All posts by dustinthescoop

Wait, There’s a LOGICAL Answer to Deflate Gate?

Courtesy of AP Photo/Rick Osentoski
Courtesy of AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

A little over a week removed from the emergence of Deflate Gate, and with the dust settled from the numerous press conferences, exclusive reports, and a Super Bowl being hailed as one of the most dramatic in history, I’ve figured out just what happened to those 12 footballs in question three Sundays ago in Foxborough, MA.

By figured out, I mean that I’ve compiled about as airtight (no pun intended) a theory as I’ve heard or read from anyone, after breaking down all of what we know or think we know about the league’s ongoing investigation.

All teams cheat.

By cheat, I mean that all teams look for any extra advantage they can find that, in their estimation, falls between the written and unwritten rules.

The Patriots infamously violated league rules from 2000-07 by recording the signals of opposing coaches from the sidelines, but their defense was to try and tie the rule stating teams could not record “on the field” with another rule dictating that recording devices can’t be used to “aid a team during the playing of a game.”

Unfortunately for them, Roger Goodell hammered Bill Belichick and New England thanks in part to a 2006 memo outlawing recording an opponents signals during the course of a game, regardless of the circumstances.*

ABC News
ABC News

Step forward in time to Saturday, January 24th, 2015, and you find Belichick defending his Patriots from another scandal. In the midst of an impromptu press conference on the science of football PSI, he stated, “We as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” and “we did everything as right as we could.”

While talking to a good friend of mine who races boats as a hobby, he reminded me of an adage I’ve heard before.

It’s not what’s in the rule book, but what isn’t.

What’s in the rule book is the description of a regulation football with the proper air pressure of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI. Once the Referee has ruled the game balls as up to code, they “shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.”

A few things to note:

  1. Nowhere in Rule 2  – Section 1 or 2 (the portion of the NFL rulebook pertaining to The Ball) does it stated that a team cannot add or remove air from a game ball.
  2. It is not written what can or can’t be done to the game balls between the time they are handed from the Referee to the ball attendant and kickoff.**

Combine all of this with Ian Rapoport’s revelation that only 1 of the 12 game balls was significantly below 12.5 PSI, while 10 others measured just under regulation, and we come to my theory.

Someone from New England’s staff, likely the ball attendant allegedly captured on video disappearing into a bathroom for 98 seconds with balls in tow, took air out of those footballs.

They just didn’t take them below 12.5 PSI.***

One ball did wind up with substantially less air in it than the others, but that can be accounted for by keeping the needle or air gauge used to accomplish the task in for a few seconds too long.

ABC News
ABC News

Tom Brady stressed twiced in his maligned presser that he likes the football to be at 12.5 PSI. Belichick said that even though, “the officials were asked to inflate (the balls) to 12.5 PSI,” that it is, “the official’s discretion to put them where he wants.”

If Brady wants the balls at 12.5 PSI, but the officials can put them up to 13.5, then how do you know that the game balls are inflated to where the QB wants them to be? By having an “elderly” ball attendant take them into a bathroom on his way out to the field and taking some air out. Just not enough to bring the balls below league specs.

I believe Belichick when he says, “We feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter.”

I believe Brady when he says he, “would never have someone do something that I thought was outside the rules.”

I also find it interesting that no one from the Patriots game day staff has stepped forward and explicitly denied removing air from the game balls.****

The truth is somewhere between what is and isn’t said.

Just like competitors in any sport look for what is and isn’t in the rule book in order to gain the upper hand.


 

NOTES:

*If anyone tries to tell you the Patriots also recorded the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXVI walkthrough practice, remind them that no evidence ever surfaced and the Boston Herald retracted the story they ran that provided this bit of misinformation still circulating today.

**In Chris Mortensen’s initial report, he says that NFL rules do not allow alteration of game balls after they’ve been approved. I could not find that in the rule book posted on NFL.com, but considering a memo sent out in 2006 by the league specifically prohibited recording opponents signals, the Patriots’ history of massaging the rule book to justify their actions doesn’t kill this theory. It would just add to the likelihood that the league punishes the Patriots.

***Human error during the process of removing the air or the atmospheric conditions that Belichick detailed in his January 24th science lesson could account for the balls dropping slightly below the 12.5 PSI mark in the first half.

****Robert Kraft did demand an apology, “if the Wells’ investigation is not able to definitively determine that (the Patriots) tampered with the air pressure.” However, the statement simply put the burden of proof on the NFL, and was not an outright denial of guilt.


 

Dustin Copening is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @SNUtilityMan.

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Super Bowl Sanctions Make No Sense

zimbio.com

The game of “How Outraged Can I Be At The NFL?” has reached an all-time high. It’s traveled so high into the stratosphere that a founding member of ESPN The Magazine suggested on Friday that “the Patriots should be benched for Super Bowl XLIX.”

