The bad news: It was broken by Tom Brady. It's official: In the NFL, cheating is legal.
Apparently, if you're caught ordering the deflating of footballs, and that cheating gets you into the Super Bowl, and you win it, not only is your title allowed to remain in the record books, but the Commissioner can't suspend you for your blatant cheating.
Not that the people of New England will ever admit that you cheated. Even after head coach Bill Belichick admitted to "Spygate." All 4 of the New England Patriots' Super Bowls are tainted: None can be accepted as legitimate.
Yes, cheating is legal in the NFL now.
Or... is cheating only legal if a New England sports team does it?
(Note: For these hypothetical situations, I'm using the Jets as the Patriots' opponent because of the rivalry. I am not a Jets fan. Thank God.)
Hypothetical situation A: Whoever's quarterbacking the Jets (and who knows who that's going to be) throws to an ineligible receiver. Touchdown. No, not a touchdown: The ref flags it.
But if Brady and the Pats had done it... it would count.
Hypothetical situation B: It's 21-17 Pats, and there's time for one more play. Whoever's quarterbacking the Jets throws the bomb, and the receiver nearly has his head taken off by the Pats' safety. Anybody can see it's a dirty play, and, since neither half can end on a defensive penalty, the Jets should get one more play, at the spot of the foul. They get, essentially, 4th-and-goal at the 5-yard line.
Except... No official flags the safety for pass interference. Coach Todd Bowles demands that the instant replay be used. He's told no, he can't have it. What the hell? The Pats just got away with cheating again!
Hypothetical situation C: The Jets put the cornerback blitz on. Brady gets the pass away, but Darrelle Revis grabs him, and slams him hard into the artificial turf, injuring him.
The Jets are assessed a penalty of 15 yards for "unnecessary roughness," and Revis is thrown out of the game.
Revis: "Sorry, ref, but I'm allowed to do that. You see, this very asshole now lying on the ground, writhing in pain like the little bitch that he is, proved that there are no rules in the National Football League anymore. He and his team do whatever they want, and they can't be punished for it. Therefore, according to the equal protection clause of the Constitution of the United States, the rules, or in this case the lack thereof, that apply to one team must apply to all teams. Therefore, what I just did, it's completely legal, and you have no authority to penalize either myself as an individual, or my team, for my having done it."
Referee: "What? What are you, a Communist? Additional 15-yard penalty, unsportsmanlike conduct, Number 24, defense, still first down!"
You see, that's the way it works: New England team cheats, it's okay; New York team tries to get even, it's not okay:
* Baseball: The Red Sox can use steroids, and not only are their players not punished for it, they are treated as heroes. But a Yankee accepts his punishment for it, and he still gets "Ster-oids!" chanted at him by 30,000 ignorant boobs who still can't accept the proven fact that their team set new standards for cheating.
Also, a Red Sox pitcher can throw a pitch at a Yankee's head, or hands, or back, on purpose, and he gets away with it every time. Not even a warning. A Yankee pitcher hits a Red Sox hitter on purpose, and he's thrown out of the game and fined, possibly even suspended.
* Basketball: Okay, I still haven't figured out how the Celtics cheated to win the 2008 NBA Championship. But they cheated many times in the old days. Once, Sam Jones elbowed Wilt Chamberlain in the head. No foul called. Wilt went after him. Sam ran to the bench and got a chair to protect himself. Guess who got punished?
Then, as the NBA got expanded, and the season got later and later it got hot in the Boston Garden, and the Celtics wouldn't turn on the air-conditioning in the visiting team's locker room. We all remember the image of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar taking in oxygen on the Los Angeles Lakers' bench in the 1984 NBA Finals. (Or maybe we don't: In the public memory, it was in Game 7; in reality, it was in Game 5.) Okay, New York teams weren't involved in any of this, but you get the idea.
* Hockey: No, I'm not talking about the Big Bad Bruins' rough play of the 1970s. I'm talking about how they let the ice melt at the TD Garden before Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, slowing down the Vancouver Canucks. This resulted in the only Cup they've won since before the Watergate break-in. Again, no New York Tri-State Area team was affected, but it was still a cheat.
* Soccer: No MLS team dives more than the New England Revolution (not even the Los Angeles Galaxy), and no team puts in more "horror tackles" than the Revs. They are by far the dirtiest team in the league.
Same New England: Always cheating.
I'm not saying that the various New York teams are angelic. Certainly, the Yankees have had their issues over the years, and so have the Mets, and the Knicks have been dirty now and agai. And, as far as dirty play goes, for much of their history (long before the Islanders or Devils came along, and well before they started "sucking"), the Rangers have left a lot to be desired.
But the New England teams not only take the cake, they burn down the bakery.
And no one seems willing to stop them. No one is willing to stand up and tell them, "No, you can't do that, because it is wrong."
There's an old saying: "It ain't cheatin' if ya don't git caught."
Now, it should be, "It ain't cheatin' if you play for Boston."
Yes. It is cheating. And it's about time somebody did something about it. Something legal. I don't want anybody in any more trouble than they might already be in.
Because until somebody steps in, the New England teams have this unfair advantage.
And if Roger Goodell lets this stand, doesn't appeal it to a court with a clue, then the National Football League will be a big fat joke.
After all, who's running this league? The Commissioner, or The Cheater?