Chris Long Stood Behind Patriots, Tom Brady During Deflategate

By:Mike Grinnell

Late Tuesday night, reports started circling the web that Chris Long, former DE for the St. Louis Rams had agreed with the New England Patriots on a one-year deal. Now, the Patriots are a team that has been consistently relevant and talked about in the media for about fifteen or so years now, opposing players are always opening up their yap, usually bad mouthing the Patriots, especially with the recent “Defaltegate” scandal that has surrounded the team for the past year and a half.

Not every player has negative things to say about the Patriots, some even take to The Players Tribune to defend them.

A week before Super Bowl XLIX Chris Long, DE for the St.Louis Rams at the time,  took to the Players Tribune to defend Brady, Belichick and the Patriots, and pointed the blame elsewhere.

“You want to know who handles the football more than anyone on the field? The refs. I’m not only talking about the pre-game inspection process. I’m talking about throughout the game, in between every play. Now, I’m not saying that an NFL referee should be a human psi (pounds per square inch) reading machine. (Silicon Valley, get on that.) But if a football feels so obviously different at 11 psi than it does at 13.5 psi — enough to argue that it lends a team a competitive advantage — maybe the best officials on the planet should have noticed something was awry that night at Gillette.”

Long also pointed out what everyone seems to forget when it comes to Deflategate. Aaron Rodgers admitted to it as well…

“But hypothetically, what if a team naturally prefers their footballs more inflated? They could overinflate the game balls to balance for the loss of pressure in the colder temperatures. That would be ludicrous right? What kind of idiot likes more air in their footballs?

A guy named Aaron Rodgers does. He likes them inflated to the max. Aaron Rodgers has reportedly said that he likes to “push the limit” on football air pressure. I feel sorry for Jordy Nelson catching those bullets up there in that brisk Green Bay climate. Then again I don’t because it must be nice having the best quarterback in the league throwing you passes, and the best quarterback also seems to employ a bit of gamesmanship. As Brenkus said this week on Sport Science, an overinflated football actually travels faster. How’s that for an advantage?”

Long even pointed out the obvious, Panthers-Vikings Ball heating scandal, that everyone also seems to forget.

“As recently as this November, cameras caught the Panthers and Vikings using sideline heaters to heat up their footballs because game temperatures were hovering in the teens. According to NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino, this was a violation of league rules. But what kind of violation — a grievous ethical one, or something more gray? Another example: former Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson has admitted paying $7,500 to have his footballs doctored to his specifications for Super Bowl XXXVII, a game in which the Bucs cruised to a 48-21 victory. He freely and openly offered up that information. No one’s calling Brad Johnson’s legacy into question (and they shouldn’t).”

Howie Long, Chris Long’s father and NFL Hall-of-Famer was born and raised in Charlestown Massachusetts, So Long has the New England Blood in him.

Long’s piece for The Players Tribune was a completely different perspective of Defaltegate and it should have been the one that mattered most, the one from someone who is on the field, not behind a desk.

“As an NFL player, I can admire Brady’s career and still ask critical questions. Someone defending the Patriots could point out that the Pats outscored the Colts 28-0 in the second half, after the deflated footballs had been replaced. (It was a competitive game, at 17-7, at the end of the first half.) They could also bring up the fact that two out of three of Brady’s TD passes came in the second half, or that his only interception came in the first. Brady also threw for more yards in the second half (131 versus 95) and had eight fewer incompletions. Basically, the change didn’t seem to rattle him. Maybe this sample size is too small to prove a point. I’m sure, however, that if the Patriots had played miserably in the second half and lost the game, everyone calling for an asterisk next to the busts of Belichick and Brady in Canton would lead with that argument.

And what about the run game? What effect does a football’s pressure have on a team’s rushing? LeGarrette Blount rushed for 148 yards and the Patriots didn’t fumble once that night. For years now, the Patriots have been elite when it comes to protecting the football. I’ve heard stories of the Patriots running drills with soaking wet, slick footballs. My college coach and good friend Al Groh is one of the tougher branches on the Belichick coaching tree, so I’m familiar with this style of coaching. As another coach told me, you get what you emphasize. This emphasis has been paying off for years. But that’s just the football player in me talking.”

If Long can keep up the praise for Brady and Belichick during his time in Foxboro, I think he’ll do just fine…

“No matter what comes of this, I don’t think I’ll be questioning the Patriots’ legacy. But that’s just one man’s opinion. Football is a profoundly difficult game. You could pair countless quarterbacks with countless head coaches and give them a bag of magic footballs and they’d still struggle to win a playoff game. Tom and Bill have won 20 (a record), with an ever-changing cast of characters in an ever-changing league.”


(Picture via @PlayersTribune) 

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