Raise your hand if you’re in a not-so-great mood this morning following Monday’s news. Yep…I’m right there with you. Let’s get to it.
Frustrating News After Brady’s Suspension is Reinstated – Looming for a while now had been the judges’ decision from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and on Monday the judges dropped the ruling in a shot heard throughout New England, which left every head in the region likely shaking in disbelief.
With their ruling came the news Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been reinstated, which based on the evidence just continues to defy logic. But in the NFL, with Roger Goodell as judge, juror and executioner, the players are at the mercy of a CBA that leaves them as just pawns in a game where Goodell wears the crown.
And Goodell can talk all he wants about integrity. If he really wanted to set the example that every other commissioner in professional sports would want to follow, he would have done exactly what MMQB’s Peter King suggested before the start of last season. He would have had the footballs tested in certain conditions and taken a hard look at the data throughout 2015. He would have examined how footballs really are affected by the elements and whether or not the explanation Bill Belichick gave in that memorable Saturday press conference, where he explained how they went through and simulated their standard game preparations with the footballs to make sense out of the league’s accusations, held any credence.
He then could have done what would have been hard, but if the data corroborated the numbers from the measurements, he could have admitted they may have been wrong and that after review there simply wasn’t sufficient evidence worth suspending a player who has never even been blip on the league’s disciplinary radar.
But sometimes the right thing is just too hard to do.
So instead, he stuck his head in the sand and claimed the league did “spot checks” to check for violations and that there weren’t any, which essentially tells you that he doesn’t want to know about how cold weather affects footballs for the sake of making 100% sure the league wasn’t put in harms way. After all, he’s the one who started this runaway train that has gone so far out of control anything less than a come-from-behind win in the 2nd court of appeals would have been a disaster.
Now, he got his way and he’s punished the greatest player in the history of the position for evidence that is shaky at best. Unfortunately shaky is all they needed to begin with because the court essentially came back to the fact that the CBA simply gives Goodell the authority to do whatever he wants.
It’s a sorry day in sports and it really changes the perception of the league to the millions of fans in New England who rely on the commissioner to be unbiased and fair in protecting every player on every team by making sure every punishment is fully thought through and that no stone is left unturned before it’s handed down, especially given what’s at stake. But finding the truth has taken a backseat and Goodell’s thirst for blood clearly clouded his judgement.
In the end that’s really the saddest thing about this entire mess. But for now the damage has been done and for the immediate future it appears Goodell got his victory. Otherwise, it’s in the hands of Brady’s legal team and at this point there’s nothing left to do but pray for a miracle. Jeffrey Kessler told ESPN Radio following the decision that they’re planning on exploring “all their options”. Kessler was asked about if there was any scenario a settlement could have been reached, but he said that it’s the NFL who could have done the right thing a long time ago before it ever reached this point.
“We don’t think Tom Brady should have been suspended at all, but I’m not going to get into how this matter could be resolved,” said Kessler. “There’s a lot of ways this matter could be resolved.”
There certainly was, especially since Goodell could have done the right thing long before it reached this point. So much for integrity.
Garoppolo could potentially get his first NFL start next season.
Garoppolo now on the clock – When the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo, this probably wasn’t the circumstance they had in mind in needing him to replace their future hall of fame quarterback.
The one positive is that Brady’s four game absence will just mean he’ll be well rested and well irritated by the time he comes back, which the veteran will likely use to his advantage when he returns.
Another slight solace to take out of this is the fact that from a schedule standpoint, 2016 is slightly more advantageous for Brady to be sidelined compared to last season. One reason will be that it gave Garoppolo another full NFL season under his belt, along with the fact that the opening stretch this year is a tiny bit easier than it was last season.
In 2015 the Patriots opened at home in a tough 28-21 win against Pittsburgh, while then having to travel to Buffalo for a hard-fought 40-32 win over the Bills. They enjoyed an easy 51-17 win over Jacksonville, and then had to go to Dallas where they beat the Cowboys 30-6.
But the final score from their win in Dallas didn’t necessarily tell the whole story, as Brady was beat up quite a bit in that game, including 5 first-half sacks. It’s tough to say how Garoppolo might have handled himself in that game, but a potential 1-3 start certainly could have been possible and that may have derailed their shot at being in the hunt by the end of last season.
This year the toughest part of their stint may be the opener out in the desert against the Cardinals, because from there the Patriots spend the next three weeks at home against the Dolphins, Texans, and Bills. While you can’t necessarily pencil the rest of those games in as wins, the fact they’ll all be at home will certainly help his cause and keep him away from some of the hostile road crowds he may have otherwise had to deal with.
It’s not a scenario that anyone is obviously happy about, but if nothing else hopefully Garoppolo will keep the engine running long enough for Brady to finish driving the bus out to Houston next February.
Tanguay Takes a Victory Lap – I don’t normally get caught up in this and I don’t like to criticize local writers, but it’s been pretty troubling to see the road Gary Tanguay has gone down as he’s decided to take the “villian” role in the media locally, which is sad considering his voice is one that has been associated with game days in New England thanks to his presence on 98.5. But during this whole debacle he’s taken the contrarian point of view, and really to the extreme, which has seemingly seen him take full enjoyment in how this has played out and it’s disappointing. He’s been a fill-in on WEEI over the last couple of months and his schtick was strong and seriously over-the-top, which has seen him take full 180-degree turn from the same person he seemingly was a few years ago.
I get that there’s always that one guy in every market, but Tanguay seems like he’s trying way too hard to earn a role that you’d have to think he may eventually be sorry he’s taken on.
“What Patriot fans call “pushing the envelope” is called “breaking the rules” by Belichick’s detractors . . . and that’s what he did in 2007 when he and his old buddy, Ernie Adams, were busted for Spygate,” Tanguay wrote following Monday’s news. “And that’s why we are here today. In my opinion, Goodell — to pay back Robert Kraft for supporting him for commissioner — had his goons destroy the Spygate evidence. And the rest of league’s ownership has never forgotten it.”
On a day that has the fans up in arms, reading him take a victory lap isn’t exactly something you hope to see a local media personality do. Being objective is one thing, but Tanguay has embraced his role in disturbing fashion and has joined Dan Shaughnessy among guys who seem to relish these moments, and that likely won’t endear him to the people who watch him on television or listen to him on the radio.
He’s played with fire quite a bit this offseason from that standpoint and he’ll have to hope that his decision to go this route doesn’t get him burned.
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