BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots were accused of partaking in some funny business with regard to the air pressure inside of their footballs in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. The date was Jan. 18.
Now it’s March 23, more than two full months later. A Hall of Fame class has been announced. Amid unprecedented levels of media attention regarding PSI, a Super Bowl has been played. New rule proposals have been made. Free-agent madness erupted during the “legal tampering” window and into the opening of the league year. Two franchises got caught violating rules — one with improper text messaging, the other with pumping crowd noise into a domed stadium. Tampering charges have been filed elsewhere. The combine tested the athleticism of more than 300 potential NFL players at the Combine. Major trades went down in a handful of NFL cities. The Patriots released a Super Bowl DVD. The moving of a team to Los Angeles now seems inevitable. A number of players have been arrested. A few have retired early.READ MORE: Carolina Hurricanes' Twitter Account Twists The Knife On Rough Stretch For Boston Sports
In short, there’s been a lot of comings and goings around the NFL, with big news breaking seemingly every other day.
And yet … we still have yet to be told what happened that January night in Foxboro.
But fear not, fine football fans, because the commissioner has come out and finally provided an update into the “DeflateGate” investigation, as it were.
Well, sort of.
“No. I think the most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and to get the truth, and not to make any judgments until you get that,” Roger Goodell told Peter King when asked if there was any desire to expedite the investigation back before the Super Bowl. “We have been very careful on that. We followed the facts. We took the information. We determined that we should bring Ted Wells to further the investigation. We haven’t given him a timetable except to be thorough, be fair and get to the truth. When he’s completed his report, that will be made public as well as to all of us.”
The answer begged the question: Do you expect us to believe that you don’t know any more about this investigation than the general public knows?
King didn’t ask that one, though. Instead, he asked this straightforward question: When will this investigation come to an end?
“I haven’t spoken to [Wells] for several weeks. I think he’s getting near the end, but there’s no requirement when,” Goodell answered.
And then one more follow-up from King: Isn’t two months too long for an investigation of this scale?READ MORE: Garth Brooks Announces Date For First-Ever Gillette Stadium Concert
“Again, I think that if you’re going to be thorough, it takes time. You’re having to meet with a lot of people,” Goodell answered. “I guess it’s always too long, because you want to get to that issue and deal with it. It’s important not to exert any pressure to short-circuit or do anything other than be fair and transparent.”
So, to recap:
Goodell, a man who said “I’m available to the media almost every day of my job” on Jan. 30 but has not spoken publicly until this carefully chosen interview with King, “thinks” that Wells is close to wrapping up the investigation but also has not spoken to Wells in several weeks. Where Goodell gets his hunch that the investigation is almost complete without having spoken to the man in charge is anyone’s guess, but that’s just the wonder and mystique of Roger Goodell.
Also, Goodell believes the whole process has been fair and transparent. It certainly was transparent (if a bit unfair) for a while, when a number of his employees were stealing footballs that were intended for charity, or leaking some shady information to ESPN, improperly and unfairly placing blame on a random Patriots employee who ended up getting harassed in his own driveway before being demonized by the entire country only to later be exonerated after the fact. It was transparent back then, but when the tide started to turn and it was the NFL instead of the Patriots that looked the worst in the whole situation, those leaks were quickly shut down. When the Patriots’ image was being tarnished and attacked from all sides in the weeks leading up to the biggest game of the year, Goodell happily let that story rage. When the momentum shifted toward tarnishing The Shield™® (Legal note: users cannot insult the shield without express written consent of Roger Goodell), he battened down the league office’s hatches.
King also tried to hold the commissioner’s feet to the fire by mentioning the theory that the league knew about the Patriots’ footballs before the game but waited to “catch them in the act” as some sort of a sting operation.
“Let’s just short circuit this a little bit. I’m not going to get into what we knew and when we knew it because that’s part of what he’s investigating,” Goodell answered. “I can tell you that I was not personally aware of it until after the game.”
That answer makes no note of whether or not Mike Kensil knew before the game. And based on Kensil’s actions — going from the press box down to the sideline upon hearing of a Patriots employee trying to give kicking balls to an official, then personally sticking needles inside of footballs at halftime, none of which is in his job description — it seems as though Mr. Kensil’s antennae were raised more than a little bit prior to kickoff that Sunday night in Foxboro. Goodell’s answer does nothing to deny prior knowledge from Kensil.
Goodell was also asked why he believes 2015 will be a better year for the NFL than 2014, when issues of domestic violence dominated much of the attention brought onto the league by the national media. Goodell said the NFL now has a new policy to address those issues. And he also pointed to the ratings.
“And from an on-field issue, we had an extraordinary season,” he said. “It was a competitive year that ended with the most-watched show in the history of television. So fans engaged with our game at an incredibly high level last year.”
Investigations? Scandals? Bah! The people keep turning on their TVs and watching, and for Goodell (and those rich men who pay him his staggering $44 million salary), that’s all the will ever really matter. So make sure you stay tuned for the release of that Wells report. It might draw record ratings.MORE NEWS: Celtics Shed Salary, Acquire Bol Bol In 3-Team Trade With Nuggets And Spurs