NFL and Tom Brady: Please Make Deflategate Go Away

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts as he leaves the field following the game against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts as he leaves the field following the game against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

On behalf of everybody in the football world, I am begging Tom Brady and Roger Goodell to come forward and end Deflategate once and for all.

If I didn’t know better, I would be convinced that this entire Deflategate fiasco has been a way for the National Football League and for league commissioner Roger Goodell to make New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady more popular among those who have otherwise rooted against Brady and the Patriots.

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That is exactly what has taken place since it was first alleged that Brady and the Patriots utilized deflated footballs when the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Over the past 15 months, Brady has, in the eyes of some who follow the game, gone from a supposed cheater who would do anything to win at any cost to somebody who is a victim of a witch-hunt that could not prove, beyond a doubt, that Brady had, in fact, violated NFL rules.

None of that matters all that much now. The four-game suspension that Goodell handed down to Brady following Deflategate investigations, a ban that was nullified in September 2015, has been reinstated by a federal appeals court. While Brady can fight to have his suspension overturned a second time, it seems likely that the law and the football fates will not again smile upon him regarding the matter.

Brady has no reason to go down without a fight at this point. The worst Goodell can do to Brady is make the all-time great serve the four-game suspension that some will now, after the fact, say that Brady should have accepted before the start of the 2015 NFL campaign. Regardless, all signs point to


Goodell notching yet another victory over Brady and over the players he rules over with an iron fist.

Congratulations, Mr. Goodell. You’ve won again. It’s now time for you and for Mr. Brady to put Deflategate for bed once and for all.

Did somebody from within the Patriots do something fishy with the footballs on the day in question? Probably. Assuming it did happen, were the balls doctored per the preferences of Brady? Probably. Would the Patriots have dominated the Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game had medicine balls, beach balls or Nerf footballs been used during the contest? Probably.

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What’s done is done. Here is how everybody can move on from Deflategate.

Bleacher Report NFL insider Jason Cole reported on April 26 that at least “several” NFL owners want to see Brady’s suspension reduced — possibly all the way down to a single game — but those owners also want it to be made clear that Goodell will not lose any of the power that he holds over player conduct and player discipline if such a settlement can be reached. Those owners, per Cole, want the Deflategate matter to go away about as badly as do the rest of us.

Bless you, owners.

Hammering out this settlement should be simple enough so long as Brady and Goodell can agree to meet in a room until the two sides come to an agreement. For this to happen, two stubborn and proud men would have to put their egos aside and do what is best for all involved; for their careers, for the NFL, for the fans and for the disappearance of Deflategate discussions.

Settlement discussions will have to begin with Brady realizing that he is going to be punished over Deflategate. It’s happening. No more appeals. No more press conferences where Brady pleads his innocence. It’s over, Tom. You fought the good fight, and New England fans will forever remember you as a martyr for your cause.

That’s brings us to Mr. Goodell.

Thanks to the ruling of the appeals court, Goodell can boast to owners that he still has control over the players. Goodell can then show his benevolence to players and to fans by tossing Brady a bone. Going by the information presented by Cole, Goodell has the blessing of those who pay him (the owners) to have mercy on Brady and cut Brady’s Deflategate suspension.

Common sense needs to win the day, and there is an easy way to get to a reasonable conclusion. Goodell can and should make Brady one final offer: Privately admit that you had at least some role in Deflategate and then accept a settlement that includes a one-game ban and zero public admission that you did anything wrong, or continue denying your involvement in Deflategate and accept a two-game suspension.

Whatever Brady would decide from those two options, he would be able to maintain his innocent-until-proven-guilty status among fans who have chosen to take Brady at his word. Goodell, on the other hand, would be able to show to everybody that he is the judge and the jury in any case, even in one that involves one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL. Fans and fantasy football participants wouldn’t have to worry about Brady being sidelined for one-fourth of the regular season.

It’s fair for everybody, and it ends Deflategate forevermore.

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The NFL will be in sports headlines every month between the posting of this piece and the end of 2016 thanks to the NFL Draft, training camp sessions, preseason games and regular season action. It does nobody any good for the Deflategate saga to continue into the summer months and until Brady learns that his four-game suspension will only being reduced by Goodell. Brady and Goodell need to figure this out as soon as humanly possible.

Let’s then get ready to see New England backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo make at least one start for the Patriots in September.