Albert Einstein taught us time is pliable.
The faster one travels, the slower the minutes pass.
Einstein’s general theory of relativity adds gravity as a mitigating factor affecting time.
The more forceful the gravity, the weaker the clock.
If you ever found yourself near a black hole, you might spend an hour or two before returning to Earth, where thousands of years have passed.
This was a scientific version of the “doctrine of eternal recurrence” philosophy offered by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Also known as “time is a flat circle.”
The German philosopher Nietzsche predated Einstein and credible minds have argued that Einstein felt his influence.
No matter your choice of explanation – scientific or philosophical – the Patriots have fallen into their own vortex of spinning time and energy.
The clock has stopped.
The red, white, blue, and black hole features a round trip to a place where the quarterback is an alleged cheat, and the issue concerns potentially deflated balls.
During the Patriots’ 15-10 win over the Jets in Week 3 on Sunday, Patriots QB Mac Jones and Jets defender Sauce Gardner had an altercation that included physical contact in the region of the cornerback’s private parts.
Did Mac stir the Sauce?
Gardner said Jones was attempting to perform an on-the-field vasectomy, “trying to prevent me from having kids in the future.”
When Jones was asked about his attempted jewel heist, he offered an awkward vibe last felt in these parts during Tom Brady’s “those balls are perfect” Jan. 22, 2015, press conference at the dawn of Deflategate.
That afternoon, the world watched NBC’s Peter Alexander ask: “Is Tom Brady a cheater?”
Brady’s infamous “I don’t believe so” response triggered eye rolls from Route 1 to the Pacific Coast Highway.
Jones offered a similar explanation lacking in conviction and clarity when asked about his altercation with Gardner.
“On that play, nothing was intentional,” Jones told WEEI Monday. “I just got up and went back to the huddle, and that’s it. … It’s football. Just trying to get up and go back to the huddle. And like I just said, nothing there.”
Or nothing left?
The alleged “Cup Check” occurred in the fourth quarter. Jones got wrecked by Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley on an attempted sneak. After the play, Jones and Gardner made contact and exchanged unpleasantries.
“That’s probably the first time that ever happened to me,” Gardner said. “He got up and he just came up to me [saying], like, ‘Good job.’ But while he’s saying that, he hit me in my private parts.”
Whether he likes it or not, Jones has earned an emerging reputation as a dirty player.
A very cheesy Mac.
Jones yanked down Carolina defensive end Brian Burns by the ankle after a strip sack in 2021.
In Week 7 last season, Jones flung up his leg in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent Bears safety Jaquan Brisker from being able to procreate.
Jones threw his body at Eli Apple’s knees in Week 16 on a fumble return that was eventually ruled an incomplete pass. The hit wasn’t suspect as much as the place, a full 10 yards behind the Bengals linebacker and ball carrier Germaine Pratt.
Apple called it a dirty play.
Jones could not deny what he did at that time, but said he was just trying to “stop a fast guy from getting to another fast guy” – meaning Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton. It was Thornton who was the closest Patriot to Pratt.
Apple, Sauce, and many others have accused Jones of dirty play.
“Everybody has an opinion,” Jones said three days after that Bengals game. “And the biggest thing for me is focusing on being the best teammate I can be and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about.”
Unfortunately, NFL players aren’t predisposed to back teammates considered cheap-shot artists.
The NFL fined Jones $23,976 for his illicit actions in that Bengals game – the hit on Apple and Jones’ pile dive following Rhamondre Stevenson’s game-losing fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Jones was dinged by the NFL for $10,609 after he flicked the ball at Buffalo DE A.J. Epenesa during a 24-10 Patriots loss in Week 13.
That fine was weak sauce.
What exactly happened between Jones and Gardner remains a matter of perspective and interpretation.
“Yanny or Laurel” and “Blue Dress or Yellow Dress” have met their match in the Zapruder film.
Dianna Russini of The Athletic shared a clip on X from a “league source” that purportedly showed “a closer view” of Jones hitting Gardner in his privates.
It is definitive proof Jones was out to make Sauce the newest member of the sopranos.
Or it’s reminiscent of Chris Mortensen reporting that “11 of 12” Patriots footballs used against the Colts in that AFC Championship game were “significantly underinflated” by two pounds per square inch.
Turns out, they were not.
If Gardner was “significantly underinflated,” he bounced back quickly.
Jones has lost the presumption of innocence in these sorts of affairs.
And he isn’t nearly quarterback enough to act like that doesn’t matter.
If all this isn’t enough to reinforce the “doctrine of eternal recurrence,” or proof that time can be slowed, Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis claimed on a podcast this week that the Patriots “cheated” in the 2004 AFC Championship Game.
Their proof – a fourth-and-1, first-quarter run stop after stealing signals during a timeout.
Of course, cats and dogs knew the Steelers were going to run in that situation, there was no timeout called beforehand, the player who ran back with the stolen signals (Ted Washington) wasn’t on the Patriots at the time, and Bettis fumbled the ball.
On the next play, as Tom E. Curran noted Tuesday, Brady launched a 60-yard TD pass caught by Deion Branch.
Losing opponents spreading lies about the Patriots?
Flat circle indeed.
Bill Speros (@RealOBF and @BillSperos on X) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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