Prior to this week, I never thought about the amount of air pressure in a football during NFL games. I consider that somewhat ironic because as an NFL football fan, former football writer and Seahawks Season Ticket Holder, I've spent many hours watching the game and thinking about the game.
However, as we head into Superbowl week, psi has become a household term and everyone from Tom Brady (who was eloquently thrown under the team bus by his head coach) to MIT scientists are taking taking turns weighing in how New England's balls could be 2 psi under regulation during the AFC Championship game.
I've talked to a few people who are smarter than me regarding this issue including one person who played in the NFL. I've reached my own informal conclusion regarding the Patriot's balls, which is pretty much: The balls were deflated because someone wanted them to be so. The who and the how are up to others to decide, but I feel certain it was no accident.
In my heart of hearts, I wanted this to be resolved before the Superbowl. I wanted the Superbowl to be untainted so it could just be about the Seahawks vs. the Patriots. The second conclusion I reached was that the NFL has no intention of resolving it quickly and possibly may even hope Deflate Gate fades away to a footnote during the off season.
The final conclusion I reached is that Richard Sherman may be right in his assertion that the NFL will never fairly resolve the issue as long as Commissioner Goodell and Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots remain close friends.
The only consolation I, an interested party in the Superbowl, really have is that the game will be closely watched. The Patriots balls will be under close scrutiny and the competition will be as fair as possible, equipment wise.
The sad conclusion is that Deflate Gate isn't an anomaly within the NFL. There are any number of other issues the NFL ignores on one hand and fines on the other. A few such examples include:
- The suspension of Patriot's corner Brandon Browner for being on the 3rd strike of the substance abuse policy. Apparently the 2nd strike was earned while Browner was playing in the CFL and failed to report for substance testing while he was not an employee of the NFL.
- The fining, re-fining (following the release of The Video) and ultimate suspension of Ray Rice, all the while having no idea if they'd received evidence or not. This all led to Ray Rice's year long suspension being over turned.
- Fining Marshawn Lynch for grabbing his skittles, then selling a poster of said skittles grab for $150 online. While the poster is now sold out, The Seahawks have been warned that they'll be penalized 15 yards on any kickoff in the Superbowl if Marshawn grabs his skittles on the previous touchdown. It's a whole new penalty: The Superbowl Skittles grab, without any review by the rules committee.
What they are missing as an overseeing entity, is the opportunity to be a fair and reputable organization that moves the sport forward in terms of player safety, rules development and enforcement and League HR matters. Because of these issues, I think Commissioner Gooddell will long be remembered as a self serving, over-reactive, ill prepared, poorly organized commissioner. I don't know which is worse: that he either lacks the control to act for the betterment of the sport or does not care to do so.