On their way to Super Bowl XLIX , New England Patriots put on a football clinic to dismantle the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. NFL and Patriots' superstar quarterback Tom Brady piled on the misery for the Colts in a humiliating defeat.
However, in the wake of that triumph for New England, American sport was rocked with yet another controversy – Deflategate.
What seemed like a routine Patriots win, caused a furore after news emerged of 11 of the 12 balls used by Bill Belichik's team being under-inflated by 2lbs.
Considering the rainy conditions during that game, an under-inflation of 2lbs could have significantly helped Brady in throwing the ball and the Patriots' receivers in catching it.
Brady has been playing as a starting quarterback in the NFL for over a decade now. To be in his place, one needs years of practice, which means throwing a lot of balls. Hundreds of them, everyday.
Hence, for someone with the experience of Brady, would it not be possible to figure out if the match balls were under-inflated? Common sense suggests he'd have known or at least figured out the difference between those balls and standard balls.
Assuming Brady knew, the finger would then point to his coach Belichick. The duo, of course, are the principals of the New England Patriots.
So, did they practice with under-inflated balls in training too? Or how else would they know if Brady would be best suited to over-inflated or under-inflated balls?
Also, how long have the Patriots been doing this?
It is a well-known fact that different players prefer different air pressure in the ball. For instance, Brady has made his views public of his preference for under-inflated balls, while Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers said he prefers over-inflated balls.
Does having knowledge of this alleged under-inflation classify as cheating on Brady and Belichick's part? It should. Or they'd have informed the officials about it. They preferred to stay silent.
Now, there is no denying Brady of his ability and Belichick of his acumen. Having been the chief architects in making New England the most successful sports franchise of the past decade, they have now been elevated into the greatest-ever conversation.
So, did they really do it? Do they need deflated balls to win games?
A nation-wide poll conducted this week suggested people believed in overwhelming majority that Patriots are lying about the deflated balls. The Robert Kraft-owned franchise now has the lowest favorability rating of any team in the NFL.
Belichick, who has been the Patriots' head coach since 2000, floated a theory citing climatic conditions as the main culprit behind the under-inflated balls.
However, there were few takers for 62-year-old's explanation, especially since he has garnered a reputation for rule-bending over the years. In 2007, Belichick's Patriots were caught spying on opponents. That episode came to be known as Spygate.
Unlike his team and head-coach, if one man emerged relatively unscathed after Deflategate controversy broke out, it was Tom Brady.
Tom Brady ranks among the most envied men in the United States. Some like to describe him as the man with the golden arm, golden smile and golden wife. While playing a game of football, you'd want Brady on your side every day of the week and twice on a Sunday.
Super Bowl XLIX is Brady's sixth. That's more than any quarterback in the history of the NFL. With a majority of the country firmly in the Seattle Seahawks corner, Patriots' fans would be hoping for their superstar quarterback to deliver one more time.
Yes, this is Super Bowl week. It is also a week when drug cheat Lance Armstrong pleaded cycling authorities to reduce his lifetime ban.
Which is why, this week has served as a grim reminder to sport lovers across the globe of their heroes and icons opting for unethical means to rule their respective sports.
But for now, Brady and the Patriots are innocent until proven guilty. Fans will have to wait for the NFL investigation to conclude before they know if the New England's dream team of Brady and Belichick betrayed their trust.