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Firing Back
Tom Brady finally fired back on his Facebook page this morning about the allegations against him.

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Stephen Gostkowsi’s 4-Year Deal Well-Deserved

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

When you have a player as consistent as Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowsi, it would be tough to imagine looking for a replacement if he hit free agency because the odds are probably pretty good another team would have paid him a lot of money.

Fortunately, it’s not something the Patriots will have to worry about for the foreseeable future.

According to ESPN Boston, New England was able to get a deal done before the deadline on an extension for the veteran kicker, with the two sides reportedly agreeing to a four-year contact worth approximately $17.2 million.  Gostkowski had previously signed his one-year franchise tender, but New England had until 4pm Wednesday to reach a long-term deal.

It’s good news as he’s been an unbelievable replacement for former Patriot Adam Vinatieri, who had been a steady contributor before departing for Indianapolis via free agency following the 2005 season.  2014 was one of Gostkowski’s best seasons, with the veteran hitting an NFL-best 35-of-37 field goals (94.6%) which was a career high in accuracy.  He also became the seventh kicker to earn 100 points in the postseason and kicked touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.  Gostkowski has also lead all NFL kickers in points in every season since 2012.

Kickers don’t tend to get a lot of recognition but fortunately the Patriots clearly see the value he gives them.  It’s a well-deserved deal for a solid player and fortunately New England has solidified their kicking game for the long-term by extending him.

Patriots LB Hightower: “Hell Yeah, I Want to Play in the First Game”

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:00 am

Malcolm Butler may be the Super Bowl hero after his game-clinching interception against the Seahawks back in February, but Dont’a Hightower’s game-saving tackle against Marshawn Lynch the play before was the one that made it possible, playing an intricate part in New England winning their fourth championship.

When the game was over fans learned that Hightower made that play with only one good arm, with the veteran linebacker having undergone surgery this offseason to repair a torn labrum.  The initial prognosis didn’t seem promising after it seemed he might be sidelined six to seven months, but it appears that he’s pushing to be out there when the Patriots take the field in the season opener.

Hightower took part in a local football camp in Lowell, Mass on Monday and told ESPN’s Joe McDonald that he’s making progress and so far, everything is going well with his rehabilitation.

“Honestly, I don’t have a target date,” said Hightower. “I’ve seen doc, and everything is going great right now. I’m right on track, if not a little ahead of schedule. It’s something that’s going to take time. I can’t say ‘three weeks’ or whatever. It feels great. I’m doing good. Doc loved everything. He said I’m ahead of schedule, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

That’s good news considering how valuable he is to New England’s defense.  Hightower finished tied for second with Chandler Jones in sacks with six during the regular season in 2014 and also combined for 89 tackles (also second on the team behind Jamie Collins’ 115), 13 quarterback hits (2nd behind Rob Ninkovich’s 16), two passes defensed, and a forced fumble.

In the playoffs he finished second in tackles with 16, as well as a team-leading two tackles for a loss.

For now he’ll have to take it one week at a time, but there’s still plenty of time before the season starts.  At this point his road back seems to be going according to plan and if that continues, Hightower hopes he’ll be out there.

“Oh, hell yeah, I wanna play in the first game,” said Hightower.  “I wish we could go out and start in a couple of weeks and bang around. It’s just something that takes time. It’s going great.”

OPINION: Brady vs Rodgers – Brady Should Have Had the Edge in the Rankings

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 9, 2015 at 9:22 am

From the outside, Aaron Rodgers is a hard guy not to root for.

His quiet demeanor and consistent, solid play (his overall career QB Rating of 106.0 leads all NFL QB’s all-time currently) are things that make him endearing to NFL writers who cover him.  He’s a guy who always tends to say the right things and he’s also one of the NFL’s classiest players.  With all of this in mind, that’s probably why, when it comes to putting a list of top players together, the media favors a younger Rodgers (he’s just 31) over Tom Brady in choosing a player who right now seemingly has a longer shelf-life and on paper might be the more popular choice.

