Roger Goodell might learn the hard way this week that business only truly booms when the New England Patriots are around for the Super Bowl.
It’s telling that Super Bowl 50 is four days away, and Tuesday’s biggest story was related to the Patriots’ Deflategate scandal. (Yes, ratings will be gigantic for Sunday’s game, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue this game, or the lead-up, is as interesting as last year’s, for a multitude of reasons.) Goodell said Tuesday in a roundabout way that despite doing random halftime PSI tests all season, there’s no data to release.
You know, the data that was supposed to definitively exonerate the Patriots or prove the NFL correct in their assumptions that New England was doing something nefarious with those footballs in last year’s AFC Championship Game.
Of course, the Ideal Gas Law presents the ultimate spoiler: Inflated objects lose pressure in cold weather. Yet, Goodell claimed there were no violations this season. Huh.
Hopefully we find out exactly what that means Friday (don’t hold your breath), when Goodell holds a news conference in San Francisco. Is he saying there wasn’t a single football that fell below 12.5 PSI when checked at halftime? Is he also going to try to prove the world flat?
Did the NFL finally choose to accept science and give a buffer zone when holding these tests? Did they wait to test the footballs until they warmed up?
Or did they not get the results they wanted and choose to sweep them under the rug? That seems to be the most likely scenario.
There’s a quandary there for Goodell, though, since he nailed Tom Brady for destroying evidence when deciding to uphold the Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension — since nullified, of course. Choosing not to release data doesn’t have the same diabolical ring as “destroying” a cell phone, but we’re talking about the same sketchy behavior here.
Couple that with the fact that Goodell purposely, and falsely, made Brady seem dishonest in his suspension appeal decision over the summer, and the ol’ commish is the one who comes across looking the most dishonest in this whole year-plus-long ordeal.
So, what’s the solution? Unless Goodell claims there was a massive fire at the NFL office at 345 Park Ave. in New York, there’s no excuse not to release the data collected this season. As Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel pointed out Tuesday night, that data was sent to the league office.
“All game ball information will be recorded on the Referee’s Report, which must be submitted to the League office by noon on the day following the game,” according to the NFL’s operations manual.
Those figures don’t just disappear, and there’s clearly a reason why it’s not being released.
Goodell was already caught fudging the facts during the summer when it came to Brady’s honesty. Another situation in which Goodell is discovered holding back information important to a billion-dollar industry should be the death knell to the commish’s reign.
Yet, he can’t release the PSI figures. Because he never understood science in the first place, two issues are holding Goodell back from admitting there’s no proof the Patriots were guilty of deflating footballs in last year’s AFC Championship Game beyond texts from months before the game: His ego, and the fact that he already fined the Patriots $1 million and took away first- and fourth-round draft picks.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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