Kevin Harlan is one of the most recognizable announcers in all of sports. While you may associate him first and foremost with the NBA – “LeBron James, with no regard for human life!” – Harlan has called a lot of sports on a lot of levels, including Monday Night Football and the Super Bowl
Ah, yes, the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots. Deflategate. Ted Wells. Tom Brady. Robert Kraft. Bill Belichick. One million in fines. Two draft picks gone.
That’s a lot of NFL headlines for May – which may not be surprising, but it is unsettling.
“This is your defending champion,” Harlan said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, “with your Super Bowl MVP, with the litany of success that lasts more than a decade, with a coach that now is probably been put on the Mount Rushmore of the best coaches in pro football, and a quarterback that may already be on the Mount Rushmore of the best quarterbacks that have ever played – and it’s comfortable.”
For many reasons. Harlan, in fact, believe the NFL deserves some blame for Deflategate.
“What’s uncomfortable to me is that the league wasn’t proactive on this,” Harlan said. “I think they knew about it before (the AFC Championship). Why they couldn’t have notified or sent a security guy or at least given a heads up – which seems to be something that happens within this league – why they couldn’t have done that to just get all of this out of the way is beyond me. But for whatever reason, it didn’t get communicated and the Patriots supposedly got caught. Now Brady is going challenge it, which is his right to do, and I get that.”
Still, that doesn’t make this saga any easier to stomach. Harlan doesn’t understand why the NFL puts on a soap opera seemingly every offseason. It’s a tired act – and an embarrassing one.
“It’s either concussions or it’s player-management issues or it’s this deflated football thing,” he said. “I would love an offseason where it’s nothing but football and building the team and getting juice for the NFL season, and it seems like they just can’t get out of their way. It’s so surprising because as we all know, it’s the best league run by pretty much the best people in sports. And yet the continued fumbling, it’s hard to watch.
“I’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Harlan continued. “My family’s been in pro football since 1970. So it especially hits a chord with our family because this is kind of in the fabric of who we are. It’s tough to watch, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s really too bad. We should be celebrating the game and its great popularity, but all we seem to do is watch litigation and investigations and – no pun intended – one fumble after another. It’s too bad.”