Nothing But Hot Air
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by Laramie Boyd
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On a sunny February 18 afternoon in Foxborough, Massachusetts, a National Football League
playoff game ended up in a win for the New England Patriots over the Indiana Colts. This meant that the Patriots would play in the
2015 Super Bowl Championship game held on Sunday, February 1, in Glendale Arizona. They played the Seattle Seahawks for the supposed
world championship of football. The New England team was ecstatic, naturally, and the losers, the Indianapolis Colts, were devastated
after a long, hard winning season. The Green Bay Packers felt the same way as the Colts, as they were eliminated by the Seahawks in
a tight come-from-behind overtime loss that same day.
Then came the headline story the
next day. The Patriots were accused of playing with a football that wasn't filled with the legal amount of air. The official amount
of air in a football in the NFL is 12.5 - 13.5 psi, pounds per square inch. (What that means is, it's like every square inch of leather
in the football has a 12.5 - 13.5 lb weight pressing outwardly against it.) Now, the fine for such a dastardly crime is $25,000, plus
the loss of a first round pick in the NFL draft. Of course, the fine is akin to fining you or me a buck-and-a-half for putting a plastic
bottle in the regular trash bin instead of the recyclable bin, such requirement being clearly stated on the lid to the bin. Loss of
a first round draft pick is a different story. That hurts. Surely the grand game of football will forever be tarnished to think that
the ball was under-inflated. It seems the League Officials feel that an under-inflated football allows the quarterback to get a better
grip on the ball and so has more throwing accuracy.
Never mind that all NFL game balls,
12 allotted for each team, are inspected by the game referees before the first kickoff. The coach of the Patriots says he will answer
any questions and allow any investigative procedures the league officials deem necessary. At all costs, both parties feel, the integrity
of the game, the football, and the air it contains, must be preserved.
When the league
officials responsible for investigating rules violations were interviewed, their comment was, shockingly, "We are still investigating
the situation," and they say it might take months. I wonder how long it takes to check the air pressure on the 11 balls out of 12
that are supposed to be under the air-limit, assuming the balls can even be rounded up. And who will take the blame, if anyone will?
The coach, the quarterback, the referees, the ballboy? Ten million people watched that game, and not one paying fan or TV watcher
noticed any difference in the passes thrown by Tom Brady, the Patriot's quarterback, or Andrew Luck, the Colt's quarterback. Could
it be that Mr. Brady has special levitation powers over a leather ball full, oops, partially full, of air? His comment on the situation
was, "I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I don't sit there and try to squeeze it." Few quarterbacks, in the time it takes
to avoid 300 lb., mean, I'm-gonna-get-you rushing linemen, wonder if the ball has too little or too much air in it.
I wonder if a committee should be formed, made up of expert gas station attendants, who specialize in filling tires with air? Maybe
a CIA or FBI group could explore possible skullduggery on the part of the sneaky New England Patriots. Never mind that known women
abusers and domestic violence perpetrators, even some accused of murder, often appear to run rampant in the NFL.
There's enough air pollution nowadays without a football team letting air out of a football to further putrefy the atmosphere. Clean
air is a priority and must be regulated and enforced, no matter the cost. I can't imagine anything more repulsive than expunged football
air. I think WW II gas masks are in order for every fan who attended the game, or coach or player or groundskeeper or custodian or
hot dog or beer seller. We need to find out where this air is that was released from these balls. That air could be liable for all
the media coverage expense or it could be filled with all sorts of viruses, and who knows what else it might contain. Enough is enough.
I say let's all get together and root out this evil air and close the case of the missing air once and for all. Where oh where could
that tainted air be?
I personally believe nothing less than a Congressional oversight committee
needs to be formed, maybe even a Cabinet post to arbitrate disagreements over air pressure . Maybe Nancy Pelosi could be encouraged
to join in the query. We could at least expect her analysis: "Let's just blow the footballs up and see what happens."
Oh by the way Tom Brady and the New England Patriots took the air out of the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28 - 24, stopping the
Seahawks inside the 5 yard line with only seconds remaining in the game. According to league officials, the air investigation is ongoing,
as whether or not New England did anything illegal or not is still up in the air.