NFL15: Krafty Move or Senior Moment?

21 May

Recent news of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s decision to forgo appeal of the penalty levied on his team by the NFL for what it perceived was a knowing “circumvention” of the League’s loosely enforced in-game ball inflation standards (Deflategate), caught most of us fans off guard.

Is it a krafty move or a senior moment?


More likely the latter, though, not used here in mockery of a memory lapse but in recognition that Robert is nearing 74 (6.4.41), a time in life when one wisely becomes more selective of which battles are worth or not worth engaging. Life is short, no matter the gene strands.

Around lunch-time on Tuesday Bob made his announcement to accept the team penalty, leaving his quarterback Tom Brady to continue on with his own appeal of the 4-game susp’n he had received. Kraft’s reason: he feels this matter has gone on “too long.”

At first blush such an explanation seems reasonable enough.

But it doesn’t take long to start fathoming some possibly negative and slightly serious ramifications for the Foxborough footballers.


Bailing at this point in time may give the public, in particular, opponents of the Patriots Way, the perception that Bob either lacks faith in Tom’s story (non-circumvention) or that his own prior public statements that had expressed full faith & credit in his starry QB are lacking themselves in full veracity, even if opposite is true and his support is rock-solid.

That’s where legacy will come into play with fans and historians.

Passing on an appeal of the team penalty, a $1M fine and draft ding (-2), might even have an adverse effect on his player Tom’s appeal, theoretically, by re-affirming in the mind of the arbiter (Roger Goodell) the belief of appellant’s wrong-doing while lessening the mental state of impartiality.

Remember, this is a judge in Goodell who’s neutrality on hearing this appeal of a ruling handed down by his own office (T. Vincent, EVP-FO) is already at issue (NFLPA seeks independent-arbiter). Unity, joinder in spirit, would seem preferred in such scenarios.


Though, it’s also fair to speculate that Bob Kraft’s decision might just as well have a positive effect on the Commissioner’s appeal ruling in that, Roger could do Tom a ‘solid (reduce penalty (2g)),’ on the facts, of course, in return for his owner’s acceptance of the League’s punishment ($1M, etc.) and, to a degree, its claimed validity.

Trouble with that hypothesis, apart from its acceptance of a possible due process violation and the bad precedent it sets, is that Brady likely wants no part of a namby-pamby reduction, he wants complete clearance on League’s claim of wrong-doing based, apparently so, on the Wells Hunch Report.

Not just “more probable than not (51%),” but likely that Tom and Bob have discussed these matters and yesterday’s statement is an agreed upon route. Likely, not certainly. One never wants to push the big kahuna (Kraft) to engage a battle he’d rather not, does one, Tom? Discretion, good judgment, can be the better part of valor, and friendship.


Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: R.Kraft, wc.cca, 12.14.08, BrokenSphere, OAK; Kraft&Bush, P.Morse, WH, wc, 5.15.04; T.Brady, wc, 10.11.09, J.Beall; R.Kraft, wc, 12.14.08, BrokenSphere, OAK; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 5.20.15 @ 10:21pm Eastern Standard Time


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