Remember the spring and summer of 2015, when we talked about deflated footballs instead of, you know, actual sports? You surely missed the banal arguments over PSI. Well, no need to be wistful about dumb sports controversies of the past -- Deflategate is back!
On Monday, a federal appeals court reversed Judge Richard Berman's decision, reinstating the NFL's four-game suspension of Tom Brady, which was initially supposed to be enforced at the start of this past NFL season.
Brady was supposedly a key architect in the Patriots' deflating of footballs below their specified PSI levels during the 2015 NFL playoffs. Now, it appears Brady will pay for that role with a four-game suspension during the first four weeks of the 2016 season. We'll see if that stands.
The last time this "issue" was relevant, during the 2015 offseason, sports media drove the topic into the ground, through the Earth's core, and out the other side. It was covered at nauseam.
No joke: the University of New Hampshire offered a 400-level course on Deflategate. Talk about an easy A.
And while the Patriots have a well-documented and curious history with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, this "scandal" simply is not worthy of the coverage it has received.
First off, the Patriots obliterated the Colts in the game that eventually led to this "scandal" being uncovered. New England won, 45-7. The Patriots were very, very good at football that year. A minute difference in the pressure of a few footballs was not going to change the result.
All of this attention is being directed to a minute breaking of an essentially useless rule that has little to no bearing on the actual game being played. There are so many other variables in a football game, there is almost no way for a slightly-deflated football to actually impact a game to the point where one team consistently gains a competitive advantage in 16 regular-season games and the entirety of the postseason. It's absurd.
And it's a microcosm what has taken sports writ large, once viewed as the most fun we could have together, and turned it into a rage-fueled industry, one so vitriolic that fans beat each other in parking lots over a meaningless regular season game. We invest so much in the tiniest bits of meaningless minutiae that we forget what sports once were, at least to us as children: fun.
There is no fun in arguing over the deflation/inflation level of footballs. There is no fun in reversing court cases.
Instead, what we have is the dumbest side of sports and its subsequent media coverage. It's not as dark or disturbing as the league's problem with domestic violence, or racism, but it's plenty disappointing to think that we devote this amount of coverage to the pressure of a football while the long-term effects of concussions remain unknown.