(SportsNetwork.com) - Stop being so damn surprised.
Remember when Alex Rodriguez was going to save Major League Baseball's oh-so- important home-run record from the dastardly Barry Bonds? A-Rod was clean after all. I mean sure, he looked like an NFL linebacker but it was such a natural progression from the teenage stringbean that showed up in Seattle back in 1994, right?
Or how about Lance Armstrong? What a credit to this country, dominating the world's dirtiest sport after battling the cancer that nearly ravaged his body. Talk about American exceptionalism. Oh, wait, what?
We still had Tiger Woods, though. Now that's a role model for our kids. Surely we could point to the greatest golfer who ever lived as our moral compass, couldn't we?
And now Tom Brady?
Say it isn't so ... Tom Terrific likes his balls deflated.
No, this is not the start of my five-minute set on open-mike night at the Chuckle Hut, although perhaps the seriousness with how many have treated Deflategate should be.
Think about it, the NFL gave Ted Wells millions of dollars to investigate something we all already knew and it took the Bizarro-world Perry Mason 243 pages to come to these two startling conclusions: that it was "more probable than not" that Patriots personnel intentionally deflated the footballs in the AFC Championship Game, and that Brady himself was "at least generally aware."
Thanks Copernicus, it took me less than two minutes on the Google machine to find out Brady already copped to that when talking about a Rob Gronkowski touchdown on WEEI Radio in Boston back in 2011.
"When Gronk scores, he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball," Brady said at the time.
The NFL could have expensed my outrageous $70 Comcast Internet bill, informed Brady we know you're the Gaylord Perry of pro football and stopped this meaningless story dead in its tracks.
But, hey, if there's been one consistent thread to Roger Goodell's NFL, it's the fact that the league is always reactive, never proactive. Instead of installing those nickel-and-dime smoke alarms, the Commish and Co. like to roll the dice and bring the hoses only after the fire has done its damage.
As for Deflategate, though, the real-world consequences to the game are minimal, save for irrational fans jumping to farcical, wing-nut conclusions.
In this case you have everyone who isn't a Pats fan believing the league's poster boy is the worst "cheater" since Tiger betrayed Elin Nordegren with every adult star west of the Mississippi, while the New England diehards have started behaving like 911 truthers, droning on Johnnie Cochran-style about the merits of circumstantial evidence.
The real controversy, though, is that the handsome guy with the blindingly white teeth, the supermodel wife and more jewelry than a debutante disappointed you with his Clintonian-like parsing of the truth during his press conference after the Pats trounced the Colts.
And to that I say, stop being such a Pollyanna.
The reality here is this is much ado about nothing and a convenient excuse for those jealous (I'm looking at you Ryan Grigson) of the Patriots' success.
And here's your end game. Brady gets suspended for one game as a nod toward public relations while Grigson, the Colts' GM, gets four for putting us all through this. (Ed. note, The latter is a joke for those who lack sarcasm detectors.)
"Cheating" in the NFL didn't start with a disgruntled Eric Mangini skirting omerta to reveal "Spygate" and it certainly isn't going to end with Brady or Bill Belichick.
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brad Johnson has been pretty up-front about his own bribery technique regarding footballs on the game's biggest stage yet no one wants that Super Bowl XXXVII trophy back from the Bucs.
To this day Bill Parcells claims the Bill Walsh 49ers used to play games with the communication system in the playoffs.
"This kind of stuff has been going on in the NFL for quite some time, but it takes different forms," Parcells said on ESPN back in 2011. "I know from past history in two playoff games, one of these teams that was famous for using a script, which they rehearsed with their team prior to the game -- they knew exactly what they wanted to do -- mysteriously, two years in a row, when the game started, their phones went down, which mandates that the other side put their phones down.
"Now, let me get this straight. You've got your script rehearsed, you know what you're going to do, the defense doesn't know what's coming, but they have to take their phones off?"
Parcells, himself, was known to play games at the old Giants Stadium and open or close the end-zone gate on windy days in an effort to help his own kicker or hinder the opposition's.
Brett Favre might have two Super Bowl rings if it wasn't for a Saints' bounty and there aren't many people in this league who believe New Orleans' side of the things when Mickey Loomis was accused of bugging the opposition's coaching box at the Superdome.
Both the Cowboys and Redskins were heavily punished for blatantly skirting salary-cap rules a few years ago.
Remember Norv Turner's Chargers and Stickum? Or how about Bill Romanowski's revelation that he spent an hour before games using a Q-tip to apply silicone to his gloves for added grip, and Vaseline to his uniform so blockers would hit him and slide off.
And don't even get me started on PEDs.
NASCAR rules have always and will always apply in the NFL -- if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'.
And for those who don't understand that I quote House of Cards' ice princess Claire Underwood ... "Be a f@#$%=& adult."