I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I really think Roger Goodell is trying to destroy the National Football League. Since he took over as commissioner, everything he has done has made the league less enjoyable. The coddling of quarterbacks makes the game itself less interesting. The way they have “addressed” the issue of head injuries is criminal. And they way they have ignored and celebrated actual criminals leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time I watch a game. And let’s not even talk about the replacement refs. I used to watch football almost every Sunday during the season. Now, I’ve missed two of the last three Super Bowls.
I’ve never been a Patriots fan. I grew up with the Giants and always prefer the NFC. Tom Brady has always been vaguely annoying. Not in the “I want to punch him in the face” way that Eli Manning is annoying, but I’m not a fan. He’s just boring. So, when it came out that Tom Brady played the AFC Championship game with balls that were softer than regulation, I thought it was pretty funny. It was like Joe Niekro being caught with an emery board in his pocket or Sammy Sosa getting caught with a corked bat. It’s great fodder for jokes for a couple of weeks, but on no level is it a big deal.
However, the press and the league decided that it is a big deal. They are saying that the very integrity of the game has been called into question because Tom Brady likes playing with soft balls. If this is that big a deal, why weren’t the Vikings and Jaguars punished for playing with heated balls? If this is that big a deal, why does the rule only stipulate a fine? The only reason I can think of is to make Brady a scapegoat for every mistake the league has made during Goodell’s tenure. He’s finally showing that he’s tough and will do what he has to to protect the sport. Only he picked such an inconsequential thing to get tough about that he just looks like an idiot.
There is no way around the fact that the NFL and Roger Goodell have made the decision that deflating some footballs is more serious than illegal drugs, child abuse, battery, and purposely trying to injure other players. That makes Goodell and the NFL the bad guys. And if they are the bad guys, Tom Brady and the Patriots have become the good guys. I never thought I’d say this, but go Patriots.