I can’t believe that I’m writing two columns in a week on this matter. On Monday, the NFL released punishment against the Patriots for the DeflateGate scandal, a whole five days after the Wells Report came out. While DeflateGate isn’t on the NFL itself, they still have a whole lot to do with why the media is obsessing over it, and why I’m writing about this again.
I’m not here to rip the NFL, like I have done in the past, deservedly so. At least, I’ll try not to. No promises.
The NFL’s punishment against the Patriots included all of the following:
- A four game suspension for Tom Brady
- A $1 million dollar fine against the Patriots
- A loss of their 2016 1st round pick and 2017 4th round pick
As for the two locker room assistants, they have been suspended by the Patriots. They are not league employees, they’re team employees. New England has the right to do anything they want to with them. Honestly, I’m not sure how hard it is to not just fire them and be done with it. But then again, it seems the Patriots and NFL are doing all they can to drag this out and make a bigger deal out of it than they need to. Heck, the two locker room people were the biggest culprits in this. Just get rid of them!
I didn’t think Tom Brady deserved to get suspended. This is a minor violation of rules, even though it is cheating. However, the length of Brady’s suspension had less to do with his role in the incident and had more to do with his behavior. First, Brady was not cooperative with investigators while the Wells Report was being put together. He wouldn’t give much up. Second, Brady did lie to investigators, the NFL, his team, his coach and owner. That, I think, has more to do with it than anything. And that affects his legacy more than anything else in this situation does. He lied, he wasn’t cooperative. The NFL made him pay for it. But how come Roger Goodell didn’t pay for it when he lied???
When it comes to Brady lying, I really think that, during Super Bowl Week, he was focused on the game, and didn’t want any distractions, so he shot it down, but didn’t realize the consequences that would come later. He didn’t handle it like a professional. I think it’s that simple, and I hope it is.
Jimmy Garoppolo is gonna start for the first four games of the year, and as it’s too early to say how he’ll play, this is a big opportunity for a young guy to show his stuff. It will also give New England a good hint at whether he could be the successor to Brady when the time comes. The Patriots’ schedule those first four weeks is kinda tough. I’d say, even though it’s early, that New England will be favored in no more than two of those games.
The $1 million dollar fine is the largest handed down in NFL history, but c’mon, this is a team that drives in $428 million in revenue a year. To them, that’s chump change.
The draft picks are just killer, and this is where I feel like the NFL might have gone overboard. Losing a first rounder is one the harshest penalties you can get, and you never know what a 4th round pick can bring. New England lost a pick when SpyGate came along in 2007. Actually, even though it’s past and over it with, that incident came back to haunt the Patriots again. The NFL treated them as second time offenders to the “integrity of the game” rule. That made the penalty harsher.
The NFL dragged this out longer they had to. Following the AFC Championship Game, they said the investigation would be complete in three weeks. It was somewhere around 85 days after that statement when the Wells Report came out. Then, the NFL made us wait five days after that for the punishment. Here’s my issue: The NFL has had the report done for awhile now. They had it the whole time (Oh, that sounds familiar!). The NFL waited to release the report to create drama. Then, they waited the five days to release the punishment because they were worried that they’d get trashed again. Really, the media decided the punishment. The NFL gauged public opinion on the Wells Report before punishing the Patriots. Really, the media made the decision about punishment.
We still made a bigger deal out of this than we should have. Really, the NFL might’ve. While I did have a change of mind about how the PSI of the football’s would give a team an advantage, it still didn’t affect the AFC Championship Game. Catching a deflated football or a normal football shouldn’t matter when you’re wide open; that shows you how the Colts played in the second half. We should all feel ashamed that we spent this much time on this, but in the end, it may not have been our fault.