UnderiNFLated

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Ed Said: Edward Gelernt’s comments on the world

This week: DeflateGate

At least during Watergate Nixon had the courtesy to go on air.

This past Super Bowl ended in thrilling fashion.  Jermaine Kearse’s pinball 33-yard catch with 1:06 left set up Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch’s surefire go-ahead touchdown, which never happened because a boneheaded Seahawks playcall allowed Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler to make a spectacular interception.  Ensuing was a nail-in-the-coffin encroachment penalty on Seattle lineman Michael Bennett.  Shortly thereafter was the awarding of the Stanley Cup, which was rushed to Arizona when the football players began playing hockey and engaged in an all-out line brawl.

Yet even in light of all this drama, Bill Belichek still faced questions about DeflateGate in his postgame press conference.

The scandal filled the news for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, as questions about whodunit pervaded the football cosmos.  Interviews, videos, and speculation were among the “evidence” used to “convict” or “exonerate” Belichek, Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, the New England equipment manager, the Seahawks, the refs, the fans, Left Shark, President Obama, Michael Jackson’s doctor, or anyone else whom people love and hate.

But whether Tom Brady asked for his footballs to be inflated to 13.5 psi, 11.5 psi, or 86.2 kPa is at this point as irrelevant as the irrefutable superiority of the metric system is to Americans.  The organization facing public outcry ought not be the Patriots.  It’s the NFL that needs to take the heat.

According to league rules, each team keeps 12 footballs in its locker room before each game.  After the referees check the balls’ pressure to verify that they are within the legal range of 12.5-13.5 psi, the teams have enough time before opening kickoff to do whatever they want with their balls with no one watching.

This entirely unnecessary provision is not remotely the only instance of pigskin pig barrel rules.  When Lynch didn’t get handed the ball in the waning moments of the Super Bowl, he was unhappy with the situation.  He planned initially to wear pimped-out gold cleats, but because of the NFL’s strictly enforced uniform color policy, he had to wear boring black-and-green cleats when not getting the handoff.  Had he refused to comply, Lynch would not have been allowed to play until he took off his flashy shoes.

His initial punishment would have been more severe than that of Ray Rice.  Let that sink in.

This past season brought to line only a few examples of the absurdity underlying the operation of the No Fair League.  From Roger Goodell’s spectacular mishandling of the aforementioned Ray Rice scandal to Dez Bryant’s should-have-been-catch in the playoffs, the league that grosses over $9 billion and is the weekly engrosser of the nation’s attention is gross.  Its absurd rules, inefficient operation, and command of blind love in spite of its terrible reputation is rivaled only by the US government.  Perhaps Goodell should run for president – our economy might benefit from some deflation.

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