Ah, Deflategate. It is likely that nothing ever happened, yet the sports world focused on it for the better part of the last seven months. New rumors, new leaks and new allegations every week made sure that this focus would not slip away from arguably the most baseless scandal in the history of professional football.
While nearly everyone outside of the Patriots organization was engulfed by this (non-)story, the people within didn't. The coaching staff was able to properly prepare the team, while the players were able to do their job and execute. And above all stood the one man placed into the center of this farce.
Ever since the NFL decided that anonymous rumors coming out of Indianapolis were suddently to be taken seriously and that the Patriots' footballs needed to be inspected, the object football was put into the league's and its officiating process' spotlight. Safe to say, the last time game and NFL officials didn't bother where the balls were was just before the start of the AFC Championship Game.
Since then, the league made sure that ball preparation and inflation levels are taken seriously (at least that's what the NFL said). Coincidentally, since that point – halftime of the above-mentioned Championship Game – Tom Brady has been on a roll.
In the second half of the game against the Colts, Brady completed 12 of 14 pass attempts (85.7%) for 131 yards and two touchdowns. New England outscored its opponent 28 nothing in the final two quarters to win the game 45-7 and advance to Super Bowl XLIX.
In the Super against the Seattle Seahawks and the best defense in the league, Brady went 37 of 50 (74.0%) for 328 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The Patriots won 28-24, whil New England's passer had a fourth quarter for the ages and was named game MVP.
On Thursday, Brady, with seven months of fighting the NFL in its own as well as an independent court on his back, carved up the Steelers' defense. He completed 25 of 32 pass attempts (78.1%) for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
Since the sudden dawn of the Deflategate scandal/farce/nonsense, the Patriots quarterback completed 74 of 96 passes (77.1%), gained 747 yards and threw ten touchdowns and just two interceptions. That's a passer rating of 124.7, folks.
Could it be that ball inflation really never mattered? Those who still insist otherwise better take a look at Tom Brady since Deflategate, being on a roll no matter the inflation levels of the footballs. Maybe there is another explanation, though: that Brady guy is pretty good.