When it comes down to comparing Rodgers with the 37-year old Brady, Brady’s a guy associated with a team that hasn’t had a losing season since 2000 and hasn’t finished with fewer than 10 or more wins since ’02.  He’s also associated with a coach who isn’t exactly media friendly and the SpyGate controversy back in 2007 is always fodder for criticism whenever anything negative surrounds this football team.

Factor in a supermodel wife, and Brady’s a player that those who don’t cover him on a regular basis don’t quite seem to understand.

In Green Bay, Rodgers is the opposite of that.  He’s not married to a supermodel who brings in more money annually than he does (he’s reportedly dating actress Olivia Munn if you’re wondering…we’ll save you the step of Googling it).  But he’s been all the Packers could have hoped for and more since he took over for Brett Favre in 2008, with Rodgers and the Packers winning a Super Bowl championship in 2010.  Despite entering his 11th season he still has plenty of good years still ahead of him and he’s coming off of a last-second NFC Championship loss that should have him extremely motivated heading into 2015.

He’s a terrific player.  There’s no question about that.  But in a league that views success by how players perform in the postseason with playoff victories and Super Bowl rings, the fact Brady fell behind Rodgers – and Andrew Luck for that matter – in some of the recent rankings, including the NFL’s recent top 100, is a little puzzling.  Brady’s already a forgotten man after his name has spent the entire offseason being associated with DeflateGate, as well as the fact he’s facing a four-game suspension.  Winning a Super Bowl is something that’s so rare and hard to do that it’s still amazing that with little to no proof of any wrongdoing, Brady remains in this position battling the NFL’s punishment after what he managed to accomplish back in February.

As for Luck, we won’t get into how he could be ranked ahead of Brady since the Colts quarterback hasn’t finished a game with a deficit of less than 21 points against New England, yet still believes he can unseat them in 2015.  That in itself makes little sense and shouldn’t be open for discussion until he’s able to really challenge Bill Belichick’s football team.  But he’s an up and coming player and national writers like that.

When it comes to Rodgers, we could sit here and go back and forth looking at career milestones and accomplishments, but since we’re talking about who is the better player right now, Rodgers should realistically simply be edged out – for this year – in favor of Brady by what happened in the postseason.

This year’s NFC Championship Game is one that’s likely haunting Rodgers this offseason, and it’s one that will stand out as one of Rodgers and the Packers more forgettable moments.  Leading 19-7 with five minutes to go, Green Bay had the vast majority of Seahawks fans headed for the exits before doing the unthinkable and imploding, letting Seattle pull off a 15 point comeback en-route to a gut-wrenching 28-22 overtime loss.

It’s hard to fault Rodgers for how those final minutes played out.  When he left the field at the 4:00 mark, they held a twelve point lead.  But from there he was forced to sit on the sideline while Russell Wilson put together a 7-play, 69 yard drive for the Seahawks first scoring touchdown, followed by an improbable onside kick recovery that lead to a 24-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch to put the Seahawks on top at 22-19 with 1:19 to go in regulation.

Rodgers did lead them down for a tying field goal, but the bigger problem was really the fact the Packers scored 13 first quarter points and then nothing after that, mustering just three field goals over the final three quarters along with completing just 4-of-9 throwing the football in the fourth quarter, which ended up leaving the door open just long enough for the Seahawks to escape.

Brady, meanwhile, against that same Seahawks team, overcame a 10 point 4th quarter deficit while setting a Super Bowl record 37 completions.  He also missed just two passes in the final quarter of play, completing 13-of-15 in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns (including a perfect 8-of-8 on his game-clinching touchdown drive to Julian Edelman) against one of the NFL’s best defenses.

He came up big when it mattered most, and it happened with the whispers of DeflateGate eating up a lot of the preparation time for Brady and the Patriots leading up to that game and certainly could have become even more of a distraction than it already was.

But that seems to get little play in the media and the only logical explanation is the fact the anointment of Rodgers continues to happen in hopes that Brady’s inevitable drop off is coming, which seems to have been the trend over the last couple of years.  The bad news is every time those whispers start, as we saw after their blowout loss to the Chiefs, Brady takes his play to the next level and he plays like the guy we’ve seen over the last decade.

