Today we take a break from serious politics to talk about balls.
The top story this week, eclipsing President Barack Obama's State of the Union by a large margin, centered on allegations that the New England Patriots used slightly deflated footballs in the first half of their 45-7 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts in last Sunday's AFC championship game. The horror of this allegation sent a number of politicians sprinting for the fainting couches.
Republican Sen. Dean Heller thundered that the National Football League needed to "restore the credibility of the game" by taking some unspecified "decisive action." (Take away Tom Brady's sweaters maybe?)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also got the vapors. "I can't believe the National Football League, with the billions of dollars it makes, couldn't at least determine how much air should be in a football," he said.
Interestingly, both senators hail from Nevada, which just happens to boast the sports betting capital of the free world. Las Vegas bookmakers really do not want their precious betting lines threatened by the possibility of cheating cheaters who cheat letting 1 pound per square inch out of a football.
After all, no one in Vegas ever cheated anyone out of anything.
As for Heller's "credibility of the game" comment, one might ask, what credibility? This is a league that had to get dragged into doing anything at all about a player caught on tape knocking out his wife with a vicious punch to the face.
But let's not dwell on the uglier aspects of the NFL, a league that owes its massive success to behemoths of men concussing each other for our collective national enjoyment.
Let's instead celebrate the Deflategate story for the incredible gift that it is.
This story, so filled with complete and utter silliness, is just the kind of distraction America needs in this woebegone new century filled with wars, recession, racial tension and terrorism.
Go ahead and say it with me: Balls.
It's OK to find that word and everything about this story funny. Because it is funny. Balls are funny. All the puns are funny. Tom Brady liking his balls a certain way is funny. Let no one scold you out of enjoying every bit of this.
But in reveling in this story, one must first deal with the HOW DARE THEY!?! purists who think New England coach Bill Belichick should be banned from the Super Bowl. Or from the earth. Or something.
This is beyond ridiculous. And I say that as someone with an unblemished record of despising Belichick and his agonizingly and persistently excellent Patriots. First of all, Belichick claims to know nothing about how 11 of the 12 Patriot footballs appear to have come in slightly below league guidelines for pressure in the first half. Until anyone can prove otherwise, let's withhold judgment on him.