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The NFL Commissioner and his Inner Circle

Deflategate will go on, and I wouldn't expect a resolution this side of the Super Bowl. When the decision is handed down, you will likely be disappointed, confused and to an extent angry.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, this article is not designed to go over deflategate. It is what it is, and I've already made my feelings on it very clear. The Patriots under Kraft, Belichick and Tom Brady are proven cheaters, and as Nick Mangold and Sheldon Richardson put it last night, we can't be surprised to see this kind of controversy around that kind of franchise.

The handling of the situation has come under a microscope, mainly due to the closer personal relationship between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Goodell has no closer ally within league circles than Kraft, and as Richard Sherman put it, the Patriots won't be punished as long as Kraft and Goodell "are taking pictures at each others homes....Talk about conflict of interest".

When the NFL came under fire earlier this year, it was Kraft who rallied around to drum up support from other owners. It was Kraft who arranged for Roger Goodell's interview on CBS news earlier this year.

GQ launched a special investigation into the NFL commissioner and his very difficult year. If you're in New York or Los Angeles, you can pick up the full story today. If you're based anywhere else in the country, the magazine will be hitting your shelves tomorrow morning.

As part of the feature, the magazine spoke to numerous people within the league, executives, owners, players and agents, and the relationship between Goodell and Kraft is concerning. As one league executive put it, some consider Kraft the "assistant commissioner" due to the sway he has in Roger's decision making process. The article also suggests that many owners resent the preferential treatment Goodell is perceived to extend to his inner circle. One who is referenced directly is New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Nobody can deny the financial growth the league has seen under Roger Goodell, but his perceived favouritism towards certain teams will come back to bite him. He needs the support of all the NFL owners, and if he doesn't come down hard on his friends, he'll never gain the respect of his detractors. Don't be surprised if he tries to sweep the whole Deflategate under the rug, while handing down a severe punishment to Woody Johnson for a slip of the tongue.

Make sure you pick up the latest issue of GQ this week for the full feature.