When billionaire Bob Kraft went to the Super Bowl earlier this year he made a surprise appearance at the team’s opening news conference. Holding off the appearance of Bill Belichick he said: “If the investigation is not able to definitely determine that our organization tampered with air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our whole team and in particular coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they’ve had to endure this past week.”
We waited for Roger Goodell to respond but he said nothing. He kept in mind the good of the NFL. An investigation by hot shot lawyer Ted Wells and his team was ongoing. He would wait for the results.
When they came things looked bad for Bob. A lot of words were put out on a lot of pages but the conclusion in the Wells report was that it was more probable than not the Patriots had deflated the ball. That meant there would be no apology in the offing. Not only that, Goodell was expected to do something about the findings. When he did he came down hard: a million dollar fine, loss of draft choices, and horror of horrors, suspending the team’s winning quarterback Tom Brady for four game and suggesting that the cognomen Tommy Cheat was not inappropriate.
Bob Kraft did not take this lying down. He hired his own hot shot lawyer named Goldberg and his team to carry the ball for him. He saw the need to defend himself and his team from being known as the Cheat Squad because of prior incidents where they were caught cheating. Unfortunately for Bob, the Goldberg report issued by his lawyer resulted in the ball being fumbled with the suggestion that a person who called himself “the deflator” was using a code word for losing weight.
Larry David could not have come up with that one. It looked like Bob hired a team of comedians. The damage was done. We expected to see the white flag. The next we heard was that Bob was going out to meet the owners and his once good friend Roger. The day he was leaving he was in a festy mood assuring us he was going west in full battle mode.
Then things got murky. Everyone went into a team back for “the good of the NFL.” Secret conclaves took place more secret than those in the Sistine Chapel.
The white smoke appeared. Bob came out. He mumbled something about moving on and accepting the penalty. In effect he conceded the Wells report beat the Goldberg report. Yes, his concession said, a deflation had occurred.
Some type of backroom deal “for the good of the NFL” had been struck behind those protected walls for such a turnabout to have occurred. It all seemed quite eerie. Who ever thought Bob had quit in him. Strangely no one seemed to want to lift the sewer cover to explore the matter further.
Had anyone kept in mind “the good of the NFL” really meant that somehow the Super Bowl Champions and their quarterback had to be cleared. We were reminded that Bob’s surrender did not mean Brady had given up. He still had his appeal.
Now things were really becoming strange. Wells slammed Brady to the mat. Bob agreed he was right. Brady kept his peace. Goodell would hear Brady’s appeal. Then there appeared no rush for this to happen. What were they waiting for? Weren’t we supposed to move on?
Then we found out. A new report would be brought forth by a group called AEI. It figured out something no one else did. Brady was innocent. The balls deflated themselves. The explanation talked about different gauges and the Patriot’s having their footballs measured at the beginning of the half when they were colder and the Colts having their football measure when they were warmer. Of course we are supposed to forget about Mr. Deflator lurking in the background and supposed to believe in the 12 minute half time great variances can occur in a football.
By now you understand truth has become an orphan to expediency “for the good of the NFL.” Goodell was stunned by the Wells report but had to act as if it were on the level. He met with Bob and told him to play along until they can come up with a way to undo the damage. They figured the AEI group report would give them the out they needed; if they couldn’t get that they would have had something to undermine the Wells report, perhaps an extra terrestrial event.
Goodel can use the AEI report to clear Brady and lift his suspension. Mr. Deflator and his friend will be forgotten. Peace will return. All that will be left is for Goodell to apologize to Bob, Bill, Tom and the Patriots and rescind all punishments. We are waiting.