The biggest #Deflategate questions: Answered

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2014 Patriots Season
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The biggest #Deflategate questions: Answered

Week 1: Patriots at Dolphins, 33-20 loss
Record: 0-1

Shane Vereen #34 of the New England Patriots avoids a tackle by Jimmy Wilson #27 of the Miami Dolphins during the game at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Photo Credit: Rob Foldy, Getty Images

Jim Basquil and Greg Garber talk about who should get more credit for the Patriots' success, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick.

Week 2: Patriots at Vikings, 30-7 win
Record: 1-1

New England Patriots Malcolm Butler breaks up a pass play intended for Minnesota Vikings Jarius Wright during fourth quarter action at TCF Stadium on Sunday, September 14, 2014.

Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Week 3: Patriots vs Raiders, 16-9 win
Record: 2-1

New England Patriots Nate Ebner, left, and Darrelle Revis, right, tackle Oakland Raiders James Jones during the second half of play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jessica Rinaldi, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Week 4: Patriots at Chiefs, 41-14 loss
Record: 2-2

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) strips the football out of the hands of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the third quarter on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Photo Credit: David Eulitt, Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images

Week 5: Patriots vs Bengals, 43-17 win
Record: 3-2

New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) hits Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after he released a pass in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo Credit: Stephan Savoia, AP Photo

Week 6: Patriots at Bills, 37-22 win
Record: 4-2

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) attempts to catch a pass as he is defended by Buffalo Bills' Corey Graham (20) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Gronkowski was injured on the play.

Photo Credit: Mike Groll, AP Photo

Week 7: Patriots vs Jets, 27-25 win
Record: 5-2

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws as New York Jets defensive end Jason Babin (58) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, AP Photo

Week 8: Patriots vs Bears, 51-23 win
Record: 6-2

New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray rumbles for a first quarter first down. The New England Patriots hosted the Chicago Bears in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium.

Photo Credit: Jim Davis, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Week 9: Patriots vs Broncos, 43-21 win
Record: 7-2

Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Week 10: Bye Week
Record: 7-2

Tom Brady cracks a smile during Patriots practice warmups at Gillette Stadium.

Photo Credit: John Tlumacki, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Week 11: Patriots at Colts, 42-20 win
Record: 8-2

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against Vontae Davis #21 of the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Week 12: Patriots vs Lions, 34-9 win
Record: 9-2

Detroit Lions wide receiver Jeremy Ross (12) tries to catch a pass in front of New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan (26) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. The pass was incomplete.

Photo Credit: Stephan Savoia, AP Photo

Week 13: Patriots at Packers, 26-21 loss
Record: 9-3

Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots makes a reception against the Green Bay Packers during the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Week 14: Patriots at Chargers, 23-14 win
Record: 10-3

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady slides under San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae during the second half in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Denis Poroy, AP Photo

Week 15: Patriots vs Dolphins, 41-13 win
Record: 11-3

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) can't catch a pass in front of New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, rear, in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, AP Photo

Week 16: Patriots at Jets, 17-16 win
Record: 12-3

New York Jets kicker Nick Folk (2) watches as New England Patriots' Vince Wilfork (75) celebrates with teammates after Folk missed a field goal during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Week 17: Patriots vs Bills, 17-9 loss
Record: 12-4

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots runs against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jerome Davis, Getty Images

Wild Card Playoff: Bye Week
Advance to Divisional Round

The New England Patriots held practice in preparation for their playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 10, 2015. Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork take a breather during practice.

Photo Credit: John Tlumacki, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

AFC Divisional Round: Patriots vs Ravens, 35-31 win
Advance to Conference Championship

Duron Harmon #30 of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass late in the game during the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

AFC Championship: Patriots vs Colts, 45-7 win
Advance to Super Bowl XLIX

The Patriots' LeGarrette Blount scores in 3rd quarter action during the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015.

Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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By DJ GALLO

The biggest sports story of the young year is the New England Patriots and their deflated balls. But what do we really know? Here, thankfully, is the definitive list of answers to the biggest* DeflateGate questions.

(*inflated plus-2 PSI above the standard)

Wait. Are we really calling it "DeflateGate"?

Apparently. That's what it's being called so far, anyway. I'm just following everyone else. But rest assured that there will be no usages of "Belicheat" or "Cheatriots" or "Deflatetriots" in this column.

Well, other than just then. Dammit.

So are the Patriots cheaters?

Yes.

Do other teams cheat?

No doubt.

Why do the Patriots get caught so much?

