By: Anthony Bertacchi

About two weeks ago we were given a fight that was deemed the “Fight of the Century.” We had the undefeated Floyd Mayweather playing the role of villain perfectly. He was brash, had felonies in his past regarding domestic violence and wasn’t shy at all when it came to flaunting his money. His opponent, Manny Pacquiao, became the lovable underdog that the entire country seemed to be rooting for.

After years of hype everything had finally come together to give us the match that fans had wanted to see. Sure, it wasn’t as good as expected but that’s the fault of the viewers. Mayweather is a defensive fighter and that’s what he did. He defended for the majority of the fight and won. Chris Rock once had a stand up bit saying that a tiger didn’t go crazy. No, the tiger simply went tiger. Mayweather didn’t disappoint you… he went Mayweather.

I say all of that to bring up the newest fight of the century coming this summer. Oh, you’re not aware of the fight I’m talking about? The Fight of the Century (Part II) is Tom Brady vs. Roger Goodell. More specifically it’s Tom Brady, Robert Kraft and the entire New England Patriots organization vs. Roger Goodell and the NFL but that’s too wordy and doesn’t look as good.

Earlier this week the NFL came out with one of the harshest punishment in recent history for an NFL team. The NFL suspended Tom Brady 4 games, fined Robert Kraft $1 million and took away two draft picks from the Patriots over the next two years.

After all of the punishments were announced Tom Brady decided to appeal the decision. He also decided to hire Jeffrey Kessler to help run his appeal against the NFL. If you don’t know who Kessler is, let’s just say the NFL doesn’t like him. Kessler worked with the NFL players association to end the lockout in 2011, Kessler was a part of the reason why the “Bountygate” penalties were dismissed and was even a part of the reason why the NFL began free agency in 1995. Not only that, but Kessler’s also retained by the players association in the NBA, the NHL and the North American Soccer League. The man is everywhere and he’s a thorn in many of the league’s sides.

So what did the NFL do to combat this? How do you rebut something like an appeal? They appointed the commissioner of the NFL to hear the appeal that Brady wants to have. Yep, Roger Goodell, the man who helped create the punishment against the Patriots is the same person who will decide whether the punishment is reduced. This is the same person that fans and media tried to get fired because of how badly he messed up the Ray Rice scenario.

It’s the same as being punished by your father and then when you go to your mom to get less of a punishment she says, “Ask your father.”

Wait, what? How does this make sense?

Now, maybe you think that the original punishment seems harsh and maybe you don’t but did you expect the NFL to come down hard on the Patriots as a whole? Did you expect the NFL to take away draft picks and fine Robert Kraft? After all, the Wells report kind of exonerated them.

Down below is taken from the Wells Report from CSNNE.

“We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report.

“In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated. We also do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots Head Equipment Manager Dave Schoenfeld.”

So the Patriots, outside of Brady, are innocent of this… even though they got hit with two draft picks and a million dollar fine. I’m confused.

Am I the only one that thinks the NFL is making this up as they go along?

They gave Ray Rice a two game suspension for domestic violence. Then the video was leaked and the fans and media yelled for more. Then the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Then they lost that battle in court because you can’t keep punishing someone because you feel like it. (Btw Kessler was a part of that second suspension being thrown out too.)

I mean, sure, go after Brady because he was the one using the footballs but why go after Kraft so hard? Isn’t Kraft supposed to be good friends with Goodell?

Also, this isn’t the first time the league has taken a look at the adjusting of footballs during a game.

Oh, you don’t believe me? Google Panthers and Vikings heated footballs or follow the link above. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The teams were heating footballs on the sideline because the temperature was 12 degrees outside and a -7 degree wind-chill. What did the NFL do about it? They sent out a message with the tone of “Don’t do that!” and went on with their day. That was in November before any of the Patriots “scandal” broke.

So why, if another team was in the general vicinity of tampering with the football, did the NFL come down so hard on the Patriots? Perhaps it’s because the Patriots didn’t submit to the pressure of the NFL.

Even Troy Vincent said as much down below courtesy of ArizonaSports.com.

“Here, there are several factors that merit strong consideration in assessing discipline. The first is the club’s prior record. In 2007 the club and several individuals were sanctioned for videotaping signals of opposing defensive coaches in violation of the Constitution and Bylaws. Under the Integrity of the Game Policy, this prior violation of competitive rules was properly considered in determining the discipline in this case.”

“Another important consideration identified in the Policy is ‘the extent to which the club and relevant individuals cooperated with the investigation.’ The Wells report identifies two significant failures in this respect. The first involves the refusal by the club’s attorneys to make Mr. McNally available for an additional interview, despite numerous requests by Mr. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation.

The second was the failure of Tom Brady to produce any electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information. Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

The NFL, ladies and gentlemen!

So, you’re saying that you did this because of “Spygate”, (Which happened 8 years ago) and you did this because the people you’re accusing of a crime weren’t fully cooperating with you.

I understand punishing harder if “Spygate” happened last November and it’s another infraction in the past six months. That makes you someone with bad judgment, but this is eight years apart. Even the legal system has things like statute of limitations and wiping things from your record after a certain amount of time.

So the NFL went from “HEY! Don’t heat up those balls!” in the Vikings vs. Panthers game, to a four game suspension, a million dollar fine and two draft picks taken away. And we’re yelling about how inflated the balls were. That’s the basis of the crime?

We tend to do this in sports. We don’t care about something until people tell us that we should care about it and then we get ultra enraged about it and want to over punish someone for what he or she did. We don’t know how the hot dog is made and then we get mad when we read what’s in the hot dog.

Do you remember the show that used to air from the Bristol, Conn. network called “Jacked Up”? If you don’t here’s a video to help refresh your memory.

Yep, we loved it. Then “Bountygate” happened and we all wanted Greg Williams and the entire Saints organization sent away forever as if they had a disease.

On a side note, can we stop using “gate” after everything scandalous? Watergate had nothing to do with water. It’s lazy.

Moving on.

Oh, don’t forget about Jerry Rice.

We all love Jerry Rice right? We all love him, even though he admitted after he retired that he used “Stickum” during games. For those who don’t know, “Stickum” is basically glue. The man used glue to help catch footballs. If you think a ball that was a little underinflated helped win games how much do you think glue helped in catching footballs. IT’S GLUE!

However, we’re yelling at Brady for using a football that was underinflated and now, because the NFL keeps making the rules up as they go along it’s going to be a battle. This fight is going to get ugly, intense and make people uncomfortable. At the end of it someone is going to lose and the other one is going be able to puff out his chest in victory at the end.

I don’t know who will win but in the end it will be an entertaining summer to view it from the bleachers. That is, until we get distracted by something else that seems scandalous.