NFL: The Aftermath of Arrogance

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New England Patriot fans will forever entomb Thursday September 3rd, 2015 as the day that Tom Brady’s four game suspension due to the never ending spectacle known as Deflategate, was overturned by New York Judge, Richard Berman. Deflategate , began on January 18th when several footballs were found to be under inflated during  the AFC title game. What ensued in the next six months following Deflategate brought the collective six regions of New England to new depths of misery and redundancy.

The NFL launched an investigation with enough venom, bias and arrogance to destroy all the good will brought forth by this year’s winning Super Bowl season.  In fact the NFL’s punishments and insistance on cheating led many in New England to speculate whether the Patriots were being treated so viscerally due to other league owners whom were unsatisfied with how Spygate was handled in 2007. In essence, the fans, owner Bob Kraft and Tom Brady were essentially placed on a proverbial island with the other 31 teams happily laying fire to their escape raft.

From the standpoint of the NFLPA (National Football Players Association) and New England Patriots fans it was a phenomenal thing that Tom Brady was exonerated by Judge Berman. The NFL took this farther than they should have in order to prove a point and save face in the aftermath of the Ray Rice spousal abuse scandal. Were the New England Patriots responsible for deflating footballs? Whether you believe that to be true or a ridiculous falsehood is irrelevant.  This appeal was never about Brady’s innocence but more about abuse of power. The fact is the NFL went too far in their punishment and Judge Berman recognized it. The NFL should’ve absolutely allowed the punishment to fit the crime, rather than use Tom Brady and the Patriots as scapegoats for their own misgivings. It was an overreach on something that should have been a fine for an equipment violation.

On the other side of this transgression, although Sept. 3rd was a victory that should be held in high esteem all over New England, it does come with a rather large grain of salt. The New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft accepted a $1 million dollar fine, the loss of 2016’s 1st round draft pick and 2017’s 4th round draft pick. As great as having Tom Brady under center during the first four games of the season, the previously mentioned penalties are still an unprecedented punishment and something that New England fans will be unable to ignore.

With all things being equal, had the NFL and Roger Goodell gone about this correctly, they would have massacred the New England Patriots in every conceivable way by merely sticking to the punishment and leaving what little they thought they had on Brady off the table. Had they not been so shortsighted, the NFL could have come out of this looking incredible. The NFL could have simply stuck it to the hated, “cheaters” and restored some semblance of order after the ridiculous year they had suffered through. Instead the NFL decided to gamble with a lack of concrete evidence which led to their downfall.

Ultimately, the world has focused its attention on Tom Brady’s involvement and subsequent suspension rather than the fact that the Patriots were again punished for apparent cheating.  With Tom Brady exonerated, the story is about Tom Brady beating the NFL, not the Patriots and the shenanigans surrounding underinflated footballs and the consequences which followed.  In the end, the NFL had the chance to come out of this looking proficient but now must live with yet another loss in judicial, as well as public court. New England Patriot fans may have to live with what is arguably an unprecedented fine, but their quarterback, Tom Brady,  is where he should be and the NFL was fed a great deal of humble pie.

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