Deflategate: On the Off-Chance That You Have Not Already Had Enough of It

The neologism of the month appears to be “Deflate-gate,” though the issue surrounding the deflation of the footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game has also inspired the neologism “Ballghazi” and the pun “The Cheatriots.”

Yeesterday “Deflategate” was the lead story on all four nightly newscasts on the major networks. Yes, the news producers felt that this sports story was more significant than the death of the Saudi king, the worsening chaos in Yemen, the escalating campaign against ISIS and the fate of their Japanese hostages, and even the annual gathering of the ultra-wealthy at Davos.

Nonetheless, the NFL cannot complain that the media has hyper-inflated this story—not after the NFL itself announced that it has hired a “forensic expert” to assist in its investigation.

Here are some of the inventive and remorseless headlines that the controversy has inspired:

“Deflate-gate—Why the Media Are Over-Inflating the Football Flap.” FOX News.

“The Real Deflategate Scandal Is That Anyone Cares.” Time.

“#DeflateGate: A Sports Scandal That’s Full of Hot Air.” The Atlantic.

“Deflategate Talk Is Mostly Hot Air.” USA Today.

“Deflategate Rising Even While Patriots Talk It Down.”

“Scientists Say The NFL’s ‘Deflate-Gate’ Isn’t All Hot Air.” NPR.

“The First Sign That Roger Goodell Is Dropping the Ball on Deflategate.” New York Post.

“The 16 Ballsiest Reactions to Deflategate.” Masher.

“Denial and Deflategate: A Patriots Fan’s Stages of Grief.” New Yorker


And just in case you having been living under a rock:

“The Beginner’s Guide to Deflategate.” Grantland.


“Deflategate FAQ: Let’s Air It Out.”


Even the Chonilce of Higher Education could not resist the story–“Physics Professors Tackle NFL’s ‘Ballghazi’ Scandal”—though they should get credit for using the less common neologism.

The Chronicle should also get credit for avoiding the kind sophomore possibilities illustrated by the front-page coverage of the story in Murdoch’s New York Post:

NY Post Deflategate Front Page

Alexander Hamilton, who founded the newspaper in 1801, would be so proud.


And the exploitation of this story has not been restricted to the media. People has reported that a Boston bakery is selling deflated-football cookies:

Boston Commons Bakery Deflategate Cookies

Indeed, the Boston Common Cookie Company not only came up with the idea for making these cookies but provided People the photo that accompanies the story.

National companies, some of whom are Super Bowl advertisers, are also taking advantage of the acute public awareness:

Krispy Kreme Deflategate AD

Michelin Deflategate Ad

And, if it is not obvious why all of this corporate attention is paying paid to this “scandal”—and by “corporate attention,” I also mean media attention–consider the following two charts:

Ad Revues from Sports Events

Top-Rated Programs of 2013






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