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RUSH: So Roger Goodell is gonna hear the appeal of Tom Brady, despite the fact that Brady and his lawyers asked for anybody but Goodell. Goodell said, “Nope, it’s gonna be me.” There’s all kinds of analysis swirling around about what that means. I’m gonna tell you what it means. It means the suspension’s gonna go down to two games, exactly like I told you when this first thing hit. The original suspension four games and appeal, it will be reduced to two.


RUSHL I got an ESPN alert that said that Tom Brady’s popularity rating, the E rating, whatever it is, is at its lowest ever. It’s at 53% since this all started. I don’t know what it was at the starting point. The alert called it the E rating. It’s the same thing as the Q rating or factor that they subject TV personalities to. It’s not just name recognition, but popularity.

I have huge name recognition but, you know, 30% of the country hates my guts ’cause they’re liberals. So everybody knows who I am, but my popularity rating is only around 70 because the libs hate me. Brady’s is down to 53% in this. It was just an alert, and I haven’t had a chance to get back there and look at the whole story. But it does remind me that I do have to give you my analysis and theory on Goodell deciding to hear the appeal himself. And this is kind of an in-your-face move because the Patriots asked for somebody totally independent.

The problem for them is that the collective bargaining agreement, the deal that the league has with the players association, the players association agreed to have the commissioner be an arbitrator in disputes. So Goodell is not asserting anything that he’s not been granted authority to do. It’s just that the Patriots came along, “Hey, you know what, can we get somebody totally independent here? Could you just all recuse yourselves from this?” And Goodell said, “Nope. I’m going to handle the appeal.” And the sports Drive-Bys are all over the place trying to figure out what that means. And you can imagine the varying opinions on that.

There are some who believe, well, no, Goodell did not hand down the original suspension. No, no. He authorized it, but the original suspension, as we’re led to believe here, came from a relatively new vice president league, Troy Vincent, who’s a former defensive back for the Eagles. It was Troy Vincent that came down with the four games and the million-dollar fine and the two draft choices. Now, Goodell had to authorize it, but it was not his original decision, so goes the story. Well, the aftermath has occurred, Goodell has seen it, he’s aware of everything being said.

The sports Drive-Bys, by the way, and I’m kind of surprised at this, and the Patriots had their 20,000-word reaction to Ted Wells’ 30-minute TV press conference, and the Drive-Bys are mocking it. The Drive-Bys are laughing, particularly at the idea that the guy that called himself the Deflator did that because he was losing weight. The Sports Drive-Bys are not buying it. “Come on, you nobody losing weight calls themselves the Deflator.” They think it’s really a bad, bad defensive effort. It’s not good, which means it probably is pretty good, if the sports Drive-Bys are criticizing.

But one theory goes that Goodell decided to do this to make sure that the hammer is kept down, to make sure that some independent arbiter doesn’t lift the suspension or doesn’t weaken it. My theory is that Goodell is taking over the arbitration or the appeal process precisely to cool this down and is gonna make this four games two games. I don’t know what’s gonna happen to the fine or the draft choices or any of that.

But my guess is that Goodell is gonna take the opportunity here to try to put some things back together rather than continue to throw the hammer down, because if I’m wrong, and I could well be, if Goodell upholds this and it’s four games, there’s no doubt the Patriots are gonna go to court. There’s no doubt the Patriots and Brady will go to court, and you’re gonna have a team and an owner who used to be extremely close to Goodell now at odds in the courtroom?

I can’t imagine anybody — (interruption) that the suspension is unjust, it’s unqualified, that it’s wrong, that it’s factually wrong, that the investigation conducted by Wells was full of holes and no dead-certain evidence and no facts in it. There are any number of ways they could go after it. I mean, you can sue anybody for anything, Snerdley. If the judge doesn’t throw it out, you go get a chance to make your case. (interruption) What do you mean, on what grounds? Who do you think doesn’t have grounds here? (interruption) No, they can sue anybody. If they don’t like what they get, they can go to court.

They’re making rumblings that this is gonna happen if they don’t get what they want. I mean, Brady is lawyering up for people to do their work in court in penalty phase hearings or appeals or arbitration — this is not arbitration. It’s appeals process. But no, there are people that think this is headed for civil lawsuit territory. And I can’t imagine anybody involved in this wants that. I mean, we’re not talking about something like what George Stephanopoulos did here. But time will tell.

I will happily posit the possibility I’m wrong. Goodell could well be thinking that the last thing he wants to happen is for the league to appear to cave under the pressure of this withering response from the Patriots, that he will want to continue to do what he has done, and that is put his stamp as the enforcer and the final authority and the commissioner and the power broker on everything and make sure that this penalty is maintained, four games, million dollars. So it could go either way. I’m gonna follow my instincts, which are, when it was first announced, four games, I said, there’s gonna be an appeal and it will be reduced to two. And I thought the same thing when I heard that Goodell was gonna do the appeal. So we’ll see.


