My Offer Is Nothing

Roger Goodell: I want your answer and the money by noon tomorrow. And one more thing. Don’t you contact me again, ever. From now on, you deal with Vincent.

Tom Brady: Commissioner? You can have my answer now, if you like. My final offer is this: nothing. Not even the fine for non-cooperation, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.

Everything comes back to The Godfather.

I think the above is probably how the reported settlement talks in the Tom Brady suspension have gone down.

More disturbing in that article is this:

Per the source, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is being pushed by a small handful of influential owners to hold firm on the four-game suspension.

So, other NFL owners are pushing to Commissioner to ensure that Tom Brady does not play in one-quarter of the NFL regular season.

They would have absolutely no competitive motivations for doing that, right? They are attempting to use the Commissioner to gain a competitive advantage. Well, we know that at least five owners have come out publicly in support of Goodell’s punishment of Brady.

So who are these “influential owners” trying to push Goodell into holding firm? Dan Rooney and Art Rooney? Whose Steelers play the Patriots in week one? Jerry Jones? His Cowboys play the Patriots in week five. (Which is the fourth game for New England, meaning Brady would miss the game.) Jim Irsay? His Colts, responsible for this whole mess play the Patriots in week six, which would be Brady’s first game. I’m sure they’d prefer facing the Patriots with Brady having yet to have played his first game. Woody Johnson? His Jets play the Patriots in week seven. Might be nice to have the Patriots with a couple of losses under their belts when playing this divisional game. John Mara? His Giants play the Patriots in week ten. Steve Bisciotti? His Ravens might be competing with the Patriots for home field advantage. They’d benefit from a Brady suspension.

I hope people can see just what a criminal organization the NFL is.

This scenario is all the more reason why Goodell should’ve appointed an independent arbitrator to handle this appeal. Owners wouldn’t be running up and whispering the ear of the arbitrator in order to influence the outcome of the appeal.

The PFT article concludes with this:

So while there’s still no good way out of this mess for Goodell, the safest course for him personally would be to hold firm and to force a court to reduce the suspension — since Goodell suffers little or no P.R. consequence when one of his disciplinary decisions is reduced or wiped out by someone else.

This is also the opinion floated out by Peter King.

Again, think about this. The NFL is more interested in P.R. consequences than it is in getting things right. They would rather go to court and lose, (and look foolish, AGAIN) than admit that they messed this up.

This after Troy Vincent fingerwagged the NFLPA about taking the NFL to court and wasting money that could be used to help support retired/injured players.

Criminal.

Why has there not been a big-media investigative report into the activities of the NFL? We know ESPN, NBC, CBS or FOX isn’t going to do it. So, where you at, New York Times? Wall Street Journal? The Boston Globe could sell the most papers it has sold in years if they did something along those lines, but they have another agenda. (Paging Bill Simmons, you want huge ratings for your first HBO show?)

And there’s more. Now the NFL is leaking the idea that Brady wants a settlement – with no evidence that he does – which is meant solely to create an appearance of guilt where there is none.

Criminal.

Is there any doubt that the NFL, as a whole – including the other owners – has declared war on the Patriots? And Robert Kraft took it.

Tom Curran put it perfectly yesterday:

It’s really an adversarial position Kraft put himself in with his quarterback and his head coach. Kraft doing what was good for the league aligned him automatically with the NFL in its looming fight against the NFLPA. And if Kraft advocates taking a deal, not having Brady hurts Bill Belichick’s on-field product. Never mind that Belichick must look at Goodell then look at Kraft and say, “So this is how your friends and their employees treat you? And you’re good with that?”

Last front? The other 31 franchises.

Does it help the Rooneys in Pittsburgh or Jim Irsay in Indianapolis, Jerry Jones in Dallas or John Mara in New York — or any other franchise — to have the Patriots at full strength for 16 games? The Patriots’ two AFC playoff opponents (the Ravens and Colts) showed what they think of the good of the game last January when they whined about legal formations and had equipment managers sticking needles in footballs during the game.

When you take that into account, it really shows the naivete of Kraft saying, “The heart and soul of the strength of the NFL [is] that it’s a partnership of 32 teams, and what’s become very clear over those two decades (since I’ve owned the Patriots is) that at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the full 32.”

Sorry, Bob. It’s 31 on 1. And, since you capitulated, it’s the whole league aligned against your quarterback.

I don’t want to hear a single word if the Patriots happen to “run up the score” on anyone (or everyone) this season.

Bill Belichick: I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies.

The Character of Chris Mortensen

Guest post from Mike Walsh.

