|Mike Florio on MFB: NFL owners telling Roger Goodell to uphold Tom Brady suspension ‘reality of being the commissioner’||07.23.15 at 1:26 pm ET|
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio joined Middays with MFB Thursday morning to talk about the settlement talks in Tom Brady‘s case and how things might proceed from here. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Florio reported Wednesday that settlement talks have taken place between the NFLPA and the NFL, but said he doesn’t expect them to go anywhere. With that being said, it shows there’s been communication, he said. The settlement opens the door for negotiation if both sides decide to respond.
“You never lead with your bottom line, so if the first move is, ‘We’ll take no suspension, but consider a fine,’ then the NFL could respond by saying, ‘Well, how about three games?’ and the NFLPA says, ‘How about one game?’ and the end result’s two games,” he said. “I’ve been saying for the past few days, if as many seem to believe the NFL is willing to cut this from four to two that this was either the plan all along or this was part of the wink-nod between Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft when the Patriots dropped their appeal rights, why not go to Brady and say, ‘We’ll reduce this to two games and you agree not to take us to court,’ because if they reduce it to two games, he can still take them to court.”
Florio had also reported that there was a small group of owners in Roger Goodell’s ear telling him to uphold the full suspension.
“That’s just part of the reality of being the commissioner of the NFL,” he said. “You have to deal with the owners, and some of them call you up more than others, some communicate more than others, but there’s a line of communication there. I’d be shocked if Roger Goodell says, ‘I can’t talk to you about any of this.’ He may not say anything, but he’s probably going to listen to what they have to say.
“You’re more politician than anything when you’re in that commissioner job because you are dealing with 32 successful and powerful people, and if you alienate enough of them, you’re out of a job,” Florio continued. “I think any big issue, and a lot of small issues that land on the commissioner’s desk end up in one or more owners making a phone call or otherwise making their thoughts known to Roger Goodell. That doesn’t surprise me at all.”
|Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on MFB: ‘Preliminary injunction … the pathway to Tom Brady not missing a game in 2015′||06.22.15 at 1:42 pm ET|
With talk of Brady serving his suspension in 2016 instead of 2015, Florio weighed in, citing a previous case with the Vikings.
“Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner who’s going to handle the appeal, if he would suspend Brady for any number of games, my sense is that Brady and the NFL Players Association in a legal attack coordinated by Jeffrey Kessler would go to court and try to get Brady’s suspension completely wiped out,” Florio said. “At this point, I think it’s a fair assumption that Brady wants to be exonerated, and the way you get exonerated is to have the suspension go from four, not to two or one, but to zero. So, you go to court, and let’s say the court process takes a little bit of time, let’s say before that Roger Goodell takes a little bit of time reaching his decision. The hearing ends June 25, it’s due to start the 23rd and end the 25th. Assume it ends then. How long until he issues a decision? It’s already been 24-25 days since Greg Hardy had his 10-game suspension heard on appeal — no decision yet.
“Let’s say it takes a month, we’re getting into late July. Goodell suspends Brady for at least a game, then you go to court. How long does that take? And if you can’t get a final decision from court before September 10, what do you do? Can you serve the suspension and get the exoneration on the back end and get your money back? Or do you do exactly what was done six, seven, eight years ago by Kevin [Williams] and Pat Williams, then of the Vikings, when they were suspended for ingesting a substance known as StarCaps? They were able to delay, for a period of multiple years, their suspensions while that process snaked its way through the court system in Minnesota.
“I guess in theory it could take multiple years here, too. But I focused on the possibility that we won’t have a final decision in Tom Brady‘s case until after the 2015 season in the court system. And that the court system would say, ‘Until we reach a point where we can make a final decision, Tom Brady does not have to serve his suspension.’ And even if he loses, obviously you can’t go back and take those games away, he would then serve his suspension later. But it’s called preliminary injunction, it happened in the StarCaps case and it’s the pathway to Tom Brady possibly not missing a game in 2015.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Robert Kraft ‘not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing’||05.20.15 at 10:16 am ET|
ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to discuss why Robert Kraft ended the Patriots’ fight against the NFL over Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Kraft held a press conference Tuesday from the owners meetings in San Francisco and stunned Patriots fans by announcing he would accept the league’s penalties in an attempt to move past the controversy. Florio said he agrees with the widespread speculation that Kraft struck a deal with Goodell, although he’s not sure what it might entail.
