Unlike the Patriots a year ago after being stripped of draft picks in the #DeflateGate case, the Chiefs filed an appeal in an effort to get back the draft picks they lost for communicating directly with receiver Jeremy Maclin during the pre-free agency negotiating period. Like the Patriots, the Chiefs are still losing their picks.
The decision of the Chiefs to push the issue, while admirable, had the same end result: The Chiefs didn’t get their picks back. And the Patriots also wouldn’t have gotten their picks back. Which is why the Patriots chose not to try.
More specifically, the Patriots chose not to try because owner Robert Kraft hoped that a decision to exercise discretion regarding the punishment imposed on the team would secure extra consideration for quarterback Tom Brady in the appeal of his four-game suspension. That wasn’t the case, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Patriots would have gotten nowhere with an appeal.
So why, you may ask, has Brady managed to have success in his legal fight against the league? Brady is represented by a union, which has finagled certain rights that the union has chosen to enforce in the court system. Teams have far less rights and far less inclination to take the league to court, since suing the league is the same thing as suing the business partners of the team’s owner.
Plenty of Patriots fans continue to believe the team should have fought (if only to get the satisfaction that comes from fighting). Still, the Patriots would have gained nothing by fighting. They could have gained something by not fighting. Even though they didn’t, it was still the right call.