|At it again?|
As we begin the coutdown to the biggest sporting event in our country -- The Super Bowl -- the trending topic or pre-Super Bowl storyline is:
Did Bill Belichick or QB Tom Brady illegally authorize the deflation of 11 out of 12 footballs for an unfair advantage?
Additionally, outraged sports fans, outside of the New England area, are demanding, if found guilty, for the NFL to come down hard on Belichick and the Patriot franchise.
Belichick, no stranger to rule bending and breaking, has a history of blatantly flouting NFL rules to gain competitive advantage for his team. And as a habitual rule breaker, Belichick arrogantly taunts the league with a catch me if you can attitude.
Even the amiable 85 year old Hall of Fame former coach of the Miami Dolphins Don Shula refers to Belichick as Belicheat,
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes:
On the surface, knowingly tampering with footballs just minutes before (or during?) the AFC Championship Game in which your team is heavily favored seems, in the words of former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, "laughable.''
It is also incredibly audacious, stupid and paranoid.
It's almost as ludicrous as videotaping the defensive signals of opposing teams after the league sent a memo specifically forbidding the practice and warning there would be serious repercussions if the decree was ignored.
Spygate, Deflategate. Connect the dots and it appears to be more of the same, a haughty coach obsessed with winning who will do anything to get an edge -- and will gleefully tweak the league office in the process.
Therein lies Belichick's problem. A man who has made football his life's work, whose reverence for the game and its history is well-documented, has forever forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his own integrity.
As of press time, Belichick convincingly denied tampering with footballs or ordering an underling to do so.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he was "shocked" when informed of the allegations that his team used balls that were deflated after they were inspected by officials before Sunday's AFC title game.
"In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure," he said. "The footballs are approved by the league and officials pregame, and we play with what's out there. That's the only way that I have ever thought about that."
"I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They're a lot more sensitive to it than I am," he said, having earlier detailed his coaching philosophy of always making things difficult for players in practice as it relates to the condition of footballs.
Did Belichick just throw his QB under-the-bus? Wow, Tommy got some spain-ing to do... After all, T-Brady is on record stating his preference for handling under-flated footballs.
“I like the deflated ball.” source