Many believe that the New England Patriots displayed legerdemain in deflating 11 of 12 game balls prior to their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Patriots and their fans believe the Pats displayed great legerdemain in walloping the Colts 45-7 in that same game. Well, which was it?
As Word Master for this week’s meeting of my Toastmasters club, I needed a word that most people in the group have likely never heard. That is the purpose of this role, after all: to help our members expand their vocabulary. My Merriam Webster Dictionary app solved my dilemma by offering me a word that met this criterion while allowing me to craft a usage example around a topic that is generating much discussion these days – the New England Patriots’ “deflategate” scandal.
Legerdemain (noun): 1. Sleight of hand; 2. A display of skill or adroitness. (credit: Merriam-Webster.com)
So, did the Patriots display legerdemain (1) or legerdemain (2) in the AFC Championship game? I believe they epitomized the concept of legerdemain by nailing both definitions. Based on news reports thus far into the NFL investigation, it appears clear that the Patroits managed to alter the game balls beyond what is allowed in the rules after the game officials had validated the balls. Did that by itself make the difference in the outcome of this game? Not hardly in my opinion. The final score was 45-7, after all, and New England outplayed Indy in all aspects of the game.
The NFL reported yesterday that their investigation will likely not be completed for another couple of weeks, so we fans of sports talk radio will be hearing about “deflategate” for at least that long. I think it’s sad that one of arguably the best teams to play the game apparently felt the need to cheat the rules to gain an edge over their opponent. Based on interviews with former NFL Quarterbacks and others who know Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady well, I don’t believe this occurred without their knowledge. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.