For my debut on the editor’s column, I thought I would write about something I know quite well and of which I am very fond: sports. Although I am a New Jersey native, I had the privilege of attending a boarding high school in the Boston area. Since 9th grade, my love of Boston sports grew until I was a full-blown New England Patriots fan. In my opinion, there is no quarterback or coach in the league comparable to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Like all New England fans, I am beyond excited that the Patriots will be heading to Super Bowl XLIX to face off against reigning champions, the Seattle Seahawks. While I will not use this space on my column to discuss my predictions for this game, I would like to highlight something in the media recently surrounding the Patriots; specifically, I would like to talk about the use of deflated footballs, or as the media calls it, “deflategate.” Many people in the media have accused the Patriots of cheating by purposefully using deflated footballs, as deflated footballs are easier to throw and catch. The rainy and cold game conditions in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game last Sunday were less than ideal, but the deflated footballs could have made a miniscule difference in the game. In fact, 11 out of the 12 footballs that the Patriots used were deemed under-inflated according to National Football League (NFL) officials. Quarterback and living legend Tom Brady likes his game balls to be about 12.5psi, which is on the lower end of the NFL regulations for air pressure for game balls; the balls found, however, were noticeably deflated compared to this standard. The mystery arises because all game balls are checked before the game by the officials and are left on the sidelines untouched until the game begins or until another ball is needed for play. Both Belichick and Brady said that they know nothing of this incident and were surprised to hear of the controversy on Monday morning after the Sunday night game. Belichick–said that he has never touched a game ball, and Tom Brady–as well as several other players on the team said that the balls felt completely normal to them during the game. It is, after all, very hard to notice this kind of detail in front of tens of thousands of fans in an AFC championship game.
The fact remains that the Patriots beat the Colts 45-7. Many of the Colts’ players said that the deflated balls scandal is irrelevant, as the Patriots were clearly the better team. One of my favorite comments on this scandal came from Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, when he tweeted, “They could have played with soap for balls and beat us. Simply the better team,” after the game. The minuscule advantage the Patriots would have had for using deflated balls does not explain the nearly 40-point score difference between the two teams. The bottom line is that the Patriots dominated the Colts in all aspects of the game and the Colts were simply outmatched. Skepticism about this small scandal is pointless until the ongoing NFL investigation is finished. Maybe the balls were deflated because NE tight end Gronkowski spiked some of them; maybe the game balls were leaking air and that is why they were fine when officials checked them at the beginning of the game and then were slightly deflated at half time. Personally, I’m going to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt and believe that they did nothing to alter the game balls. In my eyes Tom Brady is a very honest and upstanding football player, and I believe that his word should be trusted. I’ll end on this note: I don’t even think that there needs to be an investigation, the Patriots were going to be victorious against the Colts regardless. And I lied earlier when I said I was not going to make a prediction about the Superbowl … Pats all the way, no question.