Can we admit that “deflategate” was utter nonsense?

During the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, some of the footballs used by the Patriots were said to be deflated below league limits of 12.5 psi. Indeed, we were told that 11 of the 12 balls were 2 psi too low. Why, that must mean the Patriots were cheating! And then, of all things, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had the gall to deny they did anything wrong. Why, that’s even worse. They cheated and were caught, yet they refuse to fess up? Hang ’em!

But wait:

First, at a press conference last Thursday in Phoenix, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino spilled the beans that the PSI of the 12 Patriots footballs were never recorded by referee Walt Anderson. Blandino said that balls were measured, and if they were under the low threshold of 12.5, they were simply pumped up with some air. So instantly, the report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that said 11 of the 12 footballs were a full 2 PSI under the threshold was essentially debunked. How could Mortensen have that information if nobody could have that information? (The answer, of course, is that a source who desperately wanted such misinformation out there gave him the “scoop.”)

Got that? The initial report was garbage.

Secondly, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the morning of the Super Bowl that just one of the 11 footballs was 2 PSI under the limit, while the other 10 were “just a tick” under the 12.5 threshold.

Goodness gracious, how shocking. It’s almost like this makes perfect sense. Under the scenario put forth by the people who are purely jealous of the success of the New England Patriots, we were told to believe that Tom Brady had given instructions to deflate 12 balls, yet whoever did it messed up and only deflated 11. Because that’s what the best quarterback in the history of the game wants, right? “Yeah, I want you to do this very specific thing because it makes a huge difference. If you happen to entirely mess up 1 football, I’m sure that wouldn’t make a massive difference. Even though I’ve just contended that it does make a difference.”

No, what’s more likely here is that a whole host of footballs were ball parked to 12.5 psi and someone messed up on one of them. Why? Because the exact psi isn’t overwhelmingly important and Tom Brady doesn’t give specific instructions other than to keep them as low as they’re allowed.

Here’s the reality. The Patriots had 12 balls inflated pretty close to the required 12.5 psi. For whatever reason, one of them was a bit off. The refs, of course, claim they checked them out before the game, but let’s be realistic. One ref likely squeezed a few footballs and called it good. No one took out a pressure gauge and checked everything over. Furthermore, the Pats 12 backup balls didn’t seem to have any issues. Moreover, no one measured the psi of the Colts’ balls, as far as we know. This entire “investigation” has been as garbage as the accusations. And as if all that wasn’t enough, let’s look at history. When the Pats were “spying” on other teams (just like every other team does), they were caught and fessed up pretty quickly. Belichick and the organization took their fines and moved on. I don’t for a second believe they wouldn’t have owned up to doing something as minor as messing with the psi of a few footballs.

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Recent news

Here’s a quick round-up of some recent news:

President Obama has been sworn into his second term. The ceremony was a small one done inside the White House in order to meet constitutional requirements that the inauguration take place on January 20th, but there will be the usual public spectacle tomorrow. I expect FOX Noise and other conservative mouth-pieces to compare the turnout between the President’s first inauguration and this one, attempting to make the argument that he has lost popularity and doesn’t enjoy any sort of mandate. It will be a shitty argument since 2nd inaugurations are traditionally filled with less pomp and circumstance.

So-called responsible gun owners keep shooting each other. This weekend has seen ‘Gun Appreciation Day’, an event apparently organized by some guy by the name of Larry Ward. The result has been at least 5 accidental shootings as linked above, but I’ve seen unconfirmed Facebook pictures floating around placing the number at 8. This isn’t any surprise considering how many accidental shootings occur in homes with a single gun.

Over 40 million private sector workers do not have paid sick leave. This is one of the many flaws that arise from the magical hand of the free market. We can’t expect the private sector to voluntarily offer paid sick time to employees; these businesses are looking at the short term. If they had a longer and wider view of the economy, they would recognize that their sick employees spread disease, resulting in greater loss to the economy through more people who call out. Moreover, if their sick employees do call out, that’s a loss to the employee. And as we all know but as conservatives ignore, the economy is majority-run by the consumer. We need people making and spending money.

Religious fighting continues in Mali. I find it interesting that a country with its own religious strife, Nigeria, is getting involved with one-door-over neighbor, but it isn’t overly surprising to see religion filling the gap left by corrupt governments, thus creating greater instability and less freedom. That’s sort of what religion has been doing for the past few thousand years.

