Bob Kraft is a beast. When people like Ian O’Connor and even our own Jackie MacMullan, writing stupid pompous columns on how the Patriots have a culture of cheating and need to be suspended for the Super Bowl if anything is found to be just a little bit out of place, the Pats should be suspended for the Super Bowl.
Quick sidenote: I’m not saying that anyone who wrote such a piece, especially MacMullan, who should be in the Boston sportswriters Hall of Fame when its all said and done, is stupid. But any piece suggesting that A) the Pats’ culture of cheating is so much worse than other teams or B) that the anyone on the team should be suspended for the Super Bowl is a flat out idiotic column to write. By those standards, strip Aaron Rodgers of the MVP trophy that he’s probably going to win because he admitted that he likes to overinflate the footballs and just see if the refs catch it, which seems like a blatant disregard for the rules anyway. And any team who has had a PED user get suspended should probably forfeit the season… which means that the NFL will comprise of exactly 0 football teams. I’m surprised that MacMullan misfired by so much, but even the great ones suck every once in awhile, I guess.
But back to Kraft. In a press conference once the team arrived in Phoenix, Kraft demanded an apology from the NFL, which is getting tons of attention. But I think the fact that Kraft made a point of how disappointed he was in the media also speaks volumes. From the beginning, the media was ready to pounce all over the Patriots. People have been throwing out theories why the media was all over the story — was it just the general need for pageviews in the 21st century, was it hatred for the Patriots, was it the NFL needing a storyline for the week before Super Bowl week?
It was all of them. This was a perfect storm of events to jump on, and the media hastily did, as it often does nowadays. Writing pre-mordem obituaries of the Patriots and Belichick’s reign doesn’t solve anything, especially when labs have actually done experiments and found that the drop in PSI was actually plausible in at least 10 of the 11 underinflated footballs, if not all 11. Seems pretty stupid now to say that the Pats were ever done.
Now, it looks like the refs approved the footballs that were in question and may not have used a pressure gauge at all, which sums up how overblown this story is anyway. If the refs felt it wasn’t that big of a deal to check the balls, rules or not, then isn’t it dumb to say that the Pats were committing Watergate levels of rule breaking.
Bob Kraft dared the NFL to come after him only a few days after Bill Belichick did the same thing, and both of them did it because they know there’s no way the Pats are going down for this. I hope that the NFL and media get held to even 1% of the accountability that MacMullan, O’Connor, and so many others were saying that the Patriots need to be held to. But it’s the NFL, and it’s the national media, so that won’t happen. Not when O’Connor’s response to Kraft’s press conference itself is clearly an attempt to keep hating the Patriots. The most powerful sports league in the country and the national media as a whole screwing up and not having to answer to it? That’s America in 2015 for you.