It was totally unexpected and totally shocking. It was also totally unnecessary. NFL tickets holders will see less of Tom Brady this season as the NFL handed down a four-game suspension in the Deflategate case. No matter what side of the fence you are on in this whole fiasco you must agree that there was no reason for things to come down to this. No reason for Brady to have to have his footballs below the league mandated levels to begin with. Why a Hall of Fame quarterback would risk his reputation and his legacy for an uncertain at best advantage is beyond me. Arrogance? The idea that his charmed life could never turn ugly? Who knows?
So, Brady is gone for four games, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million, and the franchise loses a #1 pick in 2016 and a 4th Round the next season. Roger Goodell at least came through on this one, an obvious attempt to get things right and assure the fans who but tickets to NFL games that they are seeing a football game played on a level field and by the rules. He could do no less. To let the Patriots, a franchise already sullied by a spying charge, get by with anything less would have been greeted by a huge uproar of indignation. Toss in the fact that Brady refused to let the investigation have access to his texts and you have all the justification for a stiff sentence.
Honestly, New England got off easy. I don’t think anyone would have been shocked to see eight games in this case. Tampering with competitive advantage is a serious matter. NFL tickets and TV rights are a golden ticket to riches for an elite party of billionaires and they won’t let anyone, even Tom Brady, mess with that.
But it’s not over. Brady will appeal. It could get even more nasty but at least we know that the NFL isn’t going to be playing around when it comes to rule breakers, even if they’ve won four Super Bowls.Eric Drouant