Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Should We Care About Deflategate Anymore?

Tell me why I am supposed to care about Deflategate anymore?  And don’t tell me because it hurts the integrity of the NFL and the game.  Any sense of integrity was tossed down the garbage chute when Roger Goodell – the ultimate carpetbagger – was named commissioner.  We’re talking about a commissioner so inept and duplicitous that he makes David Stern seem like Honest Abe Lincoln.

The cynic (and realist) in me knows this story has been packaged into television programming designed to bridge the gap from the NFL Draft to the NFL Preseason.  And make no mistake about it - the league and the networks are loving it.  If you don’t believe me, look at the gallery of rogues and jokers they’ve paraded in front of the camera.  The next time Shannon Sharpe has anything cogent and intelligible to say, it will be the first time. 

Full discloser, I am a Patriots fan.  I grew up in New England and love the sports teams, but I have never been a Brady sycophant.  My loyalties have always been with the QB who helped build Gillette Stadium, Drew Bledsoe.  So with that being said, let’s get into it.  Did Brady have a general idea that these guys were working to get the ball inflation down to the lower end of the scale?  More probably than not (to borrow a line from Ted Wells).  But the problem with this investigation as with any that is headed up by an attorney, is that:

1. It is trying to assign blame rather than to discover.
2. It is trying to make black and white something that is incredibly gray.

Think about it.  It is trying to connect the dots to formulate a direct chain of events that reveal a precise systematic operation to manipulate footballs, when really, there seems to be very little that is precise in regards to how teams and the NFL handle the footballs on game day (right down to the ball pressure measurements).  Look at the skeleton buried in the footnotes of the Wells Report, and you will find plenty of cause to question the whole process.  Because really, it seems like this whole ball pressure thing was something no one REALLY cared about (i.e. $25K fine for an infraction), until suddenly someone cared.  I am of the belief that every QB has different football preferences and they let that be known to low-level (and low paid) equipment guys.  To varying degrees, Aaron Rogers, Eli Manning, Jeff Blake, and Brad Johnson have admitted as much.  But let’s not get high and mighty about the integrity of the game and a level playing field when we are talking about a game that is predicated on cheating.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s have a look.

Do you think 300 lbs. men naturally have 4% body fat and can run a 4.4 40 yard dash naturally?  Make no mistake about it.  The league has a PED problem, but the powers-that-be and the fans-in-the-stands (myself included) turn a blind eye to it because that would ruin our Sundays from September to February.  And contrary to popular belief, the Patriots were not the only team to videotape signals.  They were the team that Goodell decided to reprimand.  Ask Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, or the video evidence of other teams doing it, which Bill Belichick provided to Roger Goodell.  Oh wait.  We can’t check that evidence, because Roger Goodell had it destroyed.  Even the pinnacle of integrity, Mr. Football himself Jerry Rice, admitted in a video documentary that he used Stickum on his hands, when it was explicitly against the rules.  Unfortunately for Rice, that was revealed after he had ripped the Patriots for Deflategate.  Funny, I missed the NFL and ESPN running that on a constant loop in their news crawl. 

And that leads me to the BIG reveal.  It’s because this whole thing hasn’t been about deflated footballs.  It’s been about the league versus the Patriots.  The report, which Goodell and his puppet Troy Vincent claim is indisputable because Ted Wells has an impeccable reputation, states that Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, and the coaching staff have no guilt in the matter.  Yet, the team was fined one million dollars and a first and fourth round pick.  What would the punishment have been if they were guilty? Would the Patriot then be playing for the Gray Cup next year in the CFL? 

For a bit of context, let’s look at some of the punishment doled out this offseason by Goodell.  The Falcons organization pumps in noise during games and as a result, the team is penalized a late round draft pick.  The Browns GM Farmer sends illegal texts to the sideline during games and the team gets fined $250K.   Jets Owner Woody Johnson tampers with and ultimately signs Darelle Revis and the team is fined $100K.   Meanwhile, Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, and his staff do nothing wrong and get fined $1M and lose a first and fourth round pick.  Ridiculous.

I would respect Goodell, his puppets, and some of the GMs around the league more if they just admitted that this is a witch-hunt rather than express their incredibly hypocritical self-righteous sense of indignation.  As much a hit as Brady and his reputation has taken, it really is not about him.  That four game suspension will be argued down to two if not none by the time the NFLPA and Jeffrey Kessler are done dominating the league and the league knows this.  This is about trying to knock the Patriots down – something very few in the league have been able to do these past fifteen years. 

How the rest of this plays out, I have no idea, but if I were a betting man (another thing the NFL allegedly does not condone though it forces teams to produce injury reports for the purposes of sports gambling), I would bet that the league and the networks will continue to milk this story for all the ratings and web clicks it is worth and the Patriots will ride the negativity straight to Super Bowl 50.

See you in San Francisco.


  1. Excellent article. Here is a relevant link: