Is My Chained Being Yanked or Is My Leg Being Pulled?
AS I’VE STATED BEFORE – I am a baseball fan – and I have just a passing interest in football (no pun intended. Well, yes it is intended, kinda.) but with all of the hoo-haw of the last week I just can’t ignore it.
Because I live in Indiana, about an hour outside of Indianapolis, most people will assume that what I say is flavored with sour grapes.
It ain’t so.
It is an undeniable fact that the New England Patriots were using footballs with less than the officially demanded air pressure, rendering the balls a bit softer and easier to grip. 11 of the 12 footballs in their possession were underinflated. Facts – nothing more or less.
The question is: Does this constitute cheating by giving the Patriots an unfair advantage over their foes? And, if it does, is this advantage a significant one?
Darned if I know.
Would the Patriots have beaten the Indianapolis Colts if they had played with regulation footballs? Having watched most of the game I would have to say that the nuns from the Little Sisters of the Natural Turf convent would have smoked the Colts that day.
I think that the reason this whole megillah is raising such a dust cloud is that the Patriots have had the issue of their adherence to the rules questioned before. I think the NFL and the Fans are feeling, “Once bitten, twice shy,” or some other appropriate adage. I know it’s not, “Wait an hour after eating before swimming.”
So, the Patriots are facing a skeptical Public, Media and League.
The Public will remain skeptical, because they actually pay attention. The Media will talk about it until something else comes along to fill up the space between the mattress ads. The League will do nothing – there is too much money involved to even think of rocking the boat a week before The Big Game. They’ve already placed their orders for the catered lunch in the luxury boxes. Once those orders are in there is no backing out. The lox has already been flown in from Nova Scotia and the beer trucks are unloaded. The game will go on as scheduled. Not even King Canute would try to stop that tide from rolling in.
I have heard some expressions of outrage and a desire for unsportsmanlike capital punishment about this mess. A lot of it is aimed at the Patriots’ Head Coach, Bill Belichick, who has been called, in front page screaming headlines, “Bill Belicheat.” He is not the most beloved character in Sports and I don’t think he gives a rat’s patoot that he is not held up as a paragon of virtue. No one I know is held up like that. I do know two people who were just plain “held up” once, but that was in Oakland, at night, after an A’s baseball game.
After the Super Bowl game is over, and the traditionally insipid Halftime Show is forgotten, (Usually about twenty minutes – unless there is another “wardrobe malfunction.”) on a cold and rainy weekend evening in March, the NFL will announce its “sanctions” against the New England Patriots.
“Because the Patriots did, albeit unintentionally, violate a League rule they will be penalized with a fine of $7. 37 – Which shall be paid in new pennies. They will also be required to prominently position on their uniforms a patch saying, “My Bad, So Sad.” In addition, Coach Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady will serve fifteen minutes of “time-out”, in a corner of their choosing, at the Fess Parker Resort in Santa Barbara, California.”
Beyond that I don’t see much coming out of this whole shebang that is worth more than the time it takes to read this blog posting. And that’s not saying much.