Deflate Gate was a witch hunt

Photo Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Photo Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Nearly 16 days after the Deflate Gate story hit the internet, the story is shaping up to be little more than a viral video would be. The more that has come out following the Bill Belichick scientific breakdown, the more the FACTS reported by the NFL seem to clear the Patriots. The FACT is, for people who hate the Patriots, or are sick of seeing them win, this was a witch hunt and it started with Mortensen’s report:

Excerpt from Mortensen’s report: ‘The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL’s requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game told ESPN.’

This isn’t an excerpt half way through the article. This was the world wide leader in sports (ESPN) first published article on deflate gate and it was first sentence in that article. This report started a media frenzy that led to ‘anonymous sources’ making up stuff and misreporting became as viral as the story itself.

Like most fans, I’ll be interested to see how Goodell handles this situation because Robert Kraft called for an apology and before I wasn’t so sure, but now, I think he and the Patriots deserves one. Like most things this NFL season, the league has taken a hit on how they handled the situation. ‘League sources’ leaking faulty information to Chris Mortensen and taking forever to determine something rather simple.

The latest confirmed league reports read as follows: The person who initially brought the deflated footballs to the referees attention was Colts GM Ryan Grigson. It’s unclear when he found out, or was informed of the footballs, but he asked referees to check the footballs at halftime of the AFC Championship game.

Mortensen said 11 of the 12 balls were inflated ‘significantly’ and that report is false according to the NFL. Ian Rapoport has been all over this story, and actually works for the NFL, has reported the following:

‘Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be under the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just one was two pounds under. Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum.’

Rapoport also added that an elderly ball attendant took the footballs, for both the Colts and Patriots, into the bathroom for 98 seconds according to confirmed video. Also, many of those balls that were just a few ticks under the league minimum of 12.5 PSI were put back into play by referee Walt Anderson after he checked them and determined they were fine.

The rest of this story will fall into place over the coming weeks, but the more that has surfaced, the more it seems like atmospheric conditions may have left the footballs a few ticks below the acceptable limit. Once those balls were put into Walt Anderson’s hands, he acted for the league and determined they were fine and could be used in game action.

Walt Anderson has been an official in the NFL since the 1996 season. That’s coming up on 20 years of experience. He’s called two Super Bowls and been a head referee since the start of the 2003 season. When the decision to play with those football’s was put in Anderson’s hands, it was put into very capable hands and that is FACT.

Like everybody else, I’m conditioned to think that the media wouldn’t put out stories that could be false, so like most, I reacted with disappointment towards the Patriots. I was aggravated that New England would have cheated against a Colts team that had no real chance to beat them. I was a prisoner of the moment, but it is apparent that the moment was full of media members and Patriot-critics trying to settle a score because they don’t like Belichick the person. That’s childish.

The Patriots once again leave the season on top of the league and whether you like them or not, Belichick and Brady still have a window open for another run. The Patriots will be favored to return to the Super Bowl, especially if Darrelle Revis is resigned to the roster and other key contributors come back.


Categories: Articles, Patriots

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