Finally, a controversy of national, possibly international, import worthy of my sleuthing talents. Finally a brouhaha worthy of, and waiting for, presidential pronouncement, equal to, if not exceeding, previous statements on the absurd rush to arrest a distinguished Afro-American Harvard professor caught in the act of breaking into his Cambridge, Mass., home, arrested merely because said professor was black, or the tragic, possibly fatal, mistakes awaiting Afro-American young men encountered by police.
Yes, we now have a cliffhanger of a crime that defies explanation and threatens to upstage the NFL's Super Bowl party. Deflategate. How could 11 of 12 properly inflated footballs each lose two pounds of pressure per square inch from the moment two hours and fifteen minutes before game time that the officials handed the balls over to the New England Patriots till half time of their conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts when the refs re-measured the pressure inside the balls?
Who did it? We don’t know. We know the why. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on record as saying he prefers underinflated balls. Brady denies any involvement in the deflation scandal. So does coach Bill Belichick.
It’s too much of a coincidence to believe all but one ball lost air pressure naturally without the aid of knowing hands and a small air pin.
The mischievous, illegal deed had virtually no impact on the game—New England handily won 45-7. In the first half, using soft balls, Brady’s bunch scored 17 points. In the second half, with regulation balls back in play, Brady engineered 28 more points. Go figure.
But who did it? We can’t go to the videotape, or maybe we can if the perp did it on the sidelines. Surely a camera must have caught the pigskin paring. Probably a long shot at best, however.
Instead of the videotape, let’s go to the movies (or stage play) of…Becket, a dramatic presentation of the war of wills between former best friends King Henry II of England and Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Frustrated that Becket continuously thwarted his designs, Henry voiced out loud his exasperation. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?,” Henry is said to have uttered. Four well-intentioned knights, patriots all, took it upon themselves to commit murder in the cathedral, a crime for which Henry took the blame and some punishment, though not excommunication.
So here’s my theory—knowing Brady’s preference for underinflated balls, someone, or some few, on the Patriots’ equipment squad took it upon themselves to let the air out of the balls. For all we know, this practice could have been standard procedure before all games this season and many a season prior. No one was the wiser until the cheating was discovered during the conference championship game.
Will we ever find out who did it? Doubtful. Will Belichick and Brady be punished? Maybe the coach will be suspended for a few games next season, as he is the person ultimately responsible for everything football related. Brady will walk away with no penalty other than a cloud over his once hallowed reputation.