Goodell Drops the Hammer on Patriots
Well, Roger Goodell couldn't wait until tomorrow to pass out a little justice. Rece Davis just reported on ESPN that the NFL commissioner will fine Bill Belichick and the Patriots $750,000 for videotaping the Jets' defensive signals (Belichick will personally be fined $500,000, and the team will be fined $250,000).
If the Patriots make the playoffs, they will forfeit a 2008 first-round pick. (UPDATE: via the comments, and from ESPN.com, New England will forfeit the 2008 second-and third-round picks if they don't make the playoffs.)
Wow. Frankly, I didn't know what to expect from Goodell. Some NFL players have been calling for stiff sanctions given Goodell's stance on player misconduct, and I'm not sure how this will go over with the rest of the league.
First, there was no suspension. Whether you thought it was merited or not, Goodell has suspended just about everybody he's come in contact with the past 12 months. Second, the fine is useless. Yeah, a half-million bucks ain't a drop in the bucket, but it's not the end of the world for a guy who can name his price. Oh, and owner Robert Kraft just paid $250K fine in cash.
The first-round pick, however, is kind of a big deal. Why it's contingent on the Pats' making the playoffs is a little confusing -- you'd think if they missed the postseason that would be the perfect time to stick it to them. If the Pats miss the playoffs, however, they'll give up their second- and third-rounders, so it's not like they'll get out of this unscathed if Belichick tanks the season.
Somewhere in New Jersey, Manboobs Mangenius just cracked a humongous smile.