By Mike From Woburn, 98.5 The Sports Hub Contributor
WOBURN (CBS) — DeflateGate and its aftermath are just days from being officially over. When Tom Brady returns to the Patriots lineup in Cleveland, it will signal the end of another unsuccessful attempt by commissioner Roger Goodell and the other “31” to dethrone the NFL’s most dominant franchise.
As my fellow truth purveyor Michael Hurley has pointed out, Roger Goodell and a cabal of jealous owners conspired to use the flimsiest of excuses — football air pressure — to handicap Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots this season and ultimately failed.
Without the suspended Brady, the Patriots still managed an impressive 3-1 record. They now have not one but two battle-tested young quarterbacks, in addition to the greatest quarterback to play the game. And Jimmy Garoppolo’s value, if traded, easily exceeds the draft pick penalties the league imposed on the Patriots.
And even though he was suspended for those first three games, we have Tom Brady to thank for it.
The very reason why the DeflateGate penalties have failed so completely is that Brady fought them. And that fight, while unsuccessful in overturning the NFL’s attempt to inflict parity on the Patriots at any cost, still rewarded Brady and his team with two valuable commodities: The truth and time.
If Brady hadn’t maintained his innocence from the start, and taken the league all the way to the neighborhood of the Supreme Court, the penalties would have been at least as severe, if not more so. But more importantly, the NFL could have controlled the narrative from beginning to end.
Chris Mortenson’s report would be gospel and would never have been exposed to be almost certainly a league smear campaign. We would never have gotten confirmation that Ted Wells and his report had less independence than East Germany, or that Goodell hired junk science purveyors Exponent to cover for his employees’ ignorance of the Ideal Gas Law. These facts were all uncovered as a result of Brady and the NFLPA legal battles with the league.
And as a result of the truths behind DeflateGate being exposed, Brady and the Pats now have a groundswell of support from objective national media members, like Joe Posnanski, Dan Wetzel and Sally Jenkins, among others. Without Brady’s legal crusade, the NFL would have gotten to say Brady and the Patriots cheated, and that would have been gospel.
But the second thing that Brady’s crusade bought the team was time. Say they did lay down and cop a plea with Goodell. Brady’s suspension would have been a year ago. That is a year of development that Jimmy Garoppolo never gets to experience. It’s a year of learning Josh McDaniels’ system and its weapons. That doesn’t happen if they follow SpongeBob Kraft’s lead. What if a less experienced Garoppolo not only doesn’t go 4-0 like Brady did, but looked raw and shaky doing it? He has nowhere near the value that he does today. And a year ago, there is no Jacoby Brissett to fill in if Jimmy got hurt in a similar situation. An injury to Jimmy G. would have almost certainly meant using a veteran retread. If say a Bruce Gradkowski, or similar career backup, came in and performed better than Garoppolo, is Jimmy still here this season or would Bill have cut bait?
Brady taking the penalties to court and fighting them as long as he did not only exposed DeflateGate as a duplicitous and malicious vendetta manipulated by Goodell himself, but also bought the team and Belichick time to position things to effectively negate the on-field penalties as well.
So while the Patriots went 3-1 this season without Brady, Tom still probably deserves a couple of game balls.
Mike From Woburn, formerly known as Mike From Attleboro, is a regular caller to the Felger & Massarotti Show. You can find him on Twitter @MikeFromWoburn.