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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Deflated Punishment: Why It Doesn't Matter If Brady Did It

Deflategate.  Interesting that the Wells Report came back with a wonderful non-answer answer about the probability that the Patriots, no wait, Tom Brady is culpable for deflating footballs below regulation air pressure prior to the AFC Championship game against The Indianapolis Colts.  But, even with this not so new information that Brady and two underlings are probably guilty of the act, months after the incident, talking heads will still devote hours to drive time radio analysis of one of the more humorous discussions about balls.

In the end, what does it matter?  Brady and Belichick played through and beat the Colts 45-7 with or without underinflated balls.  Brady and Belichick went on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.  Brady and Belichick have four championships.  Brady has Giselle.  Brady poops rainbows and cries dollar bills.   WHO CARES?!?!?

I guess Steelers’ fans do.   They get to play New England to kick off the 2015 season.  They get to play it in Foxborough.  They get to play it without their star Running Back, Le'Veon Bell, who was arrested for marijuana possession, with New England’s LeGarrette Blount during preseason.  (LeGarrette Blount is suspended for the game, too, but he gets to sit at home with his Super Bowl ring to keep him company.)   So, add all that together and sprinkle in the spectre of not being able to beat the Patriots during the post season and you get a tonic of vitriol and ire from Pittsburgh.

But, again, it doesn’t matter what happens to Brady and Belichick in light of the report because any punishment is moot.

“He could be fined.”  
So, what?  I’m sure he’ll be broke in a week, no longer able to wipe his tears with $100 bills or cry softly into Giselle’s bosom.

“He could be suspended for the opener.” 
Ooooh, except it’s the opener and not even against a division rival. 

“His legacy could be tarnished.”
I’m sure he’ll wring his hands with all four Super Bowl rings clacking like crazy.

“The Patriots could lose a draft pick.”
A: Kraft and Belichick were found not "probably" guilty.
B: Draft picks do not equate loss of good players… especially when you pick LAST!

If there were to be a punishment for the Patriots for directly affecting the outcome of a game, regardless of how well they would have done without cheating, it would have been for the next game, The Super Bowl.  Seattle almost beat New England, despite Tom Brady.  An interception at the goal line tanked their chances of overcoming the odds and beating the Pats.   And, quite frankly, it would have been a better story had the Patriots beat Seattle without their golden boy at QB.   That would have at least put to rest some of the controversy surrounding this team’s mounting questionable winning strategy.  After all, this is at least the second time the Patriots have been called on the carpet for cheating.  Remember Spygate?  Barely anyone outside of Pittsburgh does.   Spygate resulted in a $250,000 fine and loss of their first round pick… which was 31st since they lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl.   Surely, they were impacted as they missed out on drafting such greats.  Then again, they could have had Ray Rice in their ranks to compliment Aaron Hernandez.   In the end, they still won their division six out of the next seven years.

Again, my point is, it does nothing for credibility and accountability to suspend Brady the first game of the season or any other punishment.   Look at this perspective.

In 1992, at the age of 17, I had a part time job delivering newspapers.  I made maybe $20 a week delivering 54 papers, six days a week.  My friends and I spent our hard earned money on tickets to a concert.  It would have been my first live concert, ever.   Tickets were a whopping $24.95.   Not sure if that’s the going rate for concerts or the going rate for Def Leppard in 1992.  In any case, it was a week and quarter of pay. 

However, right around Halloween, my friends and I decided to be jackasses and go on a pumpkin smashing and egging tour of the neighborhood.  Well, we managed to egg the one house that everybody egged and they were tired of it.  They chased my friend’s Chevy S-10 until they got the plate and turned us in to the police.   The next weekend, my parents received a call from the police.  My friend had already given all of us up.  I was grounded.   The weekend before the concert and I was grounded.   I pleaded with my parents that I would accept my being grounded but that I had spent $25 of my own money on a concert.  It didn’t matter.  I missed the concert, I was out $25, and I learned a lesson.

Now, how much of a teachable moment would it have been had my parents said, “OK, you did something wrong and you will be punished.  How about a week night in the middle of next January when you have absolutely nothing important or fun going on?”

That’s what suspending Brady is.  It is a hollow action by a hollow commissioner that gets paid for making the owners money, and the owners make money when their top performers are playing in games like the Super Bowl.  Jerseys and ticket sales and concessions and fans with their butts in the seats put money in the pockets of the Kraft’s and that’s what a commissioner does, gets the owners money.  It doesn’t matter what is right, what is moral, or what is a good example for fans.  They don’t care because they’re addicted to the product the NFL is selling.

If you want to make a point suspend Brady for the first game... of the playoffs.

Granted, they can’t be assured a playoff spot, but when you plan on suspending him for a pointless game, anyways, what does it matter if it’s a "maybe" game?  That not only punishes Brady, but it punishes the organization if they fail to win.  Maybe, playing with a suitable handicap is better than a slap on the wrist.  

And just maybe, the real threat of punishment would start to make the rest of the players and teams realize that on Any Given Sunday… they might just be stuck home watching, like I was, while Def Leppard was playing.  I was a little poorer, but I survived.   Now where's my copy of Hysteria?

I probably won't be watching this season as I didn't last year.  It's not that I don't love the Steelers anymore, it's that I refuse to give any more time of my life to this league and this commissioner.  Goodell may be the most profitable commissioner of them all, but he's corrupt, cares only about the money, and has turned this sport into entertainment, like wrestling.

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