Tag Archives: football

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I’m struck that commentators still fail to add a disclaimer — distinguishing between news and speculation. The real story here is us — namely, the nature of poor news coverage and the desire to skewer someone as soon as possible.

Whether this was accidental, willful ignorance, or purposeful, we as the public simply don’t know. In any case, there are far more possibilities than commentators would have us think.
My guess, and only a guess, is simply that no one checked the air pressure at all — just like we don’t empirically test balls in other sports.

Many merely assumed that everything was okay. If that’s the case, then ethically, negligence has always been considered a lesser offense than conspiracy.

There was a safe assumption (because few honestly cared), and according to Brady, the balls were randomly selected out of a bag. This process was described by Drew Bledsoe (Brady’s predecessor and former rival) during an interview today, and there’d be no reason to stop this process of random selection. The QB reaches in a bag and selects the ones he likes; no NFL quarterback has an air pressure gauge in his back pocket to test each football. He assumes.

Again, that’s not to excuse anyone — merely to remind us that the media is not exactly known for being perfect. In the meantime, we might guess, but we should hold back judgment. Maybe my guess is way off, but at least I label it as a guess. We should demand that reporters do the same.

football

Regarding Brady and Belichick, my thought is that they were “willfully ignorant.” That still leaves them culpable to some degree, of course, but it allows them to honestly say that “I did not know.” For some reason, the reporters did not push that point harder. The “process” of preparing the footballs was still quite vague, even at the end of the press conference.

Brady said he selected the footballs out of a grouping. Of course, he’s not testing PSI (no one would expect that), but if there were 20 footballs, he could easily select the 12.5, 12.0, 11.5, or 11.0 ones. He would “not know” in a sense; he just knew that he selected ones that felt right. After months, the ball boy would never need to be told; he would simply know that deflated ones made his boss happy. It would seem that strange number — 11 out of 12 — would confirm this. No one was explicitly told to deflate them, but by “defined chance,” Brady happened to select the lower PSI balls from the group.

Brady may have been honest during the press conference. After all, he played better in the second half with the inflated balls, so maybe he didn’t notice during the activity of the game. I would normally be suspicious, but if the referees did not notice, then the difference is pretty subtle. He may have planned his willful ignorance before the game, but really, no one pressed him about that.

I’m surprised the referees haven’t been grilled more. It’d probably be too risky to deflate them on the sidelines, so my guess is that the “football checker” was also negligent. But who could blame him? It’s such an unexpected thing to happen that he probably just checked them by hand.

That’s a lot of speculation, but willful ignorance is a way to “tell the truth” and “ignorantly” cross the line.