Beyond Brady – By Rob Hamilton SEPT. 4 2015 3:48 PM

 Tom Brady after the 2015 AFC championship game, site of Deflategate, Jan. 18, 2015. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Tom Brady after the 2015 AFC championship game, site of Deflategate, Jan. 18, 2015.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When Judge Richard Berman vacated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate, Berman not only handed the NFL a high-profile legal defeat, but he established the courthouse as the most viable option for players hoping to challenge the league’s policies. It’s a sign that the league must reform or face major—and embarrassing—ramifications for its disciplinary actions.

When allegations arose that the Patriots had illegally deflated game balls in the AFC championship game, the NFL hired Ted Wells to conduct an independent investigation. The resulting Wells Report concluded that it was “more probable than not” that Tom Brady “was at least generally aware” of the ball-deflation scheme, prompting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Brady for four games. Brady appealed the punishment, and the matter went to arbitration. Goodell, serving as arbitrator, upheld the suspension and proclaimed that Brady “knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of” the deflation scheme.

The league’s response to Deflategate was reminiscent of its response to the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal in 2013. Allegations arose that Dolphins players had bullied offensive lineman Jonathan Martin to the point of a breakdown. (Martin briefly checked himself into the hospital before leaving the team.) The league commissioned an independent investigation, also headed by Wells, which produced a 144-page report detailing the torment heaped upon Martin by his teammates. It vilified lineman Richie Incognito, who would not find work in 2014, and led to the firing of offensive line coach Jim Turner. The report served as some rare good publicity for the commissioner’s office.

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At Long Last: It’s Super Sunday – Tom Goldman FEBRUARY 01, 2015 5:31 AM ET

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever. Charlie Riedel/AP

Are you ready for 17 and a half minutes of football???!!!!

That, according to a study by the Media Education Foundation, is how much live football action there was in last year’s Super Bowl. And pretty much what we can expect Sunday when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.

But even if actual football is just a sliver of the four-hour NBC broadcast, it’s still a relief finally to be done with the pre-Super Bowl week of hype — which ran the gamut this year from frivolous to ominous.

There was talk and more talk about footballs losing air and Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch ceding air (time). There was Tom Brady’s cold — he’s better — and Bill Belichick’s love of monkey puppets. Really Bill? You call that a “stuffed animal?”

There was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trying to move on from the league’s “tough year,” and reporters saying not so fast — a lot of questions are still unanswered.

But today all the talk ends, as attention turns to what football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

There’s been no shortage of statistics and scenarios explaining why the Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl of the 2000s — the team’s first since 2005 — and confirm their dynasty status. There’s just as much fodder for why Seattle will become the ninth team to win back-to-back titles and secure its own dynasty label.

The teams have identical 14-4 records. In general, Seattle’s offense has leaned more on the running of Lynch, whose “Beast Mode” nickname captures his churning, relentless style. New England’s offense relies on the brilliant pocket passing of quarterback Brady.

Still, the Seahawks won a thrilling NFC Championship game thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson’s dazzling throws in overtime; and New England running back LeGarrette Blount was beastly himself in the AFC title game, running for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

The point is, both teams can win throwing and running the ball. Although for each offensive unit, a formidable defense stands in the way.

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The New England Patriots’ deflated footballs scandal, explained – Updated by Joseph Stromberg on January 27, 2015, 9:32 a.m. ET

The footballs used by the New England Patriots during the first half of the AFC Championship were under-inflated, according to an NFL investigation. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, 11 of the 12 balls used had less than the amount of air pressure mandated by the league.


Why might the Patriots want under-inflated footballs? In theory, it would have made the balls easier for quarterback Tom Brady to hold and for the team’s receivers to catch during the game’s rainy conditions. Because teams always use their own sets of footballs when they’re on offense, this wouldn’t have helped their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. For better or worse, this scandal seems to have been unofficially named Deflate-gate.

11 of the 12 balls used were under-inflated

Both Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Brady have denied any involvement. The league’s ongoing investigation has reportedly uncovered video of a Patriots locker room attendant who briefly took the balls from the officials’ locker room into a bathroom before the game.

