NFL should finish ‘deflate-gate’ controversy with punishment for Patriots

The recent NFL controversy being coined as “deflate-gate” has made an otherwise predictable Super Bowl matchup intriguing, to say the least.

During the halftime of the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL determined that 11 of the Patriot’s 12 balls had been underinflated according to the guidelines established by the league.

As the story and NFL investigation continues to develop, there has been a large number of people defending the New England Patriots.

Some of the arguments made are that New England would have won the game regardless of how the balls were inflated, deflated balls do not provide an advantage to a football team and that atmospheric conditions were to blame for the balls being underinflated. Despite the eclectic arguments defending the Patriots in their recent controversy, the NFL should still punish the team to the fullest extent possible.

The most prominent argument in defense of the New England Patriots is that they would have easily won the AFC Championship game, regardless of the air pressure in any football. Although this is probably true, given the heavily favored Patriots won the game 45-7, it is not a valid argument to defend their actions.

Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong were all great athletes in their respective sports; each who would have been highly successful without the use of steroids. However, they still used P.E.D.s in an attempt to still get ahead, and were punished accordingly. This case is similar.

Another defense of the Patriots, and an argument used for not punishing them, has been the claim that underinflated footballs do not give quarterbacks and their offenses advantages during the game. Although I cannot personally attest to whether underinflated balls do or do not provide an advantage, it is still a faulty argument exempting the Patriots from punishment.

The bottom line is, even if breaking a rule does not provide an advantage, it is still breaking a rule and the appropriate punishment should follow.

The third, and possibly the weakest, argument defending the Patriots alleges atmospheric and weather conditions altered the balls, and therefore the Patriots should not be held responsible. This claim is weak because none of the Colt’s balls, which were exposed to the same atmospheric conditions, tested to be underinflated. Furthermore, it was not simply one or two of the footballs that were underinflated, but an astounding 11 out of 12.

Also, when considering whether the Patriots deliberately uninflated their footballs or whether this act deserves any significant punishment, one should consider that the Patriots were also punished in 2007 by the NFL for violating another one of the league’s rules.

Although this incident occurred nearly a decade ago, the New England Patriots were still under the same ownership and head coach. A history of breaking the rules certainly eliminates any benefit of doubt one can give the Patriots.

The NFL rule states a team’s footballs must be inflated to a pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, and the New England Patriots were in clear violation of this rule. Whether or not it is a “good” rule or whether or not following the rule impacts the results of games ultimately does not matter. It is apparent that someone within the Patriot organization deliberately violated a rule, for whatever reason, and the team should be punished accordingly.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying the Patriots don’t deserve to be playing in the Super Bowl, nor am I saying the Patriot’s actions gave them any substantial advantage in the AFC Championship game. With that said, for evident reasons, it is clear the Patriots deliberately violated an NFL rule, and should be penalized accordingly.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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