NFL

NFL AM: Brady Gets Hit With Four-Game Suspension

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NFL throws the book at Tom Brady, Pats

If you mess with the balls, you get the horns.

The NFL did not take kindly to the Wells Report that indicated – though it did not explicitly prove – Tom Brady was the mastermind behind lowering the air pressure in footballs below the legally approved limit prior to the AFC Championship Game.

Brady has been suspended the first four games of the 2015 season without pay. The Patriots have also been penalized, losing next year’s first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick as well as being levied a $1 million fine.

In a letter addressed to Brady, league executive Troy Vincent wrote, “With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge.”

Unsurprisingly, Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered unconditional support for the man who has made him millions in a statement released on Monday night.

“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league. Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence,” Kraft wrote in an official release.

“We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world. We recognize our fans’ concerns regarding the NFL’s penalties and share in their disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled, as well as the dismissal of the scientific evidence supported by the Ideal Gas Law in the final report.”

Brady has three days to appeal his suspension, which agent Don Yee indicated he would do.

League-wide reaction to punishment varies

As you would expect, just about everyone who is anyone in the NFL had a reaction to the news – some in agreement and others vehemently opposed.

Teammate LaGarrette Blout tweeted “THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! PATS NATION STAND UP!”

People who haven’t played with Brady also had his back.

“To win four Super Bowl is outstanding. I know Tom Brady is a great competitor and leader. I feel sorry for him and patriots nation!” said Jerry Rice.

Donte Whitner, who regularly faced Brady as division rival with the Bills before moving on to San Francisco, was also in his corner.

“I honestly feel bad for Tom Brady!! I know first hand the type of competitor he is & how much work he puts in… Came down too hard on him!” Whitner opined.

Current Bills safety Aaron Williams is disappointed even though his team could be a direct beneficiary by facing the Bradyless Pats in Week 2.

“Not trying to justify the punishment was wrong or anything. I just want to play against the best, and week 2 I want my Defense to play Brady,” Williams tweeted.

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was in the minority (at least as far as players are concerned) that sided with the league.

“Well done @NFL ……….#DeflateGate” was Peterson’s message.

Vegas reacts to Brady suspension

Las Vegas does not have Jimmy Garoppolo Fever.

With Brady out in Week 1, Vegas sports books have dropped New England from a 6-point favorite over Pittsburgh to anywhere between 1 and 2.5 points.

The loss of Brady is not enough to make the Steelers a favorite, however.

“I would not sell this team short whatsoever,” director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN.com “There has to be an adjustment, but it doesn’t have to be huge.”

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened New England at 10.5 wins for the season over/under but has since lowered it to 10 after heavy betting on the under.

With Brady back after a month, the Pats’ Super Bowl odds figure to take the smallest hit amongst the gambling crowd. Right now Bovada has them listed as the sixth-best odds at 12-1. In the AFC only Indianapolis (7-1) and Denver (10-1) have better odds.

The Seahawks have the best odds at 11-2.


About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.