The biggest sports headline over the past two weeks has been Tom Brady and “Deflategate”. For those who haven’t been following this story (which is you’re a sports fan, it would impossible), the NFL levied their punishment on Monday against Brady and the Patriots organization. Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the season and the Patriots are fined one million dollars and have lost a first round draft pick in 2016 & a fourth rounder in 2017.
I’ve taken my time and tried to be as objective as I can in developing my opinion on this subject as a whole. I wanted to wait to see how the NFL was going to punish those involved before writing anything. The best way to look at this story is in three parts; Deflategate (as a whole), Tom Brady and the New England Patriots organization.
The actual deflation of the footballs isn’t something that truly bothers me in regards to Brady’s legacy. Brady showed in the second half of the Colts game and again in the Super Bowl that he can be great regardless of the PSI level in a football. What’s bothersome is the completive advantage it can give other positions on the field.
Running backs for example, gain an advantage with having a “softer” football to maintain a strong grip throughout contact. If you’re not convinced, here’s a stat that might change your mind. Benjarvus Green-Ellis played 4 seasons with the Patriots form 2008-2011 and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. Throughout his career in New England, Green-Ellis never fumbled the football; 510 rushing attempts and 0 fumbles. In his first season with the Bengals he fumbled the ball 3 times out of 278 rushing attempts (in total, he has 5 fumbles in 2 seasons). Now I’m not saying that there’s a direct correlation between Deflate-Gate and Green-Eliis’ numbers, I just think it’s worth mentioning.
So as a team I believe that the Patriots might have gained an advantage overall by using deflated footballs, but I don’t think Brady should be looked at any less [as a quarterback] because he’s shown his greatness on the field time and time again.
Brady couldn’t have handled this situation any worse. He’s been coy, arrogant and defiant throughout this process. All the Brady supporters have been screaming innocence since day one, but if you step back and really think about it, Brady hasn’t acted like a falsely accused victim; rather, he’s acted like someone who’s trying like hell to uphold his “golden boy” image and flawless career resume.
He has yet to come out and defiantly say that all these accusations are false and that he’s innocent. Instead he’s hid behind his lawyer(s), agent, and parents; while they’re left to defend him and label the investigation as a “witch hunt”.
He was asked point blank if he felt as though he was a cheater by a reporter following the AFC Championship game and his response was, “I don’t think so.”
How the hell do you not know whether or not you cheat in order to gain a competitive advantage?
If he was as innocent as he claims and for the sake of preventing his legacy from being tarnished or tainted, why wouldn’t he come out immediately and contest these accusations? Or better yet, why would he stonewall an investigation by refusing to release the text messages and e-mails in question? Most innocent individuals come out immediately screaming from the mountain tops declaring their innocence, not hiding in the shadows behind an entourage.
I like many other sports fans (who don’t root for the Pats) have zero sympathy for Patriots and the punishment that they’ve received. For years they’ve been accused of playing “fast and loose” with the rules and have continued to get away with it. Following Spy-Gate, the Commissioner did the Patriots a favor by destroying those tapes but warned them that further infractions would severely cost them. Being the arrogant franchise that they are and with owner Bob Kraft’s friendship with Goodell, they believed that no one could touch them.
For those who love to hail Kraft and this “great man” and owner really need to take a step back and reevaluate that opinion. Before the investigation took place, Kraft strongly supported Ted Wells being appointed to oversee the investigation however, once his findings weren’t in favor of Kraft or his team, he started bashing Wells and his report; claiming that it wasn’t “impartial” or “fair”. Not to mention this was the same owner who claimed that the NFL was going to owe the organization and his quarterback an apology following the investigation.
This was a long time coming and I think most will agree that the Patriots (as a whole) got what they deserved.
Brady knew what was happening and lied to cover it up. He was (and still is) afraid that by admitting guilt it would tarnish his impeccable reputation and standing within the league. I think that Brady’s attitude towards this whole process has damaged his public image. His arrogance and self-righteous attitude have turned many people off and the public perception of “who he is” is taking a big hit.
There are those biased few who are claiming Brady wouldn’t do this and “justice” will prevail. To those people I say this; the only way Brady will be exonerated in the court of public opinion is if he takes this matter to court (not NFL court) and is proven innocent. The problem with that is if Brady goes to court, he’s going to have to release those text messages and emails that he refused to release to Ted Wells during Wells’ investigation; and if Brady has nothing to hide, it makes no sense why he would stonewall an investigation that would’ve come out in his favor.
This story isn’t over; it’s just beginning, which is sad when you think about it. Brady is unquestionably one of the greatest ever, but his arrogance and ego have prevented him from making smart decisions regarding this matter; which in turn has irrevocably damaged his image and possibly his legacy.