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How Should The NFL Punish The Patriots For Allegedly Providing Underinflated Footballs For The AFC Championship Game?

Submitted by on January 21, 2015 – 10:07 amNo Comment

On Monday morning, less than 12 hours after the end of the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, a report came out indicating that the NFL was investigating the Patriots for allegedly providing league officials with underinflated footballs for the AFC title game. At the time, it was unclear how deep the league was going to look into the allegations or what action might be taken against the Pats if the NFL found that Bill Belichick and the Pats had provided deflated footballs for the game. But the league promised to look into it in the coming days.

Sort of surprisingly, it sounds like they’ve already come to a conclusion with regards to their investigation. The league hasn’t made an official announcement about #DeflateGate just yet. But according to an ESPN report that came out last night, the NFL found that 11 of the 12 footballs that the Patriots provided for the AFC title game were underinflated. In fact, 11 of them were inflated two pounds per square inch below the league’s required inflation level. So it’s pretty clear that, for some reason, the footballs weren’t up to code on Sunday, and it may have given the Patriots an advantage on the field against the Colts since underinflated footballs are easier to both throw and catch. And while you could argue that the Patriots would have won even if the footballs were inflated properly—New England crushed the Colts 45-7 in the game—that doesn’t change the fact that they may have tried to cheat the system by underinflating the footballs.

The question now is: If the Patriots did knowingly deflate the game balls on Sunday, how harshly should they be penalized? At the very least, they should be given a hefty fine. But if the NFL wants to send a much stronger message to them—and the other teams around the league—they should consider taking away one draft pick from the Patriots and even think about hitting them right where it hurts by lowering their salary cap for a season. In order to do any of these things, the league needs to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Pats are guilty of tampering with the footballs on Sunday. But if they’re able to do that, then they need to make the Patriots pay dearly for what they did. It’s the only way the NFL can show just how serious they take any form of cheating.

How do you think the NFL should penalize the Patriots if they discover that New England underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game? Let us know.

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