Another year, another Super Bowl-bound Patriots team shrouded in controversy. This time it's alleged that Bill Belichick and Co. were using footballs that were insufficiently inflated (hence the "Deflate-gate" moniker).
As everyone outside of New England gives Tom Brady and the Pats the stink eye, we started having fever dreams about similar instances in baseball (and every other sport) because folks have been trying to doctor equipment since the dawn of time.
This list has to start with Hall of Famer George Brett and the "Pine Tar Incident" in 1983.
In 1982 Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry was finally caught doctoring baseballs and was ejected from a game ... eight years after publishing an autobiography titled, Me and the Spitter.
There was no mystery in 1987 when umpires caught Joe Niekro with an emery board in his pocket and ejected him for allegedly scuffing the ball.
Or when they nabbed Kevin Gross with sandpaper on the mound a week later.
Or in July 1994 when Albert Belle used a corked bat (and Jason Grimsley crawled through the ballpark's ceiling to steal it from the umpire's locker).
Like the time in June 2003 when Sammy Sosa broke a corked bat at Wrigley Field.
Then, last year, Yankees hurler Michael Pineda was ejected and suspended for having pine tar on his neck.
Those aren't baseball's only examples, but they're some of the most memorable. In other sports, some basketball franchises have been accused of loosening or tightening rims to affect games. And teams have been known to use newer, tighter nets to slow down quicker teams. The old floor at the Boston Garden was historic for its dead spots, much to the delight of former Celtics coach and team president Red Auerbach.
As for hockey, there are restrictions on the amount of curve players can have on the blade of their sticks. In the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, Marty McSorley of the Los Angeles Kings was infamously penalized for having an illegal stick. The Montreal Canadiens scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game and force overtime. They won the game and the series.