Some of you may have heard that there has been an investigation into the New England Patriots and whether or not they intentionally deflated footballs in their matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Let's get three things out of the way:
1) The NFL has found that eleven of the twelve balls provided by the Patriots (each side provides their own balls for their offense) were deflated beyond the limits allowed.
2) Deflating the ball does, in fact, make an impact on the game.
3) There is almost no chance this affected the outcome of the AFC Divisional Game.
However, that isn't the end of it. It remains to be seen what actions the NFL will take, however, unless they can somehow prove that it was unintentional (and I don't know how it could be, not with ELEVEN of them appearing deflated and with the weather not cold enough to fluctuate the PSI on its own), the Patriots cheated. And that's all that matters.
Why? Because this isn't their first time. If there is one organization that does not deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to integrity of the game and cheating, it's the New England Patriots.
Spy Gate, taping the Rams, deflating footballs. But I'm sure those are all just isolated incidents that all just happen to involve the Pats.— Dylan Bishop (@DraftBishop) January 21, 2015
It doesn't matter if the game wasn't close and the Colts wouldn't have won anyway. Cheating is cheating. It's like saying if you cheat on the test but if you don't get caught it's not cheating. It's like saying that it's fine because everyone is doing it. That's your argument? That all the cool kids are doing it, so it's totally fine for you to do so as well? That didn't work on my mother, and it shouldn't work here as well.
More than questions about this particular game, it brings other games into question. There are questions about whether or not the balls in the game against the Baltimore Ravens were deflated. There should be questions about any game the Patriots have won in poor conditions. That's why this is a big deal; not because of the actual impact in the title game against the Colts.
Woody Johnson is probably going to be fined for what's likely a harmless, off-the-field comment that was plainly tampering. Bill Belichick should be as well, because assuming it was intentional, it's a plain violation of the rules that could have significant on-the-field consequences. More importantly, this isn't his first time, and the punishment should be harsh.