The New England Patriots are under serious scrutiny from the media and NFL, and could face serious repercussions after an NFL investigation revealed members of the organization/team were responsible for the deflating of 11-12 footballs during the 2015 AFC title win versus the Colts. Deflate-gate adds to the long list of violations coming out of Patriots organization. Should they forfeit their Super Bowl appearance? Did the deflating of footballs control the outcome of the game? Team SU discuss this hot topic.
Keith Rivas: I can guarantee you that the NFC and AFC Championship Games did not go how anybody planned they would–I mean, you couldn’t probably even dream up this kind of stuff. Green Bay manged to blow the biggest lead in an NFC Championship Game–ever–and the New England Patriots got caught red-handed with deflated footballs against the Indianapolis Colts in their respective match-up. No, just no.
The game of football, especially at the professional level, should be all about that–professionalism. This seems to be exactly what the Patriots lack heading into Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick’s record sixth Super Bowl appearance. While the NFL and other news organizations conducted an investigation into the whole debacle of what we the media dub “Deflate-Gate”, the fact that this even had to come into question with professional sports is appalling to me and is absolutely disgusting.
There are enough people out there who are a fan of the game and simply do not like the Patriots (most of them for legitimate/good reasons). But when New England is now found guilty of cheating during such an important contest, above all in the national spotlight, they fail to do the one thing the players need to start doing–representing the shield.
The previous fallouts of Ray Rice, Adrian Petersen, and even issues with Ndamukong Suh show that the league is in need of a serious tune up when it comes to self discipline–especially if they plan on adding Jameis Winston to the mess (I can only imagine how that would turn out if Winston ends up on the Bucs). In those previous situations, suspensions followed. There was no question that the players should be disciplined at least immediately and then, upon further review, if needed, further action could be taken.
The New England Patriots, in my book, are no exception. No, it’s not because I am a Seattle supporter. No, it’s not because I have a problem with the city of New England. And no, it’s not even because I have an issue with the Patriots having damn good raw talent and the ability to beat good football teams.
My issue is with their sense of moral clarity. And until that’s resolved, I wouldn’t want them playing on my turf anytime soon.
Jeb Taylor: The Patriots have been under great scrutiny lately following the accusations of deflating the balls used in the AFC Championship. This has grown exponentially since, now that the deflation-scandal has been confirmed and that Baltimore Ravens’ complaints have also surfaced about ball-pressure during their divisional round game. So what should the league do?
This isn’t New England’s fire time being in the midst of controversy. Back in 2007, they were found guilty to be recording the signals of New York Jets’ defensive coaches. Belichick even admitted to recording signals of other teams’ coaching since 2000. This ‘Spygate’ scandal resulted in a $500,000 fine for Belichick (the maximum fine that can be given and the largest in NFL history), a $250,000 fine for the Patriots and required the Patriots to forfeit their first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Clearly, this hasn’t taught the folks up in Foxborough. In Sunday’s rainy conditions, under-inflated balls make it easier to grip, catch, and throw, giving the Patriots a huge advantage in the passing game. For those who don’t know, each team uses it own separate pool of balls, so Indianapolis did not reap these benefits. Did these under-inflated balls change the outcome of the game? Probably not, but that’s not the point. What happens when the score of a game is close, and the ball pressure does matter? Or what about next year, if the league lets them get away with this, when the New England Cheat-riots develop a new scheme to give them a competitive edge?
No one can be naive enough to think that this is the only time the Pats have cheated this year. They are a renowned win-at-all-costs football team. It’s not that the balls changed the AFC championship game in this instance, but the principle of preventing and discouraging cheating in the future. New England showed that a light punishment will not hinder their game-manipulation.
So how should they be punished?
Well, I believe the only way to stop the Patriots’ cheating culture is to throttle them with punishment to the point that they never consider doing it again. Belichick should receive the maximum $500,000 fine and the Patriots should be forced to forfeit their First and Second round draft picks. Additionally, just like Sean Payton in the New Orleans Bounty Scandal, Belichick needs to be suspended for 1 year. These sanctions are not cruel or unusual in any way, as the Patriots are repeat offenders who disregard typical punishment. On the other hand, any type of demand for the Patriots to forfeit their Super Bowl appearance is outlandish. You can’t go back in time and erase the misconduct, but you can prevent it from ever happening again.
Let’s just say that this isn’t the first time the Patriots have cheated themselves to success in some degree. Whether it’s illegally recording other teams or deflating game balls, the Pats will do whatever to win. They have a history of cheating, and will have a future of cheating if the NFL fails to put their foot down on this issue.
Adam Solowiei: A deflated ball is a clear advantage to not only the quarterback but the wide receiver and running backs. A player’s improved grip on the football is without question. Is it the type of competitive advantage that pushed them over the top? That is not as easy to answer. If the Patriots had managed to win many games by small margins or comebacks in the second half, then you might have a case. An example would be the Baltimore Ravens playoff win the week before in a 14 point comeback. However, if they consistently decimate teams, like the AFC Championship, then the benefit is negligible.
Many are arguing that the Patriots had no reason to try to “cheat to win” against a team like the Colts, who they were favored to beat. Some say that it is ridiculous, foolhardy or even just down right crazy to suspect. To me it is almost as crazy as a team videotaping their opponent’s defensive signs after the NFL had forbidden such action. That’s nuts right? Who would go through such elaborate measures to gain an advantage? Well then Bill Belichick but be right out of the loony bin since he already pulled off the now infamous Spygate. For the Patriots and their head coach it appears to be a trend. If not abut actual gain, then it is about perceived advantage and a lack of integrity at a minimum.
I have seen everyone on Twitter, Google+ and other various social media losing their collective minds over this. Some calling for the tar and feathering of an entire organization, others want Belichick burned in effigy, and still more things not fit for print.
The reality here is that harsh punishment is warranted. But it was just a bit of pressure in one game you say? If only that was the reality. Now, Robert Kraft is the top of the ownership chain and Roger Goodell works for the owners. That should give them a pass in Super Bowl XLIX but once that is over the rest of the ownership especially that of the Colts and any other team that might have been wronged, will demand stiff penalties.
If the allegations are founded, then this is an organization that, at a minimum, is a repeat major offender and major punitive action is warranted. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and draft picks were the price the first time. This time a year suspension of the head coach (similar to Sean Payton) is not only warranted but should be the starting point. Besides, do we really think that they were clean since Spygate and just got caught this time? My mom always told me if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck then a duck is what it is.
11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying
— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) January 21, 2015
Bobby Bourhis: The footballs that the New England Patriots used in their victory over the Indianapolis Colts had no direct effect on the outcome of the game. Whether they were properly inflated or not the Patriots were the better team and deserve to be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. That being said, if found guilty of intentionally deflating the balls in order to achieve a competitive advantage, there should be some sort of league sanctioning, possibly in the form of a small fine.
The referees allegedly took all of the proper steps before the game to ensure that the balls were properly inflated. This means that it is possible that the Patriots could have tampered with the balls sometime before kick-off, and after the referees checked the balls. The issue with this whole story that is beginning to unfold, is that quarterbacks are coming out and saying that this happens frequently in the NFL. From the commissioners stand point, he has to make a decision as to how strict or flexible the rule is. It would be unfair to come down hard on the Patriots now, when other quarterbacks are coming out and saying that this kind of thing happens regularly. A severe punishment would be unfair and unreasonable at this point, however improved clarification on the issue, and perhaps stronger enforcement by the referees would be beneficial in the future.