Darkside of the Sun: Deflategate, She Wrote

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

CABOT COVE, Me. — You’ve heard about “Deflategate,” where the New England Patriots supposedly flattened footballs to the inflation levels of leechee nuts before they pasted the Indianapolis Colts in this year’s AFC Championship Game, by the score of 174-3, plus penalty corners. Something like that, anyway.

The refs, who had okayed inflation levels of the footballs prior to the game, removed the team’s footballs after halftime, an investigation was launched into the alleged outbreak of squished footballs, and now Tom Brady, who later won the Super Bowl single-handedly, slew a dragon and cured cancer, is supposedly a Big Fat Cheater. In fact, Pope Francis later ex-communicated Brady — and he isn’t even Catholic! Tom Brady, I mean. The Pope is Catholic. Or so they say.

Anyway, the Patriots strongly protested this Trial by Innuendo, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told a press conference, “We’re not even sure there’s been a violation.” Which clearly explains why a federal case had been made out of it, by then! Wait, no, it doesn’t!

Later, it was revealed that, far from visions of dozens of seriously flattened footballs bouncing listlessly around Gillette Stadium that evening, there was… well, there was one… one underinflated football — but that one was two pounds under regulation, so keep the electric chair warmed, Warden! The other game balls? “Ticks below” the official inflation rate, a very tardy report said. Okay. Well. Still.

The Bridgton News decided to get to the bottom of this. The editor asked me to interview Maine’s own Jessica Fletcher, the famed TV crime writer who starred on Murder, She Wrote.

JF — Deflategate? The Colts did it. Now please let me get back to my crocheting.

MC — The Colts? What? Had we still that nifty Salem Witchcraft Tribunal, Bill Belichick would have been burned at the stake by now.

JF — Wrongly. Note that “10 of the 11 non-kicking footballs” the Patriots used were below regulation pressure, “by as much as two pounds.” That was the substance of the original report, correct? Pandemonium reigned! The Patriots, who had cheated, admitted it and were punished once before, in 2007, were now by acclamation guilty of a massive fraud. Fire the coach! Fine them! Take away their draft choices! Execute the owner! Am I overstating the reaction? The story led the national news…

MC — You are understating the magnitude of this international incident.

JF — But consider the clues. In the AFC Championship Game, the Colts made an interception. Supposedly, the interceptor noticed that the ball Tom Brady threw seemed severely underinflated, and he handed it over to the team for inspection. The NFL launched an investigation that night. However, later, the intercepting Colt, D’Qwell Jackson, said he didn’t know where the story came from. He says he handed the ball to the equipment manager, to save for his trophy case. No deflation, as far as he knew.

Now think: If it wasn’t underinflated when the ref measured it, when they set it in play and even when the football got intercepted… Hmmm, when was it deflated?

What happened to that ball, after the Colts took it out of play? Note that nobody documents that it was two pounds underinflated, until the Colts give the ball back to the NFL, for evidence. The NFL later noted that officials “didn’t keep any written records” of the air pressure when they’d measured the balls before the game. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be because all measured within the legal limit!?

MC — Yeah, but… the other footballs? Weren’t they —

JF — Underpressurized? Yes, allegedly — but only by “a tick.” Trust me, this is nothing. Happens all the time. Why I remember back in 1912, when Harvard was playing Yale…

MC — So that means the famous ball boy carrying the famous bag of 12 correctly inflated footballs to the field, didn’t deflate all the balls, either? He stopped over for 90 seconds in the restroom, only because he needed to use the restroom?

JF — O, the humanity! So, we are left with one outlier, the 10.5-psi ball. The Colts held that ball out of view for far longer than 90 seconds. Ergo, the Colts did it. This cock-and-bull “mystery” wouldn’t have even been able to carry a full episode of one of my old shows. Why, I remember back in 1942, when Adolf Hitler and Maria Braun —

MC — Please, Ms. Fletcher, enough! Now, something that’s always bothered me… About all these murders that keep happening in your small town, population 200 or so, and falling? Logically, might a person begin to suspect, after 40 or 50 “episodes,” that just about the only person left alive in this hamlet might be some kind of serial kil- —?

JF — Well, it’s been nice talking to you.

Next week, Mike plans to interview Warren G. Harding, to finally get to the truth behind the Teapot Dome Scandal.



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