Some final thoughts on the NFL and Brady


You could always keep going back to Square One: Forget about reports of 11 of 12 footballs, the truth was and always has been that the league has no idea if the footballs were even unnaturally deflated in a scandal about unnaturally deflated footballs. Even the Wells report – buried deep, but still – essentially says as much.
~ Dan Wetzel -- “The arrogance of Roger Goodell”

I’m really having troubles with the NFL lately. Wetzel does an outstanding job of going over how foolish this case has truly been. (You can also check out my two articles… “The NFL needs to stop digging” and “Tom Brady… a follow up”… for some thoughts.)

Sure… there are deeper issues involved. There easily could be things in New England that cross the lines that exist between playing the game strictly by the rules, applying some gamesmanship or slightly twisting interpretations to allow for some questionable actions, and flat out breaking the barriers between fair play and cheating. Those issues certainly might be applicable in accusations directed at New England… and they may be applicable for other organizations. But this particular scenario has been screwed up by the NFL since it began… and their solution appears to be applying stupidity and distractions that keep screwing things up even more. Every day they appear dumber… every action seems more pointed toward bias, trying to force fit a square peg of evidence into a round hole of targeting the Patriots, and finished off with a ribbon of whining. I said it before, and I’ll say it again… everyone focused on blowing up New England about the footballs needs to stop digging.

You may have heard the NFL pretty much immediately appealed the decision that handed them a loss in the seemingly-never-ending football inflation pressure story, and that the decision wiped out Tom Brady’s suspension and put him on the field for the first game of the season.

Here’s something you might not have caught initially (or even forgot about as this dead weight story dragged on and on)… this case that the NFL lost is one they brought to court.


The reason this particular judge presided over the case was because the Roger Goodell announced that Tom Brady’s appeal was being denied, and then league officials sprinted into a court they selected to make sure they filed in a setting more likely to be sympathetic to their version of the details before Brady and the union could make an attempt to bring the case to court some place in the United States more likely to support Brady’s side.

Confused? Sure you are. In many ways, we all are. But basically it works like this… the NFL rushed to make sure they had home field advantage in the courtroom, rushed to get the best possible results with a strike first approach, and they still got taken to school with the results.

The thing is… absolutely no one should be surprised. As least, no one with an ounce of objective reasoning available for sound judgment and evaluation should be surprised. (Seriously… go read Wetzel’s column and then come back.)

I am not going to try and tell you that Tom Brady did nothing.

First… that quite possibly wouldn’t do any good, since if you’ve been following the story and have any strong feelings about it, there’s a really good chance you’ve already made up your mind and it could be that you don’t plan on facts or reality ruining your good time. You already believe Tom Brady provided the inspiration for the song from The Lego Movie, or, you believe that if he flew to Orlando right now he would be a bigger snake on the loose than that king cobra currently in hiding.

And second… we don’t have to even try researching the history of sports for examples of organizations and professional athletes pushing the very limits of the rules (and often crossing the line) for advantages. (Just three months before the Patriots and the Colts met, there were reports of the ground crew of the San Francisco Giants being charged with overly watering the infield in an attempt to slow down the players from the Kansas City Royals. So… you know… championship conspiracies in baseball. There have been plenty of stories of other NFL teams doing things like heating footballs on cold days and wiping footballs with towels covered in sticky substances.)

So for the most part, Brady’s reputation is ruined regardless of whether or not we ever learn the truth in this situation… the NFL doesn’t seem even the slightest bit inclined to admit their procedures were at best laughable and of little use, even though they changed them for future seasons… and plenty of other instances have come and gone without a league, other teams, and plenty of fans carrying pitchforks and torches through the village the way they have over these footballs.

All of this brings us to a really interesting question… why?


Why did the NFL pursue this with such intensity? Why do they keep piling on, driving bad press about New England, and move ahead with a case that isn’t just sinking… it’s already hundreds of feet below water and still dropping quickly?

And that is something we may never know.

See… there are all sorts of possible reasons.

Maybe there is information that hasn’t made it out for public inspection. The Patriots settled without much of a fight. The league pushed and pushed hard to keep an incredibly strong punishment in place for one of its most celebrated players.

Maybe other teams are jealous. New England has been consistently successful for quite some time, during the regular season and playoffs, during a time frame with big money involved and most organizations varying from no success at all to short streaks.

Maybe there is a contest going on between very big egos. Perhaps personal issues are being played out with territory being defended.

Again… there are all sorts of possible reasons. And… there are all sorts of problems and concerns and weaknesses to see (in big, huge, flashing neon).

But, at the foundation of it all is… well… absolutely no foundation. The Wetzel piece one more time:

…the truth was and always has been that the league has no idea if the footballs were even unnaturally deflated in a scandal about unnaturally deflated footballs…

Any reasonable, responsible, unbiased reading of all the material, evidence, and information collected arrives at the same place. There is nothing in this case that conclusively and definitively proves beyond a reasonable doubt that footballs were intentionally deflated.

You can’t just say “yeah, but” here and expect it to stick.

Mind you… I am not saying that nothing happened. I’d like to be open-minded and approach this with my interests off to the side. (I know that isn’t completely possible.) And yet…

The NFL brought the circus to town. They tried to build a case out of playing cards, doing so on a twisted, unbalanced surface with gale-force winds swirling.

Tom Brady said he was innocent… in the beginning and throughout.

The NFL said as a professional he probably was aware of it… then said he likely organized it… ultimately arrived at claiming he hand-polished a needle to be used and while he was at it also personally influenced the weather… and made all of these ever-increasing-in-severity accusations as if they were statements of uncontested fact even though “…the league has no idea if the footballs were even unnaturally deflated…” and cannot even produce accurate measurements they can stand behind.


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