On Tuesday morning, ESPN's Outside the Lines released a hefty piece examining the Patriots run "from Spygate to Deflategate." The report from Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham included the allegation that the Patriots recorded 40 -- not six -- games and hand signals of opposing teams.
Additionally, the authors spoke to an NFL owner who told them he viewed Deflategate as "a makeup call" for Spygate.
"The widespread perception that Goodell gave the Patriots a break on Spygate, followed by the NFL's stonewalling of a potential congressional investigation into the matter, shaped owners' expectations of what needed to be done by 345 Park Ave. on Deflategate," ESPN writes.
Speaking with Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio on Tuesday morning, Goodell said there is "no connection" between Spygate and Deflategate.
"I have not seen this report in any way. I can just tell you that I’m not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here," Goodell said. "We obviously learn from every time we go through any kind of a process and get better at it, but there’s no connection in my mind between the two instances."
The connection drawn by ESPN relates to Goodell's decision to destroy the tapes -- again, 40 of them according to the Outside the Lines report -- to protect what one executive called the NFL's "gold franchise."
"Goodell didn't want anybody to know that his gold franchise had won Super Bowls by cheating," a senior executive whose team lost to the Patriots in a Super Bowl told ESPN. "If that gets out, that hurts your business."