It’s really simple.  When it comes to players like Brady and Rodgers, there’s a parallel that exists and Rodgers’ focus and clutch play mirrors that of Brady.  Given the amount of talent Green Bay has, they’ll likely be in the mix in the coming years and it wouldn’t be a shock to see these two battling it out for a Lombardi Trophy at some point.

They’re the two best quarterbacks in the league right now, Brady just happens to be at the top of his game having just won his fourth Super Bowl.  There’s no knock out with this decision, it’s the equivalent of two heavyweight boxers going at it and at the end of the day it’s just the scorecard that ends up being the deciding factor.

In this case, a few points one-way is what should make this decision.  Someday the debate can begin about who was the better career quarterback and in fairness to Rodgers, it’s a little early to make a real comparison since he still has plenty of time to add to his Super Bowl total and his overall career numbers.

But since it’s based on who’s the better player for 2015, Brady has to be the champ for winning in Arizona this time around.  That could certainly change over the next 12 months, and we’ll simply have to wait and see what level they’re both playing at in 2015 before we have this discussion again next year.

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell – “I’m Out of the Boot Now”

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Brandon LaFell may not be a flashy player like Randy Moss or Wes Welker, but there’s no denying his value to the Patriots during their championship run last season.

The veteran wide receiver played a key role in New England’s offense in 2014, carving out a role as one of Tom Brady’s most reliable targets after amassing 74 receptions for 953 yards including a career-high 7 touchdowns.

He got off to a slow start in September after catching just 10 passes in four games, but from there he settled in and became an important part of Brady’s passing attack in an offense that was in dire need of another receiver to take the pressure off of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.

He stepped up in a big way and was a key contributor during the Patriots Super Bowl victory after LaFell finished with four receptions, including New England’s first points against the Seahawks when he hauled in an 11-yard touchdown to put the Patriots up 7-0 early in the second quarter.

Word this offseason was that LaFell was spotted in a walking boot during OTA’s, but it sounds like he’s been making progress with whatever injury he was dealing with.

On Wednesday LaFell told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he’s finally had some time off to let his body finish healing, and he’s looking forward to getting back to work in a few weeks.

“Just a few lingering injuries that happened in the late part of the regular season that I just played through throughout the playoffs,” LaFell told host Bruce Murray via ESPN Boston. “Finally got some time off to let my body heal up properly; I’m out of the boot now and I’m just looking forward to starting camp.”

With LaFell now getting healthy, that’s certainly good news for the Patriots, who return all of their starting receivers in 2015.  LaFell should be another key to New England’s success, and with training camp set to start in three weeks, hopefully he’s fully recovered and ready to go when the team starts getting ready for the upcoming season.

Colts Luck on the Patriots – “We’d Like to Dethrone Them”

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 6:01 am

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck appears to be an innocent bystander when it comes to the deflategate controversy set off by his organization, which has dominated the headlines this offseason while also leaving Luck’s nemesis, New England QB Tom Brady, sidelined – for now – for the first four games of the season.

But the veteran QB made a little noise this week after answering fan questions for a forum in London, with Luck saying he’d like to see his team take the next step and knock the Patriots out.

“The Patriots are obviously the defending Super Bowl champs and our defending conference champs so there’s a high amount of respect for that team and what they do,” Luck told BritViewNFL.com. “They’re the kings of the league right now and everybody would like to dethrone them — we’d like to dethrone them but you have to look at the season as 16 games. There are fans and media who will hype up certain games and circle them in red on the calendar but, as a player, you lose sight of what’s important if you get into that mode.”

Luck hasn’t even come close to beating the Patriots in their recent meetings, with New England having scored over 40 points per game in every contest against them.   The closest margin?  Their postseason match-up in 2014 when New England beat them by a paltry 21 points in a 43-22 Divisional Playoff win back on January 11, 2014.

The fourth-year quarterback is just 25-years old and he’s off to a solid start during the regular season, having amassed a career record of 33-15 after three straight seasons of finishing 11-5.  However, he’s just 3-3 in the postseason, including two blowout losses to New England in each of the last two years. The most recent one should definitely be fresh in his mind after Tom Brady and the Patriots handed his team a 45-7 beating back in January, which included a second half clinic that saw New England outscore them 28-0 with perfectly inflated footballs.

