NFL Deflategate: Why It’s A Big Deal


NFL Deflategate: Why It’s A Big Deal

So by now, everybody knows about the New England Patriots headline that someone in the organization deflated the balls (#deflategate). That’s the story evolving from the game, not the game itself. Here’s why it matters and why it doesn’t.

It doesn’t matter in the sense New England would’ve won anyway. They won 45-7. If they used deflated footballs, or footballs as full of air as stupid girls who love to talk and say nothing, or hell, even if instead of footballs they used friggin’ 10 pound bowling balls, New England still would’ve toppled Indianapolis. That’s not the point.

Then what’s the big deal, you ask? There are a few things:

The question of WHO did this causes some pause. The New England Patriots are a contentious team: not only because they are the most polarizing team in the NFL – therefore the likely most loved and definitely the most hated team in the league – but because of their past.

“If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” is a common adage in sport, however despicable it is. And New England has lived on the edge of this line. Let’s not forget about the Spygate scandal in 2007 when the Patriots were caught videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches signals from the sideline (right; from

Next, answering the what’s-the-big-deal question is WHY. This deflating of the balls is clearly to gain a competitive advantage. Both teams use the same ball, you say? Well maybe, but maybe not. There are twelve balls in circulation for each offense for any game, so they’re not the same balls.

Regardless, these balls are tested before the game, but by who?

Why isn’t the NFL in control of the balls? That’s where it starts. So that means that people under the payroll of the New England Patriots control the balls that go into play. Do you sense a conflict of interest there? I sure as hell do.

On, Mike Florio posted an article and explained if there was a change to the balls air pressure: “That would have to be driven by the quarterback” former quarterback and super-analyst John Madden told The Sports Xchange last Wednesday. “Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing,” Madden (right) continued. “It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”

Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders former coach John Madden speaks at halftime ceremony to present

Ray Guy

(not pictured) with Pro Football Hall of Fame ring at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The article concludes: “So if anyone connected to the Patriots was taking air out of the footballs, Madden’s explanation makes it clear that the quarterback either knew about it and did nothing to stop it— or deliberately requested it.”

Are you buying this? Or at the least, are you somewhat conflicted yet?

Okay, let’s continue: Deflated balls– who do they help? It helps players catch the ball because it’s softer– it can hit them and deaden rather than bounce off. By the same token, it helps guys carry the ball, because a softer ball makes it easier to hold onto. If a ball is deflated, it’s easier to grip.

On the other hand, a deflated ball is twofold for quarterbacks. Less air means that they shouldn’t fumble either, but also they can’t throw it as hard or create as smooth of a spiral. However, Brady has said he prefers to play with a slightly deflated ball. In 2011, after a Rob Gronknowski endzone spike of the ball (right), Brady said “I love that, because I like the deflated ball.”

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end

Rob Gronkowski

(87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Now, let’s look at the weather. Not even the Patriots have control over Mother Nature, sure, so you may think this is a moot point. But if you do, c’mon, don’t be so easy! Every team has plenty of resources in the forecast, which was rain. Rain, all game long. It’s hard to throw in the rain, obviously. So, this promotes running the ball. Except Indianapolis can’t run the ball! And on the contrary, the New England Deflatriots like to run against Indy.

However, even if both teams used the same ball, what’s the big deal?

Well let’s just take a look at the gameplan. Indy passes the ball all the time, no matter what. When you have Andrew Luck as quarterback and an unreliable-no-good running attack, their gameplan was certain: throw. New England, also, is a pass heavy offense, against every team except Indianapolis. However, New England historically loves to run the ball on Indianapolis (even though, strangely enough, they don’t run close to as much against anyone else).

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass during the third quarter against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Since New England wanted to run the ball, according to the gameplan, deflategate has legs. Deflating the ball against the team with the number one passing offense, the most passing yards, and passing attempts (Indy), featuring the quarterback with the most touchdowns, the most completions over 20 yards and 40 yards (Luck), who also has very little running game to speak of, has much logic behind it.

To neuter Andrew Luck and their prolific passing attack, it would totally make sense that the Patriots deflated the balls.

If you’re starting to turn your head, you have reason to. Since the game is over, let’s look at the numbers from the game– that may be the best indication over my theories and logic.

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back

LeGarrette Blount

(29) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

New England rushing: 6 rushers combining for 40 carries totalling 177 yards (LeGarrette Blount, right)

Indianapolis rushing: 3 rushers combining for 19 carries totalling 83 yards

As you may imagine, the running game opens up the passing game as the defense must prepare to jam the box at the line, which potentially leaves receivers open. But if you can’t pass, the defending team can better protect against the run.

I’m not an Indianapolis fan; I am actually a Denver Broncos fan. When Denver was trending up atop the league, they had to go to New England to play the Patriots as they always seem to have to do. Well, they lost, as they normally do there… so I do have to question what funny business coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were up to then. Because if that game went the other way, Denver would’ve had home-field advantage (where they seem to beat New England every time) and they could be going to the Super Bowl (although that matchup is unfavourable…). But how many other teams have games to question?

If the score discrepancy (45-7) is enough to make you scoff at this subject, okay, but why does New England cheat if they’re so good? Do they get off on cheating?? I mean, that’s why some people do it. We know the penalty won’t make it worthwhile for it to matter to the Patriots. Or maybe they just do it because they can. But still, c’mon New England, if you’re so good, why do it?

The Patriots’ history shows they have little to no integrity left – they cheated before and they’ll probably cheat again. To gain an advantage, this time, the Patriots’ inflated ego may have deflated the ball.