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RUSH: All right, here’s the latest on Deflategate, as I understand it. Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, upon landing in Arizona where the Super Bowl’s gonna be played — and, by the way, media day’s gone on, and I haven’t even had it on. I’m still not all here, folks. I don’t think any of us on the staff really still are. Kind of just going through the motions. Well, doing our best, but still going through the motions. I haven’t had media day on, so I don’t know what’s happening in media day. It’s a circus anyway.

Seahawks land, they got to Arizona on Sunday, and Richard Sherman got off the plane and immediately said that he didn’t think anything is gonna happen to the Patriots, no matter what, because Roger Goodell, the commissioner, and the owner of Patriots, Robert Kraft, are so close and so tight, that there’s no way Goodell’s gonna come down on ’em, even though Goodell has come down on them. It was Goodell that came down on ’em on Spygate. And if this is indeed a sting operation that’s being run against the Patriots, it was Goodell that authorized that. But Sherman’s basing it on the fact that the night before AFC championship game in Boston, Kraft had a party, a dinner party at his house, and Goodell was there, and there was a picture of ’em.

Now, frankly, I don’t think it’s unusual the commissioner would go to an owner’s house for dinner. I mean, if any owner invited a commissioner, he would probably go. But, anyway, a big deal was made of it, and the media picked up on it and, you know, Sherman is considered to be — and he is — a very smart guy. So that’s bulletin board material. The Patriots arrived the next day. They got there Monday. And they said it’s all BS. We didn’t do it. We didn’t want to do it. We don’t know how it happened. We don’t think we did it. We don’t think we saw it. We don’t know. It’s all Greek to us. We don’t know a thing about this.

The reason Belichick called his press conference on Saturday, by the way, I am convinced, was to try to clean up the mess that Tom Brady’s press conference was, that everybody was looking forward to at four o’clock Thursday afternoon last week. I was kind of shocked afterwards. The Brady press conference was really ripped to shreds by people that would normally be predisposed to loving Brady and applauding him no matter what he did.

So Belichick goes out and explains atmospheric conditions as a scientist would in explaining why the Patriots footballs could end up being deflated. The problem with all this is that the Indianapolis Colts footballs were not deflated. They stayed at whatever their opening pressure was. The pressure is a two-pound range in each football. So the Colts’ footballs could have been presented to the refs at the upper limit of the two-pound range, which was I think, what, 13 and a half PSI, and the Patriots could have turned theirs in at 11 PSI. Both balls, both sets would have been legal.

Anyway, the latest on this is that security video inside the bowels of Gillette Stadium tracked a New England clubhouse boy picking up the footballs from the officials office, their locker room, two hours before the game. And on his way to the field, with the footballs in a zipped-up bag, both teams, the 24 footballs there, he stopped in the bathroom. There’s no camera inside the bathroom, obviously. He was in the bathroom for 90 seconds. And so now, the investigation is said to have zeroed in on whether or not somebody could have one of those needles and deflate 11 or 12 footballs two pounds per square inch precisely, in 90 seconds.

So now the media is probably getting deflation experts, which would be anybody in the Obama Office of Management and Budget, deflation experts out there, and I’m sure that they’re going through a test to see if anybody could successfully deflate 11 footballs by exactly two PSI in 90 seconds. Well, it is possible that they could have pulled a switch. It could be that there were underinflated footballs in that bathroom that the officials had not seen, waiting to be switched out. The only problem with that theory is the referees mark each football. (interruption) What are you saying, Snerdley, that they know what the marks look like, anybody could have marked them.

You wouldn’t have to deflate the balls, you just switch ’em out. You hide ’em in an empty toilet tank. You have a toilet with no water in there, put ’em in a bag in there, you don’t have to deflate any footballs. You just have to switch ’em out. That’s all you have to do. That’s right, the investigation is deepening now. It’s getting even more mysterious. Eli Manning is the latest to weigh in, Eli Manning. (laughing) He’s the quarterback of the Giants. Eli Manning said he has never even contemplated his balls. He has never even thought about it.

All of this, Eli Manning says, is brand-new to him. The whole idea of inflated or deflated footballs, he had no clue. He cannot believe any of this. He’s never heard of any of it. Maybe it is why the Giants are not winning. The point is though, no matter what happens or how it happens, the fact is the Patriots had 11 footballs that were inflated low, and the Colts had 11 or 12 footballs that were properly inflated and stayed properly inflated throughout the game. Something happened to the 11 footballs the Patriots were using. Something happened, and like I told you at the outset, they’re not gonna get the answer to this quick, and certainly not before the Super Bowl.

This is too much hype. This is causing too much attention. There’s no bad PR for the Super Bowl. You know, you need a villain. Bill Belichick is the villain right now. These kinds of things, sports particularly, need villains. And Brady, I mean, Mr. Pretty Boy, a villain in some people’s mind, as far as the NFL’s concerned, fine with us, that’s only gonna hype this game even more. I guarantee you, you’ll never get anybody to admit this. In fact, if the NFL were to talk about it, they would say that this is the last thing we want. “Oh, my God, oh, no, this is disaster.”

But privately, the fact that we’re gonna have the championship game of the NFL played this Sunday with half the country wondering whether one of the teams is cheating, do you not think that’s gonna draw an even bigger audience? Now, I know in the old days there used to be this thing called shame. In the old days there used to be penalties and punishment that would come with shame. In our culture today things that people do that would otherwise cause shame make them bigger. It makes people more curious about them. It makes them bigger celebrities or stars or what have you. It’s one of the downsides to the pop culture that we have in America today, is that it really has taken away role models for young people, in a positive way.

And it’s just the way it is. It’s just evolved. I think part and parcel, one of the reasons is why the advent and massive geometric growth of entertainment media. Entertainment media needs stars. Entertainment media is not gonna condemn the people they cover. They want you to watch stories about these people. Whatever Kim Kardashian or the Paris Hiltons of the world, they want that persona to continue and expand and grow. They don’t want these people to be clean and pure as the wind-driven snow. They don’t want them to be upstanding citizens. That’s boring.

I’ll never forget one year the MTV Music Awards actually came off as a family affair. Not one performer uttered a single obscenity, including the F-bomb. And the next day, the entertainment writers of the New York Post and the New York Daily News all wrote about what a dull, boring TV show the awards show at MTV was. It didn’t matter who won the awards. It didn’t matter whether their performances were any good. It didn’t matter whether the songs were cool or hot. No, it’s the fact that nobody disrobed, nobody called anybody a name, nobody gave the F-bomb out there, and so the critics thought it was all dull and boring.

Well, this is not dull and boring. The NFL does concern itself very much so with the integrity of the game. And if they find something has happened here — I’m gonna make a prediction to you right now — they will come down hard on the Patriots, and it’ll be in the off-season with the enforcement of whatever penalties to begin with the new season next fall. Regular season, not preseason. Just a wild guess.

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