With four important investigations pending for the NFL, some thought that the league would bury the outcome of each one during the late Friday afternoon hours of the second full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But that would have set the stage for plenty of on-the-record and off-the-record reaction (and possibly criticism) from owners, General Managers, coaches, and other executives at the upcoming league meetings in Arizona, where plenty of media will be swarming for information.
So nothing has been decided yet, and the cases of the Jets allegedly tampering, the Browns allegedly sending text messages to the sideline during games, the Falcons allegedly pumping in fake crowd noise over the span of two seasons, and the Patriots allegedly tampering with air pressure inside footballs during the AFC title game remain unresolved.
Actually, “allegedly” applies only to the Patriots. Jets owner Woody Johnson committed a clear violation of the tampering policy as it relates to Darrelle Revis, the Browns have admitted that G.M. Ray Farmer sent in-game texts to the coaching staff, and the Falcons have acknowledged that artificial crowd noise was used.
Since the punishments most likely will include the removal and/or reconfiguration of draft picks, decisions must be made and announced before April 30, the first night of the 2015 draft. But those decisions apparently aren’t coming before the annual league meetings begin. Don’t expect them to come before the meetings end, either.
Quite possibly, a press release will be issued on Wednesday, just as everyone is heading to the airport in Phoenix. Just as possibly, all four situations could be addressed at once, diluting the ability of the media to focus excessively on any one specific case or conclusion.