The NFL is about to hit the sleeper period in between free agency and the draft where they'll try to slip through their verdicts about the recent scandals and, boy, have there been a handful this 2015 calendar year. The Patriots went through the toughest time with DeflateGate (I keep typing it DeFlateGate because of Brandon LaFell's last name), even though the Browns and Falcons have been found guilty with TextGate and NoiseGate, respectively.
I've also come to realize that these are the worst names ever for scandals and it's totally a shame that no one's done anything about it. I believe DeadSpin or Kissing Suzy Kolber came up with Ballghazi for the Patriots, but I decided to delve into the history books to come up with scandals that better fit the accused crime.
Deflarthyism - Has there ever been a football scandal conjured out of nothing with such a heavy focus on targeting one specific team? McCarthyism rose during the Second Red Scare and you just have to read the first sentence on Wikipedia to understand the connection:
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."
ESPN's Mike Reiss noted that both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been interviewed for this investigation, so hopefully this can be wrapped up shortly.
Cleveland * Routes - TextGate involved the illegal usage of cellphones to provide contact from the booth to the sideline. As other teams aren't allowed to use this form of communication, Cleveland received an obvious advantage with how their messages were delivered from one entity to another.
Enter the Star Route Scandal. Essentially, in 1845, the US government decided they should start opening up snail mail routes to inland states, since prior communication was reserved for the coast. Contractors and politicians would use bribery to prioritize the awarding of postal routes to the highest bidder and split the profits. I believe those found guilty were launched into outer space.
That's what you get for trying to break the rules when it comes to messaging.
Decibacle - If there were any scandal worth the -Gate suffix, it'd be the Atlanta Falcons' incorrect usage of sound equipment, but instead I'll go with The Falcoholic's fantastic naming choice of Decibacle. This is an amazing name and it rolls off the tongue fairly easily. I'm quite jealous.
Whispers for Atlanta's expected penalty for Decibacle né NoiseGate is a Day 2 draft pick. I think they should get a discount for coming up with such a great name.
Tamperpot Dome - The NFL is investigating whether or not teams were offering contracts during the legal tampering period and everything points to Miami as the potential location for punishment. The Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a recklessly crazy contract and the terms were announced over the weekend.
Of course, teams aren't allowed to give offers during this period, so the Dolphins would have been breaking the rules if they had come to terms with Suh. Miami had the quick thinking to delay the signing of Suh for a couple hours after the legal signing period began so they wouldn't look as guilty as they are.
Everyone does it. No one cares. But this matches perfectly with the salacious Teapot Dome scandal under President Harding. The scandal involved accepting oil contracts without a bidding process, and a little bit of bribery, and Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall went to prison, marking the end of one of the greatest names in politics, as well as creating the term "fall guy." (editor: I don't think this is right...?)
(editor2: Actually I just read the Wikipedia page linked and it references Albert B. Fall, so this is an unintentional teaching moment)
Spanish Conspirevis - The year is 1787 and a fledgling nation is battling turmoil from the inside. The US is trying to solidify itself, while the Spanish forced them to pay heavy tariffs to use the Mississippi River for trade. James Wilkinson moves to Kentucky with the goal of swearing allegiance to Spain. Wilkinson initiates the Spanish Conspiracy to try and have Kentucky join in union with Spain.
At the heart of the scandal is the fight for control of the Mississippi River and what better way to cover a body of water than with Revis Island? Spain and Wilkinson went behind the back of the US while Wilkinson was still a member of the US Army, which is in clear violation of the Anti-Tampering policy. The King of Spain was quoted as saying he would "love for Darrelle to come back," which didn't make much sense at the time, but now it all ties together.