Another year has come and almost gone for the NFL; another year consisting of unpredictable football outcomes and mass controversy. Be it the discussion over performance enhancing drugs, recreational drugs, or domestic abuse, the League seems to be running more rampant than ever before. At least, that has become the perception. Of course, criminal activity of these sorts have forever taken place in the world of professional sports, but we now live in a time where news and reporting have such an overwhelming reach, due in part to inside sources that have become so easily accessible. Expected even. This mass media explosion has altered traditional limits and severely infringed on personal privacy. When looking at the NFL, I can't help but attribute the failure to address these incidents to the lack of professionalism found at the very top, starting with my personal sports enemy número uno: Ol' Roger Goodell himself. Follow along as I analyze the mishandling of a little court case, known as Deflategate, from a stance which you may have not yet considered. A stance that examines the slandering of one of the best Quarterbacks of all time, the deep connivery and collusion seen on account of the NFL and Roger Goodell, and lastly, how the Judiciary process was exploited and unjustly overruled by higher League powers in order to set a precedent. A precedent that did more to hurt the credibility of the NFL than to help it.
Tom Brady is one of the best Quarterbacks to ever pass through the NFL. When you type “arguments for best Quarterbacks” into Google, six of the first ten links bring up cases for Tom Brady, followed by Peyton Manning with three links, and then Joe Montana with one. In being in the NFL spotlight for so many years, Brady has been a vessel for exciting amounts of success, revenue, and exposure, which has directly benefited the NFL. But for now, I need not sway you with words; let me first show you Brady’s career numbers, followed by the same numbers for Peyton Manning and Joe Montana, two incredible QB cases for Greatest Of All Time (GOAT), followed then by a brief analysis of each QB’s Super Bowl performances and efficiency.
Tom Brady career statistics:
Peyton Manning career statistics:
Joe Montana career statistics:
Look at those magnificent numbers. Any football-head and true fan appreciates these statistics as nothing short of amazing. Peyton Manning’s career passing yards and TD’s alone showcase an inspiring level of diligence and control on the football field. A success so incredible to the point that it’s almost perplexing when you realize that after having already been retired for nearly an entire football season, Manning still has 10,358 more passing yards and 83 more TD passes than Brady, who is still playing and having an MVP-caliber year, and a whopping 31,389 more passing yards and 266 more passing TD’s than the great Joe Montana. Now before a reader loses their marbles, yes, I recognize that Montana played in a different era, but I include him for perspective. Where I believe Tom Brady begins to build his case for the GOAT comes with his efficiency, which I will analyze through career interception percentage, career Quarterback Rating (QBR), and career Super Bowl performance. Brady’s GOAT case gains merit when looking at his incredible 1.8% career interception percentage and 97.2 career QBR. In order to gain a wholesome viewpoint for how truly special these two stats are, we’ll compare his stats to the same excellent QB subjects used previously; Peyton Manning and Joe Montana, who had career interception percentages of 2.7% and 2.6% and career QBR’s of 96.5 and 92.3, respectively. No one can take anything away from Peyton Manning and his case for the GOAT; he has rightfully earned his seat at that table, but the debate must come to a point that takes the statistics into account while also considering clutch factor, if you will. This brings the argument to the category of Super Bowl efficiency; a category where I will let the numbers speak for themselves.
I try coming to you with as little bias as possible on this issue because as many know, my sports allegiance lives and dies with Boston, and I want to do everything I can to use that to boost my credibility, instead of hinder it. I aim to show that this allegiance doesn’t affect my ability to make unskewed sports analysis; this I will demonstrate through my analysis of current sports issues. So what’s my play here, considering I just threw an unwarranted throng of numbers at you? Honestly, it’s not even to argue a case for Brady being the best Quarterback of all time, because I believe that is your decision to make. My play is to utilize these numbers as the basis of my entire argument; the argument that Roger Goodell and the NFL took an insignificant ball-tampering case, a case similar to cases seen before, completely overexposed it, and then furthermore spun it to create a landmark case against a huge household name in order to benefit themselves and set the precedent that no matter who you are, the Greedy League still calls the shots. A motive that makes sense for business, but execution that came in a hideously erroneous fashion through the manipulation and exclusion of proper judicial process. So please, spare me the wasted time created by grilling me over Spygate, we all know it happened, and I have never once defended it. All I’m asking for is some consistency and integrity when it comes to the punishments handed out by sports league entities.
