Let’s start with something I think we can all agree on: this isn’t about the footballs.
If it were, then there wouldn’t be twin federal lawsuits right now between a QB who is worth well north of $100M and a league that disburses over $7B to it’s member teams annually in TV rights alone – JUST BECAUSE A FEW FOOTBALLS GOT A LITTLE SOFT AND SOGGY IN THE RAIN!
Nah. This is something far bigger, more farcical, and yet far more important for the league than all of that.
This is about raw power and the need to always feed that power. As Frederick Douglass, leader of the abolitionist movement once said: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
My official “Unified Deflategate Theory” goes basically like this. It was a “Botched Rogue Sting, Turned Power Play.”
The jealousy and seething rage at the Patriots – recidivist rule breakers and boundary pushers – by a triumvirate of teams (namely the Ravens, the Colts, and as always… the Jets) had reached the boiling point this last January. It was when Brady and Belichick unleashed the exotic ineligible receiver formations with devastating effect in back to back weeks. Following the Ravens win, Brady stood on that podium and smirked when presented with the Ravens’ complaints gathered from the losing lockeroom.
“Know the rules,” he said, shit-eating grin from ear to ear.
That was it. Three words set this whole thing in motion. Know. The. Rules.
The league office on Park Avenue is populated with ex-Jets by fandom and birthright. And if you think that grown men shed those allegiances once they are in executive suite positions at league headquarters, you are kidding yourself. You want to know who “knows the rules, mother****a? We’ll SHOW you the rules!”
Mike Kencil, a 20-year Jet turned league VP of Game Ops, gleefully went all Roscoe P. Coltrane on the Patriots at halftime, according to the Patriots.
“You guys are in big f***ing trouble.”
There was a reason why that lockeroom room – despite literally CRAWLING with league VP’s and back-up refs and the like – just allowed those Patriot game balls to walk out right under their noses. The seething ex-Jets in the league office knew the Patriots were doing this, and wanted to catch them Duke boys RED-HANDED (“Coo, cooo, I gotcha!”).
Of course, the one guy who had no idea this was going on? Roger Goodell.
This is what happens sometimes in big organizations. High level underlings launch pet projects behind the big boss’ back, and figure if it doesn’t work out like they thought, it’s easier to get forgiveness than it would have been to get permission in the first place.
Their assesment of ass-covering corporate culture was correct: The only guy fired from the league side in this fiasco was the low-level stooge who got caught pawning off game balls earmarked for charity.
Surely, dumb and vindictive as Roger is, he would have never signed off on a “sting” like this. After all, this has been a gigantic mess for Goodell that he clearly did not need. He’s already blown millions on Ted’s trumped up book report, blown through thousands upon thousands of billable NYC lawyer hours, and may now have one powerful owner committed to bringing him down once and for all.
But as much as Roger didn’t authorize this, or want this, he got it thrown in his lap. So he was now “pot committed” to see it through to a “league win” – come hell or federal subpoena.
Of course, when you have half-wits like Kencil cooking stuff up like this, you are bound to run into problems in the execution. Which the Wells report reveals in granular detail, providing you are intellectually curious enough to actually read it. Walt Anderson nearly fucked it all up by insisting that he used an exonerating gage before the game. The three-ring-circus at halftime of back-up refs sticking needles in football bladders, resulted in an astonishing admission of incomplete testing of every Colts football as well. The recorded data on these footballs was all over the lot!
And none of these dummies had ever heard of, or even considered, the Ideal Gas Law.
None of this says I think Brady had NO hand in McNally’s mysterious bathroom detour. I think he probably did. Either as a direct order prior to the game, or as a “standing order” after those balls in the Jets game came out feeling like “fucking watermelons” to use the colorful phrase we learned from Jastremski.
My guess is that Brady had told his boys to “do what it takes” to make those balls juuuussst the way he likes them. And that was all he needed to say. That’s why there’s no smoking gun text from Brady.
But what if the balls had been slightly deflated after Walt Anderson checked them, but they STILL registered within the expected range (as many who have read the data insist was the case). Is that a violation? Yeah, technically, I suppose. You aren’t allowed to tamper with the balls after the refs check them. But they were probably “legal” anyway.
Either way, Goodell’s got a fucking hot mess in his lap, and he has no choice but to go all-in. To do what a normal, self-confident and SANE commissioner would do was out of the question. That guy would have hit the Pats with a $100,000 team fine for “failure to maintain game-day protocol,” fired Mike Kencil and a few other stooges, and wrapped this up before the planes landed for the Super Bowl in Phoenix.
