Justice was served Monday night in the form of a suspension that has rocked the NFL to its core and taken down one of the game's most treasured athletes with it.
When the New England Patriots begin their defense of a Super Bowl title this September they will do so without Tom Brady under center, as the quarterback has been suspended for the season's first four games after his involvement in DeflateGate. Brady was cited hundreds of times in the report as having indirect, or even direct knowledge of what both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were doing to the footballs before Patriots' games; a history of violence that could date back years.
The two equipment guys were both suspended indefinitely, and chances are they will be fired and will never see an NFL field again. Justice has been served there, since both were totally rouge and irresponsible in their behavior by first trying to fool the NFL by concealing the deflation of footballs, and for lying to investigators during initial stages of the search.
Yet this story really isn't even about them even though it begins with them. This is about Tom Brady, the once highly decorated quarterback with four Super Bowl rings, a red hot super model wife, and a life most would kill for. Yet Brady, like his head coach Bill Belichick, felt that just being good wasn't good enough.
The report hints all to often, and even concludes that Brady had his thumb on both Jastremski and McNally, ordering that the balls be prepared to a certain specification, even if it were under the 12.5 psi limit.
Therefore Brady deserves to be suspended. He was as much responsible for breaking the rules as anyone and did so with the thought process that he could get away with it. And for a majority of his career he has gotten away with it. While the report said that Brady did interview with investigators, he didn't fully comply as he didn't hand over emails and text messages asked for by the Wells' team which makes him even more culpable in the matter.
When the NFL came out with the report last week, Brady, his agent and the Patriots trashed it as lacking "sufficient evidence," and Brady himself waved it off as no big deal in an interview with Jim Gray.
Such hubris. Such arrogance. This is what the Patriots deserve. This is a franchise that has carried itself above the NFL for far too long. From SpyGate in 2007 to DeflateGate today, the Patriots think they can do as they please and nobody will notice. They win Super Bowls with players who were once considered scraps, and nobody says a word. They set records for consecutive home wins and nobody bats an eye. They go 16-0 in 2007 and were that close to being considered the greatest team ever. Nobody dare questions the Patriots because they are so wonderful.
That opinion is now dead, and should never live again. The Patriots are their own worst enemy in this case. Not only are they arrogant and bask in the glory of their own self gratification, and abundant love from the media, they are paranoid. They are so worried that they won't be loved, and won't be considered the best that they cheat.
Cheating to the Patriots is the only guarantee they have at staying atop the mountain. For 14 years it worked. Even after SpyGate, all they got was a slap on the wrist from the NFL. Not this time.
In addition to losing Brady, Robert Kraft will be $1 million poorer, and the Patriots will lose a first round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth rounder in 2017.
The only thing the NFL didn't do was suspend Belichick. While the Wells' report exonerates the coach, there is little doubt he has been the main orchestrator in the Patriots cheating ways. He should have been suspended at least 2-3 games.
Without Brady, the Patriots will suffer. They open against Pittsburgh, visit Buffalo in week 2. After a winnable game against the lowly Jaguars in week 3, they will face the Cowboys following a Bye Week in week 5. With untested Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback that sounds a lot like 1-3. By the time Brady gets back, the Patriots will be visiting the Colts -- the team that blew the whistle on Brady's entire operation.
While it would have been nice to see Brady get 6-8 weeks or even the entire season on the bench, this penalty seems sufficient and satisfying. The Patriots will suffer greatly for Brady's transgressions and their chances at repeating are greatly diminished. Cheaters never win ... ever.