To add insult to injury, Luck didn’t play well in that game against Bill Belichick’s defense, completing just 12-of-33 (36%) throwing the football including two interceptions while his team converted a measly 3-of-11 (27%) on third down.

If he plans on knocking off the Patriots, both he and his football team have a long way to go to get there.

For now Luck is confident, and he thinks his team has a shot to be in the mix in 2015.

“I’d like to think that we can get better and improve on 2014,” said Luck.  “That’s the goal for every team when hope springs eternal during the off-season. It’s everybody’s goal to go out and win the Super Bowl — I’d like to think we have a realistic chance. We certainly have the guys to get it done, the coaching staff and the support so that’s what we’re working for.”

Unfortunately the only problem if that happens is the road there may once again pass through Foxboro and after everything Brady’s been through this offseason, that’s certainly not going to help Luck’s chances.

Brady, Gronkowski Among NFL.com’s Latest Bizarre Top 10 List

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 5:00 am

NFL.com’s Adam Schein has his latest top 10 list and has some interesting decisions that he’s made in putting it together, including his top four players, two of which appear to be in error.

At least logic would lead you to believe it has to be a mistake, since no rational person could have come to a similar conclusion.

Schein has Patriots quarterback Tom Brady listed in the rankings, which is one thing in his corner in a list that, for the most part, contains players who are worthy of being mentioned among the league’s elite.  However, the bizarre part is the fact that he ranked Brady at #4 and Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck at #3.

Yes, I said the same thing you just did, provided you’re a New England fan.  If you’re a Colts fan, we probably don’t share the same sentiment.

The logical rationale behind it might be if he’s basing it on a possible 16 game performance for the upcoming season, which would make sense given that Brady is currently facing a four game suspension by the NFL for the ongoing DeflateGate debacle.  But the list is based on who he believes are the league’s best, and while Luck may be among the top quarterbacks in the game, ranking him ahead of Brady doesn’t make much sense.

Luck has started off his NFL career strong, with the Colts going 11-5 in each of his first three seasons.   Brady, on the other hand, has finished 12-4 in the last three seasons and has outscored Luck’s offense 189-73, including the 45-7 pummeling the Patriots put on Indianapolis during the AFC Championship Game back in January.

Schein offers no real explanation for the decision in his piece, saying positive things about both players.

His list shapes out this way:

10) Richard Sherman
9) Rob Gronkowski
8) Adrian Peterson
7) Luke Kuechly
6) Earl Thomas
5) Ndamukong Suh
4) Tom Brady
3) Andrew Luck
2) J.J. Watt
1) Aaron Rodgers

There’s an argument for where all of these players belong on this list, because they’re all terrific players.  Rob Gronkowski’s ranking at #9 can be disputed, but fans in New England are the only ones who get to experience seeing him play on a weekly basis so that’s probably why people in the national media don’t appreciate how good he really is.

But for now, placing Luck ahead of Brady makes little sense, although after looking at last year’s edition where he ranked Rodgers #1 as well, clearly there appears to be a little bit of a flaw in his decision making after rating the Packers’ QB there for two straight years.

Inspired By His Sister, Patriots Easley Bringing Awareness to Illness

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:00 am

Patriots fans haven’t had the opportunity to see much of last year’s first round selection Dominique Easley, but off the field he’s proving to be the type of player who if his play can match the size of his heart, he should be fun to watch in the coming years.

The second-year defensive lineman is facing high expectations as New England starts making a youth movement up front on the Patriots’ defensive line.  But the biggest impact he’s been making so far have been coming from his efforts off the gridiron as he’s worked on bringing awareness to an illness that hits close to home.

According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Easley’s sister, Destinee, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia five years ago, which is a chronic disorder that causes widespread pain and fatigue.  It’s been something which, at times, has left her too tired to go to get out of bed and go to school and now Easley is trying to use his new-found fame in the NFL to try and make a difference with a disorder that affects an estimated 5 million Americans.

