For several days before the Super Bowl the lead story on almost every national news broadcast was deflategate, and how the New England Patriots cheated by having footballs inflated to under the NFL minimums. You could hardly visit any news or sports site and not see numerous references to the incident, with all sorts of “insiders” (note the quotes) talking about how under-inflated all the balls were and what their so-called NFL sources were saying about the investigation. That was followed up by several empty talking heads saying the Patriots should be disqualified from the Super Bowl and the Indianapolis Colts sent in their place or that head coach Bill Belichick or quarterback Tom Brady should be suspended for the game.
Neverminding the fact that the Patriots played better in the second half of the AFC Championship game when new balls were introduced after the ones used in the first half were removed from the game, and that there was no information actually coming from the NFL about the situation other than they were “conducting an investigation”, the amount of people that had already made up their minds that Belichick and the Patriots were guilty turned the issue into a massive news story.
“Once a cheater, always a cheater” was mentioned by several talking heads, referring to Spygate. These “experts” (again, note the quotes) would then follow up with how the Patriots videotaped walkthroughs so they of course would do anything to gain an advantage. The fact the NFL concluded Belichick and New England didn’t tape any walkthroughs and the report that they did so was retracted by the Boston Herald meant nothing to them. The Patriots were guilty, and that was that.
Deflategate was such a big story there were even scientists shown on multiple news broadcasts and web videos talking about atmospheric pressure and how weather conditions can (or can’t) cause a ball to deflate. It reached the point of being humorous, with all these experts in the field talking like they had the answer despite no one knowing what any of the facts of the situation really were. So how come when two teams come out and actually admit to violating NFL rules it hardly causes a whisper?
The Cleveland Browns admit that there were text messages sent from front office personnel to the Browns’ coaching staff during games, which is a clear violation of NFL rules. The Atlanta Falcons admit to pumping in crowd noise during home games at the Georgia Dome, another no-no in the NFL rules. You’d think that with all the obvious concerns over so-called cheating in the NFL the mainstream media would be all over this, and if not them then certainly the major sports sites would be covering it. Yet I just checked the front pages of seven different major news and sports sites and not a single mention could be found.
Could the real reason be because those two teams are terrible? Over the last two seasons Atlanta has won 10 games combined, and Cleveland is only slightly better with 11. New England had 13 regular season wins this season, plus three playoff victories. There’s nothing to gain by kicking teams when they’re down, so the Falcons and Browns breaking the rules will barely be a footnote in the years to come. Suspensions might be coming, draft picks may be lost, and fines are certainly in the works, but in the long run those two train wreck franchises aren’t going anywhere anytime soon so almost no one will care in years to come.
Kind of like how they don’t care about it today.