By Kyle Basedow
I don’t like Bill Belichick.
Never have, never will. He could save my future child from drowning and all he would get is a curt nod and a mumbled “Thank you.”
Is it because I’m a lifelong New York Jets fan? Maybe, but I like to think that I’d dislike him even if I wasn’t.
And regardless of how much I dislike Belichick, I respect the hell out of him. To take your team to six Super Bowls in 14 years on top of winning the division in 12 of those seasons? It’s nothing but impressive and you have to tip your hat (or hood) to him.
That being said, if these recent allegations regarding “Deflategate” are true, then I lose any respect I had for the man.
In case you don’t know, let me bring you up to speed on what Deflategate really is.
In the AFC Championship game this past Sunday where the Indianapolis Colts visited the New England Patriots, the Patriots were accused of playing the first half with 11 of their 12 footballs they provided being underinflated.
Each team is required to produce 12 footballs to be used when the respective teams are on offense. Each ball is weighed before the game by the officials to see if they are inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, the league standard.
The footballs that the Patriots were accused of using were underinflated by two pounds (via ESPN’s Chris Mortensen).
Now I don’t pretend to be a mathematical wizard, but when 11 out of 12 footballs were underinflated by TWO POUNDS, there is a high probability that it was done on purpose.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the Patriots have been caught cheating. Back in 2007, Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for his role in “Spygate”, an incident where the Patriots were found to be video-taping the New York Jets defensive coaching signals from a spot on the sidelines. In addition to Belichick being fined, the team was also docked $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
So, not only have they (most likely) cheated, they’ve been caught before.
And don’t try to argue that Tom Brady and the ball boys are in charge of the balls. Even if they are, Belichick is still the head coach and as such is responsible for being in-charge and over seeing everything related to the game.Embed from Getty Images
The issue here for me is not that they’ve been caught cheating, because I truly believe everyone does or at least tries to skirt the rules, but that the Patriots and Belichick have now been caught twice. Clearly, the fine of $500,000 wasn’t enough to convince them to stick to the straight and narrow, or at least be sneakier about cheating.
This has now turned into an issue about the integrity of the game. To be caught cheating twice when no other team has been caught once? Something has to be done.
Do you know what happened to Pete Rose when he compromised the integrity of baseball? The MLB banned him for life.
I’m not suggesting that Belichick or any other member of the Patriots’ organization be banned for life because Pete Rose was a special case in another sport, but this time a fine won’t cut it.
I would like the see the NFL suspend Bill Belichick effective immediately, but only for the Super Bowl. I would also like to see the loss of a future draft pick but I won’t push my luck.
To cheat the game and get caught on multiple occasions demands a strict penalty so it doesn’t happen again in the future. In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the last thing we should be talking about is the inflation level of footballs.
So next week, when the New England Patriots take the field against the Seattle Seahawks, I hope they take it without their head coach.
And I also hope that Seattle runs all over them in rout to their second consecutive Super Bowl victory.
But that’s only because I’m a Jets fan.
Feel free to comment below or yell at me on Twitter @KyleBasedow