The Colts Aren’t Responsible for Deflategate

So let's stop directing all our rage at them.

Patriots fans who have been spewing venom towards the Colts over the last nine months should realize they’re just vilifying the whistle-blower.

Let’s rewind to the week prior to the AFC Championship Game. Colts equipment manager Sean Sullivan emailed general manager Ryan Grigson, and told him the Ravens’ special teams coordinator notified head coach Chuck Pagano about an issue Baltimore had with the kicking balls in its divisional round loss to the Patriots. Sullivan added it’s “well-known around the league” that the Patriots deflate the game balls after the officials examine them. The Ravens deny tipping off the Colts, but the evidence speaks for itself.

Grigson then alerted the NFL of his concerns, like anybody probably would if they suspected their opponent of cheating. Grigson didn’t order a multimillion-dollar investigation, draconian penalties, or a federal court case that is still dragging on today. He just wanted to make sure the Patriots were abiding by the rules.

The Colts may have gone overboard when they stuck a needle into a Patriots football during the second quarter of the AFC Title Game, and contacted the league again when it was below the league-mandated air pressure threshold. But at the time, they likely didn’t know about the Ideal Gas Law or anything like that. The Colts thought the Patriots were holding an illegal advantage, and wanted their complaint addressed.

It’s easy to paint the Colts as the enemy, considering the outrageous statements some members of the Indianapolis sports media have made throughout this entire ordeal. If there was a troll Hall of Fame, Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel and WTHR’s Bob Kravitz would almost certainly have entire sections dedicated to themselves.

But the Colts can’t be held responsible for what attention-seeking sports writers say, just like they can’t be blamed for the way Roger Goodell and the NFL turned an equipment violation into arguably the biggest scandal in modern sports history.

Goodell can’t put on a pair of pads, so if the Patriots want to unleash Deflategate vengeance, dismantling the Colts at home Sunday night is their only recourse.

But that doesn’t change the fact the Colts are taking the fall for the misdeeds of others.