The NFL has taken from the Patriots a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick (along with $1 million) for the team’s role in #DeflateGate. Peter King of TheMMQB.com argues that the league should restore the forfeited draft picks.
The NFL should do that, but it won’t. It won’t do it because there’s no mechanism that the Patriots can use to get the picks back. The Patriots chose last year not to fight the sanctions, closing the door on any opportunity to change the outcome. So if the NFL would alter its course now, that would be a gratuity for one franchise, which would surely raise the ire of one or more of the 31 others.
The league had a chance to make a reversal something other than a favor to the Patriots, but the NFL failed to take halftime or postgame PSI measurements for all 2015 games. A 333-game database of evidence could have shown that the Patriots were clearly guilty or (more likely) that the results were inconclusive. The league chose not to do that, for the same reason folks choose not to get on the scale the day after Thanksgiving.
Come Thanksgiving of 2016, the Patriots will be trying to win yet another division title without the benefit of its lost picks. Meanwhile, the NFL likely will still be trying to enforce through the court system the suspension of Tom Brady — and the NFL undoubtedly will still not have corrected the false information leaked to the media in January 2015 about the PSI readings.