Football's 'Deflategate' and the Wonder of What If

January 31, 2015 3:34 AM

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In 2007, "Spygate" happened when the New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, was fined $500,000, and the Patriots organization an additional $250,000, by the NFL for videotaping opposition coaches' signals against the rules. Scuttlebutt was that it wasn't an isolated incident. This year, former pro quarterback Kurt Warner was still ruminating over Spygate and whether or not it factored into the Patriots beating his St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. While Warner wouldn't say he thought the Pats cheated, his extensive I-don't-really-think-so-but-I'm-not-quite-sure explanation included: "It adds a sliver of doubt ... I don't want to have to wonder ... That's the unfortunate part that I don't think you'll ever get over, because you know something was done outside the rules ... I don't know if it gave them an advantage ... Or gave them no advantage. I don't know."

Now, in 2015, it's Deflategate. The NFL is investigating whether, during the playoff game to decide which team would meet the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, the Patriots played with deliberately under-inflated footballs. The conventional wisdom is that under-inflated footballs are easier to grip and ha...

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