Sorry, sports fans.
It’s the eve of Super Bowl XLIX, and apparently, the announcement so many hoped for, that the Green Bay Packers would meet the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, after the New England Patriots forfeited the game — well, that is not going to happen.
Blame NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s failure to lead. Again.
The Patriots defeated the Packers handily in the AFC championship game. There’s no disputing that, and it’s doubtful that the outcome of the game would have been altered even if the Patriots’ balls had been properly inflated during the game. Eleven out of 12 the Patriots’ balls were found to be underinflated during the game, in what has become known as Deflategate. The NFL launched an investigation. Dozens of staffer were questioned. The Patriots’ surly head coach, Bill Belichick, gave a press conference and basically denied all knowledge and threw Brady under the bus. Brady, in his aw-shucks-folks-I-don’t -pay-attention-to-the-ball press conference denied all knowledge and basically wants you to believe he’s not a world-class athlete at the top of his game, he’s a robot with zero knowledge of anything except how to throw a football. Right.
C’mon, fellas. The balls didn’t deflate themselves.
The Patriots were caught cheating previously and sanctioned by the NFL for videotaping the NY Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals during a 2007 game. That scandal, dubbed Spygate, led to Belichick being fined $500,000, a $250, 000 fine for the Patriots, and the team losing their first-round 2008 NFL Draft pick.
Belichick may be the best coach in the NFL. Brady is certainly one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, and the Patriots can win without playing loosey-goosey with the rules. It’s a shame the organization doesn’t believe it. But the major fault lies at the feet of Goodell, his failure to resolve the controversy decisively before game day is a weak move. And that makes the NFL biggest loser of the year.