The New England Patriots shouldn’t be punished for #Deflategate – here’s why

I didn’t want to write about “Deflategate,” but I feel like I have a take you might not have heard yet.

If you’re not aware, the “scandal” is due to the NFL’s findings that the New England Patriots were deflating their footballs during Sunday’s AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts, giving them an unfair advantage. But the Patriots won 45-7, so even if they were gripping the ball with a little more ease than their opponents, it likely didn’t matter.

Cue the outraged, sanctimonious masses.

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Folks who sped to and from work today are out there suggesting that Patriots players and coaches should be suspended for the Super Bowl because they were caught bending the rules. There’s no irony in that at all.

Never mind that it’s about as serious an offense as cursing in the office; they want justice for the Patriots misdeeds.

Stop it.

The facts are simple: If they were egregiously breaking the rules in front of the world, the referees would have called them on it. I can say with a decent amount of conviction that every NFL quarterback doctors the footballs they use, and it’s not that big of a deal.

But let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that it is a big deal.

If the Patriots have been getting away with deflating footballs for all this time that they’ve been on top of the football world and it’s truly giving them an edge over their opponents, won’t justice be served next Sunday, even if there isn’t a single punishment handed down?

Let’s be honest for a second here. The Patriots are facing one of the best defenses of the past decade in the Seattle Seahawks. If Tom Brady is suddenly forced to throw footballs that are inflated beyond his comfort zone, won’t we find out just how much the cheating has helped him? If he looks terrible next Sunday against the Legion of Boom, won’t the exposure be all the punishment needed for this minor offense?

You can rest assured that every ball put into play during the Super Bowl will be heavily scrutinized by refs and the media alike. They won’t be pulling any fast ones on us during the Big Game.

So let’s stand down on the calls for punishment. If justice needs to be served, you better believe those Seahawks are going to dole it out come next Sunday.

Photo: AP/Elise Amendola

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