Winners and Losers of Deflategate (So Far)
As you likely know by now, Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, and the league trumped the union by subsequently filing a complaint in federal court to confirm its decision.
Deflategate at some point will end. That some point may take another six months and change or even longer. The only certainty is that the wait will continue to be excruciating.
So while we wait and wait and maybe wait some more, here are the ‘Gate’s’ biggest winners and losers so far. (It should go without saying that this list is very subject to change).
Honorable Mention: NFLPA
The NFLPA sure puts out a mean press release. Unfortunately the union agreed to a collective bargaining agreement that gives them virtually no power to stop the suspension slot machine that is Roger Goodell. Every time Goodell throws down his gauntlet and the union responds, we’re reminded of how mismatched this fight really is. Union lawyers may very well prevail in federal court, but the fact that this case needs to get that far is pretty pathetic.
Honorable Mention: Roger Goodell
Goodell’s Deflategate suspension is based on Brady’s lack of cooperation and unwillingness to admit guilt. What Deflatgate is not based on is protecting the integrity of the sport.
Goodell continues his inconsistent, ego-driven rule, while the rest of us wonder how on Earth this man is still in charge of disciplinary matters.
Don’t forget, Goodell trotted out his underling Troy Vincent to hand down the original Deflategate punishments, thinking it would make him an acceptable arbiter for the appeal.
Nothing about this case changes the fact that Goodell is mired in conflict of interest and incompetence when it come the doling out suspensions.
Honorable Mention: Boston Sports Fans
Exemplified by Bill Simmons’ Twitter account, Boston fans everywhere have played their own violin for six months. They replaced their social media bio pictures with Brady’s jersey, they bought those ridiculous Free Brady t-shirts en masse (as if Brady had actually been jailed), and they’ve generally been annoyingly sensitive. But guess what? There’s no defense for destroying evidence. Time to pivot those sports bar conversations.
Second Biggest Loser: Tom Brady
Brady has spent a career playing with a chip on his shoulder, all the while collecting rings and MVPs trophies left and right. He’s probably the only NFL figure more concerned with his legacy than the commissioner.
Yet one smash of a phone and here comes the tarnish. It doesn’t make much sense. If Brady was guilty and text messages proved it, fess up, apologize and argue the lack of merit of deflated ball witch hunt in the first place.
Brady is still a first-ballot Hall of Famer and possibly the greatest quarterback of all time. He’s also a moron who destroyed evidence.
UPDATE: Brady released a statement this morning. The key point is that, according to Brady, he replaced his broken phone after lawyers made it clear that his “actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances.”
Biggest Loser: NFL Fans
The first preseason game is this weekend. Both the first female coach in league history and Eric Berry’s return to the Chiefs were announced Tuesday. There should be oodles of happiness and wonderment for the new season. Instead the news cycles continues to be dominated by deflated balls and destroyed devices and Brady vs. Goodell and Goodell vs. Kraft and Goodell vs. the NFLPA and time. So much wasted time.
We deserve better.
Honorable Mention: Bill Belichick
Imagine a story about the New England Patriots that involves cheating and Bill Belichick’s name barely being uttered.
Honorable Mention: “Free Brady “ t-shirt makes
Remember those annoyingly sensitive Boston fans we mentioned earlier? Turns out they all own at least one “Free Brady” shirt. While the traditional model is most popular, this is my favorite:
Honorable Mention: Roger Goodell
For the first time in eons, Goodell doled out a punishment and didn’t completely look like an incompetent fool. Like Leslie Nielsen’s Frank Drebin, sometimes even the worst policeman on the force finds a smoking gun.
Second Biggest Winner: NBC
Week 6. Patriots at Colts. Brady returns to face that team turned him in. A ratings bonanza is an understatement.
Biggest Winner: Ted Wells and Elite Law Firms Everywhere
How many billable hours does it take a superstar partner at a global law firm to conduct an investigation and turn it into a 243-page manifesto? Enough that when Ted Wells was asked about his payday from the NFL, he responded, “No question it is in the millions of dollars.” The funds received by Wells and company are only a chunk of the overall legal fees that have been and will be doled out in this case. If there’s one lesson to be learned from Deflategate, it’s this: go to law school.