The absurdity of any moment in today’s “react first then reflect later” environment is only topped by the absurd reactions of the paid experts who report on them.

Roxanne Jones, the author of this insane suggestion, is not alone in her blood thirst. NFL Hall of Famer and Cowboys Ring Of Honor inductee Troy Aikman publicly condemned Tom Brady the morning after a Chris Mortensen report revealed that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch.

Such a tremendous reduction in air pressure should be noticeable to anyone who has handled a football in the NFL, so Aikman, Mark Brunell, and several other experts believe to be true.

Then there’s Amani Toomer, who when holding a 10 PSI football compared to a 13 PSI football said, “It’s (the difference in air pressure) not noticeable.” Dan Marino proclaimed belief in Brady’s innocence, and a doubt that he would have paid any attention to the firmness of a pigskin, or lack there of.

So which pro player is more believable than the other? That’s all that this outrage comes down to.

It’s not about what is known, but what is believed.

It is known that the New England Patriots played the 1st half of the AFC Championship Game with footballs that were under-inflated. No ifs, ands, or buts.

However Miss Jones, Mr. Aikman, and a host of other indignant folks believe that it is enough evidence to alter the legitimacy of the NFL’s crown jewel. The bath water is so sour, that the baby that is the 20 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl must be tossed out.

Let’s dance then.

Indy please board your plane to Arizona.

The Colts lost by 38 points, though, so wouldn’t it make more sense to advance the team that played the Pats to the closest finish in the playoffs?

Baltimore, you are the logical choice to represent the AFC next Sunday. Or are you?

Indianapolis believed that New England used sub-inflated footballs back in week 11. Wouldn’t that suggest that every Pats game from that moment on should be forfeited?

At 7-9, the Patriots wouldn’t even be eligible for the playoffs. The Dolphins would win the East, so reseed the whole damn thing. That includes the NFC playoffs, because the Lions would be NFC North champs with a bye week and hosting a home game instead of traveling to Dallas in the Wild Card Round.

The sanctity of sport requires us to take every precaution necessary.

Hogwash.

Even with the simplest proposal of suspending Belichick, Brady, or both for the Super Bowl, how could anyone sanely suggest that a Seattle victory would be seen as free from bias?

That’s assuming that proof surfaces that either of those gentlemen had a hand in Deflate-Gate.

Imagine the genuine outrage that would come if a 6-month investigation proved that the missing PSI was an accident. An act of God that no one could account for. How cheap would Super Bowl XLIX be then?

The proper play for Roger Goodell and the NFL is to allow the investigation to play out. If it is found that the Patriots organization intentionally broke the rules, then punish them in due time and with a penalty that is appropriate according to the known facts. (As of this afternoon, the Patriots have now set their cross-hairs on a member of their locker room staff as the guilty party.)

Sadly for some, that means that we will see a fully intact Pats roster and coaching staff on the field of University Of Phoenix Stadium a week from now.

That’s okay though.

At least it gives you someone to root against, but be honest. You hated the Patriots long before nearly a dozen footballs lost some air.


Dustin Copening is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @SNUtilityMan.

 

Raining On The Ice Bucket Challenge Parade

It takes a special kind of knucklehead to see a hornets nest, realize the worst thing they could possibly do is run head first at it and still lack the common sense to walk away.

So here you go, hornets. Sting away, because I’ve had enough of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

ice bucket waste
Credit: Some Jackwagon Without A Soul

Unless you’ve just time traveled from 1996, you know that 1) the Dallas Cowboys are a pathetic football franchise, and 2) people are falling all over themselves to post videos to Facebook where they dump gallons of ice water over themselves and maybe send some money to the ALSA.

For those of you not nuanced in the fine art of sarcasm, I’m aware that this insanely popular fad has generated $41 million plus and counting in under a month. I can’t even begin to comprehend the flabbergasting nature of that figure, mainly because I continue to underestimate the power of people wanting to see their friends and family (and especially famous people) make asses out of themselves in public.

Usually it would be perfectly fine to question why America has lost its damn mind over the most captivating thing to hit the interwebs since “Chocolate Rain” (too dated?), but this time it’s for charity. So get on board with the madness or get the F out of the way!

Trust me. It’s not a good idea to take the perceived stance that you hope the Ice Bucket Challenge ends up as a headliner at next year’s Summerbash, never to be heard from again as Lou Gehrig’s disease goes uncured.

It will cost you at least 4 followers on Twitter (and probably a few more after this hits The Scoop newsstand), and strangers on your friend’s Facebook thread will toss insults at you while questioning if you ever step out of your mother’s basement to make the world a better place. All this for daring to ask the question, “Has this bit gone too far?”

In fairness to the Twitter followers who abandoned the snark express, I did claim that nothing was being accomplished, but 140 characters doesn’t exactly leave room for clarity and reason.

