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Manfull: Overblown or under-inflated?

BY ERIN MANFULL | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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Never in my life would I ever expect to see Bill Nye at the top of a discussion on NFL footballs; but alas, the famed science wiz did just that last week in wake of the DeflateGate controversy. As most NFL fans know, 11 of 12 Patriot game balls were determined to be under-inflated in last week’s AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

In what seems to be the dumbest sports controversy ever, this “scandal” has been unavoidable by any sports fan out there. Every time I turn on ESPN, DeflateGate is still one of the top stories on “SportsCenter.” You’d think that the incident would have run its course by now or that the media would realize that the public couldn’t care less any more (did they ever care?).

When Patriot head coach Bill Belichick held a press conference to discuss the incident, he guessed the under-inflated balls were due to a mixture of climatic reasons and rubbing the footballs before the game. Anyone could tell you that Belichick isn’t a scientist and has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about it terms of the balls, but, of course, because of his comments, or “dissertation” as it was later mocked, the sports world started comparing Belichick with Bill Nye the Science Guy. Nye took to “Good Morning America” to disprove his new “competition,” contending that Belichick’s explanation simply didn’t make any sense.

Before I get too in depth on this topic, I just have to ask: Why is this being treated like the biggest sports scandal the nation has ever seen? Honestly, if the Patriots purposefully underinflated the balls for easier grips and passing, so what? In the long run, I don’t think slightly under-inflated game balls would make or break a win that turned out to be 45-7. If we’re really going to consider this a “scandal,” we, as a society, need to re-evaluate some things.

In the past few years, the NFL has faced domestic-abuse charges, the Saints’ “Bountygate,” and even dog fighting. This week, former Patriot tight end, Aaron Hernandez will go to trial, charged with murder. I feel like the potential murder of numerous human beings is a little more newsworthy than a few under-inflated footballs.

I get it, the Patriots have a long history of cheating accusations, and the NFL “prides” itself on integrity, but to make this one so prominent seems almost comical. Even “Saturday Night Live” picked up a sketch about it last week, mocking the entire press conference Belichick held over DeflateGate. They even made a poke at the media for focusing on such a small issue when Hernandez allegedly killed three people — again, a much more newsworthy topic.

In the end, I’m not quite sure if changing the final score from 45-7, to 44-7 really qualifies as “punishment” for a supposedly cheating team. If the NFL was really concerned about the cheating, and not just a huge publicity hype conveniently unfolding right before the Super Bowl, there would have been a different outcome in terms of consequences.

As a final thought on this over-blown “controversy,” instead of having each home team supply the balls, why doesn’t the league just supply them? If this were the case, Americans everywhere would have never had to be subjected to the horrifying publicity ploy that is now, annoyingly, widely known as DeflateGate.


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