After a long and likely intentionally strung out investigation, the deflategate report is finally complete. While it’s facts really come as no shock to anyone, its findings now make it impossible for the Patriots to deny wrongdoing or ignorance in the matter. What’s more obvious now more than ever is that this was not an isolated incident. Text messages between locker room attendants in question and the golden boy make it quite clear that this was an ongoing practice, and one Tom Brady wasn’t just aware of but also involved in. Signed autographs on balls and game used jerseys appears to be the going rate for some under inflated pigskins.
The Ravens have moved on and are focused on 2015, and some witty twitter responses from members of the 2014 team like Torrey Smith are likely the only comment they’ll give on the matter. But behind closed doors they must be fuming, as they were perhaps the biggest victims in this whole scandal.
The Patriots pummelled the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game and would have won the game with under-inflated balls, over-inflated balls or medicine balls. They had no answer for LeGarrette Blount who had 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. The game was an absolute joke and the pressure of the ball had no significant impact on the outcome.
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The AFC divisional matchup against the Ravens, though, is a completely different story. The Patriots had to overcome two fourteen-point deficits, Tom Brady threw the ball fifty times for three touchdowns, Julian Edelman threw a touchdown, and to say the Patriots couldn’t run the ball would be a gross understatement. New England’s rushing total as a team that day was 13 carries for 14 yards. They did not run the ball ONCE in the second half. The Ravens secondary was in shambles at this point in the season but the fact that Tom Brady and Julian Edelman were tossing around a Nerf pocket vortex certainly didn’t help.
There is no point crying over spilled milk; what’s done is done and the game won’t be replayed. But if there was a game where any sort of advantage to help a passing attack impacted the outcome it was no doubt the divisional matchup versus the Ravens. While John Harbaugh, Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens organization will likely keep quiet on the matter they – and we Ravens fans – have a justifiable reason to be absolutely livid.
Roger Goodell and the NFL should come down hard on Tom Brady and the Patriots. While Bill Belichick appears to have been unaware of what was going on, ignorance is no excuse. Anything less than a two-game suspension for Brady and a loss of several meaningful draft picks in next years draft would be an insult to the integrity of the game and its fans.
However, given the Patriots’ history of skirting the rules with little accountability, don’t count on it.