Seriously? Those bad boys on Team Patriots. Serving up underinflated balls? Yes, I can only imagine the lewd comments from some of my friends to that line. But I can think of no better way to state the problem. The crime! The unthinkable! There are so many issues revolving around this dirty deed that I can’t even begin to go there. The most disturbing thing of all: Jane Watkins is writing a blog about football. In spite of his continual coaching, I still can’t remember what Bob told me is an offsides infraction. [For strictly educational purposes—thus making my blog an educational endeavor—I offer the following definition: In gridiron football, offside is a foul in which a player is on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. This foul occurs simultaneously with the snap. Unlike offensive players, defensive players are not compelled to come to a set position before the snap.]
I can’t even recall what I’ve been told countless times are touchbacks. [Again, In American football, a touchback is a ruling which is made and signaled by an official when the ball becomes dead on or behind a team’s own goal line (i.e., in an end zone) and the opposing team gave the ball the momentum, or impetus, to travel over or across the goal line.]
HOWEVER, I believe I do know injustice and downright tomfoolery when I see it. When the Patriots’ deceit aired on the news earlier this week, Bob and I made a collective gasp at the treachery. Then what can only be described as “a knowing glance” shot between the two of us. Our Denver Broncos! Research shows that the Broncos have lost five of the last six games with the Patriots. Now we know why! It couldn’t have been our offense. I mean really. We have Peyton Manning. Shabby defense? Give me a break! They were the ones with the underinflated balls. (EEEKK.) I mean to say, they were fighting against an offense with underinflated balls. [Something I ALWAYS suspected about the Patriots.]
I know what my critics are about to say: altitude. That’s right . . . not attitude, but altitude. In The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, Levine, Stray-Gunnersen, and Mehta state the case in their abstract for this scholarly article: Altitude will impact football performance through two separate and parallel pathways related to the hypobaric (physical) and hypoxic (physiological) components of terrestrial altitude: (a) the decrease in partial pressure of oxygen reduces maximal oxygen uptake and impairs ‘‘aerobic’’ performance by reducing maximal aerobic power, increasing the relative intensity of any given absolute level of work, and delaying recovery of high-energy phosphates between high-intensity ‘‘interval’’ type efforts; (b) the decrease in air density reduces air resistance which will facilitate high-velocity running, but will also alter drag and lift thereby impairing sensorimotor skills. These effects appear to have their greatest impact very early in the altitude exposure, and their physiological/neurosensory consequences are ameliorated by acclimatization, though the extent of restoration of sea level type performance depends on the absolute magnitude of the competing and living altitudes.
If you read that entire passage you may understand why my quoting this makes me feel like I’m the Scarecrow reciting the Pythagoras Theorem right after receiving the much sought after Th.D. diploma [Dr. of Thinkology]. Yet I must cite this for those skeptical of the Broncos losses to the Patriots. First, if the Patriots are at an altitudinal disadvantage, the Broncos are just as compromised in that heavy New England air. Second, the Broncos are not responsible for the effect of altitude on the Mile High City; the Patriots and their underinflated balls, not so much! [I realize that I could be using the word footballs rather than balls, but I do so love double entendre.]
Now for the two most compelling issues for this blogger:
1) The punishment for this is $25,000? Seriously? What NFL team wouldn’t pay $25,000 each and every time they play if it would skew a victory their way? Most NFL players could drop $25,000 just for a new watch. Team owners? A trusty source tells me that they wipe with $100 bills. You must search your own heart to decide what they are wiping.
I say let the punishment fit the crime! The Boston Globe states: If the Patriots are found to have deliberately doctored footballs, the organization can be fined a minimum of $25,000, and if the NFL finds the incident egregious, the Patriots could potentially lose a draft pick. In 2007, Commissioner Roger Goodell took away a first-round draft pick and fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick after determining the team had spied on an opponent. Yes, friends. They were punished in 2007 for “Spygate.” Now we are looking at “Deflategate.” [I SO didn’t make that up. See The Globe!] $25,000? Loss of a first-round draft pick? Give me a break. Let’s levy justice and make them FORFEIT THE GAME.
2) My second issue has nothing to do with football, but more to do with constant abuse of the English language. My dearest friends will not be surprised at my angst at hearing commentators constantly speaking of “soft footballs.” This is the way they are referring to the underinflated footballs. Think of it this way: I’m a sales clerk trying to sell you a sweater saying, “You will love this one! It is as soft as an underinflated football!” Or you are a guest in my home and I offer you my favorite blanket saying, “You will feel so cozy with this blanket. It is as soft as an underinflated football!”
Light bulb moment: TV commercial blares “Try the all new Belichick Fabric Softener! Your clothes will come out of the dryer as soft as underinflated footballs!” Yeah. I’m so gonna buy that.
I believe this particular rant has spent itself out. So, with apologies to my dear sweet friends who are Patriots fans, I leave you with this idea. Let’s not call these underinflated footballs since it leaves way too much room for double entendre. Let’s not call these soft footballs since it is just gauche and grammatically poor. Let’s call them exactly what they are: Patriot Missiles! If you doubt that, just ask the Colts.