And so, the Internet continues to collapse under the weight of deflategate. In many ways, the Brady aspect doesn’t really matter. If the NFL chooses to ban a player for tampering with a football, that’s their choice. They make the rules. As a fan of the game I understand that. As a fan of the Patriots, I understand still that the team and perhaps the QB deserve a punishment, but goodness it would have been easier to take had there been some kind of tangible evidence, other than two Sully and Marty types exchanging moronic text messages.
Tangible evidence such as, for example, a confession to two major NFL commentators that you like to inflate a football a whole half a pound heavier than legal.
Back to that in a minute.
My major issue with this absolute mess is the lack of consistency from the NFL in terms of proportionate discipline.
Jackie McMullan on ESPN raised the concerns that Brady’s punishment does not seem proportionate when put against other transgressions of differing severity.
That is the same penalty for NFL players who get busted for performance-enhancing drugs.
That punishment is two more games than Ray Rice initially received for knocking his fiancee unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator like she was a football dummy.
Perhaps even more concerning and indeed frustrating is that other NFL Quarterbacks who have a history of being involved in some shape or form with ball tampering have not even been investigated.
Two very obvious exampled jump to mind.
First Eli Manning, who had the audacity to come out with a smarmy statement last night about integrity. I suspect this comment is to try and pre-bludgeon to death any mention of his own ball tampering, which he has conducted by a team of Giants staff members, as well documented in this article.
They stop just short of giving the football a blow dry, style and massage.
Then there’s Aaron Rodgers.
The Golden Boy of the NFL is a great example of the lack of consistency in that same league as he is a self professed ball-tamperer, he has openly admitted he likes to have the football inflated as much as half a pound heavier than the legal NFL limits.
In one instance, in the below clip from the Packers-Patriots game on Nov. 30, CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms discussed openly and loudly how Rodgers wanted the football he used to feel. Here is a transcript of their in-game conversation
Nantz: We talked to [Aaron] Rodgers about 'How do you like your footballs?' Because, you know, you can rub them up before the game. [Phil], you really kind of created that for everybody else in the league.
Simms: I don’t know if I did, because the quarterbacks got tired of them complaining. But he said something [that] was unique: 'I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.' Because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes them tight. Of course, he’s got very big hands and you can tell that by watching him play.
Nantz: You’ve never heard of a guy really desiring a football to be fat and overinflated before, have you?
Simms: Everybody wants it smaller and soft, so they can dig their fingers into. He’s such a feel thrower. You can tell. The one touchdown he threw down the field to the tight end is such feel; then he flicks it. That shows you he just has great control of it, with his fingers and hand.
Nantz: He said, 'God gave me big hands and a strong grip.'
Simms: You know, the officials do check those footballs and sometimes maybe even get lucky and put an extra half pound of air in there to help Aaron Rodgers out.
Here is the video itself (in case you think we’re making this up!)
In a second, related incident, on his weekly radio show with ESPN Milwaukee, Rodgers confirmed that he prefers the balls to be overinflated, and that he doesn’t think there should be a maximum air pressure.
“It’s not an advantage when you have a football that’s inflated more than average air pressure. We’re not kicking these footballs,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
So, to summarize, Aaron Rodgers has openly admitted he likes to tamper with the football, and further to that he is saying he thinks the rule doesn’t mean anything. Aaron Rodgers is essentially taunting the NFL, ‘Hey, screw your rules, come at me bro!’ and yet, no suspension for Rodgers.
Without it, the NFL is going to continue to look a Keystone Cops of an organization.