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Goodell: No connection between Spygate and Deflategate

Roger Goodell, Robert Kraft


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denies that he cracked down on the Patriots over Deflategate in part because he faced criticism within the league for going too easy on New England in Spygate.

Moments before Goodell appeared this morning on ESPN’s Mike & Mike, ESPN dropped a major report about Spygate. That report suggested that the Patriots’ cheating in Spygate was more widespread than previously known, and that Goodell hastily ended the Spygate investigation before it could damage the league’s credibility. One unnamed owner is quoted in that ESPN report as calling Goodell’s Deflategate punishment “a makeup call.”

But Goodell says that’s not the case. Asked by ESPN’s Mike Greenberg whether the league went harder on the Patriots in Deflategate because of the previous cheating in Spygate, Goodell said that’s not the case.

“I have not seen this report, Mike, in any way, but I can just tell you I’m not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here. We obviously learn from every time we go through any kind of a process, try to improve it, get better at it, but there’s no connection in my mind to the two incidents,” Goodell said.

Although Goodell denies there was a “makeup call” element to the Deflategate punishment, the league has already said the Patriots were treated as repeat offenders in Deflategate because of Spygate. So there’s a very real connection between Spygate and Deflategate, in that they’re both part of a widespread perception around the NFL that the Patriots are cheaters.