Feb 2, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (left) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pose with the Pete Rozelle trophy during the Super Bowl XLIX-Winning Head Coach and MVP Press Conference at Media Center-Press Conference Room B. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
At Stripe Hype we normally talk about the Cincinnati Bengals, but when something comes out like this about a team cheating to gain an advantage, we turn our focus if just for a moment. We all heard about Deflategate within hours of it happening and since then, the investigation and the speculation has run it’s course around the NFL. Now, the investigation has led to the Ted Wells report, which says that Tom Brady was “generally aware” of the balls being deflated.
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The report, provided by CNN, concluded that two of the staff in the locker room, Jim McNally and John Jastremski had discussed on numerous occasions how Tom Brady wanted the balls under inflated and seemed like cash, autographs, and benefits for doing it would be provided. It also referenced how almost each ball was under inflated by over one PSI in 10 of the 11 balls when both officials tested the balls. However, it also states that no evidence was provided to prove any involvement of ownership or coaching staff, removing head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft from the immediate firing line, although guilty by association could still be on the table.
He goes on to point out how Brady acknowledged the investigation and was informed of the questioning being done by the league. However, Brady’s team has said inclusion of his testimony would have put some light on his involvement or lack there of, according to Don Yee, who is Tom Brady’s agent, gave and that the league report was biased and flawed. Yee said that the report was “a significant and terrible disappointment.” Yee also didn’t fall short of calling it a sting operation against Brady, but did stop short of calling it a head hunt.
The text messages used in the investigation dated October 17th, 2014 were only a couple weeks after the Bengals had faced the New England Patriots, and the report does not say how long the balls were being deflated. It also does not mean the Bengals would have won their Sunday Night matchup–the Bengals did end up losing 43-17 after all–but does mean the Patriots could have had an immediate edge.
It is widely known that a friendship between Patriots owner Robert Craft and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell exists. So the question to Yee becomes, why would Goodell and the league choose the Patriots to head hunt or conduct a “sting” on when this investigation would strain and possibly destroy such a friendship? In my opinion, the league got this one right.
It will now be up to the NFL to decide if punishment is in order for Tom Brady or any other member of the New England Patriots. Spygate brought fines and a loss of a first-round draft pick. With Tom Brady being the face and leader of the organization, any punishment would significantly affect the organization. The team could also be held liable for the actions of McNally and Jastremski who were seemingly acting under the instruction of Brady.