With less than a month until DeflateGate fallout is heard again, this time in an appellate court, the sad saga come up in conversation Friday between reporters at the Super Bowl and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
On March 3, an appellate court is scheduled to hear the NFL's appeal of a lower court judge's decision last September to throw out the league's four-game suspension of Patriots QB Tom Brady. That penalty was given Brady for what the league maintained was his alleged knowledge (never definitively proven) of intentional deflation, below league-sanctioned levels, of footballs used in the 2014 AFC title game in Foxborough.
Brady and the NFL players' union took the NFL to court last summer, seeking to have that suspension overturned, which a U.S. District Court judge did just one week before the season opener. Brady never missed any playing time as a result. Goodell and the league immediately filed an appeal of the decision, and that's what will be at issue next month in court.
If the NFL is successful this time around, Goodell was asked Friday, would the league reinstate Brady's suspension at the start of the 2016 season?
"I am not focused on it right now. I am not going to speculate what we will do pending the outcome," Goodell responded.
"This is not an individual player issue," he added. "This is about the rights we negotiated in the CBA (collective bargaining agreement with NFL players). We disagree with [Judge Richard Berman]'s decision."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has attended the Commissioner's Super Bowl address in the past, was not present for this particular one. According to ESPN, Kraft, who is in the Bay Area for the Super Bowl, was attending a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon at the time.
Meanwhile, as we learned yesterday, Tom Brady will be taking part in Super Bowl 50 festivities in San Francisco on Sunday.