In one of the least shocking moments by the NFL during the 2023 season, the league decided they would not make any comment on all the reports indicating there was a Deflategate 2.0 in the Patriots matchup with the Chiefs in Week 15.
Despite their past insatiable desire to run to the presses to publish facts about the original incident, spread more fiction, or create hysteria around the Patriots, they have chosen to hide in silence when the pressure is on them to defend their incompetence once again.
It's the latest example of Roger Goodell picking and choosing when to make situations a big deal or not. Because this latest incident cannot be blamed on anyone but league officials, the Commissioner has no interest in owning up to their mistake or making any statements that could directly contradict his previous remarks about deflated footballs, the "I've never heard of such a thing" Ideal Gas Law and his prioritizing of maintaining the integrity of the game.
Apparently, none of that matters when it doesn't involve the Patriots since they cannot be the scapegoats this time.
Fortunately for New England, when the initial reports were published about the kicking footballs being potentially under the legal PSI level, both the Chiefs and Patriots had expressed their concerns with the footballs in the game, a detail included in the reporting. That ensured speculation would be minimal, and the Patriots also dealt with the consequences of inept officials.
Even though that helped avoid another slandering from fans and the media, the silence from the league cannot be ignored. It may be deafening, but it speaks volumes at the same time.
The NFL shows its hypocrisy again and should be held accountable for it
The way the league handled the original Deflategate scandal in 2015 was wrong and unjustified from the start. Other than the entire situation being a complete farce and simply an attempt by bitter teams to obliterate Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and the Patriots' legacies.
Countless hours were spent accusing, then backtracking, writing sketchy reports, and spending millions of dollars on a corrupt investigation, all to please the 31 other teams tired of being beaten repeatedly by the dynastic Patriots. Who they stepped over, defamed, or hurt didn't matter as long as Goodell continued his reign as the judge, jury, and executioner to appease the rest of the league.
The Patriots were admonished for trying to defend themselves publicly, then ridiculed for coming off too defensive or remaining silent when others felt they shouldn't be. Yet the NFL gets a pass for not saying anything in a situation where the fault is squarely on their officials' shoulders?
Given the weather in Foxborough for the game against the Chiefs, Goodell and Co. know if they even try to suggest the temperature played a role in the deflation of the footballs, their entire argument against the Patriots eight years ago would be thrown out the window. Their credibility would be shot again, and they would have no way to work out of it this time.
Kraft would be justified to demand his $1 million fine back and their forfeited first-round pick, which is not good press for a league trying to keep their noses clean. It's a can of worms. Goodell will avoid opening it at all costs.
And even though that may be true, it's not something the other teams should be okay with. If they are willing to do this, likely because the Patriots are involved, they could do it to any other team at any time. That shouldn't sit right with anyone, as it could be detrimental to them at some point in the future, similar to how they handled the original Deflategate.
But this will probably be the last time we hear about this situation, and the NFL will remain tight-lipped about it. It's unfair and unfortunate but not unexpected.