I had heard that members of the National Football League cheat (and knock out their fiancées on elevators and use drugs), but I had never known that each team’s quarterback plays only with his own balls. This is just one of the things I have learned in my prodigious research into “Deflategate,” the scandal that is riveting New England. If you don’t live near Boston or watch lots of ESPN, you may be unaware of the claims that the New England Patriots improperly manipulated the pressure in their footballs to the advantage of their quarterback, Tom Brady. But in Boston this is front-page news, the topic of excruciating analysis on sports radio and the subject of a 243-page, multi-million-dollar report, which charges the Patriots with intentionally lowering the pounds per square inch in their footballs. Yesterday the Patriots hit back with a 20,000-word rebuttal that includes a report from a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, cites the “ideal gas law,” and says that the minute and forty seconds their employee spent in the bathroom with two bags of footballs was not to deflate the balls, but “is consistent with the time that it takes a gentleman to enter a bathroom, relieve himself, wash his hands, and leave.” The gentleman in question is known as “the Deflator” because he is trying to lose weight.
There is much more to come in this story, but unlike, say, the Middle East, the solution seems obvious: Why not have both teams play with the same ball?