Following the New England Patriots 45-7 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday night’s AFC title game, news started slowly leaking that 11 of the 12 footballs supplied by the Patriots for the game were under-inflated – some by as many as 2 psi – making them both easier to throw and catch. Almost immediately, critics were calling for the Patriots to forfeit their spot in the Super Bowl, to have draft picks stripped, to have Tom Brady suspended and Bill Belichick fired. Have we really lowered the threshold of dubious behavior to the point that deflating a few footballs causes a national outrage that forces the Vice President to weigh in during interviews regarding the State of the Union?
What about the long-held tradition of throwing games for personal financial gain? Of turning cheating into an at-home woodworking project? Of switching places with your twin like a bad episode of Sister, Sister? Of ingesting so many performance enhancing drugs that your head grows two hat sizes? If you think Deflategate is bad, we submit a century’s-long list of athletes who tried to tear down the pillars of fair play and sportsmanship.