Why #Deflategate Matters

First of all, if you aren’t a semi-serious sports fan, stop reading.  Right now.  This is going to be a post about the air pressure levels of footballs, so it’s probably not something a casual sports fan cares about at all.

OK…for the rest of us, here’s why #Deflategate matters.

I didn’t do the research, but it’s out there.  Here is a post from Sharp Football Analysis that details just how much the New England Patriots’ tendency to fumble dropped once the rule changes Tom Brady (among others) lobbied for in the mid-2000’s went into effect.

Every single media member who talks about the air pressure issue talks about Tom Brady’s completion percentage, and how it didn’t change all that much.  They talk about the AFC Championship Game, and how it was a blow, and how the balls were switched in the second half anyway.

But, what they don’t talk about is how a ball that has less air in it is easier to grip.  Easier to catch.  Easier to hold on to after the catch.  Easier to maintain possession of as giant men try to rip it out of your hands.

Those situations are where the New England Patriots really gained an advantage over their NFL peers, and there are two things that are certain:

#1.  Tom Brady knew about the under-inflated balls.

#2.  It was NOT a one game event.

It’s easy to prove those two statements.

#1.  The guy who deflated the balls was a part-time, game day employee.  Tom Brady makes millions of dollars a year.  Do you think the part-time guy is doing anything to those footballs that wasn’t requested by the multi-millionaire star of the show?  I have never made a dime throwing a football.  But, if you lined twelve of them up in front of me, with two at 13.5 PSI, eight at 12.5 PSI, and the last two at 11.5 PSI, I have no doubt I could tell you which is which.  Tom Brady, who throws footballs for a living, would have known immediately if a ball wasn’t right, in the same way that a pro golfer can let you know if his grip has an extra layer of tape underneath it.

#2.  In the Wells Report, the guy who deflated the balls called himself “The Deflator” in text messages.  Text messages from May 2014.  Despite what New England and its fans would have you believe, there is not much of a chance that some inside joke between him and his friend was about something other than footballs.

New England plays its home games in some of the toughest conditions of any NFL stadium.  As it turns out, for some amount of time (more than one game) they have played those games with balls that were more suited for that weather than the rules of the NFL allow.  All of those games were not blowouts.

That’s why the team gets fined.  That’s why the team loses draft picks.  That’s why Tom Brady gets suspended.  That’s why the air in the balls is a big deal.

More Likely Than Not….

As I type this, the NFL Draft is about one and a half hours away.

More likely than not, Jameis Winston will be the first pick, and he will become a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

More likely than not, he has gotten away with sexual assault.

More likely than not, he deserves to be in prison.

I know that plenty of people consider the accusation against Winston to be just a bump in the road.  I know that plenty of people consider that accusation an “off-field issue” that Winston moved past, and I know that some people even see his ability to play while the allegations were swirling around him as a positive attribute.  I know that plenty of people see the accusation as false and meant to extort money from Winston.

However, I would love for someone to explain to me why they think the accuser made up her story.  None of the typical explanations make any sense whatsoever.

They say she was after his money.  They say she wanted to be with an athlete.  They say lots of things.  Those things don’t add up.

At the time she made the accusation, Jameis Winston hadn’t played any football in a Florida State uniform.  He was a redshirting freshman who wouldn’t see the field until the following fall.  She made the accusation in December.

The incident was immediately reported to police.  They ultimately botched the investigation (who knows whether or not it was on purpose), but it was reported the same night it happened.  She said she didn’t know who did it.  She eventually ID’d him when they ended up in class together the following January.

In order to believe she set him up, you’d have to believe that she knew she would get that opportunity to ID him.  If it was a set up, why wouldn’t she have given his name the night of the incident?  If she was after money, wouldn’t she need to know whose money she was going after?  If she was such a brilliant con artist, wouldn’t she know that there were several FSU players who were headed for the NFL that very spring?  Why would she accuse someone who, at the time of the accusation, wouldn’t even be able to get into the next TWO NFL Drafts?

People have said that the fact that the reports about the case started to surface in the middle of a very successful season for Winston and Florida State show that the accuser was just trying to get him in trouble.

