Over the years Lance Armstrong developed a tic at the plate that gave him an advantage. How could Lance Armstrong, a highly-scrutinized cyclist in the world repeatedly pass drug tests while actively doping over the course of a decade?

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency attempted to answer that question with a lengthy report that described Armstrong as the ring leader of the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sports has ever seen.”

Short for, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency uncovered the biggest mafia ring in sports history.

By the time Lance Armstrong retired, the image of him never having failed a drug test became part of his mystique.

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

Armstrong was centrally involved in a sprawling, sophisticated doping program, the agency said, yet he employed both cunning and farcical methods to beat the sport’s drug-testing system. The report alluded to scientific evidence suggesting that Armstrong was doping the last two times he competed in the Tour de France.

Tom Brady and his coach Belichick of the New England Patriots are under a very similar scrutiny. Could they be involved in a sprawling, sophisticated cheating program employing, of course, both cunning and farcical methods to beat the National Football League (NFL)?

Only time will tell if Tom Brady, like Lance Armstrong, gets a pass from his fans, as well as from the law. Although athletes like Tom Brady and a coach like Belichick, may have been exemplary persons in their communities, embodying a desire that the rest of them might aspire to, they still cheated.

Underinflating 11 out of 12 footballs in a game of that magnitude is like doping footballs to make them easier to throw and catch. What’s worse, these balls were only used on offense by Tom Brady. The were not used when New England was on defense. That is further, sophistication, providing only New England the chance to score more easily.

Underinflated balls, especially in wet conditions, are easier to throw and catch. And that is terribly unfair for the other team. Just like doping, cyclists who dope find the bicycles at the Tour de France easier to ride.

Underinflating balls, or doping, is cheating!

There is no other explanation except, like Armstrong, Tom Brady may never speak the truth. At least not for another ten years.

The New England Patriots, one of the N.F.L.’s premier franchises, or so they claim, are already footballing felons. They have been caught cheating before. This is not the first time.

Quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick have won three Super Bowls together and are about to appear in their sixth, but they have now been at the center of two high-profile cheating scandals that have tainted their legacies and the entire NFL.

Should they be stripped of their titles?

Years after punishing the Patriots for stealing signs through the use of illegal video recordings, the N.F.L. is investigating whether the team intentionally used deflated balls on offense during the A.F.C. championship game, in which the Patriots beat the Colts, 45-7, to advance to the Super Bowl.

Deflated footballs are easier to handle, especially in wet conditions. Just like it is easier to win a Tour de France with doped cyclists.

“This kind of cheating in the NFL rarely goes on,” said Craig Allis, a professor who studies sports ethics. “It’s certainly not accepted as part of the culture that you cheat the system like this, and if you get caught, then you are caught.”

The Tour de France can perhaps commiserate with the N.F.L.’s current Patriots scandal. Cycling history includes a long list of cyclists, led by Lance Armstrong, who were vilified for cheating. They steal, dope and doctor documents all in order to evade being caught, too.

After all, it is well known that cycling is a sport in which cheaters prosper, much like the NFL with its solid 32 owners who make money win or lose. Since 1998, more than a third of the top finishers of the Tour de France have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in their careers or have been officially linked to doping; 12 of the last 15 Tours de France have been won by blood dopers in 4 different men.

“You start to look back, and you realize the advantages guys had. Not even the physical advantages, but the mental advantage, the mental advantage of knowing that you cheated to get there, the confidence that gives you. I mean, every game is so mental.”

Some have likened Tom Brady and his cheating career to Tennis players who tend to employ some tactics against the Serena Williams, the best there ever was.

“Some players, if they have to face Serena Williams, for instance, they will try to scuff the balls, rub the balls against their strings to make them bigger and fluffier,” said Mary Carillo, a former professional player who is now a broadcaster. “Take some of the weight off of Serena’s shot.”

That may not be considered cheating in Tennis. There is really no rule that is against it.

But in football the rule is clear. The balls cannot be underinflated. It is called cheating.

Tom Brady and his ilk cheated.

That behavior is not acceptable.

Earlier in the playoffs, the Patriots tried their first known cheating tactic this season in which they had only four offensive linemen on the line of scrimmage and used an extra receiver as a decoy. It was an effort to confuse the defense, and it worked.

Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh ran onto the field, screaming at the officials. And rightly so.

The Patriots’ scandal has taken a serious tone more recently because of the backlash. On Thursday, Belichick and Brady held news conferences in which they denied having knowingly cheated. The sessions became must-watch events.

Like most juicy scandals, the case even got its own name: Deflategate. It has indeed caught the attention of fans who are debating the Patriots’ integrity at water coolers and through social media.

With Deflategate, should Tom Brady and Belichick, now famously referred to as Belicheats, hand over their cheating careers? It will do football a lot of good; it will clean up the sports; and unlike Lance Armstrong, it will lay their sins to rest a whole lot quicker in our minds.

Football should have no place for cheats. Tom Brady at the least is a cheat, a phony and a fraud.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Brady and Belicheat are total frauds, just like Lance Armstrong. When will these guys realize do amount of cheating will make them better at the sport than people who don’t have to cheat to play well? They should just play with whatever talent they are given, and then be ok with losing to people who are more talented. The sports world has no room for cheaters. The sports record books shouldn’t include Brady or Belicheat.

  2. This scandal doesn’t make me feel that the NFL is totally a waste of talent. The owners suck because they want to horde all of the money and not give athletes their fair share. Some of the talentless coaches suck. Belicheat is one of those bcuz clearly he just cheats and cannot bank on talent or skill. Brady and Luck and Rodgers are all overhyped. But other than these overhyped people, there are some talented folk like Russell Wilson who give hope that the league will overcome this scandal.

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