Instead of focusing on preparing for the Super Bowl matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, the New England Patriots have spent the last week fighting off accusations of cheating. According to the NFL, 11 out of the 12 footballs used in the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts were deflated by two pounds per square inch. In theory, deflating the balls would make them easier for quarterback Tom Brady to throw and his receivers to catch.
In two press conferences this past week, coach Bill Belichick has insisted he had “no explanation” for what happened before the game with the football. He said the team even conducted its own experiments to prove that weather or normal handling of the ball could account for their change in size. Brady said, “I would never break the rules.” I find it hard to believe what Brady is saying because he wouldn’t tell the press what was said behind closed doors to his teammates. But at the same time, this doesn’t make him guilty of cheating.
Personally, I don’t think the Patriots should be forced to pay large fines or be penalized more than a fourth round draft pick because it’s only ball pressure. It’s not the reason why the Pats beat the Colts. Some people have argued that Belichick deserves to be fired for this incident, especially with his history of SpyGate, where he was accused of illegally videotaping opponents’ practices. But it isn’t his job to make sure the balls are filled to regulation; this was out of his hands. The NFL continues to investigate and has not handed out a ruling yet.
Some people have complained that this incident will affect the winning legacy of Brady and Belichick, who have won three Super Bowls together. But, as they’ll show on the field next Sunday, this won’t put a dent in their legacies.