“Whether it’s just for future considerations, whether it’s for a Super Bowl in Foxboro at some point in the next decade, whether it’s a wink/nod, ‘Don’t breathe a word of it to anybody but maybe Roger Goodell’s going to reduce Tom Brady‘s suspension’ type of a promise, there’s got to be something. Because you don’t pivot that quickly.
“Robert Kraft said yesterday you measure nine times and you cut once, and that same mindset applied when they issued the 20,000-word manifesto just six days ago, the 50-minute angry interview with Peter King. These are things that even though emotional on the surface were not the product of anything but careful and deliberate thought. Strategy went into both of those two things, and strategy went into what we saw yesterday. He’s not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing.”
Added Florio: “Logic, common sense, you start piecing it together — OK, there was the report of the talks [between Kraft and Goodell], they had been talking, they’re working something out, and the Patriots’ aspect of it is we’re going to take our medicine and go home. Now the return on that bargain comes down the road. We just don’t know what it is. And they’re never going to tell us what it is. For all the leaks that we’ve seen in this case, I don’t think anybody’s going to come out and say what it was, especially because there may be only two people on the earth who know — Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Suspension for Tom Brady ‘unavoidable,’ will come early this week||05.11.15 at 11:16 am ET|
The Wells Report has been out for almost a week, and while the public consensus is that Brady almost certainly will be handed a suspension, nothing has been passed along yet. Because waiting so long makes the NFL look as if it is “gauging public opinion,” Florio said to expect something early this week.
And for those hopeful that Brady avoids suspension altogether, Florio said that’s incredibly unlikely considering what actions other players get suspended for, regardless of whether those actions have anything to do with the integrity of the game of football.
“If the NFL concludes that Brady was involved and generally aware etc., etc., more probable than not, that’s the standard for finding a violation,” he said. “If they conclude he did something he shouldn’t have done that relates to the integrity of the game of football, and you throw on top of it the deliberate refusal to cooperate fully with the investigation, you put those two things together and a suspension’s unavoidable. The question becomes how many games are we talking about.”
Various people have offered four games as their prediction for what Brady is to receive, and Florio mentioned that that number makes sense to him as well because a first-time offense for a PED violation also is four games. He added that you could make the argument for more than four games because Brady didn’t hand over his phone, which equates to deliberate refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
“I look at it this way,” Florio said. “This investigation is dead without the text messages exchanged by Larry and Curly [John Jastremski and Jim McNally], they’re dead. They don’t have enough evidence to do anything based on the science. The science is junk on this, the text messages are what allowed them to come to the conclusion that something happened that shouldn’t have happened.
“So what’s Tom hiding on his phone?” he continued. “He’s deliberately choosing conduct detrimental to the league, that’s what it is to fail to cooperate with this investigation, per se, conduct detrimental to the league. He’s choosing that. So if he’s choosing that, what would have happened if he’d gone the other path and surrendered the text messages and emails, what’s hiding on his phone?”
|Mike Florio on MFB: ‘Was this about the integrity of the game, or was this about catching the Patriots?’||05.07.15 at 12:02 pm ET|
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the Wells Report, which was released on Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Florio notes the league was aware of the Colts raising concerns of the pressure of the footballs prior to the game, which raises the question, was it actually about catching the Patriots?
“Here’s the thing that bothers me the most on this and I can’t get beyond this,” said Florio. “The Colts let the NFL know of their concerns of the possible deflation of footballs and the days before the AFC championship game. Multiple league executives knew about it — setting aside for now someone should have told the commissioner who then could have called Bill Belichick and said, ‘If this is going on knock it off.’ Which would have avoided the entire probably for everyone assuming Belichick had complied.
“Let’s set that aside for now, fast forward to the game. Referee Walt Anderson is aware of the concern and then for the first time in Walt Anderson’s 19 years as an NFL official he looses the balls before the game. He can’t find the footballs. When he finds the footballs, knowing there is a concern about possible tampering with the air pressure in the footballs, he order that the balls be taken back to the officials locker room and tested then. Not, necessary for evidence against the Patriots, but to ensure they are at least 12.5 PSI because we need to respect the integrity of the AFC championship. We can’t knowingly allow balls deflated below 12.5 PSI to be used. They don’t do that. Thats what he should have done. It’s amazing to be that wasn’t done.
“So was this about the integrity of the game, or was this about catching the Patriots? That evidence there tells me it was about catching the Patriots.”
