UnNews:New England steals AFC trophy

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New England steals AFC trophy

Straight talk, from straight faces

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20 January 2015

Bill Belichick

New England head coach Bill Belichick, holding aloft the AFC trophy as though he earned it.

FOXBORO, Massachusetts -- The New England Patriots have just cheated their way to another Conference Championship.

Last Sunday, a ball boy removed a football from the game here and provided a replacement, as the game was played in driving rain. However, the Indianapolis Colts immediately grasped the ruse: The Patriots had substituted a football inflated below NFL specifications, the way their girlie-boy quarterback Tom Brady likes them.

By halftime, the Patriots were winning, 17-7 (with Brady throwing several poor passes and one interception as part of the plan to cover up the "switcheroo") and discussions about the cheating in the Colts' locker room involved the Colts' general manager. Meanwhile, the Patriots, who understood how badly their ploy would "get in the heads" of the Colts, were able to use the fifteen minutes to adjust strategy and player assignments.

Newsman Bob Kravitz in Indianapolis twerked, "I'm told the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it." The NFL states that the game ball must weigh between 14 and 15 ounces, and a deflated ball would weigh much less. In addition, instead of the classic football shape, it would have the shape of an oblong pancake and could be concealed underneath the jersey, leaving the defense clueless as to who was the ball carrier.

No one claims that any hanky-panky occurred in the second half, when the Patriots ran up the score to 45-7. Nevertheless, competing feeds #InflateGate and #DeflateGate note that, even if the Patriots merely inflated the ball to the exact lower limit, the pressure would decrease during play, as the temperature in the grueling New England winter was a frigid 50° F.

The NFL faces two long weeks before the final game, with painfully little for fans to talk about, except the game-ball shenanigans, and perhaps the incident in 2007, labeled #SpyGate, in which dishonest head coach Bill Belichick was caught ordering the videotaping of the opponents' practice session for the obvious purpose of stealing their hand signals. The Patriots were fined and lost draft picks, but their AFC championship was not voided, nor is Indianapolis likely to be declared the winner of last weekend's game by a default. The Patriots in the Belichick/Brady era have been to the finals a record 6 times, all of them the obvious result of flagrant rules violations, as their coaching and players are obviously mediocre. There is precious little else to discuss, except the fact that the NFL is eager to sue anyone who refers to the final game by its real name.

That game, on February 1, will be played at a neutral site in Arizona where weather is not a factor, teams cannot provide their own footballs, and even scorpions and rattlesnakes are restricted to the cheap seats. The Seattle Seahawks, champions of the other Conference, will have the only unfair advantage — blindingly ugly chartreuse trim on their uniforms.

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21 January 2015

Flat football

Although the Patriots' footballs weighed less than zero, they all looked quite normal.

Representatives of the NFL have now weighed all the game balls used in the American Conference Championship game and found that 11 of the 12 that the Patriots controlled were underinflated by "several pounds." Given that the regulation weight is between 14 and 15 ounces, this would mean they were lighter-than-air, which would explain why so many passes were "floated" above the intended receiver, and how the Patriots' kicker always drives kickoffs beyond the back of the end zone.

Pundits from around the league have called for Coach Belichick's head. Unfortunately, two weeks is hardly enough time to adapt to such a change, as quarterbacks trained to grip the ball with their fingertips on the laces would have to relearn to grip the ear or the mouth.

edit Another update

22 January 2015

Nixon caricature

Brady and Belichick spent hours before the press conference studying Richard Nixon's historic "I Am Not a Crook" speech.

Not-all-that-good quarterback Tom Brady has had a league-mandated press conference, with obligatory badgering by newspaper reporters as though he were a Republican Party politician, including a plaintive request that he volunteer an apology to the fans and/or burst into tears. Reporters also reminded Brady that he once expressed a preference for "soft" footballs. In fact, Brady had said he wished he and trophy wife Giselle could throw quiches for touchdowns. (It is tight end Rob Gronkowski who plays with kittens.)

Brady played dumb through the entire press conference, and no one believes he is dumb. So he must be hiding something.

Left unanswered: How would the Patriots benefit by taking steps that would let a 45-7 victory in the semifinals be tainted by accusations of cheating? — Unless the Seahawks spend one minute worrying about further cheating, or different cheating, that they could have spent planning how to adjust their coverage the next time Shane Vereen declares himself ineligible five seconds before the ball is snapped....

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