It would appear the New England Patriots are guilty of a rule infraction relative to football pressure. Shame on them! But shame on the NFL as well. Non Patriots fans, Patriots haters, have more fodder to throw in the Patriots’ direction. But this particular problem has been blown so far out of proportion as to defy common sense. People are calling for the Patriots to forfeit a draft pick for this infraction as well as heavy fines. But the NFL, and Roger Goodell in particular, are equally as guilty.
This infraction, at its egregious best, is worthy of little more than a slap on the wrist. Why? Because such practices came to light well before the Patriots Colts game. Aaron Rogers is on the record for having said he purposely over-inflates the balls he uses because he can get a better grip on the ball. Worse, he chided the NFL to catch him which shows his knowledge of his own wrongdoing and daring the NFL to take action. His statement was not made in the last week but over a month ago.
The Minnesota Vikings were warned prior to a particularly cold game this season that they cannot use sideline heaters to warm up the ball, an infraction noted in the same paragraph as ball inflation. The NFL has in its possession film which shows the Vikings blatantly disregarded the warn and were in fact warming up the balls during the game. The NFL took no action.
This leaves the NFL with a serious problem of what to do in the Patriots’ case. To do nothing other than say “don’t do it again” will enflame many. But whatever action they take against the Patriots requires they take action against the Packers and Vikings as well.
This is absolutely an infraction for- which New England must be held accountable. However, it is not very serious, at all, regardless of what Patriot detractors want to say. The solution is a simple one: The NFL itself will supply all game balls and will be responsible for their possession and introduction into all games. That possession will include balls being held on the sideline so when a new ball is introduced into the game, it will come from NFL possession and not team possession.
This issues needs to be over this week and end the distraction from the Super Bowl.