On a more alarming note than any of the below, what faith do you have in humanity making it out of this century intact after the Internet reaction to Ballgate? Minimal, right? What’s going to save us from this out-of-control, freight train like downward dash towards complete and utter stupidity? You would think basically an alien invasion is about the only dramatic event that might snap us out of our current funk.
We’re just pathetic at this stage.
If mankind is wiped out and in the distant future another race finds a few Internet comment sections, well, the mystery of the Earth’s downfall will be solved right there and then.
On to Ballgate and the Patriots’ status as the most hated team in the NFL.
This thing has just been blown way, way out of any kind of proportion. It's simply ridiculous. Look, if Deadspin is among the voices of calm reason, well you know something has escalated beyond silly all the way to bat-shit stupid.
''The more context that emerges, the more it feels like messing with footballs is akin to pitchers doctoring baseballs: everybody does it, and nobody looks too closely until an opponent publicly complains.''
As Deadspin says, lots of QBs doctor balls. We're not excusing it, by the way, we're merely saying, here are all these other guys who also mess with their balls, and yet there isn't a gigantic Internet explosion about these incidents.
Aaron Rodgers apparently likes the balls to be inflated past the league directed digits. It's widely detailed that he has discussed this openly. Peyton Manning actually lobbied the league to allow QBs 'inspect' the game balls pre-game. Gosh, I wonder why they would want to do that. Eli? Oh, no big deal, his crack special forces balls team spends hours on end scouring, rubbing up and otherwise doctoring footballs for him to use. But, again, no big deal, right?
Within that article, written in 2013, the following stands out;
''For every N.F.L. game, each team has 12 to 20 balls that it has meticulously groomed and prepared according to the needs of its starting quarterback. The balls, brushed and primed using various obvious and semisecret techniques, bear the team logo and are switched out from sideline to sideline depending on which team is on offense.''I mean, C'Mon, Man, right? 'Semisecret techniques'? Oh that sounds totally legitimate! Why did the Internet not explode after this article was printed, pretty much documenting how Manning likes to have his balls doctored (stop grinning!).
Of all the non-issues currently clogging up the Internet, this has to be one of the dumbest of all time. The referees supposedly caught this ‘issue’ at half time, and even if the Patriots did indeed do something to the balls, something along the lines of many NFL QBs (Manning by two and Rodgers, as mentioned already) then it certainly didn’t have any effect on the outcome as the Patriots went on to win the second half 28-0, with, ahem, clean balls.
So why is this being treated like Darth Vader himself just came down from space and executed everyone on the Internet’s puppy?
Because it is the Patriots. Oh, everyone loves to hate the Patriots. Popularity and indeed success breed contempt.
In the eighties everyone hated the 49ers. In the 90s everyone hated the Cowboys (now we just laugh at them). In the 2000s, that mantle, American’s most hated NFL team has been passed on to New England. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that grouping of teams.
I talked to good friend and Sports Psychologist David Mullins about this, and he offered up clear, simple logic as to why everyone hates the Patriots.
''I said to a guy before playoffs started that I'd love to see a Patriots v Seahawks Superbowl as for me they are the two best teams and best run clubs. He couldn't understand that I would want that. He despised the idea of either doing well. It comes down to a lack of personal success and seeing others success as highlighting their own failures. So then they have to come up with reasons why the successful are lucky or cheating etc to excuse their own failings.''
Everyone hated the 49ers, everyone really hated the Cowboys. Today everyone hates the Patriots.
The only difference, and it is a major one, thanks to the Internet, people are getting really good at ‘hating’, really loud, and really good. ‘Hate’ is going to a new level of vitriol and indeed volume. Hate is eventually going to consume us completely, and all that will be left is some Internet comment sections for future alien races to recognize exactly where we, literally, fell off the map.