Deflategate: NFL feels a little deflated

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Here we are, nearly at the end of July and a full six months removed from Deflategate’s initial appearance in the news and still no real decision has been made.

Remember the Indianapolis Colts complaining about the lack of air pressure in the footballs used by the New England Patriots during the first half of their AFC Championship game with the New England Patriots? You, know, the one where they were still in it at half time only to go out and drop a king size “Packster” in the second half when the balls the Patriots used were properly inflated.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Media Day for Super Bowl XLIX. Someone should ask Tom who does his hair. (Claudia Gestro)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Media Day for Super Bowl XLIX.
Someone should ask Tom who does his hair. (Claudia Gestro)

What about Tom Brady’s press conference during Super Bowl week when he claimed to have nothing to do with any deflated balls only to then refuse to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office and their investigation? Most of us, even Patriot fans, believe he was bullshitting us, but lets face it, a few ever so slightly under inflated footballs had nothing to do with the Patriots going to the Super Bowl.

As for the league’s investigation, do you remember how it took longer to conduct than it took Noah to build his ark? Oh, and it cost far more than a similar ark would cost by today’s standards.

Then came Roger Goodell’s non-punishment that included a four game suspension of Tom Brady to be served at the start of the upcoming season.

I say non punishment because Goodell has a way of taking league issued punishments that he has signed off on only to randomly reduce them. Usually, it has something to do with trying to avoid a law suit filed by the player or players involved.

Case in point, Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys. He recently saw his ten-game suspension reduced to a four-game suspension. This means Goodell sees Hardy’s beating and threatening to kill his girlfriend in the same light as he sees Brady’s involvement in Deflategate. A message to Goodell, if this is true: you may want to donate your brain — ASAP — for research into brain trauma caused by repeated acts of stupidity.

Now the football world wonders what Roger Goodell will decide any day now; whether or not to reduce Brady’s suspension. Will it stand at four games or will he reduce it to one or two with a fine?

When I say football world, I really mean two groups: Patriot fans and Patriot haters. Among the haters are believed to be several owners who claim Tom Brady has damaged the integrity of the game.

This group includes Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the guy whose team was heavily punished this off-season for being guilty of piping in extra crowd noise because, well, let’s face it, Atlanta fans had little to cheer about this past season. I guess Blank figured that if his team cannot play like champions, his fans could at least sound like them.

There is also Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and the guy who recently hired Greg Hardy to represent “America’s Team” on the field. Besides employing Hardy, Jones has made a regular habit of employing others who probably belong in jail and not in the NFL.

Greg Hardy’s nickname is “The Kraken,” Does he know the Kraken was roundly defeated in the movie? (YouTube)
Greg Hardy’s nickname is “The Kraken,” Does he know the Kraken was roundly defeated in the movie? (YouTube)

This includes drug addicts, PED users, and even a player who killed his own teammate after causing an accident while driving drunk. I am not sure Jones has any more of a grasp of the word integrity as he has on running a successful football team.

We can also toss in the Patriots divisional rivals as those who feel Brady deserves his four game suspension. After all, how else can the Jets, Dolphins, or Bills have a chance to unseat New England from the top of the AFC East? There are also the Broncos, Steelers, Ravens, and Colts; teams who would love to not have to play New England in a playoff game held in Foxboro.

In the NFC, I am sure Saints fans want to see Brady and the entire Patriot organization receive a similar death sentence they received for their role in Bountygate. While we are at it, we should also add the names of each of the teams the Patriots have beaten for their four Super Bowl titles. Seriously, does anyone think the Patriots win those games without Brady at quarterback?

Finally, there is Roger Goodell. Once accused of being biased toward the Patriots, he has to hate the fact Tom Brady refuses to admit any wrong doing and is likely to sue the NFL if he is on the receiving end of ANY league discipline.

If this happens, not only will Deflategate hang over the league’s head all season, it is very likely to end up in another embarrassing legal defeat for the NFL. Goodell is in no position to roll the dice and go to court. However, he has also boxed himself into a corner by reducing the suspensions for the Gregg Hardy’s of the NFL and for his horrific record in going to court on other player punishments.

For a league driven by image and one that became a joke for how it handled the Ray Rice suspension last year, the deflated ball is out of their hands and back in the hands of Tom Brady. No matter what Goodell does from here – even if he decides to hold off on any discipline until more “scientific” evidence can be examined – he ends up looking like a schmuck and is essentially at the mercy of the most competitive player in the league’s history. Brady is not afraid to put it all on the line and go to court, something Goodell would be wise to keep in mind.

Perhaps Goodell would be better served if he simply suspended himself. After all, he has plenty of evidence to support a life-long suspension based on his own poor leadership.

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