Some observers — mostly New England Patriots fans — have suggested that perhaps the league’s punishment of Tom Brady and the Patriots didn’t fit the alleged crime. There were even charges that Commissioner Roger Goodell allowed his personal animosity toward the Patriots to factor into his decision. Some might have considered that paranoid speculation — until midweek, when this audio recording**, sent anonymously, turned up in the Only A Game mailbox.
NFL Underling: I don’t think you can do that, sir.
Goodell: Why not? I’m The Commissioner.
NFL Underling: Absolutely, sir. No doubt about that. But you can’t have Tom Brady imprisoned.
Goodell: Deported, then. Can I have him deported?
NFL Underling: Uh, no. No, sir. I don’t think you can.
Goodell: Oh, all right. Then we’ll suspend him.
NFL Underling: Very good, sir. And how long will that suspension be?
Goodell: A hundred years!
NFL Underling: Uh, that may be…
Goodell: We’re talking about the integrity of the National Football League!
NFL Underling: Uh, certainly, sir. Certainly. Still…
Goodell: Besides, this is personal. I hate the New England Patriots. In fact, I hate everything about New England. I hate clam chowder, baked beans, and Fenway Park!
NFL Underling: Careful there, sir…
Goodell: It’s a 17th Century relic. Should have been torn down 150 years ago. Also, effective immediately I am banning the sale of Robert Kraft’s famous packaged macaroni and cheese!
NFL Underling: Sir. He’s not that Kraft. He made his money in…
Goodell: I hate him anyway. And I hate Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Pennsylvania, too. Are there any other states in New England?
NFL Underling: Sir, Pennsylvania isn’t in New England. The other state is Rhode Island.
Goodell: An island? I thought Hawaii was our only island state. Hey … maybe we should move the Pro Bowl to this Rhode Island of yours.
NFL Underling: Moving on, sir. Earlier you said something about fining the Patriots…
NFL Underling: How much would the fine be?
Goodell: All of it!
NFL Underling: Perhaps a million dollars?
Goodell: Yes! Great idea. 1 billion dollars!
NFL Underling: Um, sir, I was thinking one million dollars.
Goodell: And Brady’s deported to a dungeon on the Island of Rhode, where he’ll be imprisoned … forever! With Gronkowski!
NFL Underling: Uh, how about a four-game suspension … just for Brady? Then he appeals, and it’s down to two … I’ve written it up, if you’ll just sign here…
Goodell: I’m so mad I can’t even remember what my signature looks like!
NFL Underling: Here’s an official game ball — your signature’s on there. Just copy it.
Goodell: (Suddenly calm as he squints at the ball.) Can’t quite see all of it here … this ball’s a little flat. (Voice rising) Boy, it’s easy to hold, though! Maybe they should always be this soft!!
**Audio recording is fake ... and written by Bill Littlefield and the OAG staff.
This segment aired on May 16, 2015. The audio for this segment is not available.