- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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Keisel also took aim at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the wake of the controversy that has raised new questions about the lengths to which the Patriots will go to win.
"It's a damn shame what's going on right now in the league," Keisel said on WDVE Radio in Pittsburgh. "To me the one place you look is Goodell."
Goodell and the league have to sort through reports that most of the footballs supplied by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday were not inflated to NFL standards. The Patriots thumped the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but the shine from that victory quickly faded when New England came under scrutiny for what has been dubbed "Deflate-gate."
Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady each denied they had anything to do with what happened last Sunday at Gillette Stadium, and that the air pressure level in footballs would not have mushroomed into a national story if it was an isolated incident.
But in 2007, the Patriots were fined heavily and stripped of a first-round draft pick after Goodell ruled the team had illegally videotaped opponents.
"They are looking to win at all costs," Keisel said of the Patriots. "That's why they've been to the Super Bowl six times. There are rules and you're supposed to follow the rules, but sometimes the rules don't get followed and it's a shame."
Steelers president Art Rooney II said earlier this week that taking air out of footballs would not rise to the level of a major rules breach.
When asked if the NFL has to take a hard line if the Patriots tried to gain an advantage because of past transgressions, he said, "I think the league will have to impose some discipline if they determine what's being reported as fact. I have no idea what is reality and what is not at this point. But if it happened, it's a violation of the rules, and I'm sure the league will impose some kind of discipline."
429dScott Brown and David Newton