Cory’s Corner: Deflategate is the NFL’s failure

The NFL is America’s Game, and yet it’s losing again.

I am exhausted from Deflategate. I am sick of talking about pounds per square inch, game balls and air needles.

The NFL has had six days to figure out what to do with the mobster Bill Belichick and his New England Patriot minions.

Commissioner Roger Goodell either has no idea, or he’s scared.

Either way, he has failed.

Both teams fly into the Phoenix area on Sunday for Super Bowl XLIX. And since this story still hasn’t been put to bed, the questions will linger like milk in the sweltering desert sun.

We heard Belichick mumble his way through a pseudo explanation. And we heard Tom Brady say plenty of words without saying anything at all.

And what’s even worse is that the NFL can quickly throw a $20,000 fine at Marshawn Lynch for grabbing himself before strutting into the end zone. Or it can prevent Lynch from wearing gold shoes in the NFC Championship Game, or fine players for not having the correct sock length.

But when it comes to being credible and adhering to rules that actually affect a game, that’s when the NFL has problems. They must have learned its enforcement practices from the NCAA.

The AFC Championship Game was not compromised because 11 of 12 game balls were lighter than normal. That game could’ve been played with balloons or beach balls and achieved the same result.

The problem I have is the blatant arrogance the Patriots are showing. They didn’t need to cheat to beat a one-dimensional Colts team to advance to its first Super Bowl since the 2011 regular season. And obviously the score showed it with a dominating 45-7 win.

But the Patriots just don’t care. After seeing what Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson went through earlier this year, they know that the NFL doesn’t know how to police its product or its players.

The reason this is a big deal is because it’s the second time that the Patriots have been caught. This is when Goodell can send a message to the rest of the league by saying if you cheat in my league, there will be deep consequences.

There are still many questions about Spygate, but since the majority of evidence from that 2007 calculated transgression has been destroyed, doubt still remains.

The Patriots have advanced to the biggest game in sports. A 30-second TV spot will run $4.5 million, players from the winning team will get $97,000 while the players from the losing team will bring in $49,000.

The game doesn’t just decide a yearly champion, it is also a tremendous financial windfall. For a league that has a goal of $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027, you would think that it would do more to protect its brand.

They could start by getting tougher with the officials. Why didn’t they monitor the game balls before and after pregame check? And why didn’t they notice that the balls were lighter during the course of the game?

Get the players and coaches accountable. Suspend Belichick and Brady two games next year. Even if Belichick was telling the truth when he said he didn’t know what was happening, the quarterback knows what game balls his team is providing. And by the time you get to the ultra-competitive NFL, the feel and grip of a ball could determine how long and successful your stay in the league is.

Finally, the league must provide all game balls. Hire someone to inflate the balls, put them in a bag and watch them for the entire game. If a team is allowed to bring its own balls, I would be surprised if there weren’t other teams that didn’t compromise the air pressure.

The Patriots may look like the pariah in all of this, but the joke is on the NFL. The rest of the league is laughing at the shield for not protecting itself and maintaining the public trust.



Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


28 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Deflategate is the NFL’s failure

  1. Cory – sadly, this is another example of the NFL failing to take appropriate action and once again it looks like they are stalling or covering up for TV ratings, in other words money. Once again they are wrong and once again they are hurting the shield. Suspend Belichick for the SB and/or take a draft pick from the Pats and give it to the Colts. By now they know what has happened and probably who is responsible but they will wait and investigate after the SB.
    First, next week will become an absolute media frenzy. The NE press conferences will be all about deflatgate and they will not rest until they get answers. We’re not talking just the sports media here with talkling about all types of journalists and network news reporters. They will be like sharks with blood in the water and it will become embarrassing for the league. And what if the Pats win the game? Which I believe they will now that the Packers have given them the formula. Do we or the league want the Cheatalots hoisting the Lombardi trophy? Talk about tainted! And where is Bob Kraft in all of this? Belichick and Brady may be mumbling for now but Kraft and Belichick must know what happened by now. Why does Kraft keep cheaters and liars his payroll? If these were my employees and I had proof that they had done something and then tried to cover it up they would be gone, gone, gone, no excuses. And on top of all of this it is all unnecessary because the Pats don’t need to cheat to win. The problem with the NFL is that there is too much money involved and when you start talking BIG $$$$$ people get really strange. And that’s where the NFL is at. The leagus has had a really bad season with Rice, AP, etc… and now deflatgate. Goodell and the NFL shield’s credibility is pretty much gone no matter what ultimately happens in this case. I really don’t know how much more of this NFL I can take. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Since ’61, I usually agree with you to the letter but I’ve gotta disagree on this one. Kraft didn’t get where he is by being a cuddly puppy. He’s bent a rule or two in his day. Big Bill keeps his team in the spotlight, thus keeping his ego fed. Not to mention making him pile of cash. Don’t get me wrong, I think Kraft is one of the better or at least more likable of the visible owners but hes no choir boy. Just my opinion. Not since ’61 but since ’65.

