The latest pro football scandal, dubbed DeflateGate features the New England Patriots. The charge: they purposely deflated their footballs in last week’s AFC championship game to gain a competitive advantage.
Apparently, NFL officials inspected the balls used by the Patriots at halftime and 11 of 12 were underinflated. And, an underinflated ball, say the experts, gives one an advantage when passing in wet, rainy conditions.
If proven true the NFL is considering an appropriate sanction against the Pats. Some suggest a steep fine. Others say the league should ban Pats Coach Bill Belichick from sidelines of the Super Bowl. Were I making the decision, I’d hit New England where it hurts most: by benching star quarterback Tom Brady.
Anything less than a Brady benching would be yet another slap on the wrist, band-aid response from a league that is notorious for not really caring about its image and reputation (think: Ray Rice, head concussions and domestic violence, to name just a few examples).
But, here’s the saddest thing of all: the NFL fan base doesn’t really care either. The game remains larger than life and fans still turn out in record numbers.
I’m sure someone at the NFL must care about image, reputation and maintaining trust with the consumer. But, it seems as if the conventional wisdom at league headquarters remains taking action only when public opinion demands it (and applying the mildest of reprimands).
Needless to say that sort of foot-dragging would put any other sort of business out of business.