What do Super Bowl related scandals have to do with the Magna Carta? Let’s take a look at Clause 35: “there shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter) throughout the kingdom.... Weights are to be standardized similarly.” The importance of standardized measurements was important to society in 1215, and remains so today. If standardized ale measures reach a threshold of semi-constitutional importance, then surely football measures share the same significance. Enter the deflategate scandal.
NFL regulations require that footballs fall within certain inflation specifications . In 2006 the NFL introduced a rule allowing each team to use their own balls while on offence, rather than the same balls being used by both teams. This means that the opposing team will only handle said balls in the event of a fumble or interception. Balls are inspected prior to each game by the referees to ensure they comply with the weight/size/air pressure specifications.
Last Sunday the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship, which was the last obstacle between the Pats and the Super Bowl. Part way through the game it was noticed that the balls thrown by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were not quite measuring up. The balls which had earlier passed inspection seemed to have been deflated, making them easier to grip, throw, and catch. The NFL investigation is ongoing, and a Patriots locker room attendant is now under the microscope after being caught on film taking the balls into a bathroom.
Rebel barons in 1215 understood the importance of fair measurement, as do the writers of the NFL’s “constitution”. Once the NFL investigation wraps up, we may confirm that measurement regulation has been snubbed by the Patriots. Or is this all a conspiracy?
Everyone from Jim Rome to Katy Perry has an opinion on this issue. Tell Ms. Magna Carta what you think! Has there been foul play? Should the presumption of innocence apply? Will you still cheer for the Pats, or are you a Seahawks fan? Comment below!