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New Deflategate Article Might Just Take the Cake

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There's a new face on the beat of anti-Patriots clickbait. Let's welcome him with open arms.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret at this point; the New England Patriots is where you want to go if you're hoping to launch a career. You may be somewhere you don't really want to be, wallowing in anonymity, unable to break out on a national level, producing modest numbers but for some reason just unable to get over the hump, and looking to make a real change. So what do you do? You look to New England. You see in that team an opportunity to finally get that recognition. Maybe even some respect. And if all goes well, you can finally get that big payday you just know that you deserve.

For the record, I'm not talking about players here.

I'm talking about reporters.

I've said it plenty of times at this point: being a paid journalist in the 21st century is a borderline impossible gig. You're forced to work a job where your next paycheck depends almost exclusively not on the quality of your work or the validity of your writing, but on whether or not you get enough clicks on your articles. You're forced to compete not only with your fellow journalists who are scrabbling and clawing for content and storylines, but also with Twitter, YouTube, and any number of blogs, podcasts, websites, and live streams produced by everyday people who are doing it more for fun than anything else and don't have to worry about traffic or clicks or ratings or any of that stuff. If nobody reads my blogs, who cares? I'm not going to lose my position here over it. How can you possibly compete with that? In that kind of environment, you simply do what you have to do to stay afloat, and so I don't begrudge anyone for completely selling out in an attempt to stay relevant.

And if you're a sports reporter, there is no better place to stay relevant than right here in New England. If you're looking to boost your ratings, get a ton of cheap pageviews, generate conversation about something you wrote, and make a name for yourself on a more national scale, look no further than the Patriots. We have been making reporters for the entirety of the 21st century now, and Tebow willing, we'll be able to keep on doing it for years to come. It's a simple formula, really; all you have to do is, in some form or another, write an article that highlights the Patriots and scandal. Attack them or defend them. Accuse them or exonerate them. Use facts or completely ignore facts. Whatever you decide to do, you just slap something on the Patriots together, throw it up online, and then sit back watch the clicks and mentions roll in. Schedule your national interviews appropriately, and then start figuring out how to best spend your nice fat bonus. Good for you, I say; it's right there for the taking and requires absolutely no real thought or hard work, so why not milk it for all it's worth? There's a veritable laundry list of folks who have used the Patriots to launch themselves into the national spotlight, as the formula is tried and true. Bart Hubbuch. Bob Kravitz. Bart Scott. Colin Cowherd. I could go on and on.

And as great as all these guys are and as much as I enjoy watching them do their thing, they are all old hat at this point. We need some new blood around here to keep things interesting. And so it is with genuine pleasure that I would like to welcome the newest member of C.O.M.A P.A.T. - Click On My Article, Please And Thanks - to our ranks: D. Orlando Ledbetter.

I know nothing about Mr. Ledbetter other than the fact that he's a Falcons beat writer and he looks absolutely phenomenal in a bow tie. I'm sure he has done some good stuff in the past, but I have never heard of him up until today. But I now know who he is, courtesy of what may be my favorite article ever written, "What to Tell Your Kids About Deflategate." It's a guide for parents who are worried that they won't be able to properly explain to their children how a bunch of cheaters managed to win yet again when we so staunchly try to instill in America's youth that cheating never ends well for anybody. It's there to help you navigate how, in these tumultuous times, we can ease the fears of any little boy or girl who can't figure out how Tom Brady, who is referred in the article only as "the man wearing No. 12" as if he was a dime paperback villain, can still be viewed as a sports icon and positive role model for anybody. It deftly avoids the the hard hitting questions, like what both sides of the debacle had to say, what the science dictates, and how the "first before right" nature of modern information dissemination helped craft a certain narrative before any actual facts came out one way or another, and instead offers an excellent rubric not for showing children the importance of looking at each individual situation objectively and coming to your own opinion rather than blindly following one stance or another simply because of convenience or personal enjoyment, but getting upset over a non-issue. Here I was thinking that parents might have other, more important matters to discuss with their children here in 2017, but I'm glad that Mr. Ledbetter was here to set me straight.

When it comes to "lets go out and get me some clicks" articles, this is an absolute master class.

So please allow me to help, and to welcome you with open arms into some very...let's just go ahead and say interesting...company. I want this article to get as many clicks as possible. I'm here to help you out, Mr. Ledbetter. Check it out again here. Link to it. Tweet it. Let's get this guy the recognition he's so very actively seeking by writing this article. I can't wait to see more from him, most hopefully in New England's ties to Donald Trump. Because  we all know that when it comes to a strong moral compass, we need to look no farther than professional athletes.

I'm going to say his name again: D. Orlando Ledbetter.

D. Orlando Ledbetter.

D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Please don't ever go away. Never stop. Never find my team irrelevant. Never look at the Patriots as anything less than a great opportunity for self-promotion.

Thank you for this. It just made my week. And hopefully, all the new pageviews you're getting is making yours.