Well, that didn’t take long. A federal judge Thursday morning nullified NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for Brady’s alleged involvement in an inconsequence called deflate-gate. But before the ink had dried on Judge Richard Berman’s 40-page opinion, the NFL appealed Brady’s appeal of the original ruling.
Terrific. This appeal will likely take months. And if it goes against him, Brady could appeal the appeal of the appeal. If this keeps up, the final final decision on this silly matter can be read out at Brady’s retirement party. After all, Brady is 38. A fine age for a movie leading man. Long in the tooth for an NFL player.
And it’s hard to see what Goodell and the NFL seek to gain from this apparent pig-headedness. The offense, if one was committed, and the evidence is thin, was a minor one. And one the league could guarantee doesn’t take place again if it simply changed its rules and put game footballs totally under the supervision of the zebras, not the competing teams. Baseball umpires control all the baseballs used in a game, and when one is no longer game-worthy, the ump merely throws it out. How complicated is that? Change the way footballs are handled during games and move on.
And how game-unworthy could the footballs used in the first half of the game in question have been if the officials that day, who handled the footballs between each play, didn’t notice anything amiss? If the officials, men who have been in and around football all their lives, didn’t notice anything wrong with the footballs, then there was nothing wrong with the footballs.
By most reports, the NFL generated more than $7 billion in revenue last season, and will likely do as well or better in the upcoming season. The product of an entertainment industry pulling in this gaudy amount is football stars. Marquee players. Tom Brady is a marquee player. Why move heaven and earth to put him on the porch for four games over a snit-storm between him and Goodell?
This is truly a crank crusade. Replay that rude and unfair joke about Gerald Ford playing football at Michigan without a helmet. Only substitute Roger Goodell’s name.