Goodell unaware of reported Spygate-Deflategate link

Just when the back-and-forth between the New England Patriots and the NFL appeared to be slowing down, ESPN's Outside the Lines raised new questions for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Patriots to answer on Tuesday.

The report from ESPN dives deep into the Spygate videotaping scandal of 2007, and makes the case that Goodell's four-game suspension of Tom Brady this offseason was seen by some owners as a "makeup" call from Goodell. In an interview with ESPN Radio Tuesday, Goodell said that he had not read the new reporting. But he denied that there was a connection between the two punishments.

"I can just tell you that I am not aware of any connection between Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here. We obviously learn from every time we go through any kind of a process, try to improve it, get better at it, but there is no connection, in my mind, to the two incidents," Goodell said.

The Patriots also released a statement in response to the article.

"The New England Patriots have never filmed or recorded another team's practice or walkthrough," the statement read. "The first time we ever heard of such an accusation came in 2008, the day before Super Bowl XLII, when the Boston Herald reported an allegation from a disgruntled former employee. That report created a media firestorm that extended globally and was discussed incessantly for months. It took four months before that newspaper retracted its story and offered the team a front and back page apology for the damage done.

"Clearly, the damage has been irreparable. As recently as last month, over seven years after the retraction and apology was issued, ESPN issued the following apology to the Patriots for continuing to perpetuate the myth: 'On two occasions in recent weeks, SportsCenter incorrectly cited a 2002 report regarding the New England Patriots and Super Bowl XXXVI. That story was found to be false, and should not have been part of our reporting. We apologize to the Patriots organization.' "

It's safe to say there will be more questions asked of the Patriots and the NFL following ESPN's latest report. It describes NFL ownership as pleased with Goodell for his handling of Brady's case, in large part because they felt the Patriots deserved the punishment from previous infractions.

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