Off The Ball: Patriots' balls-up (or down) leads to giant punishment in Deflategate saga
Hell hath no fury like a ruling organisation scorned. Tom Brady faces a four-game ban for probably knowing that his equipment people were reducing the air in his game balls. This is one of the funniest, weirdest stories I can remember in world sport. Add in the fact Brady helpfully won one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent history just after he was caught and it's now entering high farce.
In fairness to the NFL, they're not actually punishing Brady (right) for tampering with the football, they're punishing him for the original denial of involvement, the perceived cover-up and the fact that, well, the Patriots' bib is stained.
When the New Orleans Saints were being punished for sending their players out to maim the opposition deliberately - the Bountygate scandal - it wasn't the act of deliberately injuring your opponent which the NFL came down hardest on, it was the cover-up. They're pretty much ok with injuring your opposition since that's a large part of the game, you just can't lie about getting a bonus to do it.
They also changed the rules to allow quarterbacks alter match balls to their own specification at Brady and Peyton Manning's insistence.
So they don't care about that either. There's a $25,000 fine if you break that rule.
In this instance, Tom Brady didn't hand over his mobile phone and that's irked the NFL. Who knows what Tom had on his phone that he didn't want some nosy jobsworth seeing? It seems like everyone has been badly advised.
Brady - who lodged an appeal yesterday - and the Patriots could have said, 'We're sorry and we won't do it again'. Instead they demanded an apology and this is what they get - their best player banned for a quarter of the regular season, a $1 million fine and forfeiting a 2016 first-rounder and 2017 fourth-round selection in the NFL Draft. Justice in the NFL is a funny thing.