As for what might happen to Tom Brady, Florio’s best guess is the quarterback will be suspended four games.
“I haven’t heard anything specific yet and Tom Brady is going to have a chance to go in and convince Troy Vincent, the executive VP of football operations, that it shouldn’t be whatever otherwise it will be,” Florio said. “He still has a chance to come clean and provide that information and allow that information to be complete. If he doesn’t, they are going to presume whatever he is keeping from them would make it worse not better. I keep coming back to four games. Because isn’t that the standard punishment we hear? Marijuana, multiple violations — four-game suspension. First offense for steroids — four-game suspension. Could be more, but four games sounds right to me.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Darrelle Revis deal ‘going to happen today or not at all’||03.09.15 at 11:26 am ET|
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning to discuss Darrelle Revis, NFL free agency and other football news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big news in New England Sunday night was that safety Devin McCourty had opted to stay with the Patriots, reportedly signing a new deal for $47.5 million over five years, with $28.5 million guaranteed. With McCourty all set for next season, the Patriots can turn their efforts to bringing back cornerback Darrelle Revis. If they get it done, though, it’s going to cost them.
Florio said that what will decide whether Revis comes back to New England is heavily dependent on the discrepancy between the contract the Pats offer and any offer he gets from elsewhere.
“I think the analysis ultimately is going to be how much will the Patriots pay versus how much will someone else pay and how much of a gap would Darrelle Revis tolerate to return to the Patriots, assuming the Patriots are offering less both per year and fully guaranteed,” he said. “Those are the two main variables I think, the total value of the contract on an annual basis plus how much of it is fully guaranteed.”
Though Revis and the Patriots haven’t really tried to talk yet, according to Florio, he believes if something is going to get done, it will happen on Monday.
“It’s got to happen to today,” he said. “Hasn’t happened yet. It’s got to happen today because as of tomorrow, the Patriots owe him $20 million fully guaranteed and that continues to be their break-glass-in-event-of emergency option in the event that they decide, ‘You know what, we don’t want to pay this guy what he wants on a long-term deal, but we don’t want him to get away, either. We don’t want him to go to the Jets, so we’re going to suck it up and pay him this year and know that he’s not going to be back for 2016.’
“I think the way it’s going to unfold is they’ll know today whether they’re going to get it done or not, and if they just flat can’t get it done today, then I think that means he’ll end up somewhere else,” he added. “My gut tells me it’s going to happen today or not at all.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Not much to latest Deflategate accusation||02.18.15 at 9:12 am ET|
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss the latest Deflategate news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
An ESPN report Tuesday indicated that Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally attempted to submit an unapproved kicking ball to an official during the first half of the AFC championship game. It’s not clear what advantage the Patriots would have been trying to gain by this action.
“My first reaction was ESPN’s been grinding away to try to put more meat on the bone, and this is all they have?” Florio said. “It really doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that anyone’s going to stand up and say, ‘Aha! This is the smoking gun that everyone’s been waiting for.’ And we may be waiting for it forever. There may never be one. At some point there’s going to be a report issued by Ted Wells that’s going to have all the facts in there.
“I was not surprised there has been no tangible developments in more than a couple of weeks. But I look at it and I say, yeah, this is completely different than deflating footballs, and … this is the result of an effort by ESPN to find anything they can to report on the topic.”
The Patriots reportedly believe that NFL vice president of game operations Mike Kensil is aggressively pursuing accusations against the Patriots because of his past history as a longtime Jets executive.
“I know the Patriots believe that Kensil has that bias and he’s been looking for something to stick to the Patriots,” Florio said. “It doesn’t speak well of the league office if there are employees who are allowed to act out on these agendas from past team relationships. And Kensil’s dad was at one point the president of the Jets, too. When you work for the league office, you become Switzerland. Otherwise you’re going to have these situations arise and even if Roger Goodell had no involvement in it, this all ends up on his desk and he’s the one who’s going to have to find a way through it.
“And here’s the reality: It very well could be that Kensil was acting out on a vendetta against the Patriots but also tripped over something that the NFL now has to deal with. I just hope that the NFL — as it should have done in the Saints bounty case and as it should do in every future case where there’s an allegation of cheating — broaden the lens and satisfy itself that this in an aberration, that other teams don’t do this, before hammering any one franchise. I think the NFL’s approach is, ‘When we catch somebody we’re going to nail ’em, no matter how widespread this practice may be.’ ”