BOSTON (CBS) — Wednesday is a special day in the DeflateGate saga, as the controversy over air pressure in footballs has reached its 500th day.
And what a 500 days it’s been. Since the controversy kicked off in January 2015, the Patriots have won a Super Bowl and lost a chance to defend their title a year later in the AFC title game. Tom Brady was suspended for four games. Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell’s lawyers battled each other in court on a few occasions (we were even treated to an entertaining cartoon of Brady). Brady’s suspension was tossed out after an appeal, only to have it brought back last month after the NFL’s own appeal.READ MORE: Framingham Man Seriously Injured In New Hampshire Rollover UTV Crash
And since this saga needs to last forever, the decision to bring back Brady’s ban will also likely get its day in court.
DeflateGate is no longer about the PSI of a dozen footballs, now mostly focused on labor laws and Goodell’s power. Instead of reading box scores and preseason prognostications, fans and journalists alike have been forced to read court documents and amicus briefs to keep up with all the absurdity. Esteemed scientists and fourth grade students have all weighed in about the laws of nature, and even a former SNL cast member joined the fray thanks to a chance encounter with one of the alleged deflators.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Adam Kaufman On 500 Days Of DeflateGate:
DeflateGate long ago reached “Theater of the Absurd” status, and unfortunately, there really isn’t an end in sight. So let’s relive all our favorite memories, and a few we’d rather block out, from the last 500 days.
Jan. 18, 2015: The Patriots defeat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game.
Jan. 19, 2015: In the wee hours of the morning following the AFC title game, WTHR Colts reporter Bob Kravitz tweets that the Patriots would be investigated for reportedly deflating footballs, and DeflateGate is born.
Jan. 21, 2015: ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reports that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 game balls from the AFC title game were under inflated by two pounds per square inch. This was proven false in the Wells Report, but Mort’s report created mass hysteria and DeflateGate turned into a national phenomenon.
Jan. 22, 2015: Tom Brady addresses allegations at a press conference, saying “I didn’t alter the ball in any way.”
Jan. 23 2015: The NFL issues a statement that an investigation is ongoing and attorney Ted Wells will lead the way.
Jan. 24, 2015: Head coach Bill Belichick says the Patriots “followed every rule to the letter” and tossed out a ‘My Cousin Vinny’ reference when talking about the absurdity of the controversy.
“I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert on footballs or football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know,” said Belichick. “I would not say I’m the Mona Lisa Vito of the football world as she was in the car expertise area.”
Jan. 26, 2015: The Patriots arrive in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX, and owner Robert Kraft says he expects apology from NFL after a week of accusations.
May 6, 2015: The Wells Report is released, which stated that Wells’ investigation into the matter found that it was “more probable than not” the Patriots were deliberately deflating footballs during the AFC Championship Game, and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of those violations. Wells cited several text messages (which were sometimes entertaining) between New England equipment assistant John Jastremski and locker room attendant Jim McNally.
Wells also said Brady did not cooperate with his investigation, refusing to give emails, texts and phone records.
May 11, 2015: It only took the NFL five days to lower the hammer on Brady and the Patriots, suspending the QB for four games while fining the team $1 million and docking them a 2016 1st round draft pick and a 2017 4th round selection.
May 14, 2015: Brady and the NFLPA file an appeal of his four-game suspension, while the Patriots take aim at the Wells Report by publishing The Wells Report In Context. It criticizes the science used in the Wells Report.
May 19, 2015: Kraft says the Patriots will “reluctantly” accept NFL’s discipline.
June 2, 2015: Despite several requests (or in some cases, demands) to recuse himself from hearing Brady’s appeal, Goodell lets the NFLPA know he will be the one to hear Brady’s appeal.
Goodell said it was his responsibility under the CBA to “serve as hearing officer in any appeal involving conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game” in a letter to the NFLPA.
June 23, 2015: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hears Brady’s appeal.
July 28, 2015: Goodell and the NFL uphold Brady’s four-game suspension.READ MORE: Rep. Stephen Lynch: 'We Have To Get To An Agreement' On Stalled Infrastructure Bill
July 29, 2015: Brady asks a federal judge in Minnesota to overturn his four-game suspension.
