The NFL announced the respective punishments handed out to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for their roles in the Deflategate affair.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer provided the full details of the league’s decision:
This comes after Ted Wells’ report on Brady’s and Patriots personnel’s potential involvement in the intentional deflating of footballs to below league standards during last year’s playoffs. Wells couldn’t definitively say Brady or team employees broke the rules but that the evidence pointed in that direction.
Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and running back LeGarrette Blount all weighed in with their reactions:
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported that Jim McNally and John Jastremski, two team employees implicated in the situation, received indefinite suspensions:
The punishment would seem to fall on the harsher side. Four games is a fourth of the regular season, and the loss of a first-round draft pick is nothing to scoff at. ESPN’s Darren Rovell added that the suspension will be pretty financially costly for Brady:
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport didn’t rule out the chance that Brady could appeal the suspension:
Either way, New England will be without its starting quarterback for at least the first game or two of the 2015 season, depending on any potential appeal. ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith felt that the league was right to reprimand Brady and the Pats but that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime:
ESPN’s Keith Olbermann countered that the cover-up in this case was worse than the actual infraction. Thus New England, given its past history, effectively lost the high ground:
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman took the same line of thinking:
Indeed, Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, indicated that the Patriots’ past indiscretions came back to haunt them in Deflategate:
Jimmy Garoppolo now becomes the man of the moment. The 23-year-old showed promise coming out of Eastern Illinois, which is why the Patriots selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. He appeared in six games last year, going 19-of-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown.
It would be ironic if Garoppolo excelled in Brady’s absence and actually managed to wrest the starting job away from the legendary signal-caller. Brady was a relative unknown when he replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001, and the rest is history.