How do you keep a satisfied New England fan base and Patriot hater nation interested in the NFL product all year, while saving your commissioner’s credibility and deflecting the attention from NFL wife beaters..? Simple: You fabricate a controversy about air pressure.
If you didn’t exit this blog quite yet, you might have noticed what I just did there in the last paragraph. I likely made you one of two things:
Either of which benefit me if I’m a marketer.
I’m a paranoid Jew. Why…? I dunno. Maybe it’s because of my 5 foot 5 frame; most average-sized men can whoop my ass. Or maybe it’s just part of my OCD, panicky nature and there’s no reason or rhyme. Or maybe it’s because of the holocaust. Or maybe it’s because of thousands of years of oppression. All in all, the countless schemes that have targeted my bloodline have surely given me reason to question peoples’ motives. Am I right…? Okay, let’s simplify: I’m a skeptic. But hear me out.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s summer of 2014 was the worst of his entire career. His handling of the Ray Rice wife-beating had even Baltimore Ravens fans in shock. A suspension of two games was given to the man who literally concussed his wife. Such an incident typically equates to jail time, let alone a multi-year league suspension. But our legal system and the NFL are blinded by dollar signs.
Goodell received so much criticism for how he handled that incident that the public seemed just as disgusted with him as they were with Ray Rice. Goodell needed an opportunity to restore his credibility, deflect the constant wife and child-beating headlines, and maintain fan interest and advertising dollars.
I preface the following by acknowledging that Tom Brady may like the ball on the softer side, just as Aaron Rodgers likes to have his balls over inflated. But neither of them are violating the rules. It was never an enforced rule to begin with. The refs NEVER gauged PSI pressure. They literally squeeze the balls and decide on the fly whether they’re good, just like an elementary school referee at a soccer game. The league wants to make you believe otherwise so that they wouldn’t look so incompetent.
The more games you play in the cold, the more often air will be released from the balls. Once late October hits in New England, temperatures drop. At my own home I can tell that a football deflates if I inflate in my heated living room and then play for two hours outside in cold, 40-degree weather. I’ve known this since i was 10-years-old, making Jerry Rice-esque catches in the snow… and without stickum, too!
Colts Owner Jim Irsay, one of the people responsible for this fabrication, should understand this concept by now after all the times his team has lost to the Patriots in cold-weather games in New England. But much like me in the blogging world, Irsay is tired of losing.
I remember when I was a young lad of about 9-years-old I played for the Brookline Colts Recreational soccer team. The year was 1991. It was the spring. We had won 19 games in a row; 10 straight in the fall, and 9 straight in the spring. In traumatic fashion, we lost the 20th and final game of the season. The score was 7 to 6. We ended up 19-1, instead of the expected 20-0. After that game I kept crying to my mother, “The other team cheated! They cheated!”
But they didn’t cheat. There was no evidence of that. I was just a frustrated child who couldn’t handle little failures and I made an outrageous accusation.
Today, that’s the childish mindset of Jim Irsay, A GROWN-ASS MAN!
As the Patriots entered the AFC Championship game against the Colts in 2015 it was apparent to the NFL that one of their biggest markets (New England) would possibly be once again satisfied by a Super Bowl title. After the Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl the question arose: “How can we keep these New England fans and Patriots haters invested in our league during the off-season, and long term?”
Living in Boston I can tell you first hand that after you’ve experienced multiple championship seasons, you slowly ease your intensity for every game. You’re a big fan, but not a fanatic like those lunatics in Oakland who dress up like it’s Halloween every home game, which I love.
You don’t need to buy every jersey. You don’t need to buy any new gear. You don’t need to buy tickets to the “Big game against the division rival.” After all that winning you’ve turned into a quasi-fair-weather fan.
Once Brady got his fourth ring so many of us Patriots fans said the same thing: Everything is a bonus from now on. Brady doesn’t need to win another playoff game, let alone championship, because he’s right up there with Joe Montana. His legacy is sketched in the NFL stone.
And that blasé attitude is exactly what the NFL did NOT want from a top-5 market.
Through “credible sources” the NFL leaked an air pressure story to its little puppets, ESPN and Chris Mortensen. And no matter what side you chose on this air-pressure debate you fed into the marketing scheme, just as the NFL wanted.
They want your emotion, and they don’t care whether it’s pro or con.
Here’s what your emotion brings to the NFL table:
In sum, emotion = money.
We, logical people, all know this is unfair to Brady because of various reasons. Multiple quarterbacks over the years have admitted to not knowing PSI pressure was a big deal. Many did the exact same thing, either inflating or deflating the ball. And there are much worse league violations being committed—undocumented league-wide steroid use, domestic violence, DUIs, drug abuse…
However, I don’t ignore the fact that Tom Brady may very well be part of this marketing scheme. That, or he’s the unfortunate victim of it. You really don’t know.
Whatever the case, I believe the league constructed a scheme to save its commissioner, appease the other 31 fan bases who didn’t win the Super Bowl, insult the New England fan base who are now re-invested in the league and will be seeking revenge against hater nation, distract our attention from the disgusting domestic violence abuse cases and suspension reductions, and make millions in advertising dollars and jersey sales.
Perhaps those are plain causes of the scheme, rather than intentional goals. But the main goal was successful: Keep us talking all year about the NFL.
Let’s give a round of applause to the best marketing team in sports history: The NFL.