Only the terminally over-educated and the totally clueless are unaware of the brouhaha that has erupted over the report that in the AFC championship game last Sunday between the Patriots and the Colts, most of the footballs used by the Patriots were underinflated by about two pounds per square inch of pressure. This underinflation apparently makes the ball easier to grip in the bad weather conditions in which the game was played. As I write these words, the world is waiting for Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, to appear before the microphones to make a statement.
It is worth pointing out that the Patriots squeaked by the Colts, 45-7.
All of this, as you would expect, makes me think of the prolific nineteenth century French novelist Alexandre Dumas pere [as he was called], author of, among countless other books, the Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas is said once to have bragged that he could write a novel in one sitting, and when challenged, he allowed himself to be locked in a room with food, drink, paper, pen, ink, and a chamber pot, whereupon he proceeded to write an entire novel, passing the pages under the door to his sceptical challengers as he finished them.
One year, Dumas published an impossible flood of books over his name -- sixty, as I recall. When critics accused him of having an atelier in which low paid scribblers cranked out books to which he attached his name, he confessed. "All right, all right, I admit it," he said, "I only wrote thirty of them!"
Does anyone imagine that the Colts would have pulled out the game if only the balls had been pumped up a bit more?