Topics: The Sun
Goodell's handling of Deflategate turned around owners still simmering over Spygate; some say he is now more secure in his job.
Behind closed doors, Goodell addressed what he called "the elephant in the room" and, according to sources at the meeting, turned over the floor to Robert Kraft. Then 66, the billionaire Patriots owner stood and apologized for the damage his team had done to the league and the public's confidence in pro football. Kraft talked about the deep respect he had for his 31 fellow owners and their shared interest in protecting the NFL's shield. Witnesses would later say Kraft's remarks were heartfelt, his demeanor chastened. For a moment, he seemed to well up.
Then the Patriots' coach, Bill Belichick, the cheating program's mastermind, spoke. He said he had merely misinterpreted a league rule, explaining that he thought it was legal to videotape opposing teams' signals as long as the material wasn't used in real time. Few in the room bought it. Belichick said he had made a mistake -- "my mistake."