Deflategate: NFL Must Come Down Hard on Tom Brady


Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the release of the Wells report, this makes the second time the New England Patriots have been caught in a cheating scandal.  With Spygate the NFL gave them a slap on the wrist, so this time the league needs to ensure the punishment acts as a strong enough deterrent to dissuade teams and players from doing this again.

The Patriots prospered from Spygate by winning three Super Bowls and they’ve prospered with another championship from Deflategate.  Quarterback Tom Brady denied he had anything to do with this but those e-mails contradict him.

Whether the Patriots gained a competitive advantage from deflating the footballs or not is debatable.  But I’ve asked this question before and I’ll ask it again.  If it didn’t give the Patriots an advantage then why did they do it?

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Obviously Tom Brady thought it gave him an advantage.  I’ve pointed out before that Tom Brady’s arm strength has noticeably deteriorated.  That’s not unusual for an aging quarterback, so maybe Brady felt he had to take steps to compensate for that decline by throwing under inflated footballs.

But this is also a question of integrity.  We all make mistakes but after Spygate one would think that the Patriots would be less inclined to cheat.  This wasn’t a mistake by Brady and the Patriots, this was a blatant disregard for the rules of fair competition.

He knew what he was doing and when confronted with the truth, he lied about it.  Brady and the Patriots should have known better.  If the NFL had come down harder on them after Spygate, maybe they would have learned a proper lesson.

This wasn’t a mistake by Brady and the Patriots, this was a blatant disregard for the rules of fair competition.

Which is why they can’t make the same mistake again.  It does not good to fine Tom Brady, as he arguably the richest player in the NFL.  So the league will have to suspend him.  As a member of the Patriots during the Spygate, this makes Brady’s second offense.

I think at least a six-game suspension is in order for Tom Brady.  Four games for his involvement in deflating footballs and two more games for failing to cooperate fully with the investigation.

Even though Bill Belichick was not held accountable in the Wells Report, the Patriots should still lose a first round draft pick.  After Spygate their internal policies against cheating should have been harsher.

I like many have been a fan of Tom Brady but he’s made a mockery of the sport.  He’s prospered from cheating.  The Super Bowl MVP, the glory from winning.  Deflating footballs helped him achieve those things and while the NFL can’t take them back, they can certainly give him the punishment befitting a cheater.

Yes, he’s one of the games’ biggest stars but that’s why his punishment has to be harsh.  They have to let the rank and file players know that even the big stars aren’t immune from NFL justice.

An example has to be set.  The question was asked during Redskins Training Camp last season when the Patriots and Redskins practiced together.  What could Robert Griffin III learn from Tom Brady as a quarterback?

How Tom Brady conducts himself as a professional and how hard he practices.  All great qualities for a young QB to aspire to.  But the example of cheating can’t be one of them.  It’s not Brady’s responsibility to set an example for young players but it is the NFL’s responsibility to define a level of expectation for them.

The integrity of the game is more important than any one player.  Even a player as great as Tom Brady.  This behavior can’t be tolerated, so Tom Brady and the Patriots have to made an example of for Deflategate.

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