Tom Brady and Deflategate: A Never Ending Story….

…because it contains numerous elements that make it endlessly debatable.

I was mistaken in my previous post about this event being blown out of proportion.   Its proportion fits the degree the NFL has become blown out of proportion, i. e. they have been super successful at marketing football as the biggest, best game in town.   And this is a society increasingly made surreal through ongoing overdoses in gaming – TV contests that dwindle “survivors” down to one,  sporting events galore, and an explosion in on-line gaming and violent video games that allow players to become heroes in their own minds.

In today’s parlance, the NFL has  developed a wonderful brand name for its game which makes anything that detracts from its positive image akin to a sin.    Radical terrorists have the prophet and the Koran that are sacred, the NFL has its shield insignia.  “Protect the shield” is their slogan.

Anything that diminishes the glowing image is bad for the NFL and must be punished.  We’ve seen a lot of tarnishing over the past several months, what with the spate of domestic violence cases involving players, not to mention drug related incidents or other evidence of un-Boy Scout behavior.  Recent attention to brain injuries suffered by the players also tarnishes.

Lacking the clear rules and punishments of a legal system, the NFL’s version of a king or high priest, commissioner Roger Goodell has devised arbitrary punishments on a case by case basis, each of which is hard to defend vis-a-vis each other……  How many game suspensions for “more likely than not” being aware of football air pressure tampering as compared to, say, knocking your wife out in an elevator on camera?  (the punishment was less prior to the public viewing of the camera shot)

Smashing one’s spouse in the face is a crime in society compared to which deflating a football a little pales in significance, but in a gaming world whatever casts doubt upon the integrity of the game, that is a bigger concern.  (What if it was revealed that the cast of Survivor were allowed hot showers and cold drinks between takes?)

Conflate this all and Tom Brady gets a stiff punishment not so much for what he more likely than not was aware of, but because he is the poster boy of the sport, the uber Boy Scout.  Hence the ultimate sinner if caught for some wrongdoing.  That along with his boss Robert Kraft being kind of a buddy to Roger Goodell, while the team has been penalized for breaking the rules on a previous occasion, spy gate in 2007, has prompted the commissioner to ere on the side of harshness rather than hand slaps so as to bolster the image of NFL integrity.

Fine for the commish, who wants to restore the league’s tarnished image, but Patriot’s owner Kraft doesn’t want the achievements of his QB and the organization itself tarnished by that punishment, so this thing is going to go on and on, probably through the courts at some point.

And if it gets to the courts, the standard of “more likely than not” seems paltry enough for Brady to outright win.

No matter how it sorts out, my guess is that the Patriots will be especially tough to play next year as they will be in crusade mode to prove they deserve their past achievements despite the accusations.  Super Bowl winners don’t repeat often, but crusade mode could help the Patriot’s chances a lot.

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By the way……

In case I didn’t make it clear above, I think deflate gate became such an inflated topic because of a confluence of factors and events.   Lost in all of that is why it should be an issue at all.   Here are a couple of articles that help illuminate that aspect:

In this one, Andy Benoit makes the case there shouldn’t even be a ball inflation rule.  And this article features the opinions of former quarterbacks on the question of ball inflation, including Joe Theismann stating:  “I asked our equipment guy to pump one football up to 13 pounds per square inch and another to 11 psi,” Theismann told USA TODAY Sports. “I wanted to physically handle the footballs and see if I could tell a difference in them. And I couldn’t.”

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