Although this photo was taken and circulated on January 20th, two days after the “Deflate-Gate” AFC Championship game (at the aptly named Foxboro), it still has a forensic quality to it. If the Patriots tampered with its balls (yes, phallic associations abound — and given the NFL’s and college football’s moral travails, are all-too-fitting), the photo would offer up documentation that the inflaters at Wilson’s Sporting Goods factory lace and pump ‘em up the same way each time.
If all the digits in the NFL investigations single out the Patriots for the pigskin abuse, the near-left focus highlights another point. ‘When you really look at it,” the picture suggests, ‘it’s not just another awkward close up, but a further flattening for the cellar-dwelling Commissioner and an overinflated league.
(photo: Rick Osentoski / AP. caption: Official game balls for NFL football’s Super Bowl XLIX wait to be laced at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. The New England Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL championship on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.)