FOOTE: Deflate-gate Proves Unworthy of Discussion
The Hot Stove

So, here it is. Another piece on Tom Brady. Another article on the Patriots. Another column on the ineptitude of Roger Goodell. I know that at this point you are proclaiming that enough is enough, but there is no reason to be worried. It’s almost over.

The rumor around the NFL is that the final decision on Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension for intentionally deflating balls during the AFC Championship Game last winter is expected to come down in the next week or so. And with the rumor comes more speculation and more banter as to what really happened and who is really to blame.

Are the Patriots at fault? How about Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time? Or is it Roger Goodell, who has been extraordinary at fumbling his duties as NFL commissioner?

It’s time to stop bickering because it absolutely does not matter what punishment Roger Goodell hands out.

Patriots fans will always be insufferable. I am one of them, born and raised in the suburbs south of Boston. I didn’t realize how defensive the fan base was until I came back from school and tuned in to local radio. I hate to break it to the Patriot fans out there, but the vendetta against your franchise that you speak of doesn’t exist. It’s quite possible that “they hate you because they ain’t you,” but they also might hate you because of your smug coach and tendency to cheat (see Spygate 2006).

No matter what, Tom Brady will be guilty, and his legacy will be tarnished, at least to an extent. Brady is, in my mind, the greatest quarterback of all time, but he knew those footballs were deflated and he lied about it.  Ted Wells’ report of him knowing being “more probable than not” said so, even without the support of text messages in which a Patriots equipment manager referred to himself as the “deflator.” This could have all blown over had he owned up to it, but his denial has only added to the hysteria of the whole process. In the end, some folks won’t remember Brady for his four Super Bowl championships and three Super Bowl MVP awards but instead for a few PSIs in a football. It’s a shame, but that is reality nowadays.

No matter what, Roger Goodell comes out a loser. He muffed the initial Ray Rice two-game suspension for domestic violence, and for some reason he shortened Greg Hardy’s suspension for beating and threatening his girlfriend with automatic weapons from 10 games to four. Brady merely had his footballs deflated. No matter what side you take, Tom Brady and Greg Hardy should not be suspended for the same amount of time. Time and time again, Goodell has displayed inconsistency, and appointing himself as the overseer of Brady’s appeal further cements himself as a deranged dictator in the eyes of football fans. The NFL won’t right itself until he is out of the picture.

No matter what, the Patriots will be fine. Say what you want, but the Patriots are loving this. In the best-case scenario — Tom Brady doesn’t get suspended — they stick it to the NFL, sell thousands of Brady jerseys and walk away with a Super Bowl victory. In the worst-case scenario, Jimmy Garoppolo starts four games, they still stick it to the NFL, still sell thousands of Brady jerseys and still walk away with a Super Bowl victory. Trust me, Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick are not worried.

In the end, the debate is not worth your breath. Brady’s suspension will most likely be reduced, if only to save face. Patriot fans will still find a way to complain. Non- Patriot fans will also somehow find a way to complain. The hysteria will continue. And why? Because of a few PSI in a football? It’s time for everyone to take a breath and relax. Look in the mirror. Is Deflate-gate still worth your time and energy?


Jake Foote is a rising sophomore in the College. The Hot Stove appears every Thursday.

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