It's the slowest time on the NFL calendar. There really isn't much to report. Nobody is paying attention to football. Everyone is getting ready to take off for a long holiday weekend away from their computers and the internet. Friday is a half day for almost everyone, assuming people are even coming in to the office at all. It's the beach, the BBQs, and the bathing suits for us all. The last thing anyone plans to think about is football.
So what are the odds that's when the 2nd Circuit decides to announce their decision on the Brady appeal?
It's just a hunch, but I have a feeling that Friday will mark the beginning of the next chapter of Deflategate, whatever that chapter may be. And the reason I think the way that I do is because if nothing else, the NFL has been remarkably consistent on one thing regarding this absolute nonsense: the narrative they have manufactured around this "scandal" always finds a way to rear its ugly head when a) the NFL isn't getting enough of the national spotlight, and/or b) something else is going on that makes the league look bad.. And since there isn't all that much going on around the league right now, and the main storyline surrounding the NFL currently has to do with PEDs, investigations, and a certain QB who is no longer affiliated with the league, what better time for the courts to release their verdict and get everyone back to hating the Patriots?
Think about it: Friday morning, maybe around 10 AM or so, just as those poor souls unfortunate enough to have to work that day begin the process of clearing their desks so they can unsuccessfully try and beat the holiday traffic, the news breaks. The 2nd Circuit has accepted/denied Brady's appeal. Suddenly, the Internet shatters all over again, and - ta da! - it's all about professional football. It's all about the league's most polarizing team. It's all about the league's biggest superstar. And it's yet another layer to the story that just won't die - but is infinitely more fun to talk about than player suicides or CTE or violence or fraud. What was once set to be a conversation around the grill about golf swings or where the in-laws are dragging you this Labor Day now becomes "can you believe this Deflategate thing is still going on?" James Harrison's request for Roger Goodell to be present as they investigate PED use now takes a backseat to Tom "Asterisk" Brady and his forever tainted legacy. Pats fans will renew their vigor. Pats haters will too. And the rest of the world, who stopped caring a long time ago, will have no choice but to pay attention for who knows how long. The fireworks will fly, and the flames of whatever passes for integrity these days will continue burning what used to be a great sport into rubble.
The saddest part about it all is how probable it seems right now. The above paragraph constitutes little more than a tinfoil hat wearing, fallout shelter conspiracy theory - but based on how this whole thing has gone, who would be remotely surprised if I turn out to be 100% right about this whole thing?
Now to those of you who will be quick to point out that the NFL has absolutely zero control over when the 2nd Circuit makes a decision and doesn't have any say in how they present their ruling, I say to you: of course they don't. And in theory, there is no logical basis for my assumption. But given Deflategate's track record, and looking back on when various developments broke, both within the NFL and within the legal system, I don't think it's remotely far-fetched to assume that it's in everyone's best interest that this complete debacle and goofy-shoed clownshow sneak its way back to relevance during periods of general inactivity. The result is either the NFL becomes relevant once again, or the news breaks when nobody is looking and the impact is lessened. The 2nd Circuit can stay as far out of the spotlight as possible. Either way, it's a win for the league.
I could be wrong on this one - it won't be the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. But Deflategate has become so absurd that it's almost getting predictable. And if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on us all knowing the results in just a few short days.
The 4th of July is all about celebrating independence from government tyranny. It's kind of fitting, then, that the 4th more probable than not is when Patriots will be generally aware that they might be taking up arms once again.