ESPN’s Steven Wulf recounts a non-controversy Major League Baseball faced in the early 1990’s, when they tried to enforce regulations about glove sizes. Wulf points out that MLB handled the situation quietly and without fanfare, in contrast to how the NFL seemingly flubbed and fumbled their way through Deflategate. Had the NFL handled Tom Brady’s appeal better, he theorizes, we might not have been talking about it for the past couple of weeks.
But would the NFL really want a situation like that – where people aren’t talking about the league?
It may not have been the actual strategy, but things worked out pretty well for the NFL. Sports media spent the back half of July talking about the league. Fans had something to debate and discuss among themselves. And the controversy wasn’t initiade by someone smacking a woman or a kid.
For all their bluster, the Patriots come out of this pretty well, to. They’ll have a chance to rest their 38-year-old quarterback for a quarter of the season, but have him ready to go for the playoffs. They’ll also get an extended look at backup Jimmy Garappolo so they can figure out how talented he is and what kind of draft picks they’ll trade him for.
For the league that thrives on constant attention and chatter, what could be worse than handling a situation like this quietly?