But what to wear to such a contentious affair? Under “normal” circumstances, a Colts jersey and maybe some face paint would suffice. But a game like this? “Normal” just doesn’t cut it. Enter Mike Lieber and the “DeflateGate hat.”
Lieber, a die-hard Colts fan from way back, recently took DeflateGate to a new level by launching his very own line of “Deflatriots Merchandise.” His inspiration? Revenge.
He was a student at Bates College in Maine 1992, and the Boston Celtics had just swept the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs. He recalls coming back to his dorm room, only to find the entire contents moved into the lounge and set-up in an identical fashion to his dorm room, bed and all. “I then walked to my room, opened the door, looked in only to find nothing other than three brooms on the floor, signifying the playoff sweep of my beloved Indiana Pacers.” Sounds like they take their pranks seriously up in New England!
So when the NFL announced Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension in May, that got Lieber thinking about how to best exact revenge upon his New England friends…and Tom Brady. His first idea was a full-body costume. He later decided against that idea, based on how cumbersome it would be to wear such a costume, let alone get through a turnstile.
Then, the idea of a DeflateGate hat came to him one evening. “I reached out to the Cheesehead folks to see if they could help me design it. We worked together to create a prototype and then an actual mold. At the same time I trademarked the word “Deflatriots” for use on T-shirts, baseball caps, and other apparel,” he explains.
“A few weeks later, a friend of mine was visiting from the San Francisco area. I told him about my new business, and in a true ‘Shark Tank’ moment, he said ‘I love the idea. I want to buy a stake.’ After a little back-and-forth, the deal was set, and we have been partners going forward ever since.”
The website was launched on August 5th. One week later, he sent a team of nine people to wait outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan when Tom Brady made his first appearance in his lawsuit against the NFL, and they ended up getting national coverage in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ESPN, Boston Globe and elsewhere. “It has been a wild ride ever since. When the judge made his ruling late last week, we saw a spike in sales. And now we are pretty much just gearing up for the regular season.”
Interested in owning your very own “Deflatriots” Merchandise? Mike Lieber’s website can be found at www.deflategatehats.com.