On Wednesday, Tom Wells’ 243-page report investigating the New England Patriots and the Deflate Gate scandal was released. Earlier today we reported the findings seem pretty damning for the Pats equipment staff members seemingly in cahoots, and also for Tom Brady, in particular.
Now, reports have emerged from inside the league indicating that with any founded culpability will also come punishments – even down to the 4x Super Bowl Champion QB.
A source close to the league’s investigation into the Patriots’ use of underinflated footballs during the AFC Championship Game told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that a suspension for quarterback Tom Brady is “definitely on the table. Not set but could be part of the mix. All options are on the table.”
According to Freeman, discipline for the Patriots organization also remains in the realm of possibility. Freeman’s source referenced the standard NFL commissioner Roger Goodell set in the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate investigation heading into the 2012 season.
If that’s any indication, well, Brady could certainly see a healthy reprimand despite being one of the game’s central figures. If you recall, in the wake of the Saints bounty scandal, several players were served suspensions along with head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire season. Additionally, the Saints were dealt a marginal fine, but found themselves more taxed by the loss of draft picks and front office suspensions.
If that’s the precedent the NFL is using as a looking glass, then Brady might have a pretty uphill battle to fight if the league agrees with the findings in the Wells Report.
After all, it did indicate he “more than probably” was knowledgeable of the deflated balls, and all but absolved the Patriots organization, staff, and Bill Belichick of any wrongdoing.
“We do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated,” Wells’ report read. “We also do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld.”
I suppose we’ll see how this all plays out in due time, but the loss of Brady’s services would certainly call into question the success of the Patriots forthcoming season, and possibly, even the validity of last year’s Super Bowl victory.
Predictably, at least Gronk isn’t worried too much about it.