Tom Brady…
a follow up


I’ve been getting a few questions to my recent post -- “The NFL needs to stop digging” – and the reality is, I think I can make the story even more simple.

See, in that article I mentioned a few items that essentially pointed out that with each step, the NFL found itself deeper in a hole… and apparently willing to keep digging. I mentioned that opposing sides -- those that believe Brady was involved against those that believe everything about it is staged and phony -- are absolutely certain of their opinion and will not be swayed at all by any outcome, from the decisions currently being considered to the results of data collected from pressure measurements to be more rigidly conducted this season.

But things can be more simply viewed… by considering whether or not anything actually took place.

Let’s say you parked your car on the street. And, through a window, you saw another car sideswipe yours and drive off.

The police arrived, spoke with you and then interviewed some people nearby, and learned that a car matching exactly what you described was frequently in the neighborhood. Yes… a person living nearby has a friend that drives exactly such a car as the one you saw hit yours.

After checking with the person identified by neighbors, the police eventually arrive at a spot where they discover an owner with a reason to be in the vicinity of your car, a car with body damage consistent with what you saw happen, and paint marks that matched the color of your car.

I don’t need to finish the story… you know, by offering an admission or a defense or whatever from the owner of the other car. That’s enough of a story for now. It sure seems like we have a yellow, quacking car here. So let’s shift to Tom Brady and the case of the inflation measurements of the footballs.

The NFL is not a court of law. There is no “…beyond a reasonable doubt…” clause that needs to be met when handing out punishments such as the deflated football results. Tom Brady could be punished based on the idea that given the factors involved, investigators believed he was aware that something took place and the NFL accepted those results.

The problem though, in Brady’s case, is more complex.

The NFL is looking to punish Brady for doing something that they aren’t even sure happened.

If there was a yellow, quacking football, with witnesses and admissions of guilt, and properly obtained evidence, then we could look toward my car example… a situation occurred, investigation followed, and one plus one plus eventually added up to the owner of the car at least being aware of a problem if not being the person behind the wheel.

But there wasn’t any evidence at all. In fact, it’s possible that nothing abnormal happened to any of those footballs at all.

That’s right… if you read the Wells report… if you pay attention to all the work being done… it’s possible that nothing actually happened. I’m not saying nothing happened, mind you, I’m just saying that it absolutely is possible nothing happened. The way things were done was so poorly managed and undocumented there is a chance that nothing other than ordinary weather and outside conditions were involved.

It would be one thing if the NFL had a system in place for measuring the footballs, could show proper calibration of the gauges, had accurate comparisons of the New England footballs at the start of the game and at halftime to the Indianapolis footballs, and so on. But we don’t need to go any further or cite other potential issues… since the NFL did not have a strict system or procedures in place, can’t even figure out what gauges they used (and they know there is a significant discrepancy between the two gauges on the measurements taken), and they only measured a few balls from the Colts end of things.

On top of that, the judge isn’t looking at any of this. What is being reviewed now isn’t whether or not Tom Brady did anything… whether he did or did not know anything. Instead, it’s whether or not the NFL followed proper procedures in arriving at their decision.

Which takes us back to the car accident example…

The NFL procedures for measuring footballs were so haphazard over the years that the league honestly can’t be certain that the footballs were tampered with (though there is hope newly established procedures will work out well beginning this season).

So I ask… how exactly do you suspend someone for four games for their involvement in doing nothing? (Except, well, being the starting quarterback for a team playing outside in January games.)

If the NFL had accurate measurements… could show that Indianapolis footballs weren’t reacting the same to the environment and playing conditions… and it was evident that something happened to footballs being used by New England, then punish Brady. Punish him even though you can’t prove he knew about or requested the tampering with the balls.

But that’s not what’s happening right now. The NFL is refusing to admit their problems and incompetence in this situation, and is lashing out in a something-is-better-than-nothing way, even though it is absolutely possible that next year they could find out everything that took place in the AFC Championship game was perfectly normal.

Undoubtedly, there are going to be plenty of ticked off people convinced that the end result is a sham. Call it gamesmanship… call it cheating… I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that any professional athlete does something in an attempt to improve their play, and that something might be right up against the line if not crossing it. That’s not why I’m frustrated by this story… even if I am a fan of the Patriots.

My frustrations are coming from the details… those I’m reading, those I’m hearing, and those that seem wildly invented out of pure stupidity. Because the next football season could be wildly altered for something that didn’t happen, but people feel they’ve gone too far to back down now. And that is a shame.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at