|Brady/Belichick damaged goods|
The NFL has suspended New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady for four games without pay in relation to the "Deflategate" incident in which the team was found to have used underinflated footballs for an advantage in the playoffs.
The Patriots were also fined $1 million and will forfeit its first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, the league announced Monday. source
To be clear, almost every football player, coach, fan and aficionado -- outside of the New England deniers -- are fully cognizant of the many NFL integrity undermining tactics Bill Belichick will employ to gain unfair competitive advantages:
- filming opponents game day walk throughs (this was a separate charge from the original spygate)
- illegal offensive alignments
Will this taint the Brady/Belichick era?
Once again, outside of the New England fan base, this has irrevocably smeared the four time Super Bowl champion's success. NFL fans will forever mention the numerous scandals in the same sentence they mention or write about the Belichick/Brady era. This fate is sealed.
Some defenders say Brady and the Pats are so dominate that deflated footballs aside they didn't need to alter the balls to kick butt. First, since the 2007 NFL decision to allow teams to handle their own game day footballs -- a ruling that Brady heavily lobbied for -- the Pats fumble rate has dropped to numbers that are improbably low.
Since 2007, the Patriots fumble only at a rate of once every 187 offensive snaps. This is literally off the charts. It is a statistical outlier right from a statistics textbook. There is no other team even close to being near to their rate of 187 offensive plays (passes+rushes+sacks) per fumble. The league average is 105 plays/fumble.
The odds of such a statistical distribution were calculated at one in 16,233. That’s a comma, not a decimal. Sixteen thousand two hundred and thirty three to one." source
One final observation, for many fans, the greatness of Tom Brady will forever be unfavorably compared to other Mount Rushmore great athletes like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe or a Magic. The aforementioned greats would rather spot their opponents points and then demoralize them rather than rig the game for unfair competitive advantage.
In my opinion, Brady joins the Barry Bonds, A-Rods, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosas and Mark McGwires: Great athletes that didn't need to cheat to be historically considered among the greatest in their sport but decided for records, honors and wins they rather cheat the integrity of their profession.