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been charged with taking bribes. I only find this satisfying because of how disgusted I was when he said New Orleans needs to stay “a chocolate city”. It was blatantly racist horseshit.

The AFC Championship game takes place tonight. The Ravens are rolling into Foxborough at 6:30 tonight, hopefully to face another devastating loss. I don’t know, though. I fully expect a close game, so I won’t be shocked if my Patriots are golfing come Monday. I just hope they utilize their hurry-up offense way more than usual given the comments of a Raven linebacker.

Football is not a sudden death sport

I like when I get to talk about unfair rules or bad refereeing when the team I like comes out on top. I don’t have to worry about losing credibility because I’m a sore loser or whathaveyou; it was a relief to me when the Patriots won their overtime game against the Jets.

Here’s my problem with the NFL rules for OT: The team that wins the coin toss has a huge advantage. It used to be that the game would end with whoever scored first, thus meaning the team to get the ball first would almost always win on a cheap field goal. The owners finally voted to change that two years ago, but they half assed the job. They made it so the game would continue if the first team scored a field goal, but it would end in sudden death if that team scored a touchdown (or, it would end if the other team scored a touchdown). That’s still plainly unfair. As it so happens, the Patriots scored a field goal, thus giving the Jets a chance to respond. QB Sanchez then, as I expected, failed to get the job done. The game turned out to be fair, but only by chance. Had the Patriots scored a TD on their first possession, the game would have ended and the Jets never would have been given a chance. Again, that’s not fair.

There are certain games that lend themselves to sudden death overtime. Hockey, for instance, is perfect for it. (In fact, hockey is the perfect sport, but I digress.) Soccer, insofar as it is a sport, works for the model. Football, however, does not. There is no point where both the defense and offense of a single team find themselves on the field at the same time. It would be as if a baseball game went into extra innings, the away team scored a run in the top of the 10th, and then the umpires called the game. That would be ludicrous for the very reason the NFL overtime rules are ludicrous: There are two primary aspects to the teams involved. To think of it another way, imagine how many teams have won the Superbowl with okay defense and great offense. Now ask yourself, if that team was forced to rely upon just its defense, who would have won the game?

I don’t expect the NFL to fix this flaw because, well, look at the garbage they pulled with the refs. And look at the guy they have running the whole show. It isn’t like this is an organization that’s hellbent on making things right or hiring the best personnel to fix these obvious problems. But who knows. Maybe in 15 years we’ll see some updates that actually take reality into consideration.

Today

I’ve grown tired of the Giants beating teams better than they are.

Dear Mr. Tebow

Where, good sir, is your God now?

Never mind. I think I just saw him walking into the Pats locker room wearing number 12.

Thought of the day

I love that Boston* has been the City of Champions for the best 11 years. 2001, 2003, 2004?** Patriots. 2004, 2007? Red Sox. 2008? Celtics. 2011? Bruins.

What makes this all even greater is that many of these series have been spectacular. All of the Patriots victories either came in the final moments of the game (’01, ’03) or it wasn’t sealed until the very end (’04). The Red Sox made their way through an epic comeback against the Yankees in order to get to the World Series and capture their first title in 86 years. The Celtics, insofar as basketball matters, beat the Lakers to get their league-leading championship. And now the Bruins have ended their own lengthy drought (39 years), winning three game 7’s in the process, one of which was against the rival Canadiens (the second greatest rivalry in sports), not to mention the redeeming second-round sweep of the Flyers.

And as if it can’t get better, the Patriots always have a shot, the Bruins are well-positioned to make another run next season, and the Red Sox are the best team in the American League right now. Not only has the best decade+ belonged to Boston, but it looks like the trend might continue into the next several years.

*Yes, I know the Patriots are not located in Boston.
**While the Patriots actually won in ’02, ’04, ’05, the NFL counts those victories as occurring in the ’01, ’03, and ’04 seasons.

Belichick wins Coach of the Year

I’ve always wondered what it felt like to be a Yankees fan. I think this is as close as I’ll get. Minus being surrounded by all the bandwagon fans.

Bill Belichick is closing in on Don Shula.

The New England coach Bill Belichick won The Associated Press 2010 NFL Coach of the Year award on Wednesday, the third time Belichick has earned the honor. Belichick, who also won in 2003 and 2007, now trails only Don Shula, a four-time winner of the award.

For leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record, the best in the league, Belichick received 30 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. That easily beat Raheem Morris, who led a turnaround in Tampa Bay and got 11 1/2 votes.

It is what it is.