Tom Brady Set to Return From 4-Game Suspension Against Colts
Earlier this evening, it was reported that the NFL had issued its “DeflateGate” punishment to the New England Patriots, which consisted of a 4-game suspension of Tom Brady, the loss of a 2016 first round pick and 2017 4th round pick, and a fine of $1 million dollars.
It was a pretty steep price to pay for the manipulation of footballs, considering that it likely had little to no bearing on the outcome of the Patriots 45-7 AFC Championship Game blowout win against the Indianapolis Colts.
Still, this wasn’t about the actual impact of the Patriots misdeeds, it was about their arrogance, as well as the strong statement to ensure a level playing field and fair competition for all of the NFL’s 32 teams. This wasn’t the Patriots first run-in with the league (i.e. Spygate) regarding fair play either, and if they didn’t learn their lesson then, they certainly will now after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply laid the hammer.
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks off the field during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots and specifically Tom Brady have no one to blame, but themselves. If Brady owns up to deflating the footballs before the league launches their extensive Ted Wells investigation, both he and the Patriots likely get a slap on the wrist in the form of a 1-game suspension at most, nothing more.
Instead, Brady denied any wrongdoing despite clear evidence to the contrary, and the NFL concluded in its now released Wells Report that Brady and the Patriots “probably” were guilty of the illegal manipulation of footballs.
It’s significant for the Indianapolis Colts because New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will return from his 4-game suspension in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football against none other than the team that turned him in, the Indianapolis Colts (because of a prior Patriots bye). Brady should be pretty steamed and looking to make a bold statement, so the Colts best be ready for a little extra from the Patriots. It’s possible that Brady’s suspension could be reduced to 2 games or so if he appeals, but as it stands, he’s set to return against the Colts, which the NFL will be sure to love in their ratings. This is hardly a coincidence.
Not only is Brady returning against the Colts, but a 4 game suspension could be huge as it relates to playoff homefield advantage. The Patriots and Colts were expected to be neck and neck in the AFC standings, and if the Patriots lose a few games that they were otherwise expected to win because they’re playing backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo instead of Brady, it could very well be the difference between the Colts playing in January at the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium over their personal “House of Horrors” at Foxborough.
Either way, any punishment that hurts the Patriots is probably a good thing for the Colts, as they are clearly the team that they’ll have to get past if they want to fulfill their Super Bowl aspirations. This wasn’t just any punishment; however, it was one that sent a clear message and should hurt the Patriots significantly both for next season with Brady’s absence and in the long-term with the loss of a future first round pick.
Nov 16, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) at the end of their game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
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