Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tom Brady Didn't Do Anything Wrong and the NFL is bad RealityTV

Unless it’s wrong for a man to wear Uggs

Football is the most lucrative and watched sport in America. It dominates pop culture and is a way of life for areas with an NFL team. It’s also eating itself alive like an ouroboros.

When people think of the NFL they often think of men throwing around or carrying an oblong ball made of cow hide for our entertainment. While that may have been the primary product of the NFL in the past, today the NFL is about one thing and one thing only, continuous drama; the oblong ball is completely incidental.

In an effort to ensure that the NFL is the main topic of discussion on all websites and all TV networks, during all times (even those dreaded 7 months when the NFL is not playing games) the NFL has ensured that drama comes from all areas. Instead of contests of strength, strategy and luck centered around an oblong ball, the NFL instead focuses on drama filled topics such as; who is dating who, which player had the roughest childhood, which coach is the biggest meanie, facial hair grooming, grown men bullying each other, decorative headphones, insensitive team names, players throwing ‘shade’ on twitter, fashion, fan-stories, colors, children’s exercise regimens, and dancing sharks.

As a reminder, the NFL has its own TV network. 24/7. They have to find something to talk about, and fashionable dancing sharks is a good a choice as any.

In the recent bit of manufactured drama to feed the 24/7 news cycle - the most successful NFL team and most successful NFL Quarterback have been accused of cheating. That sounds serious. How did they cheat?  By supposedly deflating balls to slightly less than the preferred NFL level of 12.5 pounds per square inch.

In a 243 page report (yes, really, talk about loving to hear yourself speak/type. Aside: Never trust anything not written succinctly and clearly. If any report about anything is over 50 pages, it’s not a report it’s posturing) there is no direct evidence that balls were purposefully deflated below 12.5 psi, but there is circumstantial evidence that one personnel man may have purposefully deflated balls to slightly less than 12.5 psi in one specific game. (For reference they were reflated at half-time)  

As people who understand pressure and math have pointed out on Reddit, maybe the balls deflated because it’s colder outside in New England in January, than it is inside in (where the balls were inflated). As detailed in the report, the opposing team’s balls in the game in question were also under 12.5 psi. Were they cheating too?

Or this comment by T-Lud that I’m lifting verbatim from a yahoo article

“To answer the original question, per the Wells report, the Patriots' process is aimed at setting the balls at 12.5 psi before they give them to the refs for inspection (the low end of the permissible range). The Pats have a standing request to the refs that if the balls test below 12.5 during referee inspection, they would like the refs pump them back up to exactly 12.5 an no more. The refs said they complied with this request, and the Wells report ASSUMES all Pats balls were at 12.5 after ref inspection (no exact amounts were recorded). The Colts balls were set at or about 13.0 at ref inspection. The Wells report indicates there was definitely some variation from that number, but ASSUMES all Colts balls were 13.0 after ref inspection (no exact amounts were recorded).  
At halftime they tested 11 Pats balls but only 4 Colts balls because they "ran out of time" before the second half. ALL TESTED BALLS HAD LOST AIR, including the four Colts balls. On the gauge calibrated lower, 3 of the 4 Colts balls tested BELOW 12.5 and the 4th ball was exactly 12.5. Those balls were given back to the Colts and were used in play without adding any air to them. The Pats balls were pumped up to around 13.0, which was BEYOND the Pats' requested level of 12.5.  
As an aside, Brady IMPROVED with the higher pressure second half balls. 1st half stats were 11-21. 91 yds. 1 TD. 1 INT. Second half was 12-14 135yds, 2 TD, 0 INT. 
All in all, the Wells report smacks of confirmation bias and assumptions consistent with guilt when plausible innocent explanations were given. And I'm a Falcons fan.”

What does this have to do with Brady?  The report is upset with him because he did not give access to his email and phone to investigators; though the investigators said they’d ‘only look at stuff relating to the investigation’ - left unsaid is they’d have to look at everything in this phone and email first to then determine if it’s related to the investigation. Brady has 3 kids, a life outside the NFL, and a literal super-model wife. It should be completely obvious why he doesn't want dozens, if not hundreds, of sad sack faux-lawyers pouring over his personal communication. If that doesn't make sense to you, there is a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

Note carefully that all of this talk of ball-pressure and who-said-what-to-whom, has nothing to do with playing football. If you find all of this extremely boring, you’re not alone. There is no contest of will, strength, luck, and strategy here. No entertainment. And despite how illogical that sounds, that’s precisely what the higher-ups at the NFL office want. They want drama. Drama supposedly keeps the audience hooked in 24/7 as if they’re watching a reality TV show.

To pretend that a sport where grown men hit each other has unshakable integrity is ridiculous.
It’s supposed to be entertainment. For the NFL to pretend it is anything other than entertainment reeks of extreme hubris and possibly insanity.
Again, it’s an oblong ball that people throw around. It is fun to watch, but it’s not worth 24/7 attention.
It’s not worth all the hate and the energy expended by ‘fans’ on nothing.
It’s just a game.
That doesn't mean people shouldn't watch it or enjoy it, as grumpy fools often insinuate when they use the phrase “it’s just a game” as a pejorative.
“It’s Just a Game” means its primary function should be ENTERTAINMENT and only entertainment.
If Football is no longer providing that function, it’s failed as a product and as an idea.

The NFL could learn some lessons from reality TV, specifically recent 24/7 reality TV show Utopia (cancelled nearly immediately) or the recent cancelling of American Idol.  When it’s nothing but drama, people eventually tune it out.

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