​How football should police itself


Tom Brady of the New England Patriots in action against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Jim Rogash, Getty Images

I know it's news, and maybe it's just the baseball fan in me, but this "Deflategate" business just does not seem as important as, say, whether to sign a nuclear deal with Iran.

I guess it is a big deal if you bet a bundle on the Super Bowl, but here's the thing: One of the charms of baseball is that cheating has always been part of the game (unless you get caught).

Since the beginning of the game, pitchers have been spitting on the ball, trying to cut it or scuff it or put a little Vaseline on it to make it harder to hit.

People just wink and chuckle, but if the pitcher gets caught, the ump says, "You're outta here," and off the pitcher goes to the shower.

Baseball polices itself. It's against the rules for a pitcher to hit a batter on purpose. He can be ejected from the game for that. But the real payback comes when HIS team comes to bat. The opposing pitcher is sure to hit someone on that team -- usually in the ribs. That really smarts!

Now, here's the difference in football and baseball: In football each team brings its own footballs. In baseball, the league furnishes the balls, and the umpires hand them out.

So, you don't have to be too smart to figure out how to fix football's problems. Let the league furnish the balls and the referees hand them out.

That's as obvious as, well, locking the front door at the White House before you turn the lights out at night.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.