“Just being at the stage that I’m at can really help bring awareness to the illness,” he told the newspaper. “If I wasn’t in the NFL, there wouldn’t be the awareness going on that I’m bringing because of the position that I’m in.”

Easley has established a website, EasleysAwareness.com, which states his mission is, “Destined to Cure Fibromyalgia through awareness and education.”  He encourages everyone to join him as he tries to fight this battle that will help people around the world.

Easley is scheduled to take part in an upcoming football camp on July 25th where Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing will partner to help stomp out the disease through an NFL kids’ skills camp called ‘Champs Camp’.

The camp will be held for children ages six through 17 and will teach offensive and defensive skills. It’s scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 25 at Hormel Stadium in Medford, MA. Participants will compete in NFL combine style drills designed to increase speed, agility and stamina.

According to a recent press release, doctors from CIMH will be on site to perform free health screenings for children and their mothers, while also distributing health and prevention handouts.  They’ll also be administering free Acupuncture tests.  Portions of the proceeds from Champs Camp will go to Fibromyalgia research.

For now Easley’s motivation remains his sister, who he said inspires him to push forward during those times he thinks he potentially isn’t able to do something.

“That’s my baby sister. Seeing her go through pain every day and not be able to walk or even get out of bed sometimes, I have no excuse to say that I can’t do something,” Dominique told the newspaper. “She’s been fighting since she was 11. It’s really more of a motivation for me.”

Yet another great reason to be rooting for him when he takes the field this season.

Is a Long-Term Deal Ahead For Stephen Gostkowski?

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

Earlier this year Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was given the franchise tag designation, with the veteran signing his tender back on March 6th that will see him earn a guaranteed salary of $4.6 million for 2015.

That’s good news for New England, who now has him at least under contract for the 2015 season.  He’s coming off of a career season that ended with Gostkowski winning his first Super Bowl championship, while also quietly establishing himself as one of the best kickers in the game.

Gostkowski’s been an unbelievable replacement for former Patriot Adam Vinatieri, who had been a steady contributor before departing for Indianapolis via free agency following the 2005 season.  2014 was one of Gostkowski’s best seasons, with the veteran hitting an NFL-best 35-of-37 field goals (94.6%) which was a career high in accuracy.  He also became the seventh kicker to earn 100 points in the postseason and kicked touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

While Gostkowski signed his tender just four days after being the designation, one of the bigger questions now will be whether or not the Patriots have a long-term deal in the works for a player who should be considered a priority heading into this season.  July 15th marks the final days for players who received the franchise tag to be able to sign a multi-year extension with their current team.  While Gostkowski may have already signed his tender, that doesn’t rule out the possibility for him to get a longer deal if the two sides can reach an agreement.

Given how important the kicking game is, especially in a stadium as difficult to kick in as Gillette, it would be hard to imagine the Patriots trying to find a replacement for a guy who has been so consistent.  Kickers don’t tend to get a lot of credit but Gostkowski is now among the NFL’s elite, having actually lead all kickers in points in every season since 2012.

Now the biggest question will be whether or not he’ll get a deal that runs longer than this season.  He seemed pretty happy to sign the tender, which made him the highest paid kicker in the league.  Now it will be interesting to see if New England is able to extend him for the foreseeable future, which will be something to watch in the weeks ahead.

Training Camp Dates Announced, Patriots Get Back to Work July 29th

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 30, 2015 at 5:00 am


Brady and the Patriots will be back in action in another month. (USA TODAY Images)

For any fans looking forward to seeing the Patriots back in action, the team released the opening dates for training camp for next month, signaling that football season is inching a little closer.

New England will kickoff their 2015 Training camp on July 29th, with the first public session set for Thursday July 30th behind Gillette Stadium.  It’s an opportunity for families to come and get an up close look of the defending champions as they start getting ready for the season, although no times have been announced just yet.

During the preseason the team posts daily updates on Patriots.com, which is where anyone attending should check before making the trip to the stadium in the event of any schedule changes or cancellations. The team’s first exhibition game is set for August 13th against the Green Bay Packers at 7:30pm.

Is Brady’s Appeal Against the NFL a Fight He Can Even Win?

