It was reported Sunday morning that the New York Giants tested a pair of footballs during their game last week with the Steelers, found that they were underinflated and were taking things up with the “proper authorities” according to FOX’ Jay Glazer.
And within an hour, that report was stamped out by the NFL’s Axis of Evil, the league office, ESPN and the Giants.
That could have been fun. But we all knew it wouldn’t be. The aim of Deflategate wasn’t making sure that no team ever competed with a football under 12.5 PSI. It wasn’t about a noble desire to protect the integrity of the game and make sure no team doctored footballs. It was about agenda-driven individuals from the Ravens and Colts dropping a match in a tinderbox of league-level Patriots hate. From there, dimes were dropped and propaganda was pushed and the blaze got out of control so quickly that the NFL Commissioner decided that, if he couldn’t snuff it out, he might as well watch it burn and collect the insurance money himself. Ultimately, it blew up and everybody got scarred.
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Here are three quick thoughts on the stillborn scandal that never was:
- Giants owner John Mara puffed his chest and finger-wagged during Deflategate but ultimately expressed regret that the whole thing wound up hijacking attention from the league. Mara won’t want to look like he’s not supporting his coaching staff but, as a member of the league’s management council, he knows that another mudwrestle over air pressure won’t help the “Shield.” And that’s what it’s all about.
- The Patriots' “priors” were held against them in terms of the league’s intensity in presuming guilt, conducting their investigation and meting out punishment. Consider the Steelers. Head coach Mike Tomlin paid a $100K fine for tripping Ravens kickoff returner Jacoby Jones in 2013 when Jones was en route to a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger who – as every blathering former quarterback told us during Deflategate would have been the one ordering ball deflation – had off-field behavior issues that resulted in a suspension in 2010. Would those have entered into the league’s mind as the Patriots’ videotaping incident from 2007 did?
- The NFL demonstrated how fully it moved the goalposts from air pressure to “chain of command” in their statement refuting the Glazer report. "The officiating game ball procedures were followed and there were no chain of command issues," the NFL statement said. "All footballs were in compliance and no formal complaint was filed by the Giants with our office." Initially, the Deflategate investigation was about soft footballs, nothing else. When light dawned on Marblehead at the league office and they realized that stuff shrinks in the cold, they abandoned the PSI information and instead decided they’d monitor whether anyone say, took a leak, before getting to the field. With that circumstantial, subjective, suspicion-fomenting standard established, waaaayyyy easier to pick and choose your targets.