Jason La Canfora: ‘Falcons Fake Crowd Noise Worse Than Deflategate’

Months later, we’re still awaiting a decision from the NFL regarding Deflategate. We’re also still awaiting a decision regarding the Browns and Falcons, both of whom have admitted guilt in their respective transgressions – Cleveland’s Ray Farmer sent banned texts on game days and Atlanta’s Arthur Blank pumped artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome during home games.

It seems the NFL is taking these two transgressions more seriously than Deflategate. Are they?

“I don’t know if that’s fair to say,” CBSSports.com NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “You can certainly criticize the league for its handling of some of these matters in the past. You could certainly say that they don’t always do things in what many of us – and certainly many of the other member clubs – would consider a timely fashion. These things tend to be pretty long and pretty protracted and pretty drawn out and we’re not exactly talking about deciphering nuclear codes or anything.

“And in the case of the Falcons and the Browns, they’ve basically said, ‘Yeah, we did it,’” La Canfora continued. “I talked to people on the competition committee two weeks ago who said that they didn’t know what the findings were, but it was their understanding that those two investigations were complete. We still have no official release from the league.”

La Canfora expects Farmer to be suspended for multiple games and lose a mid-round draft pick, while Blank will likely face a hefty fine and possibly the loss of a draft pick.

“I think that’s the interesting element of that particular case is how far up the food chain did it go?” La Canfora said of the Falcons’ infraction. “The case of the Browns, it’s pretty easy to track down who’s texting who at what time. So that was kind of a ‘gotcha’ and you know who’s doing what – although you could (ask the question) was Farmer acting on orders even above him? But regardless, you have sort of some semblance of what the deal is. This Atlanta situation is a lot more nebulous.

“But the bottom line is, of the three things we’re taking about – if you throw Deflategate in there – to me, the Atlanta one may be the most severe,” La Canfora continued. “I think so. The quarterbacks I’ve talked to – and I’ve talked to quite a few of them – basically think it’s BS that one psi here or there would make a difference at all. I’ve talked to a lot of quarterbacks – including all of them who we employ at CBS, which is quite a few.”

Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Dan Fouts, Steve Beuerlein – the list goes on.

“I’ve talked to everybody,” La Canfora said. “(They all said), ‘This is a crock of you-know-what. Everybody plays around with the ball thing a little bit. The Browns thing, it’s a clear violation of the league’s game day protocol, but in the heat of battle as things are going on, do I really think – even if this gets related to Kyle Shanahan – that it’s going to affect the game? No, it’s just in bad taste, it’s in poor form, it runs afoul of the league and it deserves to be punished – but I don’t think it affected the game.

“This Atlanta thing affects the game,” La Canfora continued. “You’re already in a dome. There’s a certain home-field advantage that’s inherent in that. And you’re artificially making it even more difficult to get plays relayed to hear what’s going on. To me, that kind of stuff and the jamming of signals and frequencies on the sidelines so that the helmets aren’t working right – and I’ve certainly heard many claims of that over the years – to me, that’s a direct infringement of the ability to normally sort of coexist as you would on a game-day Sunday.”

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