Deflategate has returned to the news! After asking various physicists about their thoughts on the controversy and then commissioning a report about who might have known what and when, the NFL has determined that Patriots employees probably did intentionally deflate footballs in the AFC championship and that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady probably knew about it. This isn’t the first cheating scandal to hit the Patriots in recent years, and it definitely won’t do anything to help their already pretty dismal reputation among non-Patriots football fans. I would also note that while the Patriots may claim to be the team representing all of New England, they are quite clearly a Boston team not a New England team.
To basically no one’s surprise, native of Bristol, Connecticut and former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder yesterday. He was sentenced to life without parole. This was also only one of several murders where Hernandez was possibly involved.
The New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks to win the Superbowl earlier today. Given how the game ended, it seems that Seattle lost more than the Patriots won. The Seahawks nearly scored a basically game-winning touchdown on an amazing catch and then promptly threw for an interception when they probably shouldn’t have thrown the ball at all. Regardless, this win likely further cements the Patriots’ status as the league’s biggest villains.
It was reported a few days ago that in order to resolve the so-called “Deflategate” controversy, the NFL’s investigators have been trying to enlist the support of physicists. The investigators apparently started asking the Columbia physics department for some help in figuring out whether or not the Patriots intentionally under-inflated some footballs at the AFC championship game.
While I applaud any news putting physics in a positive light (and it’s hard not to look good when compared to the NFL), I can’t help but be puzzled by this story. Surely it would be much easier just to buy a bunch of footballs and test them under similar conditions to the game. You don’t need to come up with a theoretical model of what happened when you can just replicate the conditions that you’re trying to investigate.