Still, it’s not been established that the under-inflation was the result of any coordinated action by the Patriots. If it was, though, it could mean serious penalties for the team — possibly including fines and lost draft picks. And given previous instances of cheating by the team, it could further tarnish their legacy, even if they win Super Bowl XLIX, giving Brady and Belichick a fourth ring together.

Here’s what we know so far about the situation.

What did the Patriots do?

bill belichick

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on the sideline of the AFC Championship. (Elsa/Getty Images)

In their game on Sunday, January 18 against the Indianapolis Colts — a game in which the winner would advance to the Super Bowl — the Patriots played part of the game with balls that were under-inflated.

It’s unclear who tipped the Colts off to the Patriots’ under-inflated balls. Initially, it was reported that after catching an interception in the second quarter, Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noticed the ball was less inflated than usual, but he’s since denied noticing anything.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer has reported, meanwhile, that the Patriots’ previous opponent (the Baltimore Ravens) told the Colts that the Patriots’ balls might be under-inflated before the game, and the NFL was already planning to inspect them.

In any event, officials checked the balls at halftime and reportedly found that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots were using were indeed under-inflated — with about two pounds per square inch less pressure than the minimum 12.5 psi mandated by the league. At that point, they were re-inflated to the proper pressure, and stayed that way for the second half.

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NFL ‘deflate-gate’: Brady and Belichick deny any involvement – 22 January 2015 Last updated at 23:05 GMT

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at Jan 23, 2015 12.13

Super Bowl XLIX

Date: Sunday, 1 February. Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona. Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have denied knowledge of a plan to intentionally deflate balls during the win that sent them to the Super Bowl.

The NFL is continuing to investigate claims 11 balls were deflated in the rain-hit 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game.

“I have never talked to anyone about football air pressure,” Belichick said.

Brady said: “I didn’t alter the balls in any way.”

If you deflate a ball in cold or wet conditions, it provides more grip for the quarterback, and it is normal for both teams to use their own set of balls when on offense.

If the claims are proved correct, it would mean balls used by Brady would have been easier to throw than those used by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

“I was completely and totally unaware of this until Monday morning,” Belichick said at a news conference. “That is not a subject that I have ever brought up.

“To me the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game and we play with what is out there. That is the only way that I have ever thought about that.”

Tom BradyTom Brady – who has thrown 33 touchdowns this season – addressed the media on Thursday afternoon

He added that in future the Patriots would inflate the balls to a higher level “to account for any possible change during the game”.

Brady – who has won three Superbowls – said: “The integrity of the game is very important. I have always played within the rules.

“I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it and determine [the pressure].

“I don’t like the fact that this has taken away from some of the accomplishment of what we have achieved as a team.”

The issue has dominated the early build-up to the Pats’ appearance in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in Phoenix, Arizona, on 1 February, with the team famously having broken NFL rules in the past.

In 2007, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000, along with forfeiture of a draft pick, for videotaping an opponent’s defensive signals.

Giancarlo Stanton Nailed It When Asked About Making More In 1 Day Than Most Americans Make In A Year

Giancarlo Stanton

Zachary Fagenson/ReutersGiancarlo Stanton sits next to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.


Giancarlo Stanton shocked the sports world and instantly became a household name when he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins, the largest in North American sports history.

That total, which is guaranteed and is about twice as much as Tom Brady has made in his entire career, is a figure most Americans can’t even fathom.

So, at Stanton’s press conference to announce the contract signing, one reporter asked the slugger if he was embarrassed to make more in one day ($69,000 on average throughout the contract) than most Americans make in an entire year.

Showing why he is this country’s next superstar that is more than just a great ballplayer, Stanton kept his poise, smiled, and delivered the perfect answer, noting that this contract “isn’t like a lottery ticket.”

Giancarlo Stanton QuoteFox Sports

Stanton went on to say that he knows the expectations are now higher amd that he is willing to accept those. He also compared the new contract to being drafted all over again and now “there is work to do.”

What Stanton did not point out is that a lot of work went into getting to where he is. While many Americans work hard, Stanton happens to do it in an industry with a lot of money and he does it as well as anybody else in the world.

You can see the question and full answer at