for a 6:30 ET kickoff on Sunday, Feb. 1 on NBC.

Camille Todd contributed to the reporting of this story.

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