RUSH: Okay, found that ESPN story that I got notified about on my watch. “For the first time in his career, a poll indicates there are almost as many people who say they dislike Tom Brady as people who say they are fans of the New England Patriots quarterback. E-Poll Market Research released findings Friday on a poll conducted this week that asked more than 1,000 people representative of the US population what they thought about Brady.

“The company’s E-Score celebrity index shows that 47% of those surveyed now say they don’t like Brady. An E-Poll survey taken in February… showed 32% of the respondents didn’t like” Brady. It’s gone from 32% to 47%. So it’s a 15% increase in the number of people say they do not like Brady. “Ten years ago, the number of people … who said they liked Brady hovered around 90%.” Today it’s around 48%. There are some people that have no opinion. There are some people who don’t know who he is.

“By June 2008, the offseason after Spygate, Brady’s positive appeal fell to a then-career low of 77%. Brady hit another career low with a 68% likeability rating in an E-Poll survey taken Feb. 20, 2015,” and it’s down from that now. So he’s plummeting because of this. And it matters. Now, here’s the way it matters, because you could be a smart aleck. “Rush, you said the E-rating, fine, the Q-rating. Is that gonna make fewer people watch football?” No. No, this is gonna increase TV ratings.

Can you imagine the pregame shows now on proper inflation of footballs? You’re gonna get so sick of this by the time preseason comes around. (sigh) Just another thing the media will focus on. No, this is only gonna enhance interest and intrigue. But if he wants to run for office someday, it’s something that he’ll have to deal with. This stuff matters to people who want to do that, and I guess this stuff matters to people that want to be product spokesmen. But it isn’t gonna matter in terms of television audience for football games.


RUSH: But first Joel, Asheville, North Carolina, welcome, sir, great to have you with us.

CALLER: Yes, Mr. Limbaugh, thank you, God bless you and your family.

RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much. Same to you.

CALLER: Thank you. My point is about Tom Brady.

RUSH: Tom Brady.

CALLER: Yes, sir. The reason the media’s going after Tom Brady is because he is not a liberal. During the George W. Bush administration, President Bush was giving the State of the Union address, and I saw Mrs. Bush seated up in the balcony, right next to her was Tom Brady. Now, that told me everything I needed to know about his political views. He’s a conservative. I saw Tom Brady, not Keith Olbermann. And the thing is, if this happened to the Oakland Raiders, you would have never heard a word about it. But because it’s the New England Patriots, I don’t know what Mr. Kraft’s politics are, but he may be a conservative, too. And that’s why they’re going after his team. But I believe it’s because Brady is a conservative.

RUSH: You really do?

CALLER: Yes, sir, I do.

RUSH: You think Brady’s being targeted here for political identification reasons?

CALLER: Certainly. If he was a liberal, if he was for all these liberal lunatic ideas —

RUSH: Well, wait, wait, wait. How do you know he’s not? Just because he sat next to Ms. Bush, okay, so she invites him and he politely accepts, but —

CALLER: Now, remember, I’m sure you remember, Mr. Limbaugh, Tom Brady did not go to the White House with the team —

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: — to see Barack Obama.

RUSH: I remember that. I remember the speculation. There were people —

CALLER: That I believe is another proof. I mean, you know, a lot of little strings make a rope. And put together all these things, I believe Tom Brady, and because he’s rich, he’s the richest player in football —

RUSH: Now, I think that there are a lot of people happy at Tom Brady’s misery because they’re jealous of him. I don’t think there’s any question about that.

CALLER: Oh, absolutely agree.

RUSH: I don’t think there’s any doubt about that whatsoever.

CALLER: I agree with that.

RUSH: But I don’t know that the Drive-Bys are targeting Brady. I mean, he’s got his defenders in the media, too. I mean, they’re not all anti-Brady, although, frankly, the thing that surprised me about this is the players. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. I haven’t yet seen a player — I’ve seen one, I’ve seen the punter for the New York Giants, guy named Steve Weatherford thinks it’s too much. Most of the players I’ve seen interviewed think that four games isn’t enough. Like Keyshawn Johnson thought it should have been six games. A lot of players think it should have been half the season or whole season.

So clearly a lot of emotions are being raised out there because of this. I’ve heard some people speculate that there’s a political component to this, but while I guess it’s possible, I don’t think we have enough information to conclude that that is a factor here. I mean, look, the original complaint about this was not the Baltimore Colts. The original complaint about this came from the Baltimore Ravens. The Baltimore Ravens first alerted the Colts to it in October of last year, long before the championship game. The idea of Brady playing with underinflated balls goes all the way back, I mean, years, like 2006, 2007. It goes way, way back, this stuff has surfaced in all of this.

But you could have a point. I don’t know what Tom Brady’s politics are. I haven’t the slightest idea. I wouldn’t even know to make a guess. Yes, I would, I would know how to make a guess, but I don’t know what point of it would serve. We’ll just take your call under advisement, see if other people agree.

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