Commissioner Roger Goodell, the head of the NFL, has made a mistake by only giving Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the Pats a pair of $250,000 fines and the lost of a draft pick or two for taping the Jets signals during the game last week. Goodell's punishment sends a weak message to a man who makes a reported $4.2 million — and is totally meaningless to a team with a payroll of $105 million. Truth is, given the high stakes of today's NFL, a team in a tough playoff game might well be willing to risk half a million to tape the other team's signals. While it's a lot more clams than you are I are likely to see this year, it's not a big price for the wealthy owners.
What Goodell should have done is simple: he should have ruled that by cheating, the Pats forfeited the game. The Pats would put a loss on their record, and the Jets would get the win. A ruling like that would be a shot heard round the league. It would send a clear message: cheating doesn't pay. The Pats would have to work harder to fix improve their record.
All right, friends, I've said it. Let the hate mail begin. Before the hate mail arrives, let me say this: I love the Pats. A buddy of mine has a big projection TV, and it's great fun to head over to his house, hang out with friends and root for Tom Brady and the gang. This year promises to be better than ever, watching Brady work with the new receiving corps. I hope he'll still let me in.