Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Exposed at last

So apparently there really is a Patriots Way. And a Goodell Way. And they’re the same Way, in the sense that they’re both the Getting Away With It Way, whose sub­-Way is (in Goodell’s case) the Looking The Other Way Way.

That’s a lot of Ways, and means, too. It is, in fact, a tangled web of Ways, because if we thought Goodell’s relationship with the Patriots (and their owner, Robert Kraft) couldn’t get any more tangled, or soap­-operish, the latest grenade going off in all their laps would drive a psychiatrist to his own couch.

According to a four-month investigation by ESPN, the Patriots are slimier than even the maddest of conspiracy theorists could imagine. They may have out-­juked Deflategate, but Spygate has come back to catch them from behind – and Roger Goodell, the most hated man in New England these days, is up to his fabled Hammer in it.

According to the Outside The Lines report, the Patriots getting caught red-­handed secretly
videotaping Jets practices was only the tip of a very large iceberg. Interviews with as many as 90 people maintain that Bill Belichick knowingly directed a complex spy network for at least eight years, a system of covert ops that went beyond secret videotaping to stealing visiting teams’ play sheets in pregame warmups and routinely jamming their coach­-to-­quarterback radio links.

“It occurred so often,” the OTL piece reported, “that one team asked a league official to sit in the coaches’ box during the game and wait for it to happen. Sure enough, on a key third down, the headset went out.”

If all this true, it confirms the prevailing notion (outside of deluded New England) that Tom Brady and the Patriots weren’t vindicated in Deflategate, they simply got away with it. And that the Patriot Way isn’t some grand operational philosophy but simply garden­-variety cheating with a slicker paint job. And that its architect, Darth Hoodie his own self, is a fraud who should be finished in Foxborough.

And Goodell should be finished with him.

If blowing Deflategate didn’t have him out the door, this should. Because the second element in all this is that, according to the report, Goodell and the NFL not only knew the extent of the Patriots’ blatant cheating, they covered it up to avoid  Congressional inquiry. In one instance, league officials, on orders from Goodell, actually shredded notes and stomped game tapes to pieces.

It made it that much easier for Goodell to undersell the whole business, claiming the Patriots only illicitly taped six games from 2000 to 2007. In actuality, they apparently taped 40.

That Goodell was fast friends with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, and made no attempt to hide it, only adds to the surrealism. How’s this for a conspiracy theory: That Goodell went after the Pats so hard for Deflategate -- to his own detriment -- ­­ because he felt guilty for his role in the Spygate coverup.

Let the aforementioned psychiatrist sort that one out. In the meantime, only one thing seems clear in the Shakespearean psychodrama of it all.

Off with their heads.

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