Thursday, January 22, 2015
Pats Pigskin Peccadillo Simply Not Kosher
Pats Pigskin Peccadillo Simply Not Kosher
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 23, 2015
Initially dismissed as much ado about nothing, when given more thought, the New England Patriots did more than just deflate 11 out of their 12 footballs used in their demolition of the Indianapolis Colts during last Sunday’s AFC championship game.
Full disclosure, I root for the New York Giants – winners of two of their Super Bowls against the Patriots, and the New York Jets, a division rival of the Patriots. I do not like the Patriots, I do not root for them, and I think the deflating of their footballs should be punishable beyond a slap on the wrist of a $25,000 fine and the loss of a first round draft pick.
While it would be impractical to bar the Patriots from the Super Bowl due to the enormous financial investment already made by advertisers, fans, and the Glendale-Phoenix metropolitan area, for which they should not be made to suffer, there is a solution – rematch.
Have the Colts and Patriots suit up in Foxboro once again, this time with all balls under complete control by the NFL (as it should be in the first place), and tee it up. If the Patriots are as good as the 45-7 threshing they laid on the Colts, a New England victory should be the end result. While the old adage, on any given day, any given team can beat any other team is true, a rematch should erase all doubt. I realize this won’t happen as there is too little time left before the Super Bowl itself, but it is worth consideration for future cheatings.
A rematch notwithstanding, the game could be played without the two “stars” in this long winded drama – suspend Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. In his press conference on Thursday January 22, Belicheat sounded more like the inept buffoon Sergeant Hans Schultz from television’s Hogan’s Heroes. He claimed to “know nothing” in answering each question. Brady did his best impression of Barack Obama claiming to not have known anything about the deflated footballs until hearing about it Monday morning from the media.
Something happened – 11 of the 12 Patriots’ footballs were deflated to give an edge to that team, yet no one knows anything about how it happened.
Worse than the scandal itself is the message sent to not just football fans, but sports fans in general, and most specifically to the children who watch and play sports. It’s okay to cheat because there is no real punishment – certainly nothing to impact the game for which the cheating promoted the cheater. A fine of $25,000 is less than lunch money to a team worth $2.6 billion – second only to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. (www.forbes.com) Also, losing a first round draft pick will have little impact on a championship-caliber team that with little change should be just as good next season as this.
The young fans need to understand that rules are in place for a reason – so all teams play by those same rules and that the only advantage is that earned by the hard work of the athletes themselves and the team owners who invest capital to find the right formula to put a winning franchise on the field.
The NFL already has a black eye from the Ray Rice debacle. Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to step up and send a message that cheating will not be tolerated. It doesn’t matter whether the outcome of the game would have been altered, but it does matter that the Patriots have a history of playing fast and loose with the rules – spy-gate in 2008, a snow plow in 1982, as well as accusations of signal and even playbook stealing.
Cheating is wrong – on homework or tests in school, on a spouse or significant other, or on the job. There are far too many places – schools, relationships, the ball yard, or the workplace where there is such a culture of cheating it is barely acknowledged unless so egregious it must be combatted. Like the broken windows theory of governing employed so deftly by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, if cheating is addressed and punished swiftly from the outset, it will be reduced in total.
While this is not the war on Islamic extremist terrorism, the issue of racial strife in the United States, or the deficiencies of Obamacare, these are broken windows in need of repair before the entire building is condemned.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.