Neither NFL team I was rooting for on Sunday won.
Not that I had any strong allegiance to any of the four teams playing for their respective division titles. It mostly came down to picking Green Bay for sentimental reasons and Indianapolis because the Patriots just bug me–the team as a whole and Tom Brady in particular.
Now it turns out that the NFL is investigating allegations of cheating by the New England Patriots. The focus of the investigation is whether the team intentionally deflated footballs used in Sunday’s game, which to me seems incredibly silly considering that the Pats tromped the Colts 45-7. I hardly think properly inflated footballs would have made much of a difference. Indianapolis was simply outmatched and outplayed on this particular Sunday. If New England cheated, they didn’t need to, and if found guilty, the punishment will most likely be the loss of a couple of draft picks. They’re still going to the Big Game.
“Deflate-gate” is just the latest in a string of accusations of cheating by the Patriots and will likely come to nothing. What’s the big deal? Should we simply follow quarterback Tom Brady’s lead and laugh it off?
Maybe. But maybe not. I don’t know what will come of this latest investigation, but I do know that in previous controversies involving the Patriots the team wasn’t technically cheating. They stay within the rules, but many question whether they conform to the spirit of the rules and fair competition.*
That’s what bugs me.
It’s only cheating if you get caught.
Wait, check that. It’s only cheating if you get caught AND they can prove beyond any doubt that you cheated, in the meantime, quit your whining and accept that WE ARE WINNERS! I’m not picking on the Patriots, the world is awash in people taking short cuts, taking advantage and jumping through loopholes to get to the top.
Between 1999 and 2005, Lance Armstrong was credited to have won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven consecutive times.
He became a larger than life symbol of excellence and overcoming adversity, all the while consistently and voraciously denying any accusations that he used performance enhancing drugs. He even went so far as to sue journalists, friends and colleagues who accused him of doping. If he was cheating and getting away with it, there had to be a massive cover up involving numerous people, which is exactly what happened.
In the aftermath of his finally admitting that he was cheating all along, he not only brought shame on himself and the sport of cycling, but sullied the name of LiveStrong, his cancer awareness charity which has raised over 500 million dollars. (They have since cut ties with Armstrong.)
Cheating created an international superstar far beyond the sport of cycling, but Armstrong will forever be remembered for his deception, not his contribution to the sport. Meanwhile, a $100 million law suit and an arbitration for multiple millions more threaten to take away his considerable personal fortune.
*One notable exception: The NFL determined that the Patriots illegally videotaped opponents from 2002 to 2007. Roger Goodell fined the team $250,000, and stripped New England of a first-round draft choice. Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest financial penalty against a coach ever.