Boy, what a ride it's been.
Today, we celebrate the New England Patriots' 28-24 comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. It's a high-note to a scandal-ridden season that the NFL might otherwise like to forget.
Looming over the Super Bowl was the Deflategate scandal.
In the AFC Championship, eleven of the twelve New England game footballs were found significantly under-inflated, though the Indianapolis Colts' game footballs were within the league-specified limits. In comical, innuendo-laced press conferences, both Patriots QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belicheck asserted that they knew nothing about the deflated balls. The investigation is ongoing.
Other unresolved investigations involve the fifty-five unanswered abuse cases in the NFL this year. Though the league likes to stay out of thorny social issues, abuse has come to the forefront this year, mainly because of two instances:
First, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested for knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer. The NFL suspended Rice for two games, a punishment critics claimed was too light. To assuage critics, when TMZ surfaced video of the incident, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell swiftly suspended Rice indefinitely. Rice appealed the suspension, won the appeal, and can now play for any team.
As all of the Rice drama unfolded, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was arrested for beating his son with a switch. His four-year-old son had bruises and open wounds on his buttocks, thighs, lower back, scrotum, and hands. Goodell suspended Peterson for the remainder of the 2015 season, without pay. Pending a court case this spring, he may be able to sign for any team.
Today, we enjoy the Patriots' jaw-dropping fourth-quarter comeback, the largest in Super Bowl history. Time will tell if this season is more remembered Brady's record-tying third Super Bowl MVP, or for Deflategate and abuse scandals.