Here on GTDR, I try very hard to tow the line between diehard Boston sports fan — which sometimes leads me to being admittedly and almost purposefully biased — and being a rational, broad-minded sports fan who looks at happenings in Boston objectively, which means holding Boston teams accountable when they screw up. But, as the NFL has apparently determined that 11 of 12 NFL game balls that the Patriots submitted were underinflated (spellcheck is wrong, “underinflated” is totally a real word in English), I’m not sure what to think.
I feel confident in saying that the Pats were slightly, slightly cheating. The same kind of way that every team in the MLB has guys who cheat with pine tar. The Pats probably tried to push or bend the rules a little bit, the same way that Aaron Rodgers admitted that he tries to inflate the footballs sometimes a little more than the league allows. I’ll bet that the Pats were technically cheating a bit there, and they deserve to pay a minor price as all cheaters do, although it should be noted that a lot of players and teams try to bend the rules. Brad Johnson is the best example, bribing guys to mess with the footballs right before the Super Bowl.
But maybe the Patriots went a little farther than we wanna admit. In the ESPN story, which I linked in the first paragraph, the Colts felt a similar thing in their November game against the Pats. Maybe the Colts are just being anti-Patriots whiny bitches, but why would they make a big deal about the footballs being deflated this time if there was nothing to it, especially because players in the league know that minor tampering with footballs is widespread?
So I definitely think that the Pats bent the rules, but I can’t tell them if they broke the rules to a higher degree than all teams do. I know that this isn’t Spygate, but do the Pats actually deserve a docked draft pick? Anyone saying that they deserve to DQ their spot in the Super Bowl is an idiot, but do they deserve a loss of a future player — a loss actually hurts on the field — instead of just a fine? That’s where I am, and I really don’t know.
The one thing I really do know is that the Patriots haters have one more annoying quip to come at Pats fans for. As far as the Pats’ legacy goes, I don’t care. But we’re still gonna have to listen to that how insufferable it is.