Our View: Deflategate about much more than 45-7 score

KS editors

Ozzy, a grizzly bear at a Montana zoo, is assigned a difficult task that even gamblers in Las Vegas struggle to accomplish: accurately select a Super Bowl winner. Presented with two cakes designed to represent the pair of teams in the Super Bowl — the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks — the idea is that whichever Ozzy eats first signifies his choice for a Super Bowl Champion. This year, however, the bear sniffed them both and walked away. Perhaps this was representative of the growing disdain for the National Football League?

Despite the high ratings and revenues, this football season has been riddled with scandals, with post-game public relations becoming the league norm. As if to poetically cap a season marred with questionable decisions and bad press, news broke last week that the Patriots used 11 deflated footballs during their 45-7 trouncing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. Perhaps there was motive to gain a competitive edge, or perhaps the weather simply affected the footballs more than usual.

Amidst the ongoing investigation, we don’t feel that it’s our place to say the Patriots are guilty or not. We are not experts in how equipment is handled. What we are saying, however, is that if the allegations are true that the Patriots did tamper with the balls, it is a clear message that protecting the moral standard of professional football is less important than winning games, even if it means cheating. We feel the NFL and other professional, collegiate, and perhaps even high school sporting outlets, have a failed at holding players, coaches and team accountable for their unsportsmanlike actions.

Yes, the Patriots cruised past the Colts on their way to the Super Bowl, scoring 28 points in the second half. But there is something harrowing about the possibility that the Patriots — the benchmark for NFL moral and performance standards — cheated to any capacity on their way to another potential title.

Ozzy might not fully understand the Patriots or their newest Super Bowl rival, the Seattle Seahawks, let alone football itself. But Ozzy might be lucky in that same regard: It is said that ignorance is bliss, but we feel there will be no ignoring the looming idea that Brady and Belichick will hoist a trophy next Sunday night despite cheating on their way to doing it.