You’ve heard it said that “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”
The New England Patriots won the American Football Conference championship in a rout over the Indianapolis Colts. Now it turns out they might have, um, cheated just a bit.
How? It’s those footballs they used. Eleven of the 12 balls the Patriots used were deflated by 2 pounds of pressure, making the balls a little easier to catch in the rainy and cold weather conditions that plagued the game in Foxboro, Mass.
This isn’t the first time the Pats have been caught and/or accused of cheating. Remember “Spy-gate,” when the Patriots reportedly spied on the New York Jets’ practice sessions prior to a game?
What should the NFL do?
Well, you can’t replay the game.
But the team ought to pay a price monetarily. Fine the coach, or whoever was responsible for the deflating the balls. Perhaps you can force the Patriots to surrender a significant portion of their earnings from the sale of “AFC Champs” gear or the proceeds from whatever they earn if they win the Super Bowl.
This all kind of reminds me of the controversy that ensued after Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in October 1974 to regain the heavyweight boxing championship. The “rope-a-dope” tactic, in which Ali leaned against the ropes and allowed Foreman to wail away while Ali covered up, worked to perfection partly — it was alleged — because someone loosened the ropes, forcing Big George to lunge a little farther to throw his haymakers. The late Angelo Dundee, Ali’s trainer, denied messing with the ropes.
I mentioned that to my wife this morning. Her answer? “George is a big, tough guy. He should have just stepped in a little closer to throw his punches.” Holy crap! I never thought of that. Good call, honey.
AFC loyalist that I am, I plan to root for the Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. However, you won’t hear me hoot and holler if they win. It’s hard to cheer out loud for cheaters.