The Real DeflateGate Legacy: An Asterisk Next to the “Patriots Era”

Major League Baseball will always have to live with the asterisk next to the stats bulked-up players compiled during the “steroid era.”

Now the National Football League will have to live with any records set during the “Patriots Era” lasting from about 2002 until at least 2015 . . . maybe longer.

My proof? Well, first you should read the book SpyGate by Bryan O’Leary to get a bit of a background on that scandal in particular, and how the New England Patriots operate in general.

But like a lot of things in life, the real truth won’t come out now . . . or even next year. No, the truth about SpyGate and the Patriots Era in the NFL will take years to come out. After Belichick is done coaching and Brady is modeling full time. And it won’t come all at once in a single blockbuster allegation. No, the powerful NFL won’t allow that.

No, the truth will come out in drips and drabs as people associated with the team die, or become disillusioned with professional football and the league they once vowed to protect at all cost. But that drip will eventually turn into a stream of information and, hopefully, the right person will piece it all together for a complete story. But even then, the faithful will refuse to believe it: that the sports world could have been conned for so many years by a single organization. That one team broke or bent the rules in a thousand different ways right under our noses and we never saw it . . . like one giant magic trick. That everyone involved kept to a mafia-type code and didn’t break their silence, even under relentless pressure and mounting evidence to the contrary.

Someone outside the Patriots organization knows the whole truth right now, even as I type this. But they’re either too afraid or too well paid to come forward. I have no real idea what that total truth will be, but when it does come out it will rock the sports world and change the way we’ve seen the last 15 years or so of professional football. Until then, we’ll laugh a little at DeflateGate and watch as the NFL rakes in another couple billion dollars from the Super Bowl.