Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the latest Deflategate news and call for harsh punishment for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Following an ESPN report that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game were underinflated, Doyel said the Patriots should not represent their conference in the Super Bowl.
“I’m not sure how, in a fair world … a team plays, there’s four teams left, one of those four teams tries to rig the game — they’re rigging the game — and got caught,” Doyel said. “Yes, it’s a blowout. Yes, the Patriots are a lot better than the Colts. No, the footballs weren’t going to decide it. I think we call can think that — we don’t know that — we can all think that, and I do think that.
“But if you get caught rigging the game, during the game, and you get caught literally that day rigging the game, and you’ve got two weeks before the next one, I don’t know how with a straight face [Roger] Goodell says, ‘Yeah, we caught you rigging the game, but that’s OK, go ahead, guys, and play a Super Bowl.’ I’m not sure what world that makes any sense to me.”
Added Doyel: “I’m sure I’m in the minority saying you can’t send this team to the Super Bowl. But I really believe that. You can’t do it. They got caught rigging the game. You can’t send them.”
Doyel predicted that Belichick would get suspended for some games next season, but he said he’d like see the coach banned from the game for good.
“[Goodell] might suspend Bill Belichick for the rest of his life,” Doyel said. “You know what, I hope he does. I hope he suspends him for the rest of his life starting tomorrow.”
Asked who should take the Patriots’ place in Arizona, Doyel suggest the Colts or the Packers.
“If I’m Roger Goodell, the Colts are on a plane going to Glendale,” Doyel said. “Not because the Colts deserve it. They don’t. They don’t. It’s not about the Colts at all. It’s because the Patriots don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve it. But there has to be a Super Bowl. The Seahawks, the world, the NFL fans, we all deserve a Super Bowl We need a Super Bowl. We get one.
“The team that tried to rig the AFC title game and got caught doing it can’t be in that Super Bowl. Now, you need two teams to be in that Super Bowl. Pick one. OK, not the Colts, fine. Pick the last team to beat the Patriots — the Packers, as a matter of fact. The other teams in the NFC, pick them. But, do not send the team that rigged the AFC title game. Do not pat them on the head and say, ‘No harm, no foul, guys. We’re going to dock you some money and a draft pick, but you go try to win that Super Bowl.’ Don’t do that.”
Doyel said Belichick very well may have cost himself a spot in Canton with his latest transgression.
“I think a lot of us, me included, time passes and you forget stuff and you forget how angry you were,” Doyel said. “There’s a reason why we call these things hot takes. Time passes and they cool down. They do. I’ve written and said a lot of things that I’ve cooled down on over the years. Your emotions go high. Spygate, emotions were high, ‘He’ll never get in the Hall of Fame after this.’ Well, seven, eight, 10, whatever it is, seven years later, he’s going to the Hall of Fame clearly. Until today. Until today.
“I don’t know how, if you’re a Hall of Fame voter, you look at this guy who’s now been caught twice, I mean, rigging games. This is a bad one. This is bad. I don’t see how he goes to the Hall of Fame.”
As for the argument that other teams have made adjustments to footballs and it’s not that big a deal, Doyel said: “That’s what 7-year-olds say when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar: Everybody takes cookies. Everybody takes steroids. Everybody speeds down the highway. It’s true, everybody does do something like that. But when you get caught, you pay the price. Period. Simple as that. That’s a childish argument that I wouldn’t want to hear from Belichick or anybody else.”
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