The Saints' penalty needs to exceed New England's


The Saints' penalty needs to exceed New England's

The sideline videotaping the Patriots were apprehended for in 2007 was stupid and deceitful and arrogant.

The pay-for-prey operation the Saints were found guilty of Friday is stupid and deceitful and arrogant and dangerous.

The Patriots betrayed the integrity of the game. The Saints betrayed the sanctity of the NFL's brotherhood.

I don't feel like debating which deed was "worse." But I do believe the Saints deserve harsher punishment than New England received.

The reason? The whole dog-and-pony show the league went through at the owner's meetings in March of 2008 in the wake of Spygate has been treated by the Saints like a farce.

The Patriots peed on a memo from the league? The Saints peed on a code of moral conduct the league hatched after Spygate.

You remember that at those meetings, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft both stood up in front of the league's 31 teams and asked forgiveness.

That act was applauded because, by then, the Patriots had been hammered and re-hammered for in the court of public opinion and been fined significantly.

"I'm happy they did it," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said at the time. "I don't know they had to do it. But it was good to hear from them. We're all trying to move on from this thing. What was said will stay in the room, but it was good."

"From a working stiff's point of view, (Robert Kraft) certainly doesn't need to apologize for anything. The New England Patriots have been a bellweather for this league as long as the Kraft family has owned them. As far as being good citizens of the NFL, they're at the top.''

Also during those meetings which were long on efforts to ensure integrity all 32 owners agreed to a policy proposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell entitled "Integrity of the Game and Fair Competition."

The policy requires all club owners, executives and head coaches to certify annually that they have complied with league rules and policies and have reported any violations they know.

That was in early April 2008. Meanwhile, you have a defensive coordinator running a hit operation on NFL employees months later.

Again, both infractions are beyond stupid. But when it comes to meting out penalties, the fact that the entire league was on notice and had agreed in writing to be good citizens while this was going on should be a greater affront to the NFL Commissioner's office and the 31 other teams than a lackey with a videocam.

Kraft on Belichick: 'I hope he coaches until his 80s'


Kraft on Belichick: 'I hope he coaches until his 80s'

PHOENIX -- It sounds like Robert Kraft is hoping the Belichick-Brady Era will last forever. Or close to it. 

He explained on Monday at the league meetings that he'd be more than happy to see Tom Brady play deep into his mid-40s. Almost in the same breath, he said he hoped Bill Belichick would coach for another decade or more. 

"I hope he coaches until his 80s," Kraft said of his soon-to-be 65-year-old head coach. "I see Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch, and they're in their mid-80s, and they're performing at a pretty high level. We gotta keep Bill healthy."

During his "A Football Life" documentary, produced by NFL Films back in 2009, Belichick said that he didn't think anyone would have to worry about him coaching as a 70-year-old like former Bills sideline boss Marv Levy. 

But with each passing year, as Belichick displays energy and enthusiasm during practices from training camp into January, it seems more than feasible that he could do another half-decade. 

Fifteen years? That may be another story, but Kraft said back in February that he has insight into Belichick's plans that the rest of us don't. 

"We have a pact that we don’t talk about that," Kraft told the Washington Post. "He knows and I know. But he won’t be done this year."

Kraft on Brady: He wants to play 'six, seven more years'

Kraft on Brady: He wants to play 'six, seven more years'

PHOENIX -- Robert Kraft drew some scoffs from the media horde surrounding him on Monday when he relayed Tom Brady's intentions for the remainder of his playing career. 

"As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he'd be willing to play six, seven more years," Kraft said. "At the level he performed, there's no one that would be happier than I . . . and our fan base."

Brady put together an MVP-caliber season in 2016 at the age of 39, and he figures to be one of the best at his position during his age-40 season. And judging by his comments during Day 2 of the league meetings here, Kraft wouldn't be surprised if Brady could keep things going well into his mid-40s -- unprecedented as that would be.

"In some ways, you think about, I think there's one player at the age of 40 who had one good year: [Brett] Favre for the Vikings. But he didn't do so well before," Kraft said. "I think Tommy's sustained excellence is just unbelievable. It's a lifestyle. He's in training now. It's not like he's stopped. He works out.

"I remember after our first Super Bowl in [2001], going down to the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won, and he's in there with the music blaring, working out.

"He's really dedicated and the thing that's amazing about him, to this day, he hasn't changed as a human being in terms of how he relates to people, but also in terms of how he works out. The only thing that's probably changed is how he eats, his diet. I'm not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I'd do it."