Bill Simmons' new HBO show "Any Given Wednesday" premiered Wednesday night and included a conversation with Ben Affleck that centered on a topic of special interest to the two Boston sports fans: Deflategate. Affleck's thoughts on the matter were direct: "It's a fucking ridiculous smear campaign."
Deflategate, the seemingly never-ending controversy involving NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over his alleged use of underinflated footballs in a January 2015 playoff game, is a cause célèbre of Patriots fans like Simmons and Affleck, who feel that Goodell treated Brady unfairly.
A red-faced Affleck unleashed an angry, often-slurred screed against Goodell that led some viewers to speculate on social media that the actor was drinking before he took the stage. Drunk or not, Affleck delivered an expletive-laced rant worthy of a 2:00 AM conversation in a Quincy dive bar.
"Deflategate is the ultimate bullshit fucking outrage of sports, ever," Affleck opened. "It's so fucking stupid."
"I talk to fucking football players, pro football players — across the board they think it's bullshit," he continued.
Simmons, who was suspended by his then-employer ESPN after calling Goodell a "liar" in 2014 while discussing the NFL's response to the Ray Rice domestic violence controversy, seemed eager to use his new platform to criticize the NFL boss with impunity. "You can absolutely say that on HBO," Simmons gleefully reminded Affleck after the actor questioned Goodell's integrity. "I don't know if my old employer would have agreed."
Affleck then delivered the mother of all Deflategate hot takes: "This is a conspiracy of people working inside the NFL who all come from organizations that Tom Brady whipped their ass over the last 10 or 15 years. So there's guys who worked for the fucking Jets and the Broncos and everybody else who are now going, 'Get him! Hang him!' because they have some slight, flimsy fucking pretense. And Tom is so classy."
Watch the full clip from HBO below: