Thursday, January 22, 2015

State of the Football Union

Even if you don’t care about football, the newest scandal matters. The England Patriots stand accused of deflating their footballs in last week’s playoff game. It made their footballs easier to pass and catch than the ones they supplied to the Baltimore Ravens. It’s cheating. When Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about it, he giggled. Which is worse than cheating. Brady’s giggle is bad for America.

Football is a game and a game is nothing but a set of rules. You have four tries to move a ball 10 yards. Move it one hundred yards and you get six points. The team with the most points wins. Rules. There is simply no game without them. That the rules are minor or frivolous or technical doesn’t matter. They are the structure. The purpose is not to get around the rules. The praise, if any is to be deserved, is from achieving despite the rules.

The National Football League doesn’t share this believe. The fine for tampering with game balls is $25 grand, which is like asking me for $3. To gain a little advantage in a playoff game I would’ve paid $6 up front. Maybe even $9.

The NFL is also dumb and short-sighted. Poor referees, criminals on the field, a disregard for the very make-up of the game – football is number one in America right now, but each degradation threatens that perch. If you don’t believe go ask someone at the boxing commission.

All of which is bad for America. Because a nation is nothing but a set of rules, too. You’ve got to respect the little rules if you don’t want a culture that ignores the big ones.

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