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Steelers-Patriots Week 1 Line Off Boards Due To Possible Tom Brady Suspension
The NFL report on the New England Patriots' "Deflategate" came out on Wednesday and it appears that the blame has landed on two equipment managers and, much more importantly, on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Because of a possible suspension for Brady, the line for New England's season-opening home game on Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh has been taken off the board by all the sportsbooks. The Pats were minus-6.
Some Punishment Coming
The Patriots quarterback, along with locker attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski are the three people most likely to be disciplined. In a statement after the Ted Wells report was released on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league "will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type."
The 243-page Wells report found that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls." In the report, Wells also noted that Brady refused to turn over his cell phone and other personal information for investigative purposes.
"Brady's refusal to provide us with his own emails, text messages and phone records on relevant topics, in response to our narrowly tailored requests, limited the evidence available for our review and analysis," the report said.
"I feel like I have always played within the rules. I would never break the rules," he said in January. "I was very shocked to hear it, so I almost laughed it off thinking that was more sour grapes than anything. And it ends up being a very serious thing when you start learning the things that were ... just the integrity of the game."
Brady’s name is mentioned 378 times in the Deflategate report. By contrast, Bill Belichick’s name is mentioned 32 times. If some high-profile member of the Patriots organization is going to be in trouble over this, it’s Brady. The league might consider a fine to be severe enough, but a suspension can’t be ruled out. Brady apparently convinced Belichick that no rules had been broken.
“Belichick asked Brady directly whether he had any knowledge about any of the issues raised by the press since the AFC Championship Game,” the report says. “According to Belichick, Brady said ‘absolutely not.’ Belichick stated that he then asked if Brady or anyone Brady knew had tampered with or in any way altered the footballs. Brady again denied any knowledge or involvement. Belichick recalled that Brady also explained that once he inspects and approves game balls, those balls are exactly as he likes them and that he would not want anyone to do anything to them after that point. Belichick believed Brady. Belichick and Brady attended the team meeting, and Belichick told the team that there was ‘not one shred of truth’ to the deflation allegations. When given the floor, Brady repeated what he had told Belichick about wanting game balls to be exactly as he approved them.”
Brady Clearly Lied
Brady said he didn't know McNally's name or anything about his game-day responsibilities, including whether McNally had any role relating to game balls. Investigators didn't find that plausible and contradicted it with other evidence. McNally referred to himself as the "deflator" in text messages. There was also a reference in text messages to a "needle," and McNally said he was "not going to ESPN ... yet."
Any discipline will be handed out in "days" according to reports. Certainly this would affect New England's potential win total for the 2015 season at books as well. The team's No. 2 quarterback is second-year player Jimmy Garaoppolo, a second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois. He threw 27 passes in mo-up duty last year and completed 19 for 182 yards.
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