I will now display evidence that I believe shows intent for Roger Goodell and the NFL’s desire to maintain power, or at least an illusion of power, by way of their gross over-pursuit of the mere ball-tampering offense under review; an offense which kick started the entire suit during a lopsided matchup against the Colts, where the Patriots were by and large mostly effective through their ground attack and ended the game with an embarrassing 45-7 victory. One of the many attention-grabbing statements in this article so far must be the allusion to similar cases seen before in relation to the issue of ball-tampering. Allow me to show you proof of this, while also making the connection to my point that the League picks and chooses what cases they want to expose and which names they wish to slander, while they let vastly more serious cases fly under the radar, out of the public’s eye. (I’ve also linked numerous articles from which I won’t include corresponding graphics).
Excerpt displaying infractions seen during the late November, 2014 Vikings vs. Panthers matchup, where both team received only warnings after being caught for tampering with footballs.
Dialogue between Troy Vincent, VP of Football Operations for the NFL, and NFLPA lawyer Jeffery Kessler discussing Aaron Rodgers’ commentary on ball-tampering:
More articles on the topic:
These sources support my point quite well, I believe. But still, why so much effort and time spent by the NFL? I’ve highlighted the bias those in power exhibit already, and I understand that being in those positions can also bring conflict of interests, but why did this case in particular get under the NFL and Roger’s skin so severely? If it is for the reason everyone makes about how the Patriots are notorious cheaters, it’s a moot point and it’s foolish. Every franchise has been caught cheating so many times it would make your head spin and it’s unfair to hold New England to some higher standard just because they have had undeniable success. In fact, the New England Patriots don’t even crack the top 20 in the NFL for biggest cheating franchises. Don’t believe me? Check it out on your own and look into your own favorite teams and their history with cheating: http://yourteamcheats.com/. With countless domestic abuse and PED cases running amuck, any case of these kinds could have been castoff as the same scapegoat needed for a massive, NFL agenda-adhering case. A different time frame and issue, but consider Peyton Manning’s alleged (more than alleged, honestly) partaking in illegal stem cell treatment for his neck done in Europe or the whole debacle with the shipments his wife received, followed by a miraculous recovery from a previously considered season ending injury just in the nick of time for a Super Bowl victory perfectly timed in accordance with Peyton’s career being on its last limb. A flickering candle; the once bright flame burning out and dying with the last of its wick. Take those reports with a grain of salt for I’m not here to push those as truths, but hear this and consider the overarching premise I have been pushing: if either situation occurred with Tom Brady, a chaotic media frenzy would ensue within the hour and the NFL would take immediate action and launch full scale investigations. My point that the NFL picks their enemies, by criteria of possible self-benefit and ratings-benefit, becomes all the more realistic, so take this logic as you wish, but I believe Roger was offended and wanted revenge on the League’s “Bad Boy.” Not even for the league alone, but also for himself. How embarrassing it must have been to have a direct hand in placing overwhelming and unnecessary importance on a court case dealing with a lackluster issue that received such outrageous media coverage to only have Brady and his legal team completely annihilate your argument in court and reverse the case. My argument is starting to gain some momentum, isn’t it?
“More probable than not” has become this accepted precedent for the standard of proof in the NFL; a standard that so strongly misaligns with modern law and judicial practice that it makes you wonder why there is any place for it, even if it is just in the business of sports. I understand that the precedent was born and consequentially has evolved over the decades out of necessity, but in not being sound practice, it has created a severe disconnect that can now be seen in much of the litigation process seen within the handling of criminal activity in sports and how punishments are handled. It’s a feeble, pathetic argument as it stands alone and when it comes to application as seen during the Deflategate case, I believe it was stretched to the absolute arbitrary hilt in order to regain the appearance of power that Roger Goodell and the NFL’s egotistical image requires. These are the words taken directly from the Ted Wells Report:
“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”
That shouldn’t cut it for this case. And to think that handing Brady a four-game suspension for not fully cooperating with an investigation that was so poorly conducted that the best Ted Wells could come up with was “more probable than not” is the least of my worries. The main problem is this: the NFL furthermore seized New England’s first and fourth round drafts picks and then fined the Patriots $1 million, the largest team fine in NFL history. Think about that. The largest team fine in the history of the NFL came as a result the NFL’s anger that arose from their authority being questioned and as a result of a ball-tampering issue that would not have been investigated to begin with if it weren’t the New England Patriots. I find that interesting.