First we had the poor handling of the Ray Rice investigation.
NFL Commissioner/Warden/Playa Hater/All-Time Procrastinator Roger Goodell meted out the weakest punishment to Rice for knocking the hell out of his then-fiancee at a casino. Goodell originally claimed that he didn’t see the second and most damning video which showed the actual punch. Even though an investigation would back Goodell’s claims, I still find it hard to believe that TMZ got its hands on it and the NFL didn’t.
Next was the poor officiating that we fans had to suffer during much of the season.
While I could bitch and moan about the inconsistent officiating as it pertained to roughing the passer, hitting a “defenseless” offensive player (is any NFL player REALLY defenseless?) and such, let’s just point to the last two playoff games involving the Dallas Cowboys. In their first playoff game vs. the Detroit Lions, there was that infamous pass interference penalty turned no-call that arguably killed the Lions season. And just to show how much karma could be a bee-atch, the Cowboys were screwed the next week vs. the Green Bay Packers when a great catch by Dez Bryant was later ruled incomplete after a replay review, citing that silly “Calvin Johnson rule”.
And last, but not least, the NFL’s perceived bumbling of the New England Patriots and its role in illegally deflating balls before the game vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
Do we REALLY believe that Pats coach Bill Bellicheat did NOT know that the balls were under-inflated? I will say he did a better job of passing the buck to his franchise QB Tom Brady. Speaking of which, do we REALLY that Brady did not notice that the ball did not feel under-inflated?
Look, I’m not saying that the Patriots needed to cheat. And I’m not saying that those under-inflated balls were key in helping the Patriots beat the Colts. New England beat those Colts down so bad, it could have beaten Indy with a damn bowling ball.
It’s about if the Patriots DID cheat and WHY they felt the need to do so. And WHY do they keep pushing the envelope?
There are several questions that Goodell and the NFL have to answer going forward – and quickly. Where is Goodevil and the NFL in this investigation? Why have they not gotten around to talking to Brady? Are Goodell (I’ll stop being childish and stop the silly name-calling) and company waiting for this to blow over not take any measures on New England until after the Super Bowl?
Let’s not forget how hard Goodell came down on the New Orleans Saints. Loss of draft picks. Suspension of coaches, including head coach Sean Payton. Suspension of players like Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Scott Fajita. He would not let Payton and others get away with his plausible deniability excuse.
Goodell cannot afford to let Bellicheat and Brady get away with that. If he does let the Patriots get away with little to no punishment, the league would lose any shred of integrity it has left.
No one would take Goodell and the NFL seriously going forward if he doesn’t make a move. Why would fans invest in something in a sport that is no longer authentic?
Simply put, the NFL would be no better than professional wrestling where everything is scripted and favored – where the favored are always Brady, Bellicheat and the New England Patriots.