been getting a few questions to my recent post -- “The
NFL needs to stop digging” – and the reality
is, I think I can make the story even more simple.
in that article I mentioned a few items that essentially pointed
out that with each step, the NFL found itself deeper in a hole…
and apparently willing to keep digging. I mentioned that opposing
sides -- those that believe Brady was involved against those that
believe everything about it is staged and phony -- are absolutely
certain of their opinion and will not be swayed at all by any
outcome, from the decisions currently being considered to the
results of data collected from pressure measurements to be more
rigidly conducted this season.
things can be more simply viewed… by considering whether or not
anything actually took place.
say you parked your car on the street. And, through a window,
you saw another car sideswipe yours and drive off.
police arrived, spoke with you and then interviewed some people
nearby, and learned that a car matching exactly what you described
was frequently in the neighborhood. Yes… a person living nearby
has a friend that drives exactly such a car as the one you saw
checking with the person identified by neighbors, the police eventually
arrive at a spot where they discover an owner with a reason to
be in the vicinity of your car, a car with body damage consistent
with what you saw happen, and paint marks that matched the color
of your car.
don’t need to finish the story… you know, by offering an admission
or a defense or whatever from the owner of the other car. That’s
enough of a story for now. It sure seems like we have a yellow,
quacking car here. So let’s shift to Tom Brady and the case of
the inflation measurements of the footballs.
NFL is not a court of law. There is no “…beyond a reasonable doubt…”
clause that needs to be met when handing out punishments such
as the deflated football results. Tom Brady could be punished
based on the idea that given the factors involved, investigators
believed he was aware that something took place and the NFL accepted
problem though, in Brady’s case, is more complex.
NFL is looking to punish Brady for doing something that they aren’t
even sure happened.
there was a yellow, quacking football, with witnesses and admissions
of guilt, and properly obtained evidence, then we could look toward
my car example… a situation occurred, investigation followed,
and one plus one plus eventually added up to the owner of the
car at least being aware of a problem if not being the person
behind the wheel.
there wasn’t any evidence at all. In fact, it’s possible that
nothing abnormal happened to any of those footballs at all.
right… if you read the Wells report… if you pay attention to all
the work being done… it’s possible that nothing actually happened.
I’m not saying nothing happened, mind you, I’m just saying that
it absolutely is possible nothing happened. The way things were
done was so poorly managed and undocumented there is a chance
that nothing other than ordinary weather and outside conditions
would be one thing if the NFL had a system in place for measuring
the footballs, could show proper calibration of the gauges, had
accurate comparisons of the New England footballs at the start
of the game and at halftime to the Indianapolis footballs, and
so on. But we don’t need to go any further or cite other potential
issues… since the NFL did not have a strict system or procedures
in place, can’t even figure out what gauges they used (and they
know there is a significant discrepancy between the two gauges
on the measurements taken), and they only measured a few balls
from the Colts end of things.
top of that, the judge isn’t looking at any of this. What is being
reviewed now isn’t whether or not Tom Brady did anything… whether
he did or did not know anything. Instead, it’s whether or not
the NFL followed proper procedures in arriving at their decision.
takes us back to the car accident example…
NFL procedures for measuring footballs were so haphazard over
the years that the league honestly can’t be certain that the footballs
were tampered with (though there is hope newly established procedures
will work out well beginning this season).
I ask… how exactly do you suspend someone for four games for their
involvement in doing nothing? (Except, well, being the starting
quarterback for a team playing outside in January games.)
the NFL had accurate measurements… could show that Indianapolis
footballs weren’t reacting the same to the environment and playing
conditions… and it was evident that something happened to footballs
being used by New England, then punish Brady. Punish him even
though you can’t prove he knew about or requested the tampering
with the balls.
that’s not what’s happening right now. The NFL is refusing to
admit their problems and incompetence in this situation, and is
lashing out in a something-is-better-than-nothing way, even though
it is absolutely possible that next year they could find out everything
that took place in the AFC Championship game was perfectly normal.
there are going to be plenty of ticked off people convinced that
the end result is a sham. Call it gamesmanship… call it cheating…
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that any professional athlete
does something in an attempt to improve their play, and that something
might be right up against the line if not crossing it. That’s
not why I’m frustrated by this story… even if I am a fan of the
frustrations are coming from the details… those I’m reading, those
I’m hearing, and those that seem wildly invented out of pure stupidity.
Because the next football season could be wildly altered for something
that didn’t happen, but people feel they’ve gone too far to back
down now. And that is a shame.