Before I start, I will not be accepting the following comments from New England Patriots fans:
- "Everybody's doing it."
- "You just hate Belichick / Belichick knew nothing"
- "We would have won without the deflated balls."
- "This is such a made up story."
Here are the reasons why you are wrong.
My mom is an incredible woman and when I was growing up I would watch other people on skateboards, jumping their bikes across the dry creek bed outside our Mid-Cities home. I wanted to join them and she stopped quote #1 in its infancy.
"Just because 'everyone' are doing it, doesn't make it right nor does it make it ok for you to do it."
So instead of jumping bikes with everyone else, I watched as a kid missed the ramp, fell and broke his arm. Mom was right. We've all drove above the speed limit. Some of us have gotten tickets for it. When we get pulled over, how many of us tried the "well, everyone is doing it," excuse? How did that work out for you? Not too good eh? So it doesn't matter who was doing what. The NFL caught the Patriots violating the rules.
I don't hate Belichick. I really don't. I wish he would have been more of a visionary when he was coaching the Cleveland Browns. I wish that he didn't run an offensive scheme that put most everyone in Municipal Stadium to sleep. But his arrogance will be his own downfall. You cannot claim to be "shocked" to hear that this was happening. You are the head coach & general manager. Sean Payton tried the "well I didn't know about Bountygate" excuse. How did that work out for him? He spent a year watching football from his Barca lounger.
But Sean, the Patriots dominated Indy. Someone even said that Blount could have been carrying a beach ball and the Colts couldn't stop him. STOP. Go to a mirror. Look in the mirror and say, "I can cheat at my job & we are so dominant that it wouldn't matter." Did you smile? Yeah, thought so. Just because they could have done it before cheating makes it twice as bad. The Patriots could have won versus Indy without cheating. So why did they? Did they cheat versus Baltimore, a team they barely beat? See once you get caught cheating… it doesn't matter WHEN you play. You will always have people looking at you wondering if you are playing on the up and up.
So it does matter.
Finally, this isn't a made up story. This is a story about ethics in the NFL. While the NFL has swept domestic violence, child + drug abuse under the rug this year to its public relations detriment, this new –gate threatens the NFL in a new way.
The NFL's year is more approaching story lines of the WWE than of great players of NFL past. Roger Goodell has one thing up his sleeve.
Some media people bring up NFL rule 17, as a solution, giving the Colts a chance to replay the game. This won't happen. Not one chance in a billion would this happen.
But Roger has already set a precedent with Sean Payton. Payton said that he "didn't know," yet he was punished for a year because "he should have."
The solution will not ease the pains of Baltimore or Indianapolis fans.
The penalty will be announced after the Super Bowl to the media's surprise. (sarcasm intended)
Goodell can either save the NFL or make it closer to HE HATE ME.
But it is up to him to act, swiftly and with logic.
He needs to remove 1st
round draft picks for the next 2 years for the Patriots, giving them to Baltimore and Indianapolis respectfully, and remove Bill Bellichick from the position of GM/Coach for a period not to be less than one year.
If he does that, or something so punitive that the entire football nation says, "Holy crap, I don't want to get caught with that penalty looming over me", then he will regain some of the respect that he lost in 2014.
If he doesn't, and decides to do something lesser, a mere slap on the wrist, Goodell will go down as one of the worst commissioners in United States sports history.
It's not just about fairness. I have a friend's son who loves football and wants to play for Texas Tech and in the NFL. One of the things his YFL coach told him when he was young was, "Let's play the game fair because if you cheat, you will sit on the bench for the rest of the game. Shake hands with them win or lose! This isn't your life, but you are should be enjoying a great game with friends, so go out there and let's have fun. Ok? Fun on 3."
It's your move Roger. Fun on 3.