Deflategate will not go away.  And neither will my questions.

0. No one wants to talk about the 'ball that started it all' being on the other team's sidelines.... For quite a bit. And 11 of 12 Patriots balls were 'significantly underinflated', though we don't know what that actually means. Unless you believe SI.

1. This was an equipment violation.  Goodell made it into an 'integrity of the game' issue. The Player's Association believes this is improper, and so do the Patriots. Expect this to come up in the next CBA negotiations.

2. Goodell should not be arbiter, appealer, and judge. He overstepped his proper role. Sooner or later this will become obvious to all involved.  Maybe an appeals judge?

3. Virtually every team involved has had complaints against the Patriots.  This is their opportunity to get revenge, and so far so good. But that taints the whole affair.

4. And from the beginning, remember, one team talked to another, and together they managed to conspire to 'catch' the Patriots in this mess.  Point #0 above came after the Ravens spoke to the Colts. But both those teams deny it.

This is simple.  Let the Raiders move to L.A.

Ok, not so simple?

0. San Diego is a great place to play football, isn't it? It's not competing with L.A is it?

1. San Francisco is also a great place to play football.  New Stadium?  Just raise the money, it's not like they can't find a buck in SF, is it?

2. Oakland is plainly competing with the 49ers.  

3. The Raiders are seriously L.A. style.  Am I wrong?  Dodger Fan is Raider Fan with different color facepaint.

4. Stealing the Rams?  C'mon, man.  Dumb.

5. The only other candidate is the Giants. No, no one is talking about that.  Yes, they would move.  yes, they would get their own stadium, and who wants to share a stadium with the Jets?  That stench lingers, trust me.

Really the NFL should anoint the Raiders.

Now, admittedly, the Raiders are no prize.  L.A. might not want them.  And Kroenke had the land and the money to make the Rams the L.A. Rams...  Which is a slap to St. Louis.  So the 49ers are the front runners.

But then the NFL can expand.  New NFC team to replace the Rams.  And a new AFC team, where?  Alabama?  Austin/San Antonio?  Yup.


It's all about the Benjamins, though.


The NFL free agent/legal tampering/ is well underway.  What's important?

- The Dolphins get Ndamukong Suh, giving them a pretty nasty defensive line.  This will give them great comfort when the Patriots treat them to a warm reception in Foxboro, and even more comfort when Tom Brady takes his one sack and burns them repeatedly.  Welcome to the Patriots world.  Oh, wait, they know that world.  It won't change for them.

- The Buffalo Bills got a new coach (Rex Ryan didn't come as a free agent, granted) and he got some new toys.  Percy Harvin at WR, but the real news was trades.  Matt Cassel, LeSean McCoy, Richie Incognito.  Good moves.  Rex Ryan knows all about losing to the Patriots.  It will be more competitive in Buffalo but not competitive enough.

- And the Jets got a new coach, Tood Bowles, a defensive wiz. He's got Darrell Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Marcus Gilchrist.  Good defensive tools.  Oh, and a quarterback competition, Ryan Fitzpatrick traded from Houston, where they tried to burn him out. But ownership will fail him, and the Patriots will not.


So, the Patriots lost Shane Vereen, RB, a really versatile player.  Revis, Browner, top cornerbacks in a passing league.  Belichick will retool, plan around lesser talents, and probably trade for an unrealized talent. As usual.  I'm not too concerned.  He will do what needs to be done, and the Pats have some cap money to throw around.  Devin McCourty was retained.  Critrical. He's young, home-grown, quietly swaggering, and worth the money.  

Which leads to their lack of action in the free agent market.  Not.

Chimdi Chekwa is a typical BB signing, an underperformer in Oakland.  He could really shine in a well run program, wher he knows the effort is rewarded with legitimate aspirations to Super Bowl victory.  It can't be easy to get self-motiviated as a Raider.

Brandon Gibson from Miami.  The Patriots LOVE to steal productive players from division rivals, as their rivals love to do to them.

Kevin Dorsey from Green Bay, a competent receiver. 

Jonathan Freeny also from Miami, is a special teams contributor, fulfilling one of BB's key requirements, multiple roles.

Jabaal Sheard has shown signs of being a pass rusher.  With coaching and scheming, he may be more productive than previously.

Yes, I'm ever hopeful. The Patriots always look for value, and restocking at defense will be tough.  Repeating at the Super Bowl is the goal, but so is building a contender for 2016.


Overall I am pleased.  Good choices.