It has been yet another noisy offseason in Foxborough, for the New England Patriots, and especially star quarterback, Tom Brady. Coming off a championship year, the Patriots were hit hard during Super bowl week for allegedly deflating footballs below the league rules relating to PSI levels during their AFC finals matchup with the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on the 18th of January 2015. The Patriots would then go on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super bowl XLIX (49).
During the ensuing offseason the Patriots were dealt a huge blow to their title defence aspirations, when, on May 6, the 243 page ‘Wells’ Report was submitted to the NFL. Stating that QB Tom Brady was “more probable than not” to have known about footballs being deflated by the team’s equipment staff, along with further conclusions. Consequently the Patriots organisation was handed a $1million fine, along with the subtraction of their 1st round draft pick for the 2016 draft and their 4th round pick in the 2017 draft, and star QB Tom Brady was dispensed a four game suspension, for being incorporative to the league investigation, which is to be served from the start of the 2015/16 season.
The Patriots accepted the fine and the loss of draft picks, to avoid any further rift between the NFL and for the dignity of the organisation. However Tom Brady resisted to have his suspension upheld and is looking to have his suspension overturned by the league.
Consequently with the new season fast approaching and no settlement or decision yet to be made, there are a lot of question marks circling the Patriot’s title defence in relation to their offence, as backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo is set to lead the Patriot’s offence for the first four games of the season, which proves to be a big ask for the Patriots, as they risk falling behind in their challenging division, before Brady is eligible to play.
The ongoing state of the situation is that Brady and the NFLPA are fighting the 4 game suspension at an appeals court against the NFL, led by Commissioner Roger Godell. During the hearing, held on August 19th, Judge, Richard Berman, urged both parties to reach a settlement before August 31st or a decision would be made regarding the matter, just over a week before the new season is set to kick off, with the Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10th.
As of September the 1st, following the settlement hearing on the 31st of August, things seem to be going right for Tom Brady. According to Michael McCann, a legal analyst for sports illustrated, said in an interview with NESN (New England Sports Network) that he believes Brady will play in the season opener against Pittsburgh. It is believed that Judge Richard M. Berman of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York will rule in favour of Brady in the coming days. This will come as a big sigh of relief to fans across New England, Boston and around the world. However, whichever way Judge Berman rules it is unlikely to be the end of the case.