Thursday, January 22, 2015
WITH BALLS DEFLATED, ROGER GOODELL UNDER PRESSURE
Roger Goodell has to get this one right.
On the heels of the Ray Race scandal which tarnished the NFL's beloved shield and
severely damaged the reputation of its commissioner, Deflate Gate has dipped the league
in controversy, gripping the nation with the Super Bowl less than two weeks away
The New England Patriots, a model NFL franchise but one that got exposed for reckless
and blatant cheating in the SpyGate scandal in 2007, is being accused of thumbing their
noses to the rules and authority once again.
In the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, 11 of the 12 game
balls they provided were found to be underinflated. Everybody outside of New England
has branded Bill Belichick, the mastermind of SpyGate, a cheater again.
Social media's in a frenzy, the public is outraged, and the NFL's reputation could be about
to take another big hit with the entire world watching.
Roger Goodell, this is your big chance to regain credibility and the respect you lost with
the American public, one that doesn't have much faith in your leadership and ability to
guide one of the most powerful brands in the world after seeing how you mishandled
the Rice scandal.
For the commissioner, it's not really about the Patriots' balls, but rather his. He set this
league up to be a high-scoring one where quarterbacks are protected and receivers can't be
touched. Quarterbacks should have footballs they are comfortable throwing with and if
rules allow teams to provide 12 balls per game, then it's a safe assumption most of them
are chosen by the player who handles them the most and under the most pressure to
Coaches, players, and front-office personnel see Deflate Gate as a non-issue and some
are even embarrassed that it's become such a big controversy.
But the issue for the commissioner is the apparent blatant non-compliance by the Patriots
once again. It doesn't look good when the NFL's most successful franchise follows up the
SpyGate scandal with this one.
The perception around the country is that Belichick and the Patriots cheat to win. Their
head coach, arrogant and smug, will do what he wants, the league be damned. He wins
often, but the SpyGate scandal will be attached forever and now DeflateGate is threatening
to worsen his image and image of the league even more.
Goodell cannot screw this one up. The fact is, the balls provided by the Patriots were
checked by referee Walt Anderson two and-a-half hours before the game and he personally
approved them. At halftime, they were checked again and found to be underinflated by
If it's discovered the Patriots did a switcher-roo with the balls in that two and-a-half
window from the time Anderson checked them and the start of the game, that's a huge
If the Patriots intentionally deceived the referees and the league, they will pay if
Goodell has the intestinal fortitude to do so. You can't let a team as successful as the
Patriots and one that is already a convicted cheater, get away with any shred of deception,
you just can't.
Imagine what the perception will be if there's no punishment against the Patriots and
the commissioner presents them with the Lombardi Trophy next Sunday night? It will
be utter outrage and any credibility Goodell had left after the Rice scandal will be gone
and never be able to be recovered.
This is your chance to get it right, Mr. Commissioner, the world is watching.