    1. I don’t think anyone is arguing that this hasn’t made a difference over the long haul. The question really is, what is the league going to do about it?

      It’s starting to look as if Goodell is dragging his feet and hoping it will blow over so any punishment doled out won’t be front-page news. But I think the league needs to go with the “big stick” punishment model, here. If no significant action is taken, the rules…all rules…become optional.

  2. “But when it comes to being credible and adhering to rules that actually affect a game, that’s when the NFL has problems”…..

    Having fines levied on players for repeating violations as to uniform code,shoes,head wear and obscene gestures etc,come quickly because a precedent has been already set.

    Whoever is ultimately found responsible for ‘letting out air’ if ever,this is now an incident that will warrant a change.Laws or rules are usually put in place based on the obvious possible infractions and then are tweaked accordingly to what comes about which demands a closer look into the laws or rules.

    We have seen such with regards to player safety and to enable a higher scoring product and this ‘Deflate-gate’ will compel more tweaking.

    As to whether the Refs should have felt a difference in weight is absurd as they don’t and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Ref on the field grab a football as like a QB and throw it to another.I do believe they always toss it ‘underhand’ which would prevent any chance of even sensing a difference as may be possible by gripping and a need to squeeze to ‘throw’ and isn’t a need when tossing underhanded.

    I have heard some say on sport talk shows that Belichick should be suspended as was Peyton for Bounty-gate….deflating a football isn’t anywhere near a comparison of attempting to ‘deflate’ a player for money.

    Chain of command as to who secures the footballs will become a priority because of this situation and a penalty will likely come from it on someone,but without actual visual or verbally backed proof,the Patriots will play,Brady will still smile politely and lie,Belichick will mumble something as they have for years.

    The NFL says the balls were at proper weight for the start of the second half…if the balls were examined during halftime and were found to be deflated and the NFL immediately forfeited the game to the Colts…that would and could have been a proper and right thing to do if it were High School or such,but that would create a tsunami wave of harm to the game we all love and love to hate at times regardless of the good and bad that creeps out from it……because there is so much more involved than the simplistic ideals of ‘sportsmanship’…regrettably but true…rant over 🙂

  3. If Belichick is suppose to be the best coach in the NFL then why does he cheat? I say ban him from the game and strip him from his titles. The reason he is portrayed as the best is because he has cheated his way to the top and its time he is exposed and reprimanded for it.

    1. I guess Pete Carroll should also be banned for the number of players already caught for the use of P.E.D.s(cheating) whether he knew it or not and or never should have been allowed to be a HC in the NFL after the USC scandal.

      I’m not saying Belichick knew ,authorized or is covering it up or even actually had no idea…..but the banning of him and stripping of titles is a very slippery slope the NFL and its fans should be very wary of jumping to as punishment.

      There is and was and will be a lot of shady stuff going on in the sporting world….careful as it may be your team next and you won’t likely be so quick with the punishment you ask for now of another.

      1. The Packers has never and will never cheat to be the best so I am not worried about my team..But the Patriots have been caught plain as day cheating so they should be stripped of their titles and monitored with a microscope for a year and see if they can win games without a unfair advantage!

        1. I didn’t say the Packers did or will in the future…..but lets examine this….Rodgers says he likes his footballs with more air pressure than the required amount…if he inflates them,isn’t that just as much a cheating thing as deflating them….Not accusing…just saying….he has made an advantage…..#slipperyslope 🙂

          1. Your exact words…careful as it may be your team next and you won’t likely be so quick with the punishment you ask for now of another. That sure sounded to me like you were saying the Packers could be cheaters! And Aaron said he likes his balls on the top end of the legal limit because his grip feels better with firm balls he said nothing about going over the limit!

  4. i honestly don’t care about this i think the Qb should be able to get a ball to his liking, i think a lot of the Colts players are embarrassed by it also, i mean 45 – 7 and its the soft balls that did it??? To me and i guess only me it seems, a very minor infraction…and i don’t even like the Pats…

  5. This is the biggest non-story the NFL has seen all year. Who cares if a ball is 2 psi under what it should be?

    As for the NFL not doing anything, I’d say they’re making sure they have all the facts before making any decisions. Imagine what would happen if more facts came out AFTER they doled out punishment, putting said decisions into question. (see: Rice, Ray)

    1. I disagree Chad. It’s been six days. We’re talking about balls getting deflated, not solving a murder. The NFL is actually doing the Patriots that really had no idea about it a disservice, because that’s all they’re going to hear for the next week. It should’ve been a non-story, but thanks to the NFL dragging its feet, the story has crossed over into hard news and was the lead item in many national news shows.