But Roger Goodell is not, that guy. You don’t need me to remind you why.
So here we are 6 plus months later, on the eve of training camp, heading to TWO different federal courts over this. I mean, for fuck’s sake you must ask: “WHY!!!??”
Because there’s too much at stake for both sides. As the most powerful sports league on the planet, the NFL knows that its power must remain absolute, feared, and constantly on the march. There is no other option.
So absent hard proof like a video of the actual deflation, or a smoking gun text from Brady that says: “Please deflate to 1 PSI under limit. Thanks. LOL. #coltssuck!” the NFL just has to go with every other tactic in the book.
Like trumping up the whole “he destroyed his cellphone” angle.
Who cares? If he still has it in a drawer, if he gave it to his niece as a hand-me-down, if he sold it on Gazelle.com or if he ran over it with his lawnmower* …. it doesn’t matter!
(*Note: Which actually happened with my ex-football-playing radio partner Chris Cooley, who ALSO goes through at least 3 phones per year through sheer neglect and forgetfulness.)
The NFL, upon hearing Brady’s appeal, did not NEED any more evidence to suspend him for four games. They had already done so! So what? You’re telling me the whole thing went down basically like this….
WELLS: “Tom, we’d like to check your phone.”
BRADY: “Never gonna happen.”
WELLS: “Ok, how about your lawyers just give us any deflatey texts?”
BRADY: “Not gonna happen either.”
WELLS: “Ohhhhhkayyyy.” /writes report
GOODELL: Uncooperative! Four games!
Then, 3 months pass, and they meet again at the appeal.
GOODELL: “Hey Tom, how’s that phone we said we didn’t actually need, and the texts you said you’d never give us?”
BRADY: “Oh, that piece of shit Samsung? Smashed it. Why?”
GOODELL: “YOU LYING CHEATING BASTARD!” /calls Stephen A. Smith to place strategic leak.
So this one’s going the distance. And I am putting very little hope in Brady prevailing. Seems like the legal hurdles for this particular type of federal appeal of an agreed upon arbitration hearing, are pretty damn high. But then again, the NFL was skittish enough to rush to file their own pre-emptive strike in a hopefully more friendly Manhattan courtroom.
Oh, it’d be sweet if Goodell got owned on this one, once again. But I’m not buying any cake and streamers just yet.
If and or when Goodell and the Shield win, I can assure you the blood in all of the penises at 345 Park Avenue will be enough to fill a swimming pool. The Golden Boy will have been slain. The Patriots season may end up sunk (especially if his four games come in December!) and Kraft will have a hard time rallying any fellow owners to move on Goodell’s head.
Then Roger and the Shield will stand there, arms folded across their chests and shout “NEXT? Who wants to try us?” God help the next poor bastard whose girlfriend calls the police after a night of drinking. The Shield will be so far up in that guy’s phone, they’ll download every text, confiscate every photo, and probably steal whatever rollover minutes are left in there.
And for some fans, this, they will applaud. The cheaters and wife-beaters will have been properly smote down by the almighty NFL. Whatever. Suit yourself people. Just don’t think this is about the footballs.
Czabe, love ya but your hatred for all things Roger really has slanted your view on this. You are in the VAST minority that doesn’t believe Brady a) cheated and b) then willingly and intentionally obstructed the investigation, c) lied and lied and lied, and d) deserves no less than four games.
You need to get your head out of the anti-Rog cloud and look up. This one is a no-brainer and I cringe every time you go after the lame Commish on this one. He’s right this time!!!! Even if you are right that it turned into an all-in power play, doesn’t change the facts of Brady’s cheating, obstructing, and lying. Hell his Coach even offered him up on a silver platter yet you still refuse to see the facts.
The suspension should have been upheld and we should all rejoice that it was. This wasnt about going after Tom. This was a simple incident that the QB blew up with his behavior. No one is bigger than the game, period!!
Czabe, you are so friggin spot on. Another silly bumblefuck situation starring Red Hiding Good. each cover up has been exponentially greater than any “crime” (context is football you know). Really just another example of pissy corporate hypocrisy from the NFL and the involved franchises (NE, NYJ, Balt, Indy)
Game day data absolute garbage. Insufficient for any conclusions. Even using invalid back calculations using invalid assumptions, no evidence of tampering.