August 12, 2015: Judge Richard Berman puts the NFL on the hot seat in Tom Brady’s appeal hearing.
Sept 3, 2015: One week before the start of the 2015 NFL season, Judge Berman overturns Brady’s suspension. The NFL takes action to appeal that decision.
September 10, 2015: Brady and the Patriots kick off the new season by raising their Super Bowl XLIX banner at Gillette Stadium and beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21. That game has its own mini-controversy as well.
Sept. 25, 2015: The NFL files for expedited proceedings on their appeal.
March 3, 2016: Brady’s side is peppered with questions from three judges at the NFL’s appeal hearing. Judge Denny Chin calls evidence of ball tampering during the AFC Championship Game “compelling, if not overwhelming.”
March 8, 2016: A seventh grader in Lynn, Massachusetts — ironically named Ben Goodell — takes on the Wells Report’s science for a school project. He put an NFL football through various conditions for two-hour spans, and found that Mother Nature had more to do with deflation than any Patriots employee.
“Every single time I did this test the PSI dropped at least 2 PSI. That means it was scientifically proven that Tom Brady didn’t deflate the footballs, and it was just the weather conditions,” he says.
April 25, 2016: The appeals court overturns Judge Berman’s ruling and reinstates Brady’s four-game suspension.
April 29, 2016: Brady hires attorney Theodore B. Olson as additional counsel for his team of lawyers. The D.C. lawyer has Supreme Court experience, serving as solicitor general from 2001-04 under George W. Bush, and he served as assistant attorney general from 1981-84.
April 29, 2016: Retired Patriots great Kevin Faulk wears a Brady jersey on stage at the NFL Draft when announcing the Patriots’ second-round pick.
“With the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the New England Patriots — and Tom Brady — select Joe Thuney,” announced Faulk.
May 16, 2016: A 93-year-old World War II veteran writes a letter to the 2nd Court of Appeals chastising judges for prolonging the saga.
May 23, 2016: Brady files his request for an en banc rehearing by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
May 24, 2016: A panel of 21 scientists file an amicus brief crushing the NFL and supporting Brady.
“Although sensationalized in the press, it was no surprise to any scientist that the Patriots’ footballs lost pressure during the AFC Championship,” the report begins. “As the league’s reports recognize, so-called ‘deflation’ happens naturally when any closed vessel, such as a football, moves from a warm environment to a cold one. This is not tampering. It is science. And it pervades the NFL. Games routinely are played with footballs that fall below the league’s minimum pressure requirement.”
May 25, 2016: The Patriots file an amicus brief with the 2nd Court of Appeals in favor of Tom Brady.
“Unfairness has permeated the entire handling of this matter by the League,” Patriots’ attorney Daniel Goldberg wrote in the brief. “Among other matters, and as set forth in Appellees’ Petition for Rehearing, the Commissioner treated Mr. Brady’s appeal not as an appeal but as a continuation of the investigation.”
May 26, 2016: Comedian Jim Breuer joins 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich to talk about running into John Jastremski in November while in Cancun. Breuer says Jastremski was not pleased with how the team handled the situation, and Breuer also lashes out at “idiot sports fans.”
May 31, 2016: The AFL-CIO files an Amicus Brief supporting Brady.
“Because the Commissioner — who issued the discipline to Brady in the first instance — failed to follow basic procedural fairness and acted arbitrarily as an employer seeking to justify his own disciplinary decision rather than as a neutral arbitrator considering an appeal — his decision should be vacated,” the brief, prepared by attorney James Coppess, states.
May 31, 2016: Attorney Kenneth Feinberg also files an amicus brief with the 2nd circuit Court of Appeals, taking aim at Roger Goodell.
“… [T]he Commissioner’s decision here lacked even the basic hallmarks of due process — a fair process, before a fair tribunal. Decisions such as this have no credibility. That lack of credibility is only heightened here, where the non-neutral arbitrator’s key decisions consistently advantaged his own organization over the opposing party.”MORE NEWS: Man Runs Off With 'High-Value' Diamond Necklace From Swansea Jewelry Store
June 1, 2016: DeflateGate reaches its 500th day, with no end in sight.