Story by Zoë Collenburg
January 18 may not mean a lot to you- unless you’re quite the football fan. Back on this fateful day, the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in a game which led the them to their victory at the Super Bowl, and put QB Brady in the bullseye of a scandal.
Lots of information is out there about the deflated footballs, but the facts included that, following protocol, the Patriots’ twelve balls were checked before the game began on the eighteenth. Colt linebacker Jackson noticed the balls felt deflated during his interception in the second quarter. Officials checked the other balls during halftime and confirmed Jackson’s suspicions. The Patriots’ footballs were deflated two pounds per square inch below the minimum. The investigation continued to uncover video of a part-time Patriots staff member, Jim McNally, taking the balls away from the officials and bringing them into a bathroom before the game. Further investigation found text messages between McNally and team equipment assistant John Jastremski discussing Brady’s pressure preference, and including Jastremski’s plan to provide McNally with a needle and McNally’s requests for cash from Jastremski. Later investigations found multiple calls between Brady and Jastremski, further pointing to Brady’s awareness of the deflation.
With the deflation proven and evidence to bring Brady in, the punishment’s intensity is called into question by many. As ESPN pointed out, “If a person is found breaking league rules by tampering with the footballs, that person could face up to a $25,000 fine and potentially more discipline.” And more discipline it certainly is for the Patriots. They received: forty times the amount of the fine, a four game suspension for Brady, and loss of two draft picks. Owner Robert Kraft, stated that the penalty “far exceeded any reasonable expectation.” Speculators, fans, and critics have all gone back and forth on the subject, some saying it’s too much punishment while others saying it’s still not enough. Many are upset with it’s severity compared to Ray Rice’s two game suspension for hitting his fiance. The scandal has even lead to former Quarterback AJ Feeley speaking up on a decade old incident. He claims he saw Brady use a deflated ball…eleven years ago. Feeley pointed out, that in 2006 (two years after he says he saw Brady breaking the rules) the NFL allowed teams to provide their own footballs for use during games, thanks largely to the lobbying efforts of Brady and Manning.
The scandal has become news again,four months later, as Brady appealed his four game suspension on May 14. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeal as the Patriots try to get Brady for their season opener against the Steelers. The Patriots organization has not yet announced whether it will appeal the $1 million fine and two forfeited draft picks, but the suspension appeal is well under way.
About the Writer…
Zoë Collenburg is a Junior out of state student (hook ’em horns!) double majoring in English and Communication with a Theatre Emphasis. She is the Vice Chair of Student Senate, a Student Ambassador, and an Orientation Leader. She loves coffee, being on stage, and long walks on the beach.