As the NFL and the Patriots reportedly dance around the possibility of working out a resolution to the #DeflateGate scandal, other owners will be chiming in on whether the league office handled the situation properly.
Count Texans owner Bob McNair among those supporting Commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff.
“The commissioner is concerned about maintaining a level playing field,” McNair said Monday, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “That’s what this whole issue is about, a question of whether someone might have tried to gain a competitive advantage. We don’t want to see that happen, and that’s why he ruled.
“Roger’s doing a fine job. A lot of these issues, there’s no way you can satisfy everybody. They’re complicated, and you try to use your best judgment and do what you think is best for the game. And I think that’s what he’s trying to do.”
But Goodell’s best judgment is only as good as the judgment of those he has hired, and real questions linger regarding the quality of the Ted Wells investigation and the league’s decision to leak grossly false PSI numbers only two days after the AFC title game, giving the controversy a higher sense of urgency and cementing the inaccurate narrative that tampering necessarily occurred.
Ultimately, it’s not about whether the Patriots “might have tried” to gain a competitive advantage, but whether they did indeed violate the rules regarding the integrity of the game. The evidence regarding tampering prior to the AFC title game remains sketchy at best, and the Wells report and its aftermath expose deeper problems with the league’s attempt to set up its own in-house judicial system.
Hopefully the owners will take advantage of their opportunity this week in San Francisco to address a flaw that inevitably could be turned against any of their teams.