Sadly, I have to begin this with a paragraph indemnifying myself from accusations of being Patriots fan. People have already made up their minds on the subject (that is part of what I am going to discuss) and will offhandedly dismiss reasoning contrary to their made-up minds. Pursuant to that, let's begin: I have been a rabid Cowboys fan ever since Staubach ousted Morton. In a true sportsfan fashion, I "hate" the Patriots and grudged them every victory the past decade, and rooted for every opponent they ever faced (even the Steelers - and you Cowboys fans know how painful that is). So before you assume that I am allowing "fan mentality" to color my blog today, I just want you to know that my fan mentality is a cheerful hatred of the Patriots.
Having said that, I am surprised at the constant coverage given to the whole "Spygate" affair. Bellichick was fined a half million dollars for videotaping opponents' coaches' signals. The team (Kraft, really) was fined a quarter million. 3/4'ths of a million bucks is a pretty stiff fine, no matter how much you have in the bank (and, while relatively wealthy, you know it hurt Bellichick's bank account). The fines were meted out by Goodell for the very open accusations. Goodell is not hiding what Bellichick did. The Patriots were accused, it was examined and found to be true, and hefty punishment was dosed out. What are people interested in?
I suspect the real fervor is people wanting to see the Patriots have their Superbowl titles yanked. Patriots haters have developed nervous facial tics over this. They want to see them dragged through the mud. They want the NFL to do something, and will carry on with thinly-veiled and Sophistic arguments along the lines of, "it will hurt the NFL image if they do not..."
It is over, gang. It was last season, the seasons before, and years before that. I have news for you: Franco Harris let the ball touch the ground, and Pearson pushed off. Clark's foot touched the back of the end zone and he came back in. The miracle in Music City was that they got away with a forward lateral. Romo had to take a snap and hold a glossy and slick ball planted in there. Denver's programmed leg-breaking of linemen lasted a few seasons. That game your team lost? The other team cheated. We know. We will kibbitz over these moments of cheating for decades. We will spew spittle in the face of someone bold enough to tell us that the refs didn't screw our team. I am not just talking about subjective things, either. Games, plays and even championships are routinely affected by very objective dirt discovered later (or even at the moment).
But that is why you look forward to next season. Yes, we will call the Patriots cheaters for decades. To me, that is part of the game. But you don't take away that touchdown Minnesota didn't reeeealy get. You don't take away that fumble recovery Detroit didn't deserve. You don't take away that win awarded to Pittsburg that they didn't really get. ...and you don't take away undeserved Championships. You put an asterisk next to it in your memory, so for the rest of your life you can loudly decry the tragedy to whomever is sharing a beer with you.
You wouldn't be much of a fan if you didn't complain. Just don't try to strongarm the league into making changes after-the-fact. You'd gain nothing but the loss of one of the reasons you like pro football so well.