If you do not think Deflate-Gate is a big deal, think again.   Suggest you begin the process by considering the disclosure (a couple of hours ago) by former Tampa QB Brad Johnson that he paid big money to have his team’s footballs altered for the 2003 Super Bowl – in which he substantially outplayed the opponent’s QB.  Also consider that it appears more and more certain that New England did indeed cheat by tampering their side’s game balls.  But next, consider the bigger picture: Does it really matter whether Tampa Bay or Oakland won the 2003 game?  Would it really matter whether New England, even if it had not doctored the balls Tom Brady got to use in last week’s dismantling of Indianapolis by the Patriots, would probably still have won?  Or, if I may get directly to the point, are you one of those who believe that the illegitimacy of behavior depends upon whether it had an impact?

Consider the slippery slope created by that belief – the moral standing of which, by the way, is the kissing cousin of the belief that the end justifies the means.  Either way, there is no such thing as virtue or vice – things are good if they work, and are only bad if they cause harm.  Morality is relative, never absolute.

Now put that into context.  Are you saying that, because the Patriots (a somewhat ironic name for a bunch of cheaters) won the game by 45-to-7, they were obviously so much better than the Colts that they still would have won, maybe won by almost as much, had they not cheated?  Are you certain?  Ever hear of the infamous Buffalo-Houston playoff game in 1993 when the Bills came from 32 points behind, to win?  Ever hear of “any given Sunday,” the often-proved thesis that even the worst NFL team can beat the best one if everything falls into place.  Are you really sure that Tom Brady and the Patriots, without the physical and psychological boost of a doctored football, would have been so effective?  And by the way, if you are that sure, why not put it to the test?  Why not dole out a stiff-enough punishment to the Patriots that it deters future cheating of this type?

Far as I am concerned, the fines out to be at least double the fines for when Belichick spied on his opponents – how about $1,000,000 for the team, same for the coach, plus this year’s #1 draft choice?

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