The New England Patriots Shame…Again: Tom Brady and the Patriots Get Punished

When DeflateGate first broke out, both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick denied doing anything wrong before the AFC Championship game against the Colts.  Four days after the story broke, Bill Belichick stated that he had no knowledge of the incident and went on record saying:

“Tom’s personal preference on his footballs are something he can talk about in much better detail than I can possible provide.”

Whether Bill Belichick intentionally turned attention away from himself and onto Brady is anyone’s guess, but its difficult to believe that Belichick didn’t know what was going on with his team.  A man who’s “confidence” has no bounds, who believes and acts like the smartest guy in the room.  Let’s face it, Belichick still is infamous for SpyGate.

Getty Images

Bill Belichick – Getty Images

Who would have thought the accusations of deflated balls at the 2014 AFC conference championship would have lead to an investigation proving that the balls were deflated and the person responsible was none other than Tom Brady.

So here we are again, talking about what is basically the punchline of a bad joke – deflated balls.  Need anymore be said?  What was most mind blowing about the “scandal” is that at one point there was speculation that a Patriots “ball boy” loved his team so much, he took some balls into the bathroom and deflated the balls to ensure a win.  Pretty rotten to try to put the spotlight on some kid.  But hey, it did lead to this awesome video on Jimmy Kimmel where a number of celebrities came to Brady’s defense:

The Truth Behind the Balls?

With the Wells Report, we can’t help but speculate more about DeflateGate.  It’s said that deflated balls help to grip the ball, which is why there is a regulation psi.  In fact, a study was done comparing the fumble rates of the Patriots between the time period of 2000-2006 and 2007-2014.

Why these two blocks of time?

In 2006, Tom Brady and Payton Manning lobbied the NFL to allow each team to provide all the footballs used on offense.  The league agreed and changed the policy.  Previously, the home team provided all the footballs.

Tom Brady - Getty Images

Tom Brady – Getty Images

The bottom line… the study showed that prior to 2007, the Patriots had an average number of fumbles in line with non-dome teams in the league.  Since 2007, the Patriots went from one fumble every 36 plays to one fumble every 76 plays.  The only thing that had changed was the policy that each team was allowed to provide balls to use on offense.  This doesn’t definitively prove that Tom Brady and the Patriots cheated, but it does seem suspicious.

The take away is if the Patriots have been ‘deflating balls’ since 2007, does that mean every Conference Championship and Super Bowl that the Patriots won after 2007 should be null and void?  We see happen in college all the time (I’m looking at you USC and Miami).  But would that be appropriate in the NFL?  One can only wonder.

What’s Next?

The Patriots did win 45-7 against the Indianapolis Colts.  It’s hard to blame a loss that big on deflated balls.  However with massive popularity of the NFL growing internationally and the impact athletes have on the youth of our society, cheating isn’t a matter to take likely even for something the NFL might consider a relatively minor rule violation.  Cheating demonstrates bad sportsmanship.  And doling out a punishment demonstrates that everyone, even Tom Brady and the Patriots, are responsible for their actions.

Roger Goodell - Bleacher Report Photo

Roger Goodell – Bleacher Report Photo

Since there has been no consistency to Rodger Goodell’s methods for formal reprimand, we were breathlessly waiting for Rodger Goodell to spin his punishment wheel, which include:

  • The Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer being suspended 4 games and the team was fined $250 for texts to sidelines. Which weren’t even good texts since the Browns lost a bunch of games anyway.
  • The Atlanta Falcons had to forfeit 2016 5th round pick for pumping crowd noise into their stadium home games. Again, which ultimately didn’t appear to help them much.
  • The New York Jets were fined $100k for Darrelle Revis tampering.
  • And three other times the Patriots have been reprimanded this off-season.

The Punishment

On Monday, the NFL announced that Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on ‘the integrity of the game.’  The team will also be fined $1 million and forfeit a 2016 first round pick and 2017 fourth round pick in the NFL draft.

Whether you love or hate Tom Brady, its doesn’t look like his dimple, smile and looks will let him skate over these bumpy times.

Keep in mind though that Brady can still appeal this ruling, and at least Shawne Merriman thinks that it will reduced to 2 games:

Shawne Merriman Tweet re Brady

I tend to agree that there might be some modification to the suspension.  But ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  The NFL demonstrated that there were consequences for breaking rules, so integrity is upheld.  Or has it?

As for the Patriots, Jimmy Garappolo will take the reigns, and in all likelihood, the Patriots will go 2-2 and win the division anyway.  So was this really a “punishment”?

So I ask you all — Is this a “win-win”?  Or a “lose-lose”?

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u

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