In a report that is sure to surprise absolutely no one, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio recently told Mighty1090 in San Diegothat some of the NFL owners are pushing for commissioner Roger Goodell to uphold Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four game suspension. The two that he named? Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Colts owner Jim Irsay - the two teams that the Patriots beat en route to the Super Bowl.
Comcast SportsNet New England's Tom E. Curran transcribed part of what Paolantonio told the San Diego radio stationon Friday. "[By reducing the suspension] you're angering some of the hard-core owners out there," said Paolantonio. "I know who they are and I'm gonna name ‘em right now: Jim Irsay of the Colts. Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens and others in the AFC who believe the Patriots have gotten away with murder for years and have not been publicly punished properly."
Look, nobody should be surprised whatsoever that these two owners are among the group that thinks Tom Brady's four game suspension should be upheld. Firstly, the Colts and the Ravens are likely to be among the best teams in the AFC in 2015, right there with the Patriots. In terms of playoff seeding, both Indy and Baltimore could stand to gain by New England's star quarterback missing a fourth of the season. But furthermore, it makes sense that two of the owners who feel that they were cheated against would be among the most adamant that punishment be handed out. It has been reported that the Ravens had concerns about the Patriots possibly deflating footballs in the divisional round game, and then obviously the Colts had concerns in the AFC title game (and reportedly earlier than that, too). It's one thing to be watching this saga unfold, but it's another to feel like the Patriots cheated against your team. So before you totally bash either Bisciotti or Irsay, realize that you'd feel the same way if you were in their situation - it is totally logical for the people who feel they were directly cheated against to have stronger opinions on the issue.
We also don't know just how vocal either Bisciotti or Irsay are in wanting Brady's four-game suspension upheld. Every one of the league's 32 owners has an opinion on this topic and has surely had the opportunity to express that opinion in some fashion over the offseason, so the fact that Bisciotti and Irsay are on the side of upholding Brady's suspension shouldn't mean much. With that said, however, if they are the two most vocal and outspoken owners in Goodell's ear about upholding the punishment, it's probably not a great look. If the strongest support that Goodell has in upholding the suspension are the two owners who the Patriots beat in the AFC playoffs, I don't think that would be a very convincing case to actually uphold it. Robert Kraft, Steve Bisciotti, and Jim Irsay are three of the best and most influential owners in the NFL, and they're also three of the most connected to this situation. It makes perfect sense for all three of them to have strong stances one way or another, but if I'm Roger Goodell, I'd be much more interested in the opinions of the other 29 owners than those three who have direct ties to the issue.
Paolantonio's report really doesn't tell us anything besides that which everyone already assumed: that Steve Bisciotti and Jim Irsay are among the owners who support Roger Goodell upholding Tom Brady's four-game suspension. Furthermore, Paolantonio saying that the Ravens and Colts are among the teams that have long thought that the Patriots have been cheating isn't anything new either, and that list doesn't end with those two teams. Before we can make an accurate judgement on this report, we'd need to know more information - such as how vocal and involved Bisciotti and Irsay have been in pushing for Goodell to uphold the punishment. Because right now, we don't really know much more than was already widely assumed and logically makes perfect sense.