During this year's NFL offseason, four-time NFL Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady, along with supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen, three adorable kids, and even his dogs enjoyed a summer of amazing vacations, well documented on social media and made most famous by an amazing Instagram photo of the parents riding horses on a beach as the sun set. Yeah, the kind of stuff Tom Brady can do and we can't.
It was a period of relaxation and family time that we all dream of being able to experience (and afford) someday.
Luckily, Brady and his family had that time to relax, because the Patriots and their legendary quarterback are coming under fire, especially after Ted Wells' report came out on May 6th.
Following his fourth Super Bowl victory (and sixth trip to the big game) in his illustrious career, it is the very item that Brady has thrown to gain his fame (a football -- well, 11 of them to be exact) that has landed him in some hot water.
We all know the story by now, and unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple days, you know the basic synopsis of Wells' report on the "Deflategate" issue. The findings can be summed up as: "The Patriots locker room attendants broke the rules and Tom Brady probably knew that the balls were tampered with."
The issue with the entire situation is not that Brady asked for his balls to be prepared a certain way. In fact, it's well documented around the league that quarterbacks like their balls to be prepared a certain way. "Every team tampers with the footballs," former NFL quarterback Matt Leinart tweeted shortly after the incident came into the forefront. "Ask any QB in the league, this is ridiculous!!"
Every team tampers with the footballs. Ask any Qb In the league, this is ridiculous!!
— Matt Leinart (@MattLeinartQB) January 21, 2015
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was adamant that his team was not trying to gain any advantage, and famously gave the media a science lesson on the topic. He urged everyone that his team played within the rules. However, Belichick (referred to as "Belicheat" by some Patriots bashers) might not have the credibility that he once had, due to a variety of scandals, most notably "Spygate".
Interestingly, it was Brady and Peyton Manning who successfully lobbied the league in 2006 to let visiting teams provide their own footballs. Prior to that point, it was always the home team that supplied the footballs, which means the visiting quarterbacks didn't get to try out the footballs until pre-game warmups.
Brady told the Miami Sun-Sentinel after his successful lobbying, "The thing is, every quarterback likes it a little bit different. Some like them blown up a little bit more, some like them a little more thin, some like them a little more new, some like them really broken in."
And this, folks, is all Brady had to say when this issue came up. He didn't have to say he didn't have any interactions with locker room attendants. He didn't have to say he had nothing to do with it. As he said back in 2006, every quarterback "likes it a little bit different".
Would there be a backlash if he stated that he didn't realize that the ball pressure was too low? If there had been a simple mistake? If he assumed the game officials would pick up an issue if the ball pressure was too low?
Brady went all-in on the innocent card and it's likely going to cost him and his team heading into the 2015-2016 NFL season.
While he definitely should have been more forthright about the entire situation, this doesn't mean Brady's career achievements should be called into question, a point many media pundits are bringing up around the nation. In fact, we don't even know whether or not a deflated football would have changed the outcome of any game, especially such a lopsided AFC Championship Game.
This doesn't mean that Brady shouldn't be a Hall of Famer or considered one of the best players to ever play the position. Because he should, and he is.
It's a shame that a player who has been solely a positive figure for the league has been revealed as a possible liar, but it doesn't equate his actions with the other players who have had run-ins with the law and still take the field every Sunday.
We should all be much more sickened by guys like Greg Hardy, who signed a gigantic one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys after his domestic violence charges were dismissed. After his 10-game suspension (which he appealed, by the way), Hardy will still make more money than many hard-working Americans this year.
The fact of the matter is that Brady lied to us about footballs being deflated. Think about how little that matters in the grand scope of things. Let's not let this get completely out of hand more than it already has. Other quarterbacks do it. As Brady said, everyone likes their balls a little different.
If anyone deserves a second chance, it's a guy who went from a backup in college to a 6th-round pick, from an NFL backup to starter to Super Bowl Champion to perennial Pro Bowler. He's someone that kids can actually look up to and idolize (as fewer and fewer athletes now fit this mold).
Our feelings as football fans can be hurt, but this is not a career-defining mistake. Most of all, it shows that all of us, even the revered Tom Brady, can make a mistake once in a while.