If you think Monday will be the last time you hear the word “DeflateGate,” one former Arizona Cardinals player urges you to reconsider that notion.
Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who spent four years with the Cardinals, told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM‘s Burns and Gambo Monday that the NFL’s punishment of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots is just the beginning of the “DeflateGate” saga.
“I know that they’re going to fight this, the Brady camp is,” said Feely. “I know that they have a good amount of evidence to try and overturn this.”
So much so, that Feely believes the punishment will ultimately be overturned, which could have crippling ramifications for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Of course, this is all provided that the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft are granted neutral arbitration with their appeal.
“If you get a neutral arbiter, that’s going to be the whole key in this situation and it goes beyond Tom Brady and it goes beyond the Patriots,” Feely said. “If [Robert Kraft] is able to get neutral arbitration, and that neutral arbiter looks at that evidence — or the lack of evidence — and in any way makes a decision that is different from Roger Goodell, Roger Goodell could end up losing his job over this.
“I think they’re going to be very successful [getting neutral arbitration]. I think Robert Kraft is going to demand that. How could Roger Goodell have anybody but a neutral arbiter decide this case?”
Calling upon his own unique experience with handling footballs in the hours leading up to kickoff, Feely also contended that Tom Brady should be cleared of any wrongdoing, as the rules set in place by the NFL are hardly rules at all. Of course, it should also be noted that both players attended the University of Michigan together, as both Feely and Brady’s collegiate careers overlapped by three years (1996-1998). Feely said that, depending on who was officiating the game, quarterbacks and kickers are allowed to get away with any number of things as it pertains to manipulating the football. In his opinion, the league lacked consistency in the enforcement of the rules legislating footballs used on game days.
“When you have a rule that you don’t enforce, how is that a rule?” Feely said. “If you are not stringent on the PSI, and you really don’t care and you’re not even really taking measurements, how is that in any way going to impact what your quarterbacks do with the balls? [The NFL] has created this mentality that I can do anything I want with the balls as a quarterback.”
Despite perceiving Brady and the Patriots as innocent, however, Feely thinks players in the league are by and large satisfied with the punishment meted out by the NFL.
“I think they’re happy,” said Feely. “I was playing golf with a couple guys today that are prominent NFL guys, and the vast majority were thrilled. They were so happy, not because of Brady, per se, but because they feel like the Patriots for a long time have been doing a lot of shady stuff, very similar to what Ryan Clark said today on ESPN. They feel like finally they’re getting some of their just due; finally they’re getting penalized. Whether or not it’s justified with Brady or not, they don’t care; they’re just happy to see the Patriots get spanked.”