In case you missed the Tom Brady press conference about Deflate Gate, you need to check it out above. It was much more entertaining than the AFC Title Game in which the deflated balls became a national story. The quarterback of the New England Patriots looked as uncomfortable as I have ever seen him. He certainly was not a nervous wreck, but for a three time Super Bowl Champion with a rock star following and a man who has made babies with a supermodel, the guy was not 100% steady.
Brady was thrown to the wolves as he took questions for about 30 minutes on Thursday from the blood thirsty press. It was a long and mostly uncomfortable event for the Patriot’s QB. I have a feeling that the NFL mandated a long Q&A with reporters since surely Belichick would not allow his guy to be subjected to that many questions. It was ugly for a superstar who usually is respected and a bit feared by the media. Neither was the case on Thursday as reporters interrupted Brady each time he tried to use a cliché or go with some non-answer. One guy actually asked Brady, “When and how did you alter the game balls?” Wow! Tom Brady has never been treated like this in a presser. He was far from the confident guy he usually is and even was as a young starter after the Tuck Rule Game with the Raiders. When asked repeatedly about the fumble issue back then, he said to a reporter, “Yeah I was pulling the ball down, how you like that!”
Public opinion will be drawn along the lines of whether you like the Patriots or you hate them. Fans of the team and Brady will say it is a non issue and move on. Haters are gonna hate as they say. Those detractors are going to say that Brady is simply lying about having “no knowledge of anything.” And it’s not just fans that are saying Brady is not being truthful. Guys at the forefront of the big media are saying it as well. Mark Brunnell made it clear on ESPN that he thinks Tom Brady is a liar. Troy Aikmam had the same sentiments saying, “It’s obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this.” Bold words from one of the most respected broadcasters in the game.
Aikman also noted how easy that Roger Goodell has been on the Patriots in the past. Spy Gate was a deep form of cheating and Goodell gave the Pats just a slap on the wrist according to the former Super Bowl winning quarterback.
It appears to me that Brady could be lying to some degree. Maybe he just mentioned to an equipment manager how “it would be nice if the balls were a little deflated” and gave him a wink. That would be plausible deniability . If I were that equipment manager I would do what Tom Brady said…and you would as well. And if called upon to fall on the sword eventually, I would do so. It is most likely that an equipment manager for an NFL team is not doing it for the money. They are probably big fans and just want to be around the team.
I keep hearing from players and fans that the Colts would have lost the game no matter what the weight of the footballs. That is true in my eyes as well. But that is missing the point. Yes the Patriots have straight owned the Colts and Andrew Luck. They would have won this game nine times out of ten without cheating. It’s not if the cheating helped them win. It is about the fact that they cheated, period. Why deflate the balls if it is not going to give your team an advantage? For the hell of it? No. The balls were deflated to help them make sure of a win. What is the most common decider of football games? Turnovers. If the Patriots could use balls that were easier to hang on to, especially in the rain, then they would have a clear advantage.
Football is a game of inches and momentum. The Colts were not the better team on Sunday. That does not mean they could not have won. What if Brady throws two interceptions and Blount loses a fumble, all in the first half? That would have given the Colts a big edge and most like put them ahead in terms of the turnover battle. Stats show about a 80 percent winning percentage for the team with fewer turnovers than the opponent.
Just what is going to happen in the next few days leading up to the Super Bowl? Tom Brady is never ever going to admit to any wrong doing. TMZ is searching for dirt on all the Patriots’ equipment managers. Belichick is not giving Jimmy Garoppolo extra snaps in case Roger Goodell decides to suspend his buddy Robert Kraft’s golden child, Tom Brady. Richard Sherman is working on every single one liner that relates to balls and air pressure.
It is going to be a wild nine days as the buildup to the Super Bowl continues. Many conspiracy theorists are already claiming this Deflate Gate is simply to build up the hype for the Super Bowl. While this coverage will reach a ton of people, I am pretty sure that the most watched event on TV does not need any extra hype.
I don’t believe anything is going to happen to Brady as far as a suspension. It would be awful from a fan standpoint to see the Super Bowl with one team minus their best player. The NFL goes out of its way to protect these quarterbacks with safety rules all year making sure they are available for the championship games. It may surprise you to find out that the Seahawks do not want Brady out of the game either. You think that proud group of pro athletes wants to win over a team with a backup QB? No sir, they want to whip the Patriots at full strength. Pete Carroll and that historically great defense do not want any sort of asterisk beside a possible Super Bowl win.
Goodell needs to come down hard on the team in some fashion though. It may seem like a small issue to some people, but this ball tampering is akin to performance enhancing drugs as one Ravens player pointed out. Going outside the rulebook is giving yourself a competitive advantage.
I’m pretty sure that Tom Brady ordered the Code Red on these deflated footballs. But unless the NFL can get him on the stand with Tom Cruise questioning him like a rabid dog, he is never going to admit it. I don’t like cheating, but I would like a Super Bowl matchup between Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo even less.