There are three possible reasons for this:

They are a team of morons, lead by head ignoramus Bill Belichick, who have been busted the two - and only two times !- they have ever attempted to cheat. What terrible luck!

They cheat with such frequency that they're bound to get caught sometimes. And they have now. Twice.

The Patriots don't cheat more than any other team, but their rivals keep snitching on them because they are jealous of the Patriots and want to bring them down.

Jealous of the Patriots? Hasn't it been since, like, 2004, since a Patriots team last won a Super Bowl? Wasn't it a tainted Super Bowl? Isn't "18–1" one of the greatest punchlines in sports history? What's to be jealous of?

You sound like a HATER.

Will broadcasters still refer to the Patriots as the NFL's model franchise after this?

Yes. If eight years of illegally filming opponents while winning three Super Bowl titles, and a star player being charged with three murders didn't stop them, a couple of PSI in a 45–7 game isn't going to do it.

Would the Patriots still have won the AFC title game without cheating?

Yes. Easily. (Assuming, of course, that the ball deflation thing we know about is the only cheating they did last week.) That's why it's all so stupid and pointless and needlessly risky: the Patriots are fully capable of winning games without breaking the rules, just as they're apparently fully incapable of not cutting corners to try to get an edge.

And therefore, anything and everything they've achieved in the past 14 years will forever be held in question by most people who live outside the New England states. (AKA: The JEALOUS STATES. They're really called that. Check any Hater Atlas.)

Is Brady the greatest quarterback ever?

No. Because you can't know how much of his success was due to cheating.

Is Belichick the greatest coach ever?

Nope. Because you can't know how much of his success was due to cheating. (Also, Google "Belichick + Browns.")

Do New England's Super Bowls count?

Officially they do, but they'll forever be thought of as fraudulent. Okay, that's not fair. The Patriots' blowout defeats in the 1986 and 1997 Super Bowls were completely legit. Give them that, at least.

If the Patriots were playing with deflated footballs, why didn't the game officials notice?

Did you watch the first two rounds of the playoffs, friend? NFL officials are not what anyone would call observant.

How will the NFL punish the Patriots?

If Goodell's track record is any indication, he'll destroy the under-inflated balls, slap Belichick and the Patriots with a fine and hope everyone forgets about this quickly - Hey! Look at the shiny thing over there! - and moves on. It's how the NFL does PR. And it's proven to work before.

We'll also probably get some new procedures on how to inspect and handle footballs for next year.

We may even get a heavy-handed ad campaign with actors staring into a camera and tearing up while trying to talk about deflated balls. "I'm sorry ... [sniffle] ... the integrity of the NFL Shield just means ... [dabs tears] ... so much to me."

Why does Belichick get all the heat for this stuff and not Brady?

Yeah, it stands to reason that if the footballs were noticeably deflated, the guy who handles the football on every play for the Patriots would have noticed. No equipment manager or intern is just going to take it on himself to change the feel of the football without asking the team's franchise quarterback first.

It also stands to reason that Brady would have known how his coaches were getting the opposing defense's signals back during SpyGate ... or at least would have been curious.

But it has been generally agreed that Brady is wholesome and handsome and good and nice, so it will probably stay that way. Just because a guy would leave his pregnant girlfriend for a model does not mean he'd try to play a big football game with a ball that's easier for him to grip and throw, okay?

Why do we care so much about football PSI but not at all about PEDs in football or the fact that Russell Wilson was cleared for a concussion in "two seconds"?

I mean, have you ever tried to throw a catch a softer ball? It's way easier.

How do we explain #DeflateGate to our children?

Don't worry about it. No child will care about this, no matter how many sportswriters say the Patriots are setting a bad example for America's youth.

Sure, it's possible that a few young Patriots fans will care, but that's on their parents, who should have known the moral and ethical quandaries that come along with rooting for liars and cheaters. If we must worry about the youth, worry about Robert Kraft's girlfriend. If this latest scandal doesn't kill him, he could last forever. Poor girl. That couldn't have been the plan.

Where does this leave the Super Bowl?

The game is already ruined. If the Patriots win, people will just say they didn't deserve to be there and that the victory is just another tainted title on their resume. The NFL can't have them win. It will invalidate the entire season.

Wait. Wait just one minute. The Patriots winning the Super Bowl would invalidate the entire season? The season of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell, the NFC South and no-catch playoff catches? The worst NFL season ever?

Go Patriots! Win the Super Bowl! Wipe the 2014 NFL season from history forever!

For more sports commentary, visit The Cauldron or follow them on Twitter: @TheCauldron

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