At the risk of strengthening the powerful jinx Jeff Schultz just cooked up over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it's worth asking whether the Falcons will face any draft-based sanctions for their admitted practice of piping noise into the Georgia Dome during home games from 2013-2014. Schultz thinks there's a possibility we may not see it in 2015.
The reasoning here is sensible enough. The NFL has released its full draft order, and it would have been a hell of a lot easier to simply take picks away from the Patriots, Falcons and other teams if they were inclined to do so before they sent that one out into the world. We've learned by now that this is a league incapable of making things easy for itself, however, so I wouldn't say this rules out the NFL taking picks away from the Falcons this year. It just would seem to make it less likely.
Schultz proposes two alternatives. The first is fines and the second is surrendered picks in 2016, and I'd obviously prefer the first.
The NFL would probably save itself a lot of time and trouble if it simply fined teams a significant sum, rather than trying to dock teams 2016 picks a full year in advance, but it makes a certain amount of sense from a public relations perspective. If you're looking to take a lot of heat and light off yourself—and the league is, after the way the 2014 season unfolded—ginning up a punishment in May or June that doesn't take place until almost a full year later makes more sense than snatching picks away just weeks ahead of the April draft.
Do you think the Falcons will evade punishment in 2015?