Friday, September 4, 2015

Deflategate and the Growing Legend of Tom Brady

Some people believe that, on the field, Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL.  There are those who would even contend that he's the best NFL quarterback ever.  He's destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame--that's for sure.

But now, Brady has prevailed over the NFL Commissioner in federal court.  Federal judge Richard Berman took a highly skeptical view of Commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game suspension of Brady for Deflategate, finding the Commissioner more or less handled disciplinary matters by the seat of his pants.  Concerned about deficits of fairness and due process in the Commissioner's decision, the court tossed Brady's four-game suspension.  Even though the NFL appealed the court's ruling almost immediately, its chances of prevailing on appeal aren't pretty.  Most of the time, appealing parties lose and Judge Berman doesn't appear to have given the Court of Appeals much room to find problems with his decision, assuming it's even inclined to try.  And if the NFL loses at the Court of Appeals and petitions the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, it will likely be grasping at straws.  The Supremes have much more important stuff to deal with than football inflation levels.

Tom Brady was drafted in the next-to-last round of the 2000 draft, and barely played during his rookie year.  The next year, when starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was sidelined due to injury, Brady stepped in and took the Patriots to the Super Bowl, where he led them to their first Super Bowl victory.  Since then, Brady has led the Patriots to five more Super Bowls, with three more victories.  All the while, he built a record of on-the-field performance and awards that's too long to reproduce here.  He married a Brazilian super model and lives a glamorous life supported by multi-million dollar wealth.  The man has become an NFL legend. 

His courtroom victory over Roger Goodell will only fuel that legend.  Twenty-five or thirty years from now, only football aficionados will remember most of today's star quarterbacks.  But Tom Brady will likely be remembered as the guy who whupped the Commissioner's arse in court.  When you consider Goodell's decision, you have to wonder what on Earth was he thinking?  What was the point of coming down so hard on Tom Brady for being "generally aware" of underinflated footballs?  Why did the NFL make such a big deal over this case?  Has anything constructive come out of the Commissioner trying to administer such a high-profile walloping?  Whatever Goodell was trying to accomplish, he's managed to do just the opposite and make the legend of Tom Brady greater than ever before.

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