Trust, once deflated, may never regain its form

Image: Kevin Dean via Flickr.com, (cc) some rights reserved 

Image: Kevin Dean via Flickr.com, (cc) some rights reserved 

Over the past two weeks, I learned that while it may be easier to throw an underinflated football, it’s really hard to deflect one.

I hope the New England Patriots have learned something from Deflategate, too: Once you lose an audience’s trust, it’s really hard to win it back again.

Years ago, I remember having a similar discussion with Brian and Ralph Roberts of Comcast about how to react to "Comcast sucks" vitriol. 

My suggestion: Be more humble, empathetic and transparent. 
Their solution: Convince the world how great we really are. (Remember “It’s Comcastic!”?)

Nearly a decade later, Comcast is still one of America's most-hated brands, whether fairly or not. And stories like this—"Comcast changes customer name to A**hole"—only cement that now-engrained reputation. 

Belichik and Brady are good enough to win Sunday’s Super Bowl, but they’ll have to work a whole lot harder in coming seasons to win back America's hearts.

Hint to both: It starts by deflating your own egos. 

A SCIENTIST WEIGHS IN: Yes, atmospheric conditions, including the rain, could have been the cause for the underinflated footballs. Lesson: Mistrust trumps truth.