DeflateGate not a factor in Patriots’ landslide win over Colts

DeflateGate not a factor in Patriots landslide win over Colts

Pranav Iyer

The Patriots are cheaters. They can’t win without cheating. They shouldn’t be in the Super Bowl. Bellicheat. Spygate. #deflategate  

This is all I hear when people talk about the Patriots. DeflateGate? Really?

For those who haven’t seen or heard about the DeflateGate craze all over social media, 11 out of the 12 balls that the Patriots used in their AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Jan. 18, were under-inflated about two pounds per square inch from the regulation. People have been making such a big deal out of this small violation mainly because it’s the second time the Patriots have been caught “cheating”.

In 2007, the Patriots were fined for videotaping one of the New York Jets’ defensive coach’s signals during a regular season game and a Saint Louis Rams practice before the Super Bowl in 2002. From the moment this allegation, called Spygate, was released to the public, people have looked down on the entire Patriots organization. Many even used this as an excuse for why they haven’t won a Super Bowl since the scandal.

Now here’s the big difference between the two allegations. Spygate likely gave the Patriots significant advantages because it allowed them to decipher what defense their opposing teams would set up in, but deflating footballs slightly didn’t have any meaningful impact on the game, especially one as lopsided as this.

The score was 45-7.

Would inflating the balls to 10.5 pounds per square inch instead of 12.5 really make up for a 38-point deficit?

Former Washington Redskins great, quarterback Joe Theismann experimented with this back in his playing days.

“I asked our equipment guy to pump one football up to 13 pounds per square inch and another to 11 psi,” Theismann told USA TODAY Sports. “I wanted to physically handle the footballs and see if I could tell a difference in them. And I couldn’t.”

By the way, the Patriots really won the game on the ground behind their running back LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 148 yards and scored three touchdowns. It didn’t matter if the ball was completely flat or if if it was about to explode or even if it was a yoga ball — it wouldn’t have affected him or the rest of their running attack.

The only aspect of the game that could have been possibly affected was passing. Tom Brady ended the game with 226 yards through the air, more than 30 yards below his season average, and tacked on three touchdowns. There was nothing overly spectacular with his performance, as many would expect more from one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The reason the punting and kicking games couldn’t have been affected was that the balls used for kicking were held by the refs, separate from the deflated balls. Therefore, with this information put together, there was no significant advantage given to the Patriots because of the deflated balls.

And I’ve got the expert statisticians from FiveThirtyEight to prove that the footballs, deflated or not, would not have altered the outcome of the game. Writer Neil Paine used an algorithmic formula to show that even without the help passing game, which may or may not have been helped by the deflated balls, the rushing attack along with how horribly the Colts played both offensively and defensively would have still been far more than enough to lead the Patriots to victory.

It may seem as if I’m defending the Patriots’ actions and saying that they are correct. But really, all that I’m proving is that they would’ve won the game regardless of DeflateGate. Without a doubt, they should be punished for breaking NFL rules deliberately and apologize for their mistake. But that’s a whole different conversation. If we were to go there, there should be many teams penalized for this same violation. In all of the buzz about DeflateGate, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Brad Johnson, admitted on January 21st that he payed his team’s ball boys $7,500 to tamper with the balls to make them fit his preference prior to Super Bowl XXXVII. He was never caught by the league and this secret remained intact up until now.

But what people need to understand is that from when the Patriots were accused of SpyGate until now, the time span in which they have not cheated, they’ve shown year in and year out that they can compete with anyone. They’ve made it to four straight AFC Championship games, the first team to accomplish that feat since the Buffalo Bills from 1990-1993. Based off of sheer performance, this team is completely worthy of being in the Super Bowl. DeflateGate has nothing to do with the Patriots winning. Absolutely nothing. Just ask the Colts tight end, Dwayne Allen.