Usually about this time of year, about all NFL fans have to look forward to is passing camp coverage. Then, in a month or so, there would be a mandatory minicamp worth a couple days of coverage.
Today, the NFL Network will present (at least) 12 hours of coverage of deflategate and the Tom Brady suspension.
People are talking about the NFL. In May.
In fact, it’s the number one story in the country right now. The majority of people in the country think that the NFL got it right, finally nailing that cheater Tom Brady and his team, the New England Patriots. Roger Goodell is being lauded in the New York tabloids and elsewhere.
Worthless columnists like Bob Kravitz are feeling their oats and getting their licks in. The whole country is enjoying a measure of comeuppance.[pullquote]Do the Patriots push the boundaries? Of course they do. Is what they do worthy of the reaction it causes? Not if you look at the precedents in the league. Things don’t become a big deal until the Patriots do them.[/pullquote]
Now, the NFL has its entire offseason mapped out, and will remain in the headlines. Brady’s appeal. Then inevitable action after the appeal. Possible legal action from Robert Kraft, strategically placed leaks from the NFL offices, the anticipation of what is going to happen opening night – will Goodell be there? Will the Patriots raise their banner without Brady? Will Patriots fans even show up?
Make no mistake, deflategate is a boon for the NFL. They’re loving it.
The Patriots are the only NFL team they could get away with doing this to. Why? Because they might be the only entity in the league hated more than Goodell.
The same people who mocked the Mueller Report when it came out (and by the way, Goodell never gave up a personal cell phone in that investigation either) are viewing the Wells Report as Gospel.
The NFL can’t keep its stories or policies straight, but the majority of people don’t care, because the Patriots got nailed.
The NFL and sports media are perfect for each other. Both are full of corrupt, hypocritical carnival barkers who only care about their own agendas, which usually consist of attention being brought on themselves.
Barflys like Dan Shaughnessy accuse the Patriots and their fans of being paranoid and thinking that everyone is out to get them. It’s not paranoia if it is true.
The Patriots have pissed people off because they win too much and their coach isn’t friendly to the media. The two parties are complicit.
That is what this entire thing boils down to.
Other league executives are tired of being taken to the woodshed by the Patriots, so they leak information to the media, most of whom are only too glad to have something to “get back” at that meanie, Belichick with. This causes this firestorm as media figure after media figure try to top each other in condemning the Patriots.
Do the Patriots push the boundaries? Of course they do. Is what they do worthy of the reaction it causes? Not if you look at the precedents in the league. Things don’t become a big deal until the Patriots do them.
Did the league care about PSI before January? Apparently not. teams get caught messing with balls in the middle of the game and they get a warning. Aaron Rodgers tells CBS that he likes to get the balls overinflated and sneak them past the officials. The Wells Report indicates that Walt Anderson was one of the few officials who regularly check the footballs, and yet the league made sure to remind him again to do so. And he still didn’t write down the measurements or keep track of the footballs.
In December, Ndamukong Suh had his one-game suspension for stepping on Rodgers overturned because all of a sudden, As noted by Judy Battista of NFL Media, the league now provides a player with a clean slate if he goes 32 games without a violation.
That 32 game standard apparently doesn’t apply to teams, as Troy Vincent specifically mentioned Spygate as a reason for severity of the Patriots punishment yesterday.
Spygate was eight years ago.
Vincent also cited the Patriots lack of cooperation in the investigation as reason for the harsh penalty.
A look at page 23 of the Wells Report will find this line: “the Patriots provided substantial cooperation throughout the investigation.”
Who are the driving forces behind all of this? The Colts, who have been getting their asses handed to them by the Patriots. Indianapolis columnists Kravitz and Gregg Doyel. The Ravens who were embarrassed by a then-legal formation and called out on it by Brady, Mike Kensil, a former Jets executive with a well-established grudge against the Patriots. The investigation was led by NFL EVP Jeffrey Pash, who took shots at the Patriots when the Broncos had their version of Spygate, and by Ted Wells, who has now shown that he’ll bring the goods home for the NFL in his independent investigations. Helping him on the investigation were lawyers from the same firm who represented the NFL in its concussion lawsuit.
On NFL Network and its wall-to-wall coverage you’ve got Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner crowing over the penalties, both have well known grudges with the Patriots. You’ve got Charley Casserly claiming the Patriots got off easy. Casserly and Belichick have a well-known hate feud as well. (Go ask Charley Casserly, he’s got all the answers.) Hipster Mike Silver, he of of the “growing disconnect” between Brady and the Patriots loves to get his voice heard.
Media everywhere, who don’t like how Belichick operates are only too glad to pile on.
Make no mistake, the NFL loves this attention. NFL Network is buzzing with deflategate talk. Sports talk radio across the country is talking about the league. Columnists everywhere are writing about it.
The NFL has exactly what they want. People talking about the league during what is normally the deadest time of the year.
And they’re not talking about domestic violence or child abuse. They’re talking about PSI.