Wondering when Roger Goodell will air the next episode in the league office’s embarrassing DeflateGate drama pales in comparison to wondering when the Chris Mortensen character will make another cameo, especially since he may have played the biggest role in this entire affair.

This stupid story has been going on for so long and has had so many aspects it might be easy to forget when it really exploded. The Pats beat the Colts on January 18th, and the first Bob Kravitz tweet was sent later that night. But it was Mortensen’s tweet on January 20th that made this thing blow up.

[Read more…]

That Song By Queen And David Bowie

Come on. You know what song I’m talking about.

As Roger Goodell and his NFL ilk try to figure out the ruling on Tom Brady’s appeal with the smallest amount of P.R. damage, it’s time to bring up the one aspect of this foolishness that hasn’t been called into question:

The NFL has to ditch the football inflation rule.

Listen, they can do whatever they want with the Brady appeal. They can present it to the masses like a commandment to be followed or make it into a paper boat and perform a mini Viking funeral. The rule, as it were, exists. If the NFL is willing to stick with the questionable figures of the Wells report and ignore the lessons of any ninth grade intro to physical science class, so be it. “More likely than not,” “generally aware,” etc.

But, moving forward, it’s time to get rid of – or at least greatly expand – the ball inflation parameters. A brief look at the task of enforcing this rule – which, as far as we can tell, had never been strictly enforced – tells us the reasons why.

Every football must have air pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi). The Wells report revealed the nonchalant nature in which these measurements take place, with officials using differently calibrated gauges while neglecting to write down measurements or numerate the footballs themselves.

All footballs must be numbered. All measurements must be recorded. All gauges must be calibrated. Sounds like we might need another official to take care of these matters.

The NFL must hire a Head of Football Pressure. He then must hire two PSI officials for every game, one for each team’s footballs (this will give each official necessary time to take halftime measurements).

Now, about that pesky science: we know that a football’s pressure in Miami at the season opener will have a different halftime reading than a football in Green Bay during Week 17. We need a physics-trained football official (PTF), one who can take game time outdoor temperature, humidity and/or dampness of each ball, time of possession (to figure time of exposure for each football), halftime indoor temperature, and – while the aforementioned PSI official takes measurements – come up with a “real” pressure loss or gain for each individual ball.

Keep in mind, the Wells Report took almost four months. But, if we can’t get a couple of people to figure this all out in 20 minutes, let’s just expand halftime another five or ten minutes and bring in another handful of officials to get it done. How about a PSI and PTF official for each football? Nothing like a few dozen extra guys milling about in a designated Ball Science room.

I mean, if they’re taking this seriously, can they stop at halftime? Don’t they have to repeat the process at the end of each game, for integrity and all that?

Yeah. Time to get rid of that rule.

Before this past January, very few people knew or concerned themselves with the specifics of football psi. Referees judged a football’s game worthiness by giving it a squeeze. Sometimes they’d pump it up themselves, sometimes with shaky results. Now, what if equipment managers could get the psi that their QBs wanted? What if they let the refs grip them before the game – right there on the sideline – and be done with it?

Ball seems too flat or overinflated? The officials say so and ask for a few pumps of air put in or taken out of the ball. During the game, if the ref finds a ball lacking, he tosses it back in and asks for another. It’s hard to see many difficulties with leaving the pressure up to the refs’ discretion. We already do that with the most important aspect of the game: spotting the ball.

Think about it: how closely can a human being determine the position of a football several feet away while it’s gripped by a runner getting knocked around by large men? If the official is off by one inch per play – which seems remarkably efficient – then by fourth and inches, maybe every one of those inches has already been accounted for. Maybe, in Perfectworld, it’s already first down.

That’s the game, though. We live with those potential inaccuracies because putting GPS locator devices in each ball and having a digital readout for each play would prove too costly and time-consuming. Kind of like hiring hundreds of new officials and building a science lab in every NFL stadium.

Some teams might try to take advantage of this non-rule by inflating footballs to under 11 pounds, making them easy to grab in harsh weather conditions. Again, officials’ discretion: if they feel a football is too soft, get another one. If they feel that the team in question continues to provide soft footballs, give a warning, then hit them with a delay-of-game penalty.

The NFL in general (and Goodell in particular) turned a silly rule infraction (that science has told us may not have occurred) into talk show fodder where the outrage seemed inversely proportional to actual football knowledge. That an improbable breaking of an oft-ignored rule became “-gate”-worthy is on them.

Getting rid of that rule would take off the pressure of trying to enforce it. But I don’t expect they will. If this fiasco has taught us anything, it’s that the NFL doesn’t really understand pressure.

Chris Warner tweets @cwarn89