Deflategate and the power of external investigations

May 12, 2015 0 COMMENTS

After more than three months of waiting, we finally got the investigative report regarding the New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” incident that occurred during the NFL’s AFC Championship Game earlier this year. Was it worth the wait? Was the NFL’s subsequent punishment just? It’s pretty clear it depends on whom you ask.16350680255_56244e827d_o

Authored by Ted Wells and his team from the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, the investigative report (the “Wells Report”) comes in at a hefty 243 pages (with exhibits). Those who question the Wells Report point to inconsistencies and unsubstantiated conclusions that would undermine the report’s finding that “it is more probable than not” that two Patriots personnel were involved in deliberately deflating footballs and that “it is more probable than not” that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of these two individuals’ actions. Others find that enough circumstantial evidence exists (in the form of text messages, statements, and certain scientific data) to make such a determination.

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The return of the quarterback evangelist

April 21, 2015 4 COMMENTS

With the NBA and the NHL heading into the playoffs and Major League Baseball’s 2015 season underway, one might think that the NFL would have a hard time breaking onto page 1 of the sports section these days. (For younger readers, that was a reference to something we used to call a “newspaper.”) Not so! Football fans in Philadelphia and the rest of the country were either thrilled or chagrined – because with this guy, there is no middle ground – to hear the news this week that the Eagles had signed quarterback Tim Tebow to a one-year contract. iStock_000004238126_Large

Tebow became a national hero in 2007 as the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, and he followed that feat by leading his Florida Gators to the BCS National Championship in 2008. His college success briefly translated to a modicum of NFL success with the Denver Broncos, but his style of play (and some would say, lack of skill) soon proved incompatible with the pros and he was released by the New England Patriots in 2013.

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Seahawks’ Lynch follows NFL policy, adds to absurdity of Super Bowl media day

January 29, 2015 0 COMMENTS

Super Bowl media day is a complete circus. Everyone knows that. Sure, players and coaches of the two participating teams are made available to answer questions from the “media.” And sure, there are some respected journalists and analysts (which includes former NFL players) who ask “football questions” about this Sunday’s big game. But Super Bowl media day is also highlighted by the absurdthe costumed characters who somehow are permitted to infiltrate media day and the completely random questions that are asked (often, by these same costumed characters).  Marshawn Lynch

2015 Super Bowl media day was no different. Want respected reporters from around the globe? We got ‘em in spades. There was “barrel boy”the guy wearing nothing but a large barrel and a fireman’s hat. How about the guy dressed as The Terminator, complete with fake inflated muscles, sunglasses and Arnold’s trademark hairdo from the movie. Heck, even a pair of buck-toothed sock puppets were granted access. Want hard-hitting questions designed to make players and coaches provide accountable answers? How about “Will you tell us the first play you’ll run in the game if we promise not to tell anyone?” “Do you have a favorite Avenger?” “PlayStation or Xbox?” “What does your mom call you when you’re in trouble?” Take that, Woodward and Bernstein.

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Work hard, play hard work harder

November 11, 2013 0 COMMENTS

As discussed in our previous blog post, the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal has dominated the sports and national headlines. Lost somewhat in the midst of an Incognito-Martin-centric sports news cycle were the recent health scares of Denver Broncos coach John Fox and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak during week 9 of the NFL season. Fox, whose Broncos were on a bye week, experienced symptoms, including feeling light-headed, while golfing, and ended up having an aortic heart valve replacement procedure just days later. Kubiak, during the halftime of the Texans’ Sunday Night Football matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, collapsed on the field and was taken to a nearby hospital due to what doctors have described as a mini-stroke.

On the heels of these events, which occurred within 48 hours of each other, the health and work ethics of NFL coaches have come under scrutiny. Journalists, NFL analysts, and former players and coaches have discussed the need for the NFL to implement programs or procedures to create a healthier work environment for coaches. One former NFL player, Cris Collinsworth, has suggested the NFL implement a “7 to 7” rule, stating that teams should be forced to open its office doors at 7:00 a.m. and close them before 7:00 p.m. Others, including former head coach and NFL media analyst Brian Billick, state that the hours and pressure come with a job where you are judged on your performance week in and week out and that “we [coaches] do this to ourselves.”

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