Well, I can provide another motive for those reports.

Anger.

I have a daughter.  She isn’t in college yet.  But, I can imagine the gut-wrenching pain that a father must endure when he gets that call from his little girl.  And, I can also imagine the feeling of having that wound reopened on a weekly basis as every talking head on television sings the praises of the guy that his little girl ID’d as her rapist.

What father wouldn’t try to get the other side of the story out?  Who could blame him?  Who wouldn’t do the exact same thing?

The Buccaneers must certainly be hopeful that Winston won’t make another mistake.

“Controversy” **Updated**

**UPDATE**

OK..as it turns out, even I owe Richard Sherman an apology.  I watched the game, and as I said in this post I didn’t mind the trash talk.  The day after the game, I read Sherman’s post on TheMMQB, and I have to admit I didn’t believe him when he said he just went up to say “Good game” and shake hands.  Well, there is now video available from the game featuring Sherman “Mic’d Up”, and he was being 100% honest.  He didn’t say anything disparaging to Crabtree, and the hand he received to his face is what set him off.

********

There’s no reason for the controversy that is currently surrounding Richard Sherman to exist.  None at all.

Unless, of course, you believe in the fairy tale that NFL players don’t almost universally talk trash.

If you live in that world, I apologize for ruining your story, but NFL football is played by a bunch of guys that are looking for an edge.

If that edge comes because a guy insulted you on Twitter, that’s OK.  If that edge comes because a guy talked trash to you at a charity event, that’s OK.

Television is about ratings.  Erin Andrews was sent to find Richard Sherman because they wanted to get a raw, emotional response from the player that just made the biggest play of the game.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that he also happens to be a well-known “talker” who isn’t prone to the normal, cliche-filled interviews that American TV audiences have come to expect (and loathe) from their sports stars.

So, he yells and screams and talks trash about a specific guy on the 49ers.  I understand that it isn’t normal, but I don’t understand why it’s bad. Continue reading “Controversy” **Updated**

The Dolphins’ Never-Ending Story

I’m not going to get into all the different details of the Miami Dolphins’ Incognito-Martin story, because everyone who is interested already knows what is going on down there.

But, I have to say….haven’t we seen this before?  I remember a movie when I was younger.  The big strong lineman picked on weaker kids, and the quarterback defended him…claiming it couldn’t possibly be true.

Richie Incognito is “Ogre”.  Ryan Tannehill is “Stan”.  Instead of HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Dolphins are working on a remake of Revenge of the Nerds. Continue reading The Dolphins’ Never-Ending Story

When TLF met WTF

NC State opens the football season against Tennessee on August 31st.  Since it’s the opener, it’s already a topic of conversation on Pack Pride.  A couple of weeks ago (actually, I looked it up, and the thread was started in April), a UT fan started a thread about the game.  I have to be honest for just a second…the fact that this thread was actually started in April has really messed up my thinking.

It was a fairly typical preseason game thread (I thought…before I knew that it started in APRIL).  The team you pull for was going to have every injured guy return fully healthy, every potential draft pick play to his full potential, and every departing player replaced by a younger guy that was better than him anyway, and the other team was going to suffer the opposite fate.  Things like that.  Blah, blah, you suck, we’re great, yada yada.  But then, a sudden and awesome WTF TLF moment happened. Continue reading When TLF met WTF

WTF Friday

Irving As "Uncle Drew"

This one is almost too easy.

The Clevand Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, the #1 pick in last year’s NBA draft,  had surgery on Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his hand.

The bone was broken when he slammed his hand against a padded wall after making a mistake during a practice.  At least Gus Frerotte injured himself during a real game.

WTF Kyrie? Continue reading WTF Friday

Linsanity

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin has started 25 of the 64 NBA games that he has played since coming into the league.

A few days ago, he signed an offer sheet that guarantees he will earn about $1,120,000 for each of those starts.  The Houston Rockets signed Lin to a 3 year, $28 million offer sheet designed to prevent the New York Knicks from matching.

Most NBA outlets are reporting that the Knicks will not match the offer, despite reports from last week in which Knick executives were quoted as saying they would match any offer. Continue reading Linsanity