The Ending to Deflategate... Possibly
Is it finally over? The “Deflategate” saga, that sparked a Cold War between New England QB Tom Brady and the NFL, began on a frosty night in January 2015 and finally melts in the July heat. That is 19 months people. 19 months to figure out if Tom Brady had two Patriot’s assistants, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, purposely deflate footballs on orders from their pro-bowl QB. After an initial investigation by the League, an independent investigation by attorney Ted Wells, a NY court case, and a circuit court of appeals case, it finally appears that Tom Brady will be serving a four game suspension.
The “Deflategate” controversy started when Indianapolis Colts officials contacted the league stating they felt there was a chance the Patriots were deflating their footballs. Apparently there had been rumors that other teams felt the same, namely the Baltimore Ravens, and that the Colts had noticed Patriot’s footballs being severely under-inflated during their week 11 meeting. After an interception of Tom Brady before half-time the Colts tested a Patriot’s football, finding it to be under-inflated and prompted the NFL to check them at half-time. The NFL found them to be generally under-inflated and one ball in particular to be severely under-inflated and prompted an investigation into the Patriots.
What followed was a large amount of evidence against the Patriots, but all of it being circumstantial. Patriot’s balls were still under-inflated when compared to Colts balls, which had been in the same conditions, which threw out Patriots excuses of the ideal gas law being the reason for deflation. A Patriot assistant was on camera taking the balls into a bathroom on his way to the field, and staying in there for 90 seconds. The Patriot assistants joked about Tom Brady rewarding them for deflating the footballs for him through text messages, including calling one the “deflator.” Tom Brady also destroyed his phone and sim card rather than hand it over for investigation. After an independent report by Ted Wells, the league handed down a punishment of a 1st round pick being taken away from the Patriots and Tom Brady being suspended for four games.
The Patriots denied all claims of tampering with the footballs, but there were rumors that they only did so because of fear Tom Brady would be suspended from the Super Bowl and they would have complied and taken the likely equipment fine if it had been a different situation. This is further validated by the fact that Patriots owner Robert Kraft submitted to the team punishment of a 1st round pick being taken and suspended the assistants suspected of tampering. Tom Brady’s team of lawyers and agents went to work crafting a PR campaign to try to win the public’s opinion by picking apart the Wells Report and crafting reasons why Tom destroyed his phone. The campaign worked when they convinced the U.S. District Court’s Judge Berman to throw out Brady’s suspension. The NFL appealed the decision and brought it to the U.S. Court of Appeals where they won and had the suspension re-instated. Brady appealed the decision but lost today, forcing him to either accept the suspension or take his appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Every sports writer or talk show host has discussed the suspension ad nauseam and hope that this has finally brought an end to one of the most drawn out stories in the history of the NFL. The Patriots must now look to starting back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans, and Bills. The Patriots have relied on their star QB for a long time for their success. They have constructed an offense specifically tailored to his strengths, quick accurate short passes, and this type of offense is usually tough on a rookie who needs room to make mistakes and plays that highlight their big arm. The AFC East has to be looking at this suspension as their best opportunity to take down the division leader New England. This leaves the Jets with the questions, if this is our best window to win the division, why are our QB and best defensive player unsigned?