A wiser man than me once said that opinions are like birthdays; everyone has one, and thanks to Facebook, I now know yours.
And much like our birthdays, it seems that our collective opinions on DeflateGate haven't changed at all.
A simple Tweet from Indy beat writer Bob Kravtiz just after midnight on a rainy January evening has snowballed into a federal court appeal, an international scandal, and the most talked about sports storyline that I can remember. Eight months ago, we knew nothing about PSI, ball pressure, the Ideal Gas Law, pregame protocol, or non-logo gauges. As of this morning, we know more about all of those things than any of us ever thought possible. There is now all kinds of evidence on the table, scientists have all weighed in, the appeal transcript is out, and everything we can know about this story is on the table.
Which, of course, begs the question:
Has anyone's opinion changed? Has any of this mattered in the slightest?
As I have been saying since day one, the world was divided into two camps the moment all of this started: the "Brady is a cheater" camp, and the "This is a witch hunt" camp. It was remarkable to see, in a way, how quickly so many people could dig in their heels, cross their arms, and refuse to budge in their beliefs based on a single Tweet from some guy nobody had ever heard of before with absolutely zero evidence either way beyond that Tweet. And now, all these months and millions and man hours later, I'm not so sure that anything that has taken place has made a lick of difference whatsoever when it comes to influencing the majority.Everyone seems just as firmly entrenched in their own opinions, if not more so, than ever.
The only real change, it seems, is that the argument has now gone from "since this is the Patriots, given their history it's pretty it makes sense to believe that Brady is clearly _____" to "I don't know how anyone can now look at the facts and not see that Brady is clearly _____." This investigation seems only to have solidified and encased in concrete the views that were formed back when the amount of writing surrounding DeflateGate was limited to a mere 140 characters. And that's absolutely fascinating to me. That we can all read the same report, look at the same text, hear the same rhetoric, and only have it completely and irrevocably confirm two completely opposite sets of beliefs makes me think that maybe I should apply for that one way trip to Mars.
I highly doubt that this article, posted on a Patriots blog, will shed any light on the matter, as the general opinion around these parts is that Brady did absolutely nothing wrong and this is all on the NFL. And while I still contend that I have no idea what happened to those footballs and probably never will, I will also say that it's now looking very much to me (and to plenty of others out there, including a number of prominent journalists) that Tommy B is innocent in all this and the NFL clearly had an agenda and employed shady legal procedures in their investigation. But even with that, I'm still a Patriots fan. I obviously have an agenda and a bias of my own, so there is obviously a narrative that I'm personally drawn to. I'm as unreliable a source as the next guy. And I know that the mindset of "this is my opinion, and if you disagree with me you're an idiot" is as deeply embedded in the fabric of America as the Kennedys, Chuck Norris, and motorized carts at Walmart. But the bottom line is that NFL is spending all this money on an investigation that ultimately isn't going to change anybody's mind either way. And because of that, it's more probable than not that I'm at least generally aware that I may possibly look back on all of this in a few years and think about what else I could have been doing with my time rather than thinking about stuff like this.