New England Patriots

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrives at federal court for a lawsuit over Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots' four game suspension on August 31, 2015 in New York City. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman has required NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Brady to be present in court when the NFL and NFL Players Association reconvene their dispute over Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together could tell that, even if Tom Brady stuck the needle in the footballs himself, he and the Patriots had more than enough reasonable doubt to be exonerated in DeflateGate – and that the NFL did enough dirty deeds behind the scenes to make sure they had Tom Brady and the team tied securely to the railroad tracks.

A new report from Mike Florio confirms that the league got away with some real skullduggery during the whole fiasco. Florio first reported at Pro Football Talk (and detailed in his upcoming book Playmakers) Sunday night that a source confirmed the NFL “expunged” air pressure data that could have exonerated Brady and/or the Pats in the case.

To refresh your memory, it became publicly known that the NFL was collecting air pressure measurements around the league during the 2015 season, which was after Brady had won his initial appeal to overturn his four-game suspension. Mysteriously, the data was never publicly released. Florio is now reporting that NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, one of the central figures on the league’s side in DeflateGate, ordered the numbers to basically be deleted from their records.

That’s because – and this was obvious to anyone paying attention, and not blinded by anti-Patriots rage – the air pressure data would have shown that psi went up and down based on the temperature during games, and sometimes landed outside the acceptable range based on league rules. This should have been more than enough for Brady or the team to present enough doubt in the case to clear them of punishment.

NFL executive Vice President Jeff Pash address the media during the NFLAnnual Owners Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL Owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it's annual owner meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NFL executive Vice President Jeff Pash address the media during the NFLAnnual Owners Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL Owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it’s annual owner meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Doesn’t mean nothing happened. The text messages between the seemingly witness-protected John Jastremski and Jim McNally were a smoking gun. But while those were damning, that wouldn’t have been early enough to prove Brady’s guilt beyond all doubt.

The problem with Florio’s report is that it won’t change anyone’s mind. So anyone who talks about DeflateGate this week is probably going to just rehash the same arguments on either side of the thing. Anyone fixated on what the Patriots were doing or not doing won’t be swayed by the league being corrupt. But it should certainly wake people up to the fact that the NFL runs a dirty game of its own, and they shouldn’t be trusted just because they’re going after a team or player you don’t like. If you didn’t know that already.

Too many people let themselves get caught up in the haze of tearing Brady down and dismissing the Patriots’ accomplishments to that point, which is funny because it was still only three Super Bowl wins when the whole thing started. Many of them failed to see the big picture, which was that someday the Patriots dynasty will be over, Brady will be retired, and they’ll need a new boogeyman.

The real boogeyman is the league offices. It’ll be its same filthy self long after Brady and Bill Belichick are long gone from football. Hopefully this, and the league’s recent controversies with the Rooney Rule and the Washington Commanders “investigation” is enough to show people the real problem.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.