Brady Needs to be Penalized if he had Knowledge of Deflated Footballs

Just when you thought talk of “Deflategate” was in the past, Ted Wells released a 243 page report that took 103 days to investigate. “Deflategate” refers to the incident in this year’s AFC Championship game in New England between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts where many footballs used by the Patriots’ offense were below the required PSI according to what is stated in the NFL rule book. The report states the following conclusion.

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”

Wells’ report believes the following parties to be responsible for the deflated footballs.

“In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots’ game balls.”

According to the report, there was a great deal of evidence gathered that helped Wells determine his conclusion and who was responsible for the deflated footballs.

“In the weeks and months before the AFC Championship Game, McNally periodically exchanged text messages with the Patriots equipment assistant primarily responsible for the preparation of the Patriots game balls, John Jastremski. In a number of those text messages, McNally and Jastremski discussed the air pressure of Patriots game balls, Tom Brady’s unhappiness with the inflation level of Patriots game balls, Jastremski’s plan to provide McNally with a “needle” for use by McNally, and McNally’s requests for “cash” and sneakers together with the “needle” to be provided by Jastremski. A sports ball inflation needle is a device that can be used to inflate a football (if attached to an air pump) or release air from a football (if inserted alone into a ball).”

There are multiple passages in the report that summarize communications between Brady and Jastremski, as well McNally and Jastremski, that make it probable that Brady was aware of the deflated footballs and may have been the one who encouraged it. What are not included in the report are text messages, emails and relevant phone records of Brady which he refused to provide. If he is innocent and truly had no knowledge of the deflated footballs as he previously stated, then why not provide the information requested? It is well-known Brady prefers his footballs a little softer than others. In 2006, he was a leader in a rule change that allowed quarterbacks to provide their own footballs for games. He also was previously interviewed by sportscaster Bob Costas and it was unlikely anyone with the Patriots would deflate footballs unless they knew it was his preference. These text messages seem to be extremely damaging to Brady. McNally called himself “the deflator” and became frustrated and stressed trying to get the footballs to Brady’s preference. In return, he wanted sneakers and other signed memorabilia from Jastremski in exchange for deflating the footballs.. I find it fishy that Brady and Jastremski had not text or talked by phone for six months before the “Deflategate” story broke in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. After the story came to light, Brady and Jastremski talked by phone at least six times. Coincidentally, Jastremski said Brady asked to talk to him  in the “QB room” at Gillette Stadium, and this was the first time Jastremski had ever been in that room during his 20-year career.tom-brady_416x416 Brady’s image will forever be tarnished whether he had knowledge of the deflated footballs or not. While asking Patriots’ equipment personnel to deflate footballs below the required PSI according to the NFL rule book may not sound like much, it did break the rules and provided Brady with an advantage as he prefers softer footballs. Other quarterbacks such as Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw who won four Super Bowls like Brady have never been implicated in anything that can be considered cheating. Both are Hall of Famers as Brady will be five years after he retires, but you know “deflategate” will be discussed by Hall of Fame voters, on sports talk shows, and at various water coolers throughout the world when it comes time to evaluate Brady’s career for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. Brady’s father, Tom Sr. and his agent both vehemently deny any wrongdoing by Brady. Both ripped the report. His agent called the report “biased and flawed” while his father called it “Framegate right from the beginning.” Were the deflated footballs the reason the Patriots won the game? Absolutely not. The Patriots were leading the game 17-7 at halftime when the Colts complained about the footballs and the officials measured the PSI of all footballs for both teams. While all of the Colts’  footballs measured at least the minimum 12.5 PSI, only one of the eleven balls used by the Patriots even measured 12 PSI, with most falling between 10-11 PSI. Again, the deflated footballs were Brady’s preference and can be viewed as a way to circumvent the rules. The Wells report is being discussed on television, radio, and the internet. Many sources around the NFL expect a suspension and fine for Brady. Commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say about any possible discipline handed out in regards to the report. “As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.” Jarrett Bell of USA Today had a very strong take on what should happen with Brady. “If Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was banned for four games for text messaging his coaching staff during a game, if Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay was temporarily kicked off the competition committee he chairs for noise pollution at the Georgia Dome, if coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis were suspended a few years ago amid the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, then Brady needs to take a seat, too, in the name of integrity.” Bell’s remarks are right on the money. If Brady receives no penalty or is only fined, then it just shows how tight Goodell is with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and him. Goodell has the opportunity to make a statement to the league and its fans. He is constantly being ridiculed for his handling of situations in the past and has come down hard on teams and its players over the last two years. Goodell should suspend Brady at least two games and fine him an exorbitant amount of money just to prove a point that no team or any of its players can get away with circumventing the rules to gain an advantage. Can you imagine the disdain Goodell will receive if Brady plays in the opening game of the 2015 NFL season when the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers minus the suspended Leveon Bell? Steelers’ nation will show up in groves attempting to lynch Goodell. The NFL needs to send a message loud and clear in hopes of never having to deal with a similar situation ever again.

And that’s as I see it!

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