10 Things To Know About DeflateGate:
1) All of the NFL's overwhelming dominance and revenue flow depends on the public's trust that the outcome of games is determined on a level playing field. What separates the NFL from wrestling is the knowledge that both teams are playing with standardized equipment and rules and that it is coaching schemes and player performance that decide who wins. It is why the NFL fears gamblers compromising players. It is an existential threat to the integrity of the game.
2) I have run a business for 40 years, notwithstanding what is done by an employee and whether they followed rules, it is all my responsibility. Someone needs to take responsibility for something.
3) The irony in all this is that Bob Kraft is as honorable and charitable a role model owner as I have ever met.
4) It is hard to argue that deflated balls made the difference in a 45-7 rout, but what about the prior playoff game with Baltimore, which New England won by four points?
5) This is the worse timing possible for the NFL. The Seattle-Green Bay game was one of the more exciting in history. The NFL has reached unparalleled levels of dominance as not only the top sport in America, but also the top television attraction. The Super Bowl is the glittering jewel of pro sports.
6) The NFL needs to move rapidly to bring this to a close as 3,500 sports journalists will be arriving in Phoenix for the Super Bowl. They are not the press of yesteryear. Expect Woodward-Bernstein questioning to interfere with game buildup if this is not resolved.
7) Former athletes are already raising the concept that a Patriot win in the Super Bowl should have an asterisk.
8) What is the officials' role and responsibility in this? They hold and place the ball on every play and it only requires holding the football to realize whether it is pumped up overly or deflated.
9) This all evokes the corrupt police office in the film "Casablanca" when confronted with reports of illegal gambling, "I'm shocked."
10) This Super Bowl is a classic match-up on the field, with great story lines, potentially one of the great games. It is time for the league to act and return the focus to the game.
-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.