I don’t know about you but it sure seems to me that while Tom Brady handled the initial days of this deflating football as a means for gaining a competitive advantage like a nervous high school sophomore, the NFL should never have let it roll out of control.
When reports were surfacing, clearly leaked from the NFL, it took on the appearance of an agenda against the Patriots. With the world focusing on the two week hype-prep of it’s greatest spectacle of the football season, why didn’t the NFL swiftly rule the Patriots knowingly or unknowingly violated equipment rules governing the control and preparation of the home teams’ footballs? Fine New England the listed $25,000, threaten larger fines and suspensions if the team and it’s management didn’t get it cleaned up and allow the nation to enjoy the build-up to one of the most anticipated Super Bowl match-ups in recent years.
No. That would be what most highly effective PR firms would’ve advocated. Don’t pour gasoline on a minor dumpster fire of a rules infraction that could smoke out your greatest week! Find a way to control the situation. Tell the Patriots “what’s up”. That teams believe you are playing fast and loose with misdemeanor rules that could look really bad if couched in the wrong light. Slap Kraft publicly, tell Belichick privately that his QB might be playing with fire.
Seems to me someone in the Commissioner’s office, maybe even Goodell himself, saw an easy opportunity to shoot PR fish in a barrel. Turn the tide of a disastrous fall from grace for the NFL Shield with the Ray Rice debacle and the Adrian Peterson ‘wishy-washy’ response. Catch an old villain at it again, take down a superstar who might not be as squeaky clean as his image and the office of the Commissioner of the NFL would once again appear omnipotent. Never mind that upcoming game between the Patriots and Seahawks, this…this, yes we’ll go with what the media’s invented…this “Deflate Gate” would return the Shield to its rightful alongside the NFL logo.
Then some things started to happen, Goodell forgot to lead, nobody from NFL PR or Security or something strutted in to defuse the spreading sparks. Before we all knew it, the Super Bowl celebration had been hijacked by an angry mob that wanted to hang the Patriots or at least 1 or two high profile Patriots. The Commissioner clumsily (does he know any other way) formed an investigative committee. Ted Wells, “oh yea, he got to the bottom of that Dolphins locker room bullying thing and nobody’s thrown out his ruling on appeal…let’s let Ted start digging and interviewing and leaking a little along the way and hopefully they’ll play an incredible Super Bowl that’ll have folks buzzing for week and everybody will forget this stupid ‘air in/out of the football issue’ and the Shield will rule again.
Then the League got greedy. “Maybe we can orchestrate an awesome Super Bowl AND my office can take down a cocky, aloof, entitled superstar along the way”. “What about that renegade owner disguised as my ally? …We’ll fine him about a million and jab “hoodie” by docking them a couple of draft picks. Yeah that’ll hammer the Patriots, make me look like the “law and order AND ‘air apparent’ to another term as Commissioner!”
Stir in a poorly advised star QB, who is a really bad liar, a head coach proven willing to throw any player under the “Belichick Bus” and here we are…
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