Because I can occasionally be concise, at least when I’m sick of a topic that has no intention of going away, let me condense the NFL’s 465-word statement released just before 2 p.m. regarding the state of the DeflateGate investigation by 400 words, down to 65:
“The footballs were slightly deflated in the first half. They were properly inflated in the second half. We’re still investigating why. We’ve talked to 40 people, which is a lot, so shut up about us not talking you yet, Brady. Also: Guys, we’re using forensics! We might even trademark CSI:PSI. See you at the media day bleepstorm. Long live Goodell! May Goodell live long! “
So much for the hunch that the NFL would pull a nothing-to-see-here news dump at 5:30 p.m. Because the NFL has not been thorough or transparent in much more important recent news stories, it’s going to be overly thorough and transparent on this semi-story of gamesmanship regarding slightly deflated footballs.
And here I thought as we turned toward the weekend that we’d start to focus on one of the most compelling Super Bowl matchups in years. Instead, we wait for Goodell to drop his Ball-Peen Hammer of Justice.
Here’s my vow. Until there’s a verdict on this — which I think we all suspect will come after the Super Bowl — I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure these are my last, also-concise thoughts on the subject until there’s something new to report.
What about the children? Can we stop with the ridiculous notion that this is something that will profoundly affect our kids. I grew up rooting for the Air Coryell Chargers. I found out as a kid that they were coked to the gills even by early ’80s standards. I did not curl up in the fetal position and wonder what was up with my heroes. I have no desire to talk to my kids about underinflated footballs, but will warn them that the world is full of ninnies who think I should.
I believe Belichick: I’m not sure why he felt the need to talk about how he slops up the footballs for players in practice. It really has little to do with the issue. It makes sense that he would want them to practice in adverse conditions. What was unsaid is that he certainly would want them to have the most advantageous conditions possible during the actual game. But when he said he paid no attention to the footballs before the game, I think he was telling the truth and nothing but the truth … just not the whole truth. He worked with Tom Brady, his rare peer in terms of perfectionism, for 15 years. He knows Brady wants the football a certain way, and he’s probably been leaving it up to Brady for at least a dozen years. It’s not dastardly. It’s delegation. I don’t mean to accuse Brady here, either, because he’s shown consistent, admirable integrity during his decade-and-half in New England. But I don’t think he told the whole story yesterday. I do think he is stunned that this misdemeanor transgression has blown up into something in which the opportunistic and desperate Commissioner B.P. Hammer may seize as a chance to rebuild his own image at the expense of Brady’s legacy. No wonder he looked rattled.
I want to throw the phrase “thrown under the bus” … … under a bus. It’s an all-timer of a cliche, and I say that as someone who used it. And that’s an awful description of what Belichick did to Brady anyway. If you think that they did not discuss how Brady should handle his press conference in detail, you haven’t been paying attention the last 15 years. Of course they aligned their stories. Even far less detail-oriented people who do so in a case like this.
It’s not pounds, it’s pounds of pressure: Let’s put it this way. If the football weighed between 10 and 15 pounds like so many in the media seem to believe, there would be so many NFL QBs with blown-out rotator cuffs that Dr. James Andrews could buy the entire island of St. John. (Pretty sure he already owns St. Croix.)
There are few high-profile NFL reporters I trust in this: Let me get this straight. We’re supposed to put faith in the scattered nuggets of information NFL designated scriveners Peter King and Chris Mortensen have supplied during this investigation in the same season in which they both reported wrong information regarding the Ray Rice situation before having to backtrack later? Sorry, but any time either of them has a bit of information that appears to have come from someone close to Goodell, I’m going to view it skeptically if I view it all.