Tom Brady’s Legal Eagles Should Look To Former Commissioner

Roger Goodell’s Thursday decision to hear the Deflategate appeal himself is daring Tom Brady’s legal team to go outside the NFL family with a lawsuit against the league.

If Tom Brady’s fancy team of lawyers is worth their hourly rate, they will do exactly that, going all Al Davis on the NFL.

Still, there might be an acceptable alternative short of that nuclear option. The Brady bunch could negotiate the selection of a former NFL commissioner to review the work of the current one.

We’re talking about Paul Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to rule on the appeals of four New Orleans Saints players suspended in the 2012 Bountygate case. Tagliabue overturned the suspensions, basically saying that Goodell was correct in finding fault but overstepped his bounds with the punishment.

Tom Brady  (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Tom Brady
(Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Goodell apparently didn’t want to take that chance again, but really, would Brady be out of line in demanding the most informed and appropriate candidate to settle his appeal?

Tagliabue got his law degree at New York University and worked for more than 20 years at a powerful Washington, D.C., firm so he surely is up to speed on what it takes to make a winning argument in court. He and Brady’s lawyers would be speaking the same language, while Ted Wells, the NFL investigator more famous as a white-collar defense attorney, would be forced to defend why a first-time offender like Brady should be made to sit four games.

Roger Goodell (left) and Paul Tagliabue (AP photo)
Roger Goodell (left) and Paul Tagliabue (AP photo)

Most of all, Tagliabue was the NFL’s top boss from 1989 to 2006. He cleaned up all kinds of messes along the way and clearly believes he sees things more clearly than most. How else could he overturn Goodell’s Bountygate player rulings rather than blindly backing the judgment of his hand-picked successor?

Brady’s team couldn’t have been surprised by the news that Goodell intends to run this whole show himself. This only adds a fresh layer of contention to the process, the kind that allows lawyers to run out the clock with a vital deadline approaching, in this case the Sept. 10 season opener against Pittsburgh.

After all the public outcry, could it be that Brady won’t miss any games at all?


Wrote quite a bit yesterday about Miami’s remarkable run of four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Here’s one last note, however, to demonstrate how difficult it is to make it all the way to the championship series each year.

None of the three Western Conference teams that the Heat faced in those four NBA Finals are alive in the 2015 playoffs. San Antonio and Dallas lost in the first round and Oklahoma City, like Miami, didn’t even qualify for the postseason.

The Heat negotiated their way through a lot of hairpin turns in a highly competitive field over those four years. Nobody else even came close.



We’ve had some fun with limericks in previous posts. Well, at least I have.

Let’s try a topical sports haiku today in our cultural corner. You know how it works. Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.


When known ‘Deflator’

Makes urgent bathroom visit,

Move away quickly