Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Deflategate Fiasco Harming Image of League, Patriots

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Deflategate Fiasco Harming Image of League, Patriots

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

Shortly before Commissioner Roger Goodell issued his ruling upholding Tom Brady's four-game suspension last week, the NFL contacted the police in Scarborough, Maine.

Goodell has built a $6.5 million summer home there, and Police Chief Robbie Moulton said, "They did reach out and let us know about the decision and that it might not be popular.''

Because Maine is in Patriots country, the league was apparently worried that unhappy Patriots fans might be a threat to Goodell's home.

The police chief said there wouldn't be a substantial increase in security, but police would be patrolling the area.

There were no reports of any problems, but the fact the NFL contacted the police shows how the league has become obsessed with Deflategate.

It is football's version of Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick, even though it's about the air pressure of footballs in a 45-7 New England win over the Indianapolis Colts. It's much ado about nothing, especially because the league has yet to provide any proof that the Patriots actually tampered with the balls and created a new "more probably than not'' standard.

Goodell's latest ruling isn't close to the end of the battle. It is just the latest skirmish in what seems to be an endless war.

The league was so convinced that the NFL Players Association and Brady would go to court that it went to court first in New York. The NFLPA then filed in Minnesota, where it has had a history of getting favorable rulings, but the judge kicked it back to New York.

Goodell wants Brady to be suspended. Brady, insisting he is innocent, is apparently only willing to accept a fine.

And the public fight between the two sides continues despite the judge's call for the sides to "begin to pursue a mutually acceptable resolution to this case.''

The whole fiasco is not good for the image of the league or the Patriots.

If the court lets the suspension stand, it will be the major storyline for the first month of the season as the Patriots attempt to win without Brady.

LOOKING AT POSITIVE SIDE

Denver Broncos president John Elway, who was once an old quarterback, said last week the team is going to force Peyton Manning to take some days off during training camp so his 39-year-old body doesn't wear down by the end of the season.

Which brings up the question of whether a four-game suspension might not be a huge negative for Brady, who'll be 38 Monday.

Because only one of the first four New England games is against a division rival, the Patriots can still win the division if they stumble early. And Brady might be fresher in the playoffs if he plays a 12-game schedule rather than 16. And then there's incentive that Brady and the Patriots will want vindication on the field.

GOOD DEAL FOR WILSON

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson showed last week he knows when to hold them and when to fold them. …

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