SAN FRANCISCO – Aren’t you glad we got to the bottom of that PSI thing with White Shoes Goodell?
His 309-word answer when I asked at his Friday press conference what constitutes a ball pressure violation and whether any balls measured under 12.5 PSI in 2015 was a study in deflection.
He didn’t so much answer as he did orally ejaculate syllables for a prescribed length of time before he felt safe to go on to a stuttering query about whether the Pro Bowl will ever be played in Austria.
Before I left the ballroom where Goodell held his press conference at a dais made up like an altar, I realized – with some help – that the NFL doesn’t care about PSI.
They don’t care to know how much air pressure a football will lose on a 28-degree evening with freezing rain or on a crisp 46-degree day under bright sunshine.
They didn’t go into the 2015 season trying to find out if they’d convicted Tom Brady of a crime he didn’t commit.
That would have required collecting atmospheric conditions at the time of inflation, temperature and dew point at the start of the game, temperature and dew point at halftime, how long it took for footballs to go from field to official’s locker room and the possible PSI change over that period. And then they’d need a baseline “legal” drop and anything under that would constitute a violation.
For instance, the NFL itself acknowledged the football from last season’s AFCCG should have been between 11.32 and 11.52 PSI at halftime. You remember how many months it took for them to figure that out?
The NFL is tacitly admitting that they didn’t find a body. That the circumstantial evidence in the form of Jim McNally’s 90-second bathroom break, eyebrow-raising text messages and Brady not giving up a cell phone he was told he didn’t have to turn over was enough to convict him.
In other words, it looked fishy and they acted suspicious. So, the loss of a first and fourth-round pick, a $1 million fine and a four-game suspension was justified.
At this point, I’ll counter that having HGH delivered to your home while returning from significant injury and sending a couple of goons over to scare a source who just happens to recant his story a few days later seems fishy enough to warrant a PED suspension. Even if there never was a positive test for the substance just as there may not be positive proof of deflated footballs.
Peyton Manning doesn’t deserve to be treated reprehensibly and without due process just because Tom Brady was. But it is worth wondering if Manning’s teams had the success that Brady’s did and he played for a coach who wasn’t a league ring-kisser, how differently would be be treated? How many of the league’s “Membership” would have been pushing Goodell in the small of the back to go further, do more. Get him. Get them.
The NFL’s in its endgame now with this and it’s altered its talking points to reflect that.
It’s not PSI, it’s procedure. It’s not about Brady, it’s about labor and the Commissioner’s powers.
“We conduct random checks," Goodell said. "We make sure the clubs understand we will look at that type of procedure and make sure there are no violations. We did that on a very limited basis. We don’t disclose all the specifics on that because it’s meant as a deterrent. If you tell everybody how many times that you’re checking and which games you’re checking, it’s not much of a deterrent. It’s a deterrent when they think that game may be checked.
In other words, it’s like when the cops put out a sign that says “SPEED MEASURED BY RADAR” on some out-of-the-way stretch of road and the radar never gets turned on.
Goodell also added, “It’s also important that the data that was collected was not data for research. It was collected just to see if there was a violation. Our people never found a violation.”
A violation such as……? Like, how low would it have had to go to be a violation.
Damned if Roger knows. Or anyone else with the NFL, which they may tell you on the QT.
“It’s not about PSI, it’s about procedure,” I was told by a high-ranking league official after Goodell’s press conference. “Were the protocols followed? Did the balls follow the chain of supervision they were supposed to throughout the process from pregame, through halftime to the end of the game? Or were there any detours when they went missing? There were not. This is about procedures being followed.”
But aren’t the recorded PSIs of 2015 necessary to prove that the ones gathered last January prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Patriots did something nefarious? Otherwise it’s circumstantial? A murder conviction without a body?
“People have gone to jail for murder without there being a body,” was the response.
Meanwhile, as Goodell obfuscates, the Patriots keep acting like a pack of Buckingham Palace Guards with no outward reaction at all.
In a month, the NFL will have its appeal of the decision suspending Tom Brady heard. Goodell reminded us Friday, “This is not an individual player issue. This is about the rights that we negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement.”
That’s another dodge. This appeal is about Roger Goodell restoring his unfettered right to chase down teams and individuals on rumors, manufacture evidence, smear reputations, doctor testimony and mete out his own brand of industrial justice.
The only positive about his answer RE: PSI and Tom Brady? At least he didn’t say “integrity of the game.” This place is due for the Big Shake and uttering those four words might have made the good Lord decide this was as good a time as any in the last century.