Serial lies and leaks from NFL. Legal ambushing of Pats and Brady. NFL violating CBA. Berman handing the NFL their ass. Brady wins court case
Goofell exposed. Corrupt and ignorant NFL exposed: duh we didn’t know weather conditions affect ball pressure and had no policy to check pressures. Thanks Tom for another fourth quarter comeback. American resilience. Cheers
Okay Jim O, so if Goodell is right, then why isn’t he punishing the Colts for their under inflated balls? This clearly goes beyond the pressure of the footballs. Does that rule not apply to the Colts? Why are they not being investigated for why their balls were inconsistent?
Its because of all the reason stated above. Also because Goodell is on thin ice and if he spent millions of dollars to draw an inaccurate conclusion, yet again, what would that do to his reputation? Other than continue the downward spiral of INCOMPETENT. So he’s holding firm, just like the grip he has on each of the players balls right now. He would rather punish Brady for being evasive and ‘not cooperating’ than admit that there were errors in the process before the game and this kind of thing is likely to happen across any team if protocol is not followed.
Brady should not be singled out as the one person who could be guilty of this infraction – as there is no explanation for the Colts balls, and why in the world is no one investigating Aaron Rogers – for he publicly stated likes the balls over inflated, so lets get him too! Maybe that is why they beat the Cowboys in the NFC Champ game- because the ball had too much air Dez couldn’t hold on to the catch and the rest is history.
This is a joke. It’s like being pulled over by a cop with no radar gun and him throwing you in jail for 4 years – basically because you did not didn’t incriminate yourself.
allegedly let a little air out of a football with no video proof,,,four game suspension.
knock your wife unconscious to the middle of next week drag her out of the elevator and drop her off like a bag of recyclables all while on video,,,, 2 game suspension.
yah ummm oooookaaaayyyy….
Merc With a Mouth
Czabe, your post was two days too early! Kraft goes for his revenge and posted fantastic emails on Friday! You need to go back and pull in the hilarious (and for Pats fans, infuriating) emails into the theory. Pats PR is pleading with the NFL (which comes off looking like Delta House) to “get your staff and office under control!” – pointing out that the leaks to ESPN – which they knew were false – were specifically slanted to smear the Patriots. They begged for Wells to also investigate how the smear campaign was rolling out of the NFL office and they were told the league would consider it *pft*. If I were any other franchise I’d find this string of ineptitude chilling. It’s great when they are killing the Pats but what happens when the keystone cops start looking to settle scores with YOUR club?
The penalty for this is in the CBA, signed between the players and the league. Nowhere in the CBA do you find a 4 game suspension as punishment for this activity.
This is no different than judicial overreach by a little man who has political dreams. “You mean as Senator I could demand they appear before me?” You know Rog has those 6 homes not just for vacation purposes but for political ambitions. He wants to be a one-term Senator like his father.
Czabe, you’ve got it exactly right. I’ve never doubted that Brady did it; I figure one reason the league was so sloppy with the sting was that they knew they had him dead-to-rights so they didn’t think they needed to be careful about gathering evidence. And I figure all the teams are doing similar things when they can, chipping away at the edges of the league’s endless list of minor rules that don’t matter as much as one play on the field. Claiming they don’t would be like the people who used to claim the home-run hitters were surely the only ones juicing in baseball. They all do what they can get away with.
But even though I don’t like the Patriots or Belicheck, and never liked Brady (though they’re kinda forcing me to warm up to him), and I wish they’d cheat less, the league is so much worse that I don’t care anymore. When you first floated the idea that this was really about the league wanting the precedent of having access to players’ phones, I thought you were going pretty far out on a limb. But damn if you weren’t right! The league wants full police (and judge and jury) powers, except it doesn’t want to bother with subpoenas.
So screw them. I’m now on the side of every player they try to discipline, no matter how loathsome. I’ll still watch some games this year, but they’ll be on free broadcast TV. The NFL won’t be getting another die for me, nor will any of its advertisers.
If this were a big issue, the league would maintain custody of the tested game balls. No other sport let’s each team keep their own game balls. I see this as incompetence on the league’s part.
I just read a whole e-mail chain between Brady and his Manager about buying a new cover for his pool. It was released by the NFL as part of the lawsuit around the deflate punishment. There is nothing in the exchange about the NFL, the Patriots, footballs, etc., but the NFL released it. *THAT’S* why you don’t give them your phone. His complete address book, pictures of his kids, private e-mails would all have been out in the public in a matter of minutes.
Is he guilty? I don’t care. If inflation levels were really important, the league would have had a policy a long time ago and taken control of the balls. They felt it was import enough to put a process in place for K balls, if game balls matter, why didn’t it come up at that time?