Over the last seven months, I’ve expressed my dismay with the National Football League, and more specifically, commissioner Roger Goodell, for his handling of Deflategate.
Dismay is one word to describe it. Here are some others: anger, frustration, indignation. You get the point.
What the NFL did to Tom Brady is nothing short of a complete embarrassment. And when Judge Richard Berman chose to revoke Brady’s four-game suspension last week after several settlement hearings in federal court, Goodell and his posse decided to launch a smear campaign against the New England Patriots, giving both ESPN and Sports Illustrated enough fuel to force them to go back in time and report “new” findings in Spygate.
Yes, Spygate, in 2015. Something that was a story in 2007, that the Patriots were punished for. But the NFL is now trying to make the world re-live it, in order to justify its original over-the-top Deflategate punishment, for which they have no direct evidence of anything illegal happening.
That’s why Judge Berman put the hammer on Goodell. But it’s also why the commissioner wants this Spygate story out there. And why — on the same day that story was released — there’s also a story portraying a league-wide suspicion that the Patriots are always trying to spy on their opponents.
Like Deflategate, none of it is based on facts. Most of it is based on assumptions. All of it is based on paranoia.
After giving the results of his own personal Deflategate science experiment in January — the week before the Super Bowl — Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered a question about Spygate and opened up like never before.
“Look, the guy’s giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, ok?" he said. "So we filmed him giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time too, ok? But, forget about that. If we were wrong, then we’ve been disciplined for that.
“The guy’s in front of 80,000 people,” added a perturbed Belichick, as if he wanted to smack some common sense into the reporter who continued to press him about it. “Eighty-thousand people saw it. Everybody’s sidelines saw it. Everybody sees our guy [giving signals] in front of 80,000 people. I mean, there he is.”
As if to stress, “Everybody’s doing it!” Fact of the matter is, the Patriots were just better at using it than anyone else. Much like they’re seemingly better than the rest of the league at the everyday gamesmanship that comes with being in a professional, competitive, win-at-all-costs environment.
If you’re using the word “cheater” when describing the Patriots after reading these Spygate stories and seeing the Deflategate drama, then perhaps you should watch the NFL Network’s feature, “Do Your Job: Bill Belichick and the 2014 New England Patriots.” It’s there where you’ll find the games are ultimately won with both preparation and execution, another thing the Patriots have been better than the rest of the league at for the last 15 years.
But I won’t lie. All these emotions, all this anger, all this garbage has made me embrace the Patriots’ new bad-boy image. To the point where I actually want them to do everything they’ve been accused of.
The Patriots should videotape opposing team’s signals. They should film walkthroughs, bug visiting locker rooms, deflate footballs. I need a 19-0 season from the bad boys of the NFL!
Hold on. Let me to take a few deep breaths here.
Ok, relax. You get my point. I'm embracing the hate. And an undefeated season is unrealistic for a team that lost a few of their best defensive players and begins the season with a banged-up offense. But another Super Bowl championship will do.
See you in San Francisco in February.
Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” every weekday at dannypicard.com. Danny can also be heard weekends on WEEI 93.7 FM. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard.