Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

'DeflateGate': It's time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters

New England defeated Indianapolis 45-7 in last week's AFC championship game. It wouldn't have mattered if all 12 football were properly inflated. The Patriots were going to win that game whether Tom Brady was throwing a beach ball or a cinder block.

But the Patriots are proven cheaters, going back to "Spygate" days. They've have already been fined and lost draft picks for past offenses and the assumption is the NFL will do the same thing here. But if the NFL suspends players for several games when they test positive for performance enhancing drugs, in the belief that it gives the players a competitive advantage, shouldn't the same policy be in place for obvious incidents of cheating?

I'm not saying the Patriots win over the Colts should be vacated. But I am saying that's what needs to happen in the future.

It appears New England coach Bill Belichick has been busted -- again. (Getty Images)

A team video tapes another team's coaches' defensive signals to gain a competitive advantage. Appropriate league response: Forfeit a game.

A team doctors equipment so its offense can score more easily in a bad weather game: Appropriate league response: Forfeit the game.

At the very least, coaches should be subjected to suspension in cases like this. I'm sure New Orleans coach Sean Payton would like to chime in.

It shouldn't take NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his rule-makers to come up with a list of forfeit-worthy offenses. I'm sure any team that has played against the Patriots would be happy to help.

If Goodell is worried that the players already hate him, no worries. They'll get behind this, as long as everybody still gets their paycheck. The 53 players on the Patriots' roster may vote against forfeitures but the other 1,643 won't.

ESPN reported that 11 of the 12 footballs used by New England in the AFC title game were under--inflated by two pounds per square inch according to NFL regulations. That can't be a coincidence. And, yes, the fact that it's the Patriots and they already have a rapsheet does make it worse.

If the NFL passed rules that stated certain forms of rules-skirting would result in forfeitures, there would be no surprises. It all would be in black and white.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.