Shutdown Corner - NFL

I believe strongly in the power of rivalry and disdain to add to the intrigue of sports. No sporting event has ever been hurt by a good storyline behind it. No game has ever been less exciting because the competitors loathed one another.

With that in mind, a Bears vs. Ravens 2012 Super Bowl doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world.

You know what happened by now. Thursday night during the first round of the draft, the Bears agreed to give the Ravens a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for moving up from 29th overall to 26th overall.

But the Bears failed to notify the league -- they take full responsibility for the failure and call it an honest mistake -- and the trade never happened. The Ravens, thinking it would happen, didn't make a pick. The clock ran out on them, which allowed Kansas City to jump ahead of them in the draft order.

The trade never happened. The Ravens lost a spot and didn't get the fourth-rounder from Chicago. Chicago stayed where they were at 29th and ended up getting the man they wanted anyway.

Roger Goodell reviewed the case, and said he wasn't going to force the Bears to give the Ravens the draft pick. He did say, though, that he'd recommend to the Bears that they do give up the draft pick.

They won't be doing that. They do offer, however, a very heartfelt apology.

Here's how Ravens head coach John Harbaugh feels about it:

"I can't imagine why they would be so opposed to doing this ... You're talking about your reputation. You're talking about how you do business. The McCaskeys are the McCaskeys. They are the NFL. I really think if they were making the decision, I'm pretty sure their fourth-round pick wouldn't be worth the history of their reputation.

[...]

"It's pretty hard to understand. .. We do stand on our integrity."

Here's how Bears GM Jerry Angelo feels about it.

"The only thing I am going to say is they have rules when you do something wrong. Not when people make mistakes. A mistake was made. No rule was broken, OK, so let's just make that clear here. As I said last night, we made the proper amends from our part and certainly there was no intent other than to do the best we could and it just didn't work out.

[...]

"Believe me, I am going into my 31st year in this league," he said. "There has been a hell of a lot worse that has been done, believe me, on the clock and there have been things out there documented so let's not get into judging souls here. If there is something that needs to be done, I trust the league will do their due diligence and so be it."

Put yourself in Mr. Angelo's shoes. A trade was agreed upon, but did not go down. Let's assume that you know in your heart that the trade fell through via an honest mistake, and not through any nefarious intentions.

A mini-John Harbaugh is sitting on one of your shoulders saying, "Stand on your integrity. Give the Ravens the fourth-round draft pick." Mini-Jerry Angelo is sitting on your other shoulder saying, "Accidents will happen. You don't owe anyone anything. Keep your draft pick."

I believe I'd side with mini-Angelo. It is, in fact, an imperfect world in which accidents do happen. They didn't get to move up in the first round, and the Ravens did not get an additional draft pick. That's the way the ball bounced here. If the Bears agree to give up a draft pick out of the goodness of their own heart, do the Ravens also have to agree to trade first-round spots with the Bears the next time the draft order lines up that way?

At the end of the day, everyone got what they wanted. The Ravens got their man in Jimmy Smith(notes) and the Bears got their man in Gabe Carimi(notes). The Chiefs even got Jonathan Baldwin, whom they wanted for some reason.

Let's just call it even right there. Everyone got their guy. I'm really sorry that the Ravens have hurt feelings, but I'm not going to give them a draft pick for which I received nothing in return. Their hurt feelings are not enough to compel me.

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