Thankfully for me, I’ve found others who have been putting in the work of analyzing if Ice Bucketers are a group whose deeds are beyond questioning.

One of the first responses to my hastily worded assault on freedom of expression was a gentleman from the fine state of California bringing up the obvious – yet not so obvious point for some – that dumping 5 gallons of water over your head is a big waste of a dwindling resource. And this guy is an Angels fan, so he knows a lot about wasting resources! Hello Josh Hamilton’s contract…

Jason Ruiz from the Long Beach Post took on the impossible task of calculating how much water has been deposited on the ground as checks are being deposited into the ALS research bank account.

It’s not an astronomical sum, but it’s enough to make you consider ways to cancel out the water you’re throwing down the drain by conserving elsewhere.

So if the water waste isn’t going to cause the lakes to dry up in 2 years as opposed to 10, then what is the real harm?

It all comes down to disposable income, and how much of it is disproportionately flowing to ALS instead of the other wealth of charities that people would otherwise donate to.

QZ.com’s William MacAskill used a lot of fancy words to explain how the amazing boon of money going to ALS is not by default a wonderful thing, and that was before another $38 million rolled in.

Don’t want to believe some egghead? How about the Dallas Mavericks’ owner and Shark Tank’s very own Mark Cuban? Because he doesn’t know anything about the wise investment of money, right?

It turns out that Cubes is also concerned that the massive amount of cash being brought in for ALS has tipped the scales against other very worthy causes that need the attention and money this phenomenon has diverted away.

If you’ve taken part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, you’re probably not some mindless drone sucking at the teet of social media fame with reckless abandon, but you’re also not the Mother Teresa of your time who is about to rid the world of the disease that gave Baltimore Orioles fans something to take their minds off of not winning a playoff series since 1983.

So give jackasses like me the benefit of the doubt that while we may have the nerve to wonder aloud just how great this Ice Bucket thing really is, we do have a soul and a heart that hopes ALS gets its ass kicked off the planet.

We just think there might be a more efficient way to go about it.

 

Dustin Copening is a Sports Contributor for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @PFUtilityMan.


Founder’s Note: As many of you may have witnessed my personal Ice Bucket Challenge video (more like “profanity-laden nightmare of a moment”), you will know that we at The Scoop obviously support raising money for ALS research. I am extraordinarily grateful to those who contributed to my fundraising drive, as well as the many charitable causes that we have supported over the past weeks. While we are all on the same team when it comes to raising money to support others, it is troubling to see how vicious people have become when it comes to dissenting opinions on something as simple as dumping buckets of icewater on our heads. With this subject, much like many sports topics we discuss on social media on a daily basis, there will assuredly be differing opinions. What’s different about The Scoop is that we support all opinions, even the opinion that this mechanism has inherent flaws and can be even better if improved upon in time. Bashing people for having an opinion, even if it is unpopular, is not what we do here. And we don’t support it elsewhere. –Jamie

Back Off Twitter ‘Dicks: Stewart Incident Too Fresh To Rule On

Subway Fresh Fit 500 - Practice
Image Credit Motorsportsunplugged.com

 

Leave it to Tony Stewart to break the Internet overnight.

I woke up on Sunday morning and began my morning routine, which starts with scanning my Facebook and Twitter feeds before hitting the shower, if I even have time for cleanliness. This is what modern technology has done to lower my standards of hygiene.

Why put off a cleansing spray of warm water and soap? Because of news stories like this.

This is the type of news that gets the mind going to start the day, but it’s also the type of news that I know is going to create the daunting task of avoiding the Internet landmines laid down by people wanting to lock Tony Stewart away or worse, and those proclaiming their hero’s innocence.

Both sides building their case on the shaky foundation of a cell phone video and “eyewitness” accounts of the incident.

If you want to watch the accident take place, here you go. Caution, this is terribly disturbing:

And there is the smoking gun for those alleging innocence or guilt.

Twitchy, a site that appears to have been built on grabbing tweets and posting them in mass (God bless American ingenuity), has a nice rundown of the tweeting detectives in action.

I’ll save you a click if you’d like. The video shows Stewart swerving into or away from Kevin Ward Jr, depending on what side of frontier justice you fall on.

Any time that you fall in line with the thinking of a TNA Wrestling executive’s tweet at 2:26 in the morning, you might want to rethink your rush to judgement:

In the same vein, even level headed commentary like the one written by Motorsport.com’s Steven Cole Smith needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Smith comments on how sprint cars are controlled on dirt tracks, and his personal relationship with Stewart as reasons for his disbelief that this could be an intentional act.

He does not know.

Bob Ryder does not know.

You, dear fan of The Scoop, do not know. That is unless you are Tony Stewart, which I find highly unlikely.

So let’s step back and let the facts come forward.

Or not. It’s entirely up to you.

 

Dustin Copening is a Sports Contributor for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @PFUtilityMan.