This past Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots squared off against each other in Arizona. It was an epic battle between two of the best NFL football teams, and arguably, two of the best cheaters. I wrote about this at the time, now that Tom Brady’s suspension came out, I thought I would revisit it.
First of all, I want to say that inflating or deflating a football above or beyond the range the NFL set, is probably not that big of a deal. Will it let you throw the ball an extra 10 yards? Doubtful. Will it give you more control and confidence? Certainly. The thing that bothers me, and ultimately, what Brady was strongly punished for, was the level of deceit they went to in pulling this off.
This is the second time now in the Belichick/Brady regime the Patriots have been punished for cheating. There is much debate about how much deflating the footballs actually affects anything. I haven’t done any scientific studies on it, but I’m willing to bet it’s negligible. Like I said above, it’s what they did to achieve their goal and how they tried to cover it up, that needed garner the penalty for.
The penalty is pretty steep this time. 4 game suspension for Brady and a $1 million dollar fine. The Patriots get hit with losing a 1st and 4th round pick in 2016. I think the punishment is just about right, as it stands. Brady and the Patriots no doubt will appeal. I expect it to be reduced to 2 games and a 1st round pick. The fine will probably be reduced to $500k-750k. Ticket prices will go up 2%-3% for Patriots games, you can be sure.
The message it sends out though: cheat at will, if you get caught, you will be penalized. The win still stands though. It may hinder the Patriots getting back to the Super Bowl this year, but maybe not. The Pittsburgh Steelers got to the Super Bowl in 2010 after Ben Roethlisberger missed the first 4 games of the season due to a suspension. They lost to Green Bay. Losing a 1st round draft pick may effect the Patriots down the line, but Belichick is pretty good at acquiring more picks and drafting. It would not surprise me at all if the Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl. Cheat on, my friends. Cheat on.