I am a New York Giants fan. In other words, I don’t like the Patriots. But I’m happy Tom Brady won his appeal.
I know. It’s hard for me to say. The words feel strange coming out of my mouth and off the tips of my fingers. It goes against everything I believe in, every thought I’ve ever have had about the Patriots, and every fantasy that’s played out in my head. Like I said, I’m a New York Giants fan. My blue blood bubbles at the mention of our neighbors to the north. Superbowls XLII and XLVI were the two greatest days of my life.
But I’m not just a Giants fan. I’m a football fan. And it has been a very long time since I’ve heard about football.
Oh yes, I read the papers. I follow the offseason. I watch ESPN. Like I said, it has been a very long time since I heard about football.
Over the summer, the big stories were missing fingers, locker room brawls, camp holdouts, and of course, this stupid Deflategate issue. And when I say stupid, I mean really, really, really stupid.
Since the AFC Championship game, football has turned into a legal drama. No, a reality show. I want to see touchdowns, big hits, and diving catches, not gavels and legal paper. I don’t care what the trial is about. That’s not football.
I’m not saying what happened isn’t important. Questions surrounding players’ rights and the integrity of the game are never unimportant. But it’s still not football. It’s business. It’s law. But it’s not football, and it didn’t have to dominate the news for half a year.
If it was my choice, yes, I would have upheld the suspension. But I’m happier to see this distraction come to an end. Because that’s all it is, a distraction from the things that make people fall in love with the game of football.
It’s a sad offseason when the only story the media can muster up day after day is yet another trial update. Show me highlights. Show me athletes. Show me real stories. Let this legal stuff play out in the courts where it belongs.
Now that Week 1 is over and done, I couldn’t be happier to be in the swing of real football again. The focus is back on the game where it belongs. When controversy arises, the ball will make the ruling.
Unfortunately, there’s going to be some kind of scandal this year. It’s bound to happen. Between all the athletes, the team staff, the league staff, and even the referees, someone’s going to do something highly controversial. We can’t control that. But we can control how we react to it.
We cannot let it shadow the game. Not again. Never again. What we can do, is leave it to the professionals and look forward to the next game. Otherwise, it’s not healthy, it’s not productive, and most importantly, it’s not fun.
I’m disappointed in myself for drawing more attention to this issue. That’s exactly what I don’t want to happen. But as much as I want to forget this whole ridiculous series of events, we can use Deflaltegate as a learning experience. We can all admit the story got blown out of proportion, Colts and Pats fans included.
With more football and time we will all forget, but we cannot repeat our mistakes. We have to appreciate the beauty and the magic of the game, and take the tabloids for what they are. Every game is a gift, and every play should be cherished. We can’t let anything get in the way. Let the gridiron settle our differences. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we are all bound by a pigskin casing. Whether it’s inflated or not, I really don’t care.
Photo: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons