From dirty jokes to denials, a look back at Deflategate absurdities 1 year later

BY Brett Smiley • January 15, 2016

On Jan. 18, 2015, when the New England Patriots throttled the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship game, the great National Football League controversy "Deflategate" was born.

Tom Brady and the Patriots were allegedly caught in the act and this time -- this "gate" -- they would pay handsomely.

The bizarre sports soap opera headlined national news broadcasts and hung over the lead-up to the Super Bowl like a dark cloud.

Everyone learned a bit more about equipment managers, the NFL's mandated pressure per square inch (PSI) for gameday footballs, and how Tom Brady likes his balls. The jokes were easy and abundant for late night talk show hosts and sports bloggers alike. And the spectacle made for good theater (and solid page views) for a while.

But Deflategate never stopped. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league dug in heels, hired not-so-independent "independent" attorney Ted Wells to "get to the bottom" of the matter while Brady and Patriots denied tampering with the footballs and any wrongdoing in general.

"Deflategate fatigue" became a thing. Billable hours piled up. Media folks grew tired of writing about it, but a player, a team, a league and a conflict of such magnitude demanded treatment as the investigation and subsequent federal court clash dragged on.

Now, one year later, we won't make you relive every fine detail. This is The Buzzer after all, so we're going to offer a semi-chronological list of the most comical and absurd aspects of Deflategate (which is still not over, by the way, as the league is appealing the federal judge's ruling that overturned Brady's suspension) with a few helpings of memes. Here we go:

1. The wave of memes spawned by Tom Brady's initial press conference addressing the controversy (Jan. 22)

2. Some perspective -- on football and international terrorism (Jan. 21-22)

3. Bill Belichick drops a "My Cousin Vinny" reference while discussing atmospheric conditions at a press conference (Jan. 24)

"Now we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions," Belichick explained to a large assembled media. "It's a function of that. So if there's activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why, when we gave them to the officials, and the officials put it at, let's say 12.5 (PSI), that once the ball reached its equilibrium state it was closer to 11.5."

"I am not the Mona Lisa Vito of the football world as she was in the car area," Belichick said.

4. Deflategate inspires the song/video "Those Balls Are Perfect" (Jan. 30)

"If you break the rules," Obama said, "then you break the rules."

6. The 243-page Wells Report was released, containing some fancy charts and graphs (May 6)

In response to the report, the Patriots launched a website "The Wells Report in Context" that attempted to explain that Jim McNally (Patriots locker room attendant) referred to himself as "The Deflator" in conversations with John Jastremski (an equipment assistant) because McNally was . . . trying to lose weight. That bit was later removed from the website.

7. More importantly, the report revealed numerous text messages between McNally and Jastremski

So then tens of thousands of people attempted to decipher text messages between a couple dudes in Massachusetts that contained phrases such as "dorito dink."

8. One month after the league suspended Tom Brady for four games, the QB did this on a dance floor (June 14)

9. The Buzzer's video team launched a brand new diet fad (diet still ongoing)

10. Veteran courtroom artist Jane Rosenberg drew the widely-mocked and now infamous "Tom Brady Sketch" during a federal court hearing (Aug. 12)

Here's the sketch and some a few of the resulting memes:

11. Rosenberg totally redeemed herself with an extra-handsome drawing of Brady at a later hearing (Aug. 31)

12. Judge Richard Berman overturned Brady's suspension, leading to yet more memes, this time depicting Brady as Teflon Tom (Sept. 3)

13. GQ Magazine named Brady one of its "Men of the Year," resulting in some seductive poses that hint at his post-football career in fashion modeling (Nov. 18)

14. Despite losing most of its offensive line and every single offensive player worth starting in fantasy football for the entirety or part of the season, the Patriots went 12-4, earning a first-round bye and now need just one more win to reach another AFC championship game (Jan. 2016)

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