BY Art Thiel 05:15PM 05/11/2015

Brady suspended 4 games, Pats lose picks, $1M

For Deflategate, the NFL came down hard on the Super Bowl champs: A four-game suspension for Tom Brady, loss of a first- and fourth-round draft pick, and a $1 million fine.

At his first media appearance at Super Bowl week in Phoenix, Patriots QB Tom Brady denied knowledge of deflating footballs used in the AFC title game seven days earlier. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest

Well, this news figures to end dinners and drinks for Roger Goodell at the home of his friend/mentor/senior commissioner, Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The NFL crushed New England, 28-24 winners over the Seahawks in the Super Bowl  XLIX, for Deflategate — a four-game suspension for QB Tom Brady, loss of a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 and a league-record $1 million fine.

However, no refund was mentioned for the Seahawks. Nevertheless, as the New York Post headline said five days ago when the Wells report was released: “Great Balls of Liar!”

The league statement Monday accepted the conclusion of a 243-page report prepared by attorney Ted Wells, which found that two Patriots staffers deliberately deflated footballs before the AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts, and that Brady “was at least generally aware” of the violations.

Wells said it was “more probable than not” that Brady knew of plans to prepare the footballs to his liking, below the NFL-mandated minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch.

The report identified two Patriots employees — officials’ locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski — as the ones who executed the plan.


Brady repeatedly stated that he did not know about the efforts to deflate the game balls, but Wells’ report found those claims “not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.”

Brady’s agent said last week that the report contains “significant and tragic flaws” and suggested that the NFL cooperated in a “sting operation” with the Colts, who alerted the league of their suspicions.

At the Pats’ arrival in Phoenix for the Super Bowl, Kraft, perhaps Goodell’s closest friend among owners, made a surprise appearance at a press briefing to denounce the pending NFL investigation of the then week-old scandal:

“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach (Bill) Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week.”

Instead, the NFL found reason not only to deliver the biggest fine in NFL history, but strip the club of draft picks and take away the defending Super Bowl champion’s key player for the first four games of the regular season.

The problem for the NFL wasn’t the trifling matter of actually altering the balls in a game won by the Patriots 45-7; it was violation of “the integrity of the game” by cheating. Brady did himself no favors during the investigation by not turning over his cell phone to investigators. They had no subpeona power and offered protections for his private information, but he refused.

Brady’s agent Don Yee said he will fill an appeal for Brady within the league’s required three days.

Brady will miss the season’s showcase kickoff game Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh, Week 2 at Buffalo, a home game against Jacksonville and a game at Dallas. He will return the week the Patriots face the Colts, the snitches who busted him, in Indianapolis.


  • jafabian

    A rather light punishment considering the circumstances but not surprising. The NFL does not want to tarnish the Super Bowl or its champ, much less upset one of its larger markets. Losing a draft pick in the next two drafts? Means nothing. They’ll just spend more on free agency. A million dollar fine? Sh’yeah, right. Like they’ll feel that. Get ready for higher ticket prices Patriots Nation.

    The Saints and their fans have to have raised an eyebrow on this. If Sean Payton can be suspended because he was “generally aware” of Bountygate if not the one who masterminded it and get a season long suspension (as well as sanctions for other coaches and the organization itself) I don’t see how Brady, Belichick and the Patriots organization can receive a much smaller sanction. Especially when they have an established history of at least bending rules for their benefit and a reputation throughout the league of cheating. Possibly yet again Goodell will be surprised at the reaction the players, teams and public give of his decision and revisit this. Or maybe his friendship with team owner Robert Kraft will wash that all away. I swear those two are the David Stern/Clay Bennett of the NFL. I wonder if Kraft will still be demanding that apology from the NFL?

    If this happened to another team, say the Raiders, would the punishment be the same? When the Super Bowl isn’t at stake? Or if this was in college? That would possibly warrant a bowl ban and loss of scholarships. Too bad the NFL won’t ban them Patriots from next years playoffs and the first couple rounds of the draft.

    • art thiel

      This qualifies as a major hit. Vincent said Spygate counted as a prior.

  • Rick Lowther

    The Patriots was found guilty of cheating in the past this is no different. If they have to cheat they don’t deserve to win and should be stripped of the super bowl championship and it either be given to the Seahawks or vacated.

    • art thiel

      Sure. Let’s have that trophy, then a parade when the weather is nicer.

  • Sam Base

    Personally, I think Tom Brady should be made to travel the country and check the air pressure of every football in the country.

    • art thiel

      They only leak in the atmosphere of New England.

  • Cameric

    It’s in their nature to “seek an advantage” (or cheat), so I wonder if we will catch the next one or the one after that?

    • art thiel

      I’d put the NCAA investigators on it. Well know in five years.

      • portlandsportsfan

        Its easy to laugh at the previous NCAA investigations as lengthy and ripe with larger messages. My view of these investigations is that they have looked at patterns, dug deeper, count the entirety of the problem. this can not be said for the NFL’s work.someone did Mew England a favor by looking at only one AFC championship game. if a pattern of cheating had been exposed by the NCAA, they would have forced the team to vacate wins, championships or even entire seasons. if I hear another New England apologist talk of being picked on, I’m going to have to have to see if we can’t get he investigation opened for the seasons entirety, or the career of Brady.
        I speculate, Kraft and Godell will be barbecuing together by summers end, after the dust clears.