      1. Honestly, I think the fact that it’s the Patriots makes it a bigger story. Their history and divisive infamy helped fuel the fire.

        As for the NFL dragging it’s feet… I think if the NFL ruled leniently, people would be up in arms. And if they ruled harshly, people would also be up in arms. It’s a Catch-22 for them, so why not take the time to at least get it right, even if it’s not the popular decision?

        1. Agree 100% Chad, this is the biggest non-story ever. In a perfect world Brady (whose presser was great anyway) would have opened saying: “I have no idea what happened once I chose the balls, you can ask all the questions you want, that’s my answer”.

          When this is all over it will most likely be discovered that it was: a) a natural phenomenon (unlikely but possible); or b) a rogue individual (much more likely).

  6. In order to lose 1/6 the pressure in a football inflated at 50F the temperature would have had to have been, like, -30F. Maybe Ol’ Bill knows his gas laws…

  7. They broke a rule that is really insignificant. My guess all teams make the ball feel god for their QB.. If NFL wants a dumb rule just make it 10psi to 16 psi and move on.

  8. I completely agree with Torposki, this is a non-issue and a non-story. The media will sell anything it can sell, who’s to say they’re some kind of moral compass when it comes to big stories and huge controversies. They only thing they care about it is ratings, don’t believe me? You should learn who Skip Bayless is and why he still has a job. There’s almost nothing easier than for the media to link Patriots and the word cheating together at every chance they get. And further more, the whole spy-gate was the most over-bloated sports story of the decade, and one of the most over-bloated ever. I don’t usually like Bleacher Report anymore, but time to time someone over there actually uses their brain, and this guy put the whole spy-gate thing into perspective PERFECTLY.

  9. I agree with the thrust of this article but not with the prescription. In order to penalize Belicheat, the NFL is going to have to prove that he ordered the balls to be deflated or at least condoned it. Cory suggests penalizing Brady, but gives no reason (the inference might be that Cory doesn’t like Brady). Do you think the Patriots’ center didn’t know? Do you think the running backs and receivers did not know? After all, the Colts’ CB who intercepted a pass thought the ball he caught was soft and gave it immediately to the equipment manager, so presumably any WR, TE, RB, LS or C who caught a pass or handled the deflated balls would or at might have noticed the deflation. Unless the NFL can prove which persons actually ordered this to be done, the NFL would be better off penalizing the organization rather than individuals.

    1. “Unless the NFL can prove which persons actually ordered this to be done, the NFL would be better off penalizing the organization rather than individuals.”

      Given the amount of time and scrutiny that has passed, nobody is going to fall on their sword, here, that sounds like what the league will need to do. Take away a 3rd round pick and give them a fine….

    2. I will ask all of you. Do you really think that CB who caught ball really recognize the ball is soft just because there was small difference in pressure? How small? What had to be difference for anyone who get the ball in his hand to actually be suspicious about deflation? How it comes that referees who get that ball, bring it or throw it to another referee did not spot that deflation? Or why that deflation was not spotted by the referee who put the ball on the ground before snapping? Did Patriots center maybe had needle with which he magically caused deflation? Or … Empty story!

      1. I don’t think this is that important of a story. However, from the reports I have read, the cornerback who intercepted Brady immediately noticed the soft ball and brought it over to his equipment manager to be tested rather than just tossing it back to the referee. I don’t know how deflated the ball was, but it was apparently noticeable. I assume that one would notice only if one gripped the ball hard, like a WR does upon catching it or a RB when running with the ball, or perhaps a center or longsnapper when hiking the ball. Since the referees did not notice, I would imagine that the deflation was not significant. If there is any actual effect, it might be on punts and kicks, mostly, and perhaps it might make the ball very slightly easier to catch, throw and also help with not fumbling.

        IDK, as a kid, we’d pump the basketball up until it felt right, but the final check was dribbling it, not feeling it. If I took 40 practice balls out to play tennis, then decided to play a set, we did not feel the tennis balls to find the best 3, but would visually check the felt and then drop the balls to see how they bounced, because we could not tell just by feeling the balls. And yes, I could tell the difference between tennis balls that had been used for 2 sets and the new balls we would get for the 3rd set. (BTW, happy to see Marin Cilic win the US Open last year). But I have no idea whether or how much these deflated footballs affected the play, if any. But we now have reports that many quarterbacks have a preference and that teams to inflate and deflate (within the prescribed limits) to please the QB.

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