bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Can we please talk about the Super Bowl instead of football inflation?

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We are in the midst of Super Bowl week. The two weeks that separate the conference championship games and the Super Bowl are usually a time filled with discussion of the game and everything that goes along with it, like proposition bets, commercials, wardrobe malfunctions, and the like. Mostly the game, though. This year, it has been nearly impossible to find any actual game talk. Instead, the news has been dominated by the fascinating subject of the air inflation levels of some footballs. By “fascinating,” of course, I mean “mind-numbingly dull and pointless.”

As everyone knows by now, eleven footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were found to be around two pounds low on air at halftime of that game. They were checked after a Colts defender who had intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the first half thought the ball felt funny. There is a convoluted process that involves each team, prior to game time, choosing the balls it wants to use and providing them to the game officials for inspection. After that inspection, the footballs are not supposed to be altered in any way.

An investigation has been occurring to determine how these balls came to be low on air pressure while the ones used by the Colts were fine. That would appear to rule out atmospheric conditions as a cause. The most recent report said a Patriots staffer had taken the bag of footballs into a bathroom for about a minute and a half at some point before the game but after the inspection. I guess he may have been the culprit, although it is unknown on whose orders he was operating.

As I mentioned in my blurb on this after the game last week, I think this is all quite silly. Could a team get an advantage from using under-inflated footballs? I suppose they might be a little easier to throw and catch, especially in cold weather. Had this been a close game, I might have been more disturbed by it. However, this game was won by the Patriots by a score of 45-7! This was absolute domination, and I don’t think that the ball had anything to do with it. A wiffleball could have been used and the outcome would have been the same.

Were the Patriots trying to get an advantage? I imagine so. Does every team try to get an advantage? If they want to win they do. Yes, there is a rule about the required inflation levels and the Patriots broke the rule. Is it a dumb rule? That I don’t know. I do know, though, that it is dumb that the league allows different balls to be used by each team. How about the officials use the same balls for everyone, and they bring them on the field with them rather than allowing the teams to handle them before the game? Problem solved.

Spygate is certainly the reason that everyone looks at any Patriots action with a skeptical eye. I get that. The over-reaction to this incident, though, has been astonishing. The self-righteous rants by various commentators and former players have been comical. I like the one where Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty said that using deflated footballs is as bad as using performance-enhancing drugs. Get over yourself, dude.

Bad sports, continued:

2) U.S. Women’s National Soccer team goalie Hope Solo was suspended from the squad last week after she was found drunk in a car with her also drunk (and driving) husband. She has been suspended for thirty days.

3) Terrance Cody, a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens , was cut from the team on Friday after it was revealed that he was being investigated for animal cruelty.

4) Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon continues to do everything he can to throw his career away. He is incredibly talented, but he is also incredibly stupid. He has reportedly failed another drug test and will be suspended for the 2015 NFL season. He missed most of last season for a similar infraction, and was actually kicked out of Baylor for it while in college. Genius.

5) A guy who had been hired to be an assistant frequency coordinator (something broadcast-related) for the Super Bowl was so excited to receive his credential for the big game that he posted a picture of it on Facebook. Of course, this was explicitly prohibited in the agreement he signed when receiving the credential, so it was promptly revoked. Ha.

Good sports:

1) In a story right out of Hollywood, Ryan Schmidt, the team manager for the University of Illinois basketball team, was added to the active playing roster for Saturday’s game against Minnesota after the team was depleted by numerous recent injuries. Schmidt played in high school, but had never been involved as a player at Illinois. He practiced and suited up for the game, but did not actually play. Still, that was pretty cool for him.

2) Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski became the first coach in Division I history to reach 1000 wins for his career when the Blue Devils beat St. John’s on Sunday. He has won four national championships at Duke.

3) Chip Ganassi won his sixth 24 Hours of Daytona race as an owner on Sunday. IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, and NASCAR drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson made up the four-man team that won it for Ganassi this year.

4) Four-time NASCAR cup champion Jeff Gordon announced that he will retire from full-time driving after the upcoming Sprint Cup season. Gordon is fourth on the all-time list of Cup champions, after Richard Petty (7), Dale Earnhardt (7), and Jimmie Johnson (6).

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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