Nothing But Hot Air
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The Spectator
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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.