And nothing else comes close.
While some of you are no doubt groaning as you read this post, to me DeflateGate remains the most fascinating, and horrifying story – maybe in sports history.
Before you hear my reasoning, remember this number: the NFL claims the Patriots schemed to remove 0.2 psi from their entire suite of 12 game day footballs. And they did this, with a fatso jamoke who did it in under 2 minutes, in a locked shitter.
For something so flimsy, so meaningless to the actual outcome of the game, look at what the NFL was proven willing to do to perpetuate their own lie, to cover their assess for gross incompetence, and to bend uncooperative teams and players to the will of their iron fist.
They were willing to turn one of the commissioner’s biggest supporter in ownership into an enemy, spend millions of dollars in legal fees, absorb embarrassing setbacks in federal court, throw the veteran Walt Anderson under the bus, and try to burn down the career reputation of one of the league’s iconic quarterbacks.
They selectively lied when needed, leaked prejudicial information to friendly outlets for additional carpetbombing slander for good measure. They moved the goalposts without notice to Brady, and had zero shame about any of it.
The corruption the league displayed was nothing short of breathtaking. It now makes me and others no longer wonder about whether this league is dirty. It’s dirty to the very top.
And it all got legs and started running, because the average fan, and most of the media, PRESUMED the NFL was acting as an honest broker in the narrative of what happened that night. So when Brady and the Patriots said “we can’t explain it” they looked like evasive liars.
Which was exactly how the league wanted them to look. As long as you don’t start by asking: “Well, how do we know that the NFL ISN’T THE ONES LYING?”
You want pathetic and shameless. This picture pretty much says it all: they paid Ted Wells millions, to hire supposed scientific experts “Exponent” to find the truth. And Exponent thought: “Hmmm…. let’s see if anybody notices how we try to fudge the difference in the two disputed needles.”
Ahhhhh. I see what you did there…. you rascals!
Not to say I didn’t enjoy watching all of this unfold. Oh, hardly. It was the greatest sports talk radio “buffalo” ever slain. It fed me, and us, for weeks and months on end. And… IT WAS INTERESTING to anybody with a curious mind. It was a hit-job, wrapped in a bungle, that morphed into a vindictive cover-up. We found out more about how this league REALLY works, than we ever would have found out about without all those court filings and testimony.
This was a story that consumed an entire calendar year, produced several cottage industries along the way, filled countless hours of sports talk programming, spawned a trillion takes, gave birth to dozens of conspiracy theories, cost the NFL and Brady and the NFLPA millions in legal fees, kept reporters on call, and on location outside of courthouses, and still 11 months later… isn’t over!
It identified who exactly, are in fact, league stooges: Chris Mortensen and Lester Munson among others. It showed just how teams lobby the league’s mid-level stooges to do their bidding against teams they cannot beat. (Ravens, Colts).
And we found out that it really is worse to smash your used cell phone, than smash your girlfriend’s face.
In short, witch burnings have featured more due process.
So as we round the corner into 2015, I give you three little video snippets that maybe you saw, maybe you didn’t. You might want to spend a few minutes boning up. Because if the NFL wins on appeal, then the Story of 2015, will become the odds-on favorite to repeat in 2016.
You may start your groaning, now.