Hold the phone, HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE! You are telling me a successful, integral part of the New England Patriots organization was suspended for 4 games for something that many teams have historically done? You're telling me they are losing draft picks and being fined 7 figures for something trivial that had little, if any, affect on the outcome of football games? You are telling me the Patriots, and Tom Brady specifically, are being penalized because of circumstantial evidence? After a year in which they won the Superbowl? Why does that sound familiar? I'm getting the strangest case of Deja-Vu. Ohhhhh yeah. Wasn't it just three short years ago that the Saints faced much harsher penalties amidst very similar, if not completely identical, circumstances? Didn't they lose their head coach for a season, their general manager for a half a season, and $500,000 as well as two high draft picks? Does that count as precedent or nah?
Now listen, I have said from the beginning that Tom Brady shouldn't be suspended, but I also said that Sean Payton shouldn't have been suspended. So don't expect me to shed any tears now that he has been. We are talking about a team that just won the SuperBowl. A team that was the beneficiary of the infamous 'Tuck Rule' that sparked a decade and a half of dominance. A bomb could hit Gillette Stadium and I would only feel sympathy if, and only if, it was a sellout crowd. If the Jaguars were facing similar allegations would this be as big of a deal? Would there be suspensions? Of course not. When you win you put a target on your back. That's not a new phenomenon in sports. The Saints were accused of a bounty system during their Superbowl year and the Patriots were accused of deflating a football during their SuperBowl year. That is not a coincidence. This is no more a vendetta against the Patriots then it was a vendetta against the Saints. In truth it's a vendetta against teams that were successful in exploiting the rules for their benefit.
"Ignorance is not an excuse." Anyone remember that little nugget from everyone's favorite commissioner, Roger Goodell? The wrongdoing isn't what got Tom Brady or Sean Payton suspended. What got them suspended was playing dumb and perpetuating the lie after the fact. I repeat, the coverup is worse than the crime. In the court of law you are innocent until PROVEN guilty. Unfortunately for Saints fans in 2012 and Patriots fans now the NFL doesn't abide by the court of law. They abide by the court of public perception. When there is audio of your players talking about bounties you are perceived as guilty. When there is 240 page novel's worth of information painting you as a willing participant in deflating footballs you are perceived as guilty. Did Tom Brady have something to do with the PSI's of a few footballs? It's more probable than not. Did the Saints have a bounty system? It's more probable than not. Did they lie after they acted in contrast of the NFL's letter of the law? Almost definitely. That's why they are losing their quarterback for 4 games (probably two after an appeal). That's why the Saints wasted a year as a ship without a captain in the prime of Drew Brees' career. Hey Pat's fans, the offer is on the table, but don't cry like you are the first team that has fallen victim to the NFL's suspect judicial system...
Then again, maybe it's all just a publicity ploy in the never ending drama that is professional football. Some things are too ironic not to be scripted...