  • Kirkland

    Naïve question: If the Patriots have lost to the Colts, would this still have been pursued?

    • jafabian

      Makes the Patriots close playoff win vs. the Ravens very questionable to me. IIRC, the Ravens have also complained about under inflated balls used by New England as well. The AFC championship would have been different.

      • art thiel

        Who knows how far back it goes? I doubt they thought it up this year.

    • art thiel


  • UncleWalter

    What irks me is people saying that Tom Brady is so great that the ball he uses doesn’t
    matter. However, greatness cannot be determined first, if the ball being used has been found to be illegal, later. Before “greatness” is determined, legal balls must be used, which is generally assumed, for most players are not cheaters.
    A comparable situation could occur in baseball: Imagine a pitcher bringing his own
    baseballs to use in his games. Imagine his baseballs are a little smaller than regular baseballs (due to less yarn, or “under inflation”) and that he has them secretly doctored in advance with multiple illegal substances and methods (note that Belichick
    specifically and pointedly refused to reveal what the Patriots do to their balls). Now, assume that this pitcher, using his balls, produces great records and results for 10 – 15 years — then his balls are discovered to have been illegal. How could all his “records” be acceptable?
    The point is that “greatness” cannot be determined if someone is violating league rules by doctoring the most significant element in the game — the balls, either in baseball or football. Since Brady has been caught cheating, for an extended period — probably many years — then all his records are suspect. It is very possible that he would not have achieved this “greatness” had he not had the advantage of using illegal balls. Brady is not super human in any area; a seemingly small element like using a different ball can make all the difference. And, when a person violates league rules, he should not be given the benefit of the doubt regarding records. Brady, and his “records”, should have been permanently removed from the NFL.

    • art thiel

      You’ll soon have a job in the NFL office, Walter.

  • bluecar80

    Too bad he wasn’t suspended BEFORE the Super Bowl.

    • art thiel

      Ah, but Seattle’s trophy would have had an asterisk on it.

    • 1coolguy

      Actually, we all just wish RW didn’t throw the interception. Poor play call, maybe, but poor pass: Definitely.

  • ReebHerb

    Over kill. Kickers are the ones needing scrutiny. They bring special kicking balls and then you see them working them over, softening, warming, scuffing, etc. Let the kickers use the same ball as their quarterback and have accuracy and distance be what it is.

    • art thiel

      Kicking balls are different than regulation game balls. Been that way for years, for all teams.

  • notaboomer

    did gisele know tom’s balls were deflated and when did she know it?

    • art thiel

      I’m sure she had a hand in it.

      • 1coolguy

        Haha – touche!

    • 1coolguy

      Well done, well done……

  • coug73

    The use of a game ball by each team in football is praciticed from youth ball to the pros. I’ve worked with coaches who use a bouncy ball for kick offs and use a different ball for offense and no one complains. That said the rules define the game and Brady clearly knew he was violating the rules of the NFL. This was done to seek an advantage. He didn’t cooperate with the investigation. The Pat’s have a history of cheating. Brady and the Pats will appeal.

    I believe Brady’s lawyer is up to the task of reducing the punishment. Perhaps the union will defend Brady.

    • art thiel

      The union will defend him and there may be enough wiggle room to drop from four games to two. But I’m really eager to see what Kraft does, because he has no formal recourse in the NFL constitution he signed.

  • RadioGuy

    Whatever. Tom Brady and Frank Clark have both been convicted in the court of public opinion without any hard evidence in either case. I guess who you defend or bash depends on which team you’re a fan of (or not). No surprise that the (likely) woman-beater is supported by people here while a guy who (probably) had footballs deflated 2 psi is the villain…I would expect the opposite reactions in Boston for the same reasons.

    • notaboomer

      wtf is hard evidence? there’s plenty of evidence against clark from the victim’s own mouth to the cop on the scene.

      • art thiel

        Didn’t get to cross-examine anyone, so the truth is elusive.

        • notaboomer

          no it’s not. victim spoke with cop in his investigation and cop has not wavered in his report of the beating. victim obviously did not want to press the matter so, voila, plea deal and frank might hit the jackpot with enough payout to give diamond hurt a little sugar. pete and john channel al davis: “just win, baby!” domestic violence incident down the memory hole.

    • art thiel

      Aaron Hernandez was convicted with only circumstantial evidence. Happens regularly in all courts.

  • Gerald Turner

    Fewest fumbles last few years? Wondering why ? Now we know. If my team was in that division, grrrrr

  • 1coolguy

    When Brady didn’t turn over his cell phone, case closed. He will forever be tarnished and over a very stupid violation.
    As Mark Brunell said on ESPN shortly after Deflategate happened, the footballs are the QB’s tools and every QB knows the “feel” of his and the amount of pressure these were off was immediately felt by Brunell. He compared the feel between “normal” pressure and the pressure as reported and told the audience it was very noticeable.