Deflategate got worse for the Patriots and the NFL yesterday.
In the morning, Coach Bill Belichick gave a press conference in which he was very credible. But in the afternoon, QB Tom Brady’s presser did not go so well. His assertion that he, a veteran NFL quarterback, did not notice the footballs were deflated particularly strained credulity. I was watching NFL Live on ESPN, and former NFL QB Mark Brunell got a bit choked up afterwards and said he just did not believe Brady. The rest of the panel, as well as others at ESPN, were almost as brutal. And Troy Aikman afterwards opined on a Dallas radio station the following: "It's obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this."
Now, in case any readers are - God forbid – not American football fans, know that deflated footballs that only one team are using are a big advantage. The quarterback can grip the football better. Receivers can catch the ball easier. Ball carriers can hold on to the ball and avoid fumbles better.
And, lo and behold, the Patriots record of not fumbling at home is off the charts and hard to explain. The 2014 Patriots are only the third team in 25 years to have never lost a fumble at home. Read Warren Sharp’s close to damning statistical analysis for yourself, but the Patriots’ astounding fumble stats beg the question whether they were using deflated footballs at home all season and even before.
Yes, the legitimacy of the entire Patriots season is now under question.
Wednesday, I said that if the Patriots win the Super Bowl accompanied by perceived help from the refs, it would be a disaster for the NFL. I now have to amend that. If the Patriots win this Super Bowl at all, it will be at least perceived as tainted by millions, more so than any Super Bowl ever (Yes, even more so than the 2006 disgrace.), and therefore a disaster for the NFL.
The NFL is in a bad situation. And I suspect nothing short of suspending Tom Brady from the Super Bowl will suffice to get them out of it.
That and rooting really hard for the Seahawks.