True story. My 14 year old daughter asked who was in the SuperBowl again – she’d forgotten. I mentioned the Patriots. She immediately asked: “So, do you think Tom Brady cheated.” This sentence alone, knocked me on my heels just a bit. It was a little window into the pop culture of teenagers obsessed with a million things, but still aware of the notion that Tom Brady is a cheater.
So I began the best fatherly explanation of the whole mess from soup-to-nuts, knowing I had a car ride of just 8 minutes, and the attention span of a teenage girl with her phone in her hand.
I began as if I was reading Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
I told my daughter that once upon a time, the NFL supplied a regulation set of 12 football (or so..) for BOTH teams to play with. And it wasn’t until some of the higher profile QBs started to complain, and want their own specially rubbed up, brushed, tackified balls to be used.
I think of ALL of the elements of DeflateGate, this is the single most-important fact that gets lost in the rubble. This was all born, of the NFL’s own shortsighted stupidity.
Anyhow, I ticked through as many elements of the saga as I could – my daughter doing a wonderful job of actually listening, absorbing, and adding some pithy zingers of her own along the way.
Given that everyone is expecting a big awkward moment if Brady wins, and Goodell has to hand him the trophy, I thought it was worth going back listing my “10 Shames” of DeflateGate. Things so outrageous on the part of #thisleague and the #redheadedspokesape that they must never, ever, be forgotten.
Well, then I found this awesome encyclopedia by Bruce Allen (no relation) called the “56 Lies of DeflateGate.” It is a spectacular piece, replete with all of the needed hyperlinks to reference do dig down the rabbit hole as far as you like. Most of us hate liars. Everyone hates institutional liars, especially when the lying is brazen, relentless, and done solely for the purpose of shielding the powerful from consequences. Or to avoid just looking stupid. Lying can destroy reputations, and turn lives inside out.
Roger Goodell and his stooges built not just a house of lies in DeflateGate, but a cathedral. There are ornate lies, sweeping lies, and subtle lies, all over the place as you walk around. Like visiting a castle and being told by the tour guide about how certain brick formations were laid deliberately to appear more formidable to opponents than they really are. The kind of thing you would never notice on your own.
And yet sadly, many football fans still think the NFL proved their case: Brady’s a cheat.
The NFL did all of this because they somehow forgot – or chose to ignore – that really smart people… ARE ALSO FOOTBALL FANS! Smart lawyers. Smart scientists. Smart researchers. Smart investigators. And these people ripped the Wells report apart like dobermans on a helpless kitten.
Should Brady win on Sunday, I hope for his sake he just takes the trophy, holds it high, and dedicates it to the team and it’s fans. Classy. Minimalist. Above the fray. A pithy put down to Roger, a quip or a look, oh… it would be nearly irresistible. But it would also be forever. And you just don’t know how that will play in the long lens of history.
Meanwhile the stain on the league from this cathedral of lies? Well…. that, is forever.