*Disclaimer: This post is based solely on my opinions and working knowledge of the sports industry. YES, I recognize that not EVERY team cheats; but I’m wise enough to know that most, if not all of mine probably do. So if your team plays by the rules 100% of the time, congratulations! I hope my teams follow in your team’s footsteps one day!*
In the wake of “DeflateGate” and the Falcons being investigated for piping fake crowd noise into the Georgia Dome (which we’ve pretty much already admitted to being true), I thought I would write a little something about cheating in sports. Now I know we all live in a world where we’d like to believe that our favorite team(s) play by the rules…but newsflash, they don’t.
Contrary to popular belief, the New England Patriots are not the first team to (allegedly) deflate a football to help them achieve a better grip; the USC Trojans did that very thing during the 2012 season in their game against Oregon. I recognize that it’s a form of cheating and that they shouldn’t do it, but in the grand scheme of things, is it really THAT big of a deal? In the case of the AFC Championship game, it has been reported that the New England Patriots only played with the deflated balls for the first half; the score going into halftime was 17-7…..clearly the Colts still had plenty of time to come back in that game. It has also been reported that the initial findings that showed 11 of the 12 balls being deflated a full 2 pounds under the limit may be incorrect. There have been contradictory reports surrounding how much air was actually taken out the balls but for the sake of the argument let’s assume the initial findings are correct. I would like to remind everyone that they only used the balls in question during the first half of play, so how does one explain 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter? I’ll tell you how, because the New England Patriots have talented athletes all over the football field. If the Colts had any intention of winning that game, they were gonna have to score more than SEVEN points. Period. We’ll all continue to watch how DeflateGate unfolds and I’m sure people will maintain that the Patriots didn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl because they cheated, but let me ask you this: If it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the St. Louis Rams, would you still be as upset? No, no you wouldn’t. What about if it was your team, would you shun them and call them cheaters? Would you insist that their Super Bowl berth be taken away because they used underinflated balls for the first half of their AFC/NFC Championship game? Be honest. No, you wouldn’t. So while everyone is upset that the Patriots (allegedly) cheated and were able to play in the Super Bowl because of it, we should all just relax and stop being bitter that it wasn’t our team that made it to the big show.
While the city of Boston (and apparently every other city in America) is reeling over DeflateGate, I’m over here bitter that the Atlanta Falcons piped fake crowd noise into the Georgia Dome. My thoughts are this: if we’re gonna cheat, I need it to be worth the consequences that will follow. I’m sure all of you know how well the Falcons did this year (haha), so clearly our noise heightening efforts were a waste of time. So not only are we cheaters (I use that term loosely because I don’t take myself too seriously) who had another terrible season, but now we have to give up a draft pick…whomp whomp, jokes on us. Oh well, we’ll move on and deal with that consequence when it comes. Go Falcons!
I couldn’t possibly write a blog about cheating in sports if I did not address the elephant in the room (pun intended). There is not a single person on this planet that could convince me that college teams do not illegally recruit, I just simply do not believe that. Well over 65% (and that’s lowballing it) of kids that play college football don’t have an alliance to any one team, so what makes Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Texas or Ohio State (just to name a few) better than other places? It’s all about what they offer, and trust me, they offer plenty. So when college athletes get in trouble for selling their autographs and then say they feel cheated and that they feel like they should be paid to play football, I just roll my eyes. It is a PRIVILEGE to play college football, not a right. They know the rules as soon as they are recruited so it really grinds my gears when they start badmouthing the NCAA and everyone else once the consequences start rolling in. Not only do (most) college athletes get a FREE education, they have someone help them with their work, they get FREE housing, FREE meals and 1000’s of dollars worth of FREE gear for playing a revenue sport. Meanwhile, me and my peasant friends had to bust our butts academically to receive financial help for tuition, or worse, take out loans and work through school in order to pay those bills. So no, I don’t feel bad that athletes aren’t getting a check every month for playing collegiate sports, instead I feel slightly bitter that I didn’t get all those perks because I wasn’t an athlete.
I hope this post didn’t come off too snarky or harsh, I just wanted to put all this cheating talk into perspective. I am fully aware that my team bends the rules/doesn’t always abide by the rules like they should, maybe that’s where my passive attitude comes from. I just don’t want to be the pot that calls the kettle black, ya know what I mean?! I love sports and choose to take the good with the bad. There are always going to be things about the game that disappoint me but there are also a million little things that continue to draw me in and keep me coming back for more!