This past weekend in sports was a weird one that featured Bill Nye the Science Guy and the incessant firing of a cannon. That’s not a typo.
The first, the Deflategate scandal in which the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in their 45-7 AFC Championship game triumph over the Indianapolis Colts, took place on Saturday afternoon. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took to the podium for a bizarre press conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The media event was dubbed an emergency press conference, and Belichick began speaking 30 minutes late. What happened next can be described only as NFL media history.
“I spent a significant amount of time this past week learning as much as I could learn, more than I could ever imagine to tell you the truth, about bladders, gauges, stitching, pressure, game-day ball preparation, rub downs and so forth,” Belichick said to begin the press conference.
Before revealing more detailed findings, he prefaced his scientific dissertation by bluntly stating that the Patriots followed every rule regarding the inflation of the footballs that they supplied in the AFC Championship game.
Describing the essence and texture of the football, it quickly became clear that Belichick was simply sticking it to the NFL. The statement soon took another turn, evolving into an in-depth discussion of PSI, or pounds per square inch.
“When the footballs are delivered to the officials’ locker room, the officials were asked to inflate them to 12.5 PSI, what exactly they did, I don’t know,” Belichick said.
Placing the blame on the officials, the five time Super Bowl champion shifted to discussing atmospheric conditions, air pressure and differing weather situations. It’s safe to say that he lost a majority of football fans at this point.
“Now, we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions. It’s a function of that,” Belichick elaborated. “So, if there’s activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why when we gave them to the officials and the officials put it at 12.5 [PSI] if that’s in fact what they did, that once the ball reached its equilibrium state, it probably was closer to 11.5 [PSI].”
Monday’s rumors have thrown a locker room attendant into the mix, but I’ll end my analysis here. Well done, Mr. Belichick, or should I say Bill Nye? The lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX has now turned into a science fair.
To make matters worse for Boston sports fans, Saturday afternoon’s Boston University men’s basketball game against Bucknell University was delayed due to an over-inflated game ball.
Sunday brought the sports world another strange event. In the 60th NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, Team Toews took down Team Foligno 17-12. The 29 goals scored were the most ever in a single all-star game. After eight goals were scored in the first period, many quickly became annoyed by the cannon that sounds after each Blue Jackets goal at Nationwide Arena.
Luckily for the fans, players and all watching the game, the cannon was sounded only 11 times as opposed to 29 times. The reduced number of cannon shots still did not sit well with the players.
Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo was noticeably irritated by the sound.
“The canon [sic.] has to go,” Luongo tweeted during the third period of the exhibition game.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux did not care for the cannon at all either.
“I hate the cannon,” the Team Foligno member said following the game.
One of the most interesting comments on the cannon came from Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, who mentioned that players started preparing for the sound on the bench by plugging their ears. It is a good thing that the NHL does not allow sound effects to be played during live competition, or the Blue Jackets would have quite the home ice advantage.
Los Angeles Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty also wished that the cannon was not part of the game.
“I don’t like that [cannon],” Doughty said. “I don’t think anyone does. It’s not good when we come here. It scares me, still.”
Despite the cannon hatred, the NHL’s All-Star weekend was largely seen as a success. It was certainly a weird weekend to be a sports fan, but a sports weekend is always a fun one.
Oh, and the NFL Pro Bowl was Sunday night in Glendale, Arizona. Michael Irvin reacted like he had won his fourth Super Bowl after defeating Cris Carter’s team in what is continually becoming one of the least cared about events in a major American sports league.
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