Deflate Gate: the NFL Must Take Severe Action
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates with Lamar Hunt Trophy while being interviews by CBS announcer Jim Nantz after the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL has reported that 11 of the 12 balls they checked were under inflated for the AFC Championship game. In addition to that the Baltimore Ravens have complained to the league about an under inflated kicking ball the week before when they faced the Patriots.
Jets fans are furious! The comment sections around the web have Jet fans calling Bill Belichick a cheater. Some are screaming for a year’s suspension of the coach. Other fans are calling for their first round pick to be taken. Still others are calling for the Patriots to be removed from the Super Bowl.
The NFL has said that they will announce the punishment for the violations as soon as the investigation is concluded. I believe they need to come down hard on the Patriots! I say that not because I’m a Jet fan, I say it because I’m a fan of the league, and a fan of the game. This violation is a serious one for the league, and I’ll tell you why.
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterbackTom Brady
(12) talks with head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Any form of cheating destroys the integrity of the NFL and the entire sport. Cheating no matter how minor, has to be handled by the league office with serious consequences. The NFL has had a tough year in the PR department, and it’s a direct result of not taking situations like this very seriously. The league needs to stand up and take this one by the horns, its a direct violation of the rules, and it needs to be handled as such.
The case against the Pats is a slam dunk. The NFL examined the balls, they were under inflated. It doesn’t matter who did it, the HC, the OC, the QB, or even the ball boys. The Patriots team was responsible to provide legal footballs for the game, and they decided to under inflate footballs. It’s that simple, no excuses. They cheated. End of story.
Next: The Monetary Factor
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. The league brings in millions from TV contracts alone. The NFL also receives millions of dollars from its merchandise, everything from team jerseys, to properly inflated footballs! A cheating scam like this one, can put that money in jeopardy.
Now you might say the networks aren’t about to pull out of their contracts over this, and you’d be right. I will say this however, if the league doesn’t put a stop to this now, and it continues, those contracts will be put in jeopardy. Merchandise sales could fail to meet their quotas as well. How many folks are running out to buy a Tom Brady jersey?
This is serious stuff! It’s cheating! The NFL needs to stand up and discipline this team with everything they have at their disposal. Fines against the organization are ridiculous! We saw how that worked after “Spy Gate”!! Fining a multi millionaire franchise a couple of hundred thousand for cheating is a joke!
Next: Gambling Factor
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) greets quarterback Tom Brady (12) after the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Look folks, the NFL’s integrity is at stake. This is serious stuff. A multi billion dollar sports betting system is also at stake. States across the country have come to legalize sports betting over the past decade. Las Vegas and other casinos around the country now have football betting parlors. It’s a billion dollar/yr business, and that is without counting online betting sites!
Cheating, if it is allowed to continue, will destroy the sports betting industry, along with the NFL itself. Fans that wager on these games, do so under the assumption that the game is played fairly. I have to wonder how fans that bet the AFC Championship game feel today. No the balls didn’t have any effect on the outcome, but it did cause serious concerns about how fairly these games are being played. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be betting this Super Bowl!
As I’ve said before, the NFL and its Commissioner need to restore the NFL to its once prestigious place in the sporting world. Much has been done to damage that reputation. Domestic Violence, Guns, Drugs, and even murderers have seriously damaged the league’s reputation. If cheating is brushed aside with a “slap on the wrist” as many of these issues have been in the past, the league will put itself in a position of total incompetence. It needs a strong condemnation of cheating, and an equally severe punishment for violations.
Next: Suggested Punishment
Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; General view NFL logo during an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s what I think the NFL needs to do to restore its integrity. First and most importantly, the league should not allow the Patriots to play in this year’s Super Bowl. Rewarding a team for cheating, makes no sense. Allow the Colts to play the game against the Seahawks.
The second thing the Commissioner needs to do is strip all the titles the New England Patriots have won this year. The AFC East title should be taken from them. The AFC Championship should be stripped as well. The team has been caught cheating, and there is no way to prove how long this type of thing has been going on. The cheating has tarnished all of those titles, they should be stripped from the Patriots.
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Next, the NFL needs to punish the organization. Draft picks should be taken. The head coach needs to be suspended, as this is not the first time his team has violated league rules. The ownership needs to be fined. Ownership should receive the highest fines allowable, this needs to be done so that ownership stops the cheating.
The NFL needs to punish the New England Patriots severely. It needs to make a statement to other teams; try this, and you will get the same. My suggestion to the league would be this: the New England Patriots should surrender this year’s and next year’s first round picks. They should be stripped of all victories, and titles for 2014 and not be allowed to play in the Super Bowl. Furthermore, Bill Belichick should be suspended from the league for the 2015 season. Owner Robert Kraft should be fined at least ten million dollars.
It may seem like too severe a punishment for under inflating footballs, but I don’t think so. It’s about cheating and the NFL’s integrity. It may seem minor, but it’s not, there are billions of dollars at stake and the league’s future. The NFL needs to set a precedent here, cheating of any sort will have serious consequences for everyone involved!
I wrote this piece because I love the game of football, and I love the NFL. As a Jet fan, I can’t stand the New England Patriots. I’d propose the same punishment if it were the Jets or any other team caught cheating! The NFL owes it to their fans, business partners, and the game itself! That’s where I stand, time to discuss this one. Let’s talk football!