DeflateGate: a dream come true for many NFL fans


Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; An official NFL “The Duke” football made by Wilson photographed on the field following the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Realists, I have some breaking news for us on this week’s MMR. The breaking news is that a lot of NFL fans simply do not like the New England Patriots.

Really. The New England Patriots may be popular among some people because of the fact that they have done nothing but win ever since a certain Tom Brady became quarterback.

Sure, they may have revitalized NFL football in the New England region, making the other four Boston-area teams compete for the minds and hearts of sport-hungry Northeasterners.

But, there are a lot of people that simply do not like the Patriots.

Why they may not like the Patriots may also have a lot to do with the fact that they do win and are coached by Bill Belichick. He, of course, has a personality that is so bland and dry when it comes to dealing with the media that if reporters at his press conferences asked questions to his hoodie instead of Belichick himself, the hoodie may give more quotable answers.

So, this week, when the Wells Report came out that implicated Brady along with two equipment workers within the Pats of tampering (in some way, shape, or form, with footballs), you were likely a fan that was rejoicing in this news.

Think about it: some of it does have to do with the fact that it has been a Patriots “dynasty” over the last decade or so, especially in the early 2000s. But between Brady and the fact that he’s got a supermodel on his arm, and Belichick and his media image, when the Patriots got busted, everyone else who follows the NFL most likely laughed.

Compare that to if a Peyton Manning or an Aaron Rodgers were to have been booked for the same cheating that Brady and New England have been accused of. It is probable that the reaction to them cheating would have been more shock than anything even though some say other teams are also doing too much playing with footballs.

Brady and Belichick may have made the Patriots into one of the NFL’s flagship franchises. Usually, when you become the New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens, Manchester United, Duke Blue Devils, or Miami Heat (circa the Big Three days) of your sport, you gain an increased national following, but a good bit of that following wants nothing more than to see you fall on the big stage.

Patriots losses are so uncommon nowadays that when New England does lose, especially on the big stage, it is celebrated virtually by fans of the other 31 teams.

That hatred that other teams’ fans harbor for New England also came to display around 2007 when details of “SpyGate” came out. That, of course, was a scandal in which the Patriots were said to have been rolling videotape at the practice sessions of other teams.

Shortly after the Patriots defeated the Eagles to win Super Bowl XXXIX (39) in 2005, there were unquestionably those that were thinking that since they had won three of the previous four Super Bowls at the time that they were getting sick of them winning.

SpyGate occurred before the Pats’ following two Super Bowl appearances—the first coming when they were going for the undefeated season of 19-0, but fell short to Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (42) in 2008 in Glendale.

They lost again to Big Blue in 2012 before finally hoisting another Lombardi Trophy after this past season when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks thanks to what still has to be looked at as one of the most questionable calls in Super Bowl history at the end of that game.

That’s beside the point, though. Belichick, Brady, and SpyGate had turned the Patriots into the NFL’s version of Lex Luthor and it was up to Superman (meaning one of the other 31 teams) to save Lois Lane (NFL fans of one of the other 31 teams).

Now, the Patriots are dealing with DeflateGate, and Brady’s first public appearance since the Wells Report was first released seems more to have confirmed his involvement than “deflated” any chance of him being involved, in the eyes of many other fans.

Instead of Brady being mentioned in line with many of the other all-time greats in football history, his name now joins those of Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, and Rafael Palmeiro (in the minds of many) as one of the all-time greats who were not just fine with wanting to be one of the all-time greats, but as the G.O.A.T.—and were willing to cheat to do it.

It is still up in the air as to what Brady’s punishment will be in terms of how badly he will hear it from commissioner Roger Goodell. The fact that Patriot hate is a nationwide thing, plus SpyGate, and now DeflateGate will all add up to one thing.

That hate will be in full force this upcoming year at every road stadium the Patriots visit. In addition to this being a dream come true for New England’s naysayers, it is also a dream come true for one particular group of football aficionados.

Those who make signs and bring them to East Rutherford, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium for New York Jets games.

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