Vaughn: Patriots should forfeit AFC title game -

Vaughn: Patriots should forfeit AFC title game

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(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) By Stephanie Baumer (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) By Stephanie Baumer

 Doug Vaughn | @DVaughn4_CBS920

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Enough already with the Patriots cheating. How many times is this? We know of at least three instances. Who knows how much cheating they’ve done when they didn’t get caught.

The Patriots were nabbed taping the Rams walk thru in New Orleans the day before Super Bowl 36. They were caught sending a photographer to the New York Jets sideline to video the hand signals of the Jets assistant coaches. They were fined $750,000 by the league for that infraction, and also gave up a first round draft pick in 2007. Now they’ve been caught deflating 11 of the 12 footballs used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The balls were checked and cleared before the game by NFL officials, and then apparently deflated by someone on the Patriots sideline. Deflated balls could be easier to grip for the quarterback and softer to catch for receivers.
The NFL hasn’t yet decided on a punishment for the Patriots. Here’s my suggestion to the league: New England forfeits the game and Indianapolis is declared the AFC champion. I know that’ll never happen, but wouldn’t a drastic penalty like that more than likely put an end to the Patriots serial cheating? Instead, the NFL will probably hit the Patriots with a fine and maybe dock them another draft pick. That won’t be enough to keep the Patriots from cheating in the future if Bill Belichick thinks he can gain an edge using illegal tactics.
It’s hard for me to believe this is even an issue. How difficult would it be for the NFL to assign a league official to properly inflate all the footballs, keep them in his or her possession throughout the game, and flip the referees a ball whenever they need one? Isn’t that a rather simple solution to this?
Or, the league could pass a rule saying each team can inflate the ball however they want. If one team wants to use a ball with very little air in it, so be it. If the other team wants the ball fully inflated, have at it. The game is most entertaining when the quarterbacks are able to throw the football accurately and for distance. Fans wouldn’t care how the ball is inflated. The important thing is to make it fair for both teams.
Of course the Patriots don’t want things fair for both teams. That’s not their style. Here’s hoping Roger Goodell takes the ultra-extreme measure of forfeiting the AFC championship game to the Colts.
Do you think the Patriots should be punished for the alleged "deflate-gate"? Vote here

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