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317752's blog: "Deflategate"

created on 01/23/2015  |  http://fubar.com/deflategate/b361561

Does anyone even remember "deflategate"?? Feels like ancient history now, unless you are Tom Brady.  On Monday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NFL, and essentially against Brady, saying that the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, was within his broad range of power to impose a four game suspension on the Patriots quarterback.  The ruling does not say what Brady did or didn't do, nor what he did or didn't know but, as the chances of the US Supreme Court, the only higher court left in the process, hearing a second appeal are slim and none, and slim's bags are packed and on the bus, this ruling is likely the end of the story.  Or is it?

Commissioner Goodell has not publicly spoken about the incident since before Superbowl 50 or even say that he would impose the suspension if the court ruled in the League's favor.  Now it is only one day since the ruling but it seems to this writer that if der Kommissar  were set on making his point, and an example of Brady, he would have already scheduled a news conference, taken the podium and made his announcement.  To be fair, every sports reporter in the country is already in Chicago with the 2016 NFL draft set to begin Thursday night, but still I can't help but wonder, why the delay?

Could it be that Goodell's "puppetmaster", Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, continues his lobbying effort in some smoke-filled backroom of NFL headquarters?? Or simply that the Commissioner's Office, defined speechwriters, is carefully "Krafting" this important decision and announcement so as to ensure all parties concerned fully understand the NFL's stance on this issue.

The team has already lost two draft picks, their 2016 first rounder and their 2017 fourth rounder and a one million dollar fine has been imposed.  Kraft has deep pockets but I don't care who you are, that is BIG money.  A substantial penalty has already been extolled from the Patriots and it is my belief that Commissioner Goddell is weighing adding insult to injury, by imposing the suspension, against the possible public relations backlash that could come if he doesn't take full advantage of this ruling and begin the restoration of the league's integrity, by not imposing the suspension. Yes, this is truly the proverbial "rock and a hard place" for the embattled Commissioner.

Now, whether or not you are in agreement with the court's ruling is ancillary to what I consider to be the bigger issue here. If the suspension is imposed, it would likely be for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season.  Now, New England got lucky with their schedule in that they have 3 home games in their first four.  However, their season opener is a tough road affair in Arizona, followed by two divisional games versus Miami and Buffalo and a tilt with J.J. Watt and Houston sandwiched in-between. This is no "cake walk" for a Bradyless Patriot team.

Further, however is the fact that Tom Brady will celebrate his 39th birthday on August 3rd.  He is eligible to participate in all team activities and workouts until whatever date his suspension would begin, but let's face it; even Superman has to stay on top of his game lest Kryptonite, in Brady's case, 39 years and 16 NFL seasons, be his undoing.  Brady will go through the rigorous Patriot training camp and then sit at home for a month while he serves his suspension, then likely start against Cleveland, IN Cleveland on October 9th. New England could be 0-4 by that time, 0-2 in the Division and 0-3 in Conference play and the question becomes can a 39-year old Brady, after a month of no contact whatsoever with his team and no contact in a game situation just step in and perform, in a Conference game, against a team defense rounding into mid-season form in Cleveland? He will definitely get his opportunity to prove his "Super" moniker is earned.

And perhaps this, more than anything else, explains the Commissioner's delay in not making his decision known.  Could the League and Commissioner's Office be considering the possibility that a suspension of Brady could be the death nell for the Patriots 2016 season, as well as future seasons with the forfeited draft picks? Does Robert Kraft hold THAT much sway with the Commissioner, that with the opportunity to make a "giant leap" toward integrity, the Commissioner would simply say "enough"?

Surely, this will not be the case. Let us not forget the undisputed fact that the Patriots, and Tom Brady  used non-sanctioned equipment in a League Championship game. The bottom line here is that this whole mess started with the Commissioner failing to act quickly and decisively in this matter. One can only hope that with all the "black eyes" the League has suffered through in the last 20 months or so, the Commissioner chooses not to "turn the other cheek" yet again.

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