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:25 am

This is how out of hand things have gotten.

Five months since DelfateGate started, Tom Brady remains in a battle he seemingly can’t win against a commissioner who seems like he’s got plenty to lose himself as this ridiculous scandal continues on.

After nearly losing his job last year during the whole Ray Rice fiasco, Goodell is now in a position where even if he realizes how horrifically flawed the Wells Report was, reversing Brady’s punishment could put him back in the crosshairs, which is something that obviously wouldn’t be a good thing for him.

But not punishing a guilty player properly the first time around shouldn’t be corrected by punishing a potentially innocent player to make a statement.  Ask anyone why they think Goodell won’t eliminate Brady’s suspension and the answer is always the same: he can’t because of how it will make him look after the millions spent on the Wells report and everything else that’s transpired along with it.

And honestly, that’s really the bigger problem with what’s going on here.

In the real world, a guilty or innocent verdict is supposed to be decided by an impartial party with nothing to lose or gain either way.  It’s not supposed to be decided by someone with so much at stake, but that’s where we are right now and all that’s left is to wait and see what Goodell’s decision will be after Tuesday’s hearing.

Looking back, this whole story has become a media circus that’s gone beyond logic and reason at this point.  What could have – and should have – been quietly solved behind closed doors instead blew up into a national story that became bigger than it needed to be, and now this monster has reached the point of no return with Brady seemingly on the hook to pay the price, regardless of whether or not he even had anything to do with it.

That’s beyond wrong.  If you go back and follow how this whole mess unfolded, the Saturday press conference following the AFC Championship Game by Bill Belichick was one of the most telling moments of this entire process, and the one that certainly sticks out among everything that’s happened.

The normally media-resistant coach, the master of “ignore the noise”, was seemingly so irritated by everything being written and said about the club that he opened the press conference by announcing his reasoning for calling it because he clearly wanted to try and set the record straight.

“I feel like this is important because there have been questions raised and I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization, have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” said Belichick.  “I just feel that on behalf of everyone in the organization, everyone that’s involved in this organization, that we need to say something.”

Belichick – very wisely after already having been down this road previously with the league during the spygate mess, which we’ll get to in a moment – waited until he had all the facts before formulating a response, which involved the team reenacting the football preparation process that they go through on a weekly basis to try and understand why there was a loss in air pressure that lead to the Colts accusations and subsequent league investigation.  As he does with everything else, he was thorough in making sure he understood exactly what happened and why the Patriots’ footballs tested below the 12.5 psi requirement by the NFL.  He explained it in-depth, citing the scientific reasons behind the results.  That brought out quite a few people who tried to use his press conference as a chance to make themselves relevant, telling the world that Belichick was wrong and full of it.  They poked fun and tried to poke holes in things that he said, even though Belichick readily admitted this wasn’t exactly his forte, using a My Cousin Vinny reference as he explained he wasn’t “an expert in football measurements.”

“I’m just telling you what I know,” said Belichick.  “I would not say that I’m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world, as she was in the car expertise area, alright?”

The experts mocked him and discredited his results.  However, the only problem is it doesn’t change the fact that what Belichick told the world on that Saturday wasn’t just based on scientific theory.  It was something he witnessed with his own eyes.


Some believe that even if he’s innocent, Brady should just concede against the NFL.

The bad news is we live in a world where the perception is generally centered around people who only hear what they want to hear.  Once someone’s mind is made up, there’s usually no changing it.  That was brought front and center during that same afternoon when a reporter decided that he’d bring up the topic of spygate, yet another topic that left the Patriots in bad shape in the public eye and continues to plague them in the court of public opinion.

It’s another frustrating topic to try and discuss, since any non-Patriots fan who didn’t follow it closely still believes Belichick’s team broke the rules competitively, which wasn’t the case.  New England was punished for a procedural violation, ignoring a requirement by the league that prevented teams from using video equipment from the sidelines, while many other teams were using video equipment from other parts of the field.   By league rules the footage was never used during games and it was done primarily to steal defensive signals from the other teams, a widespread practice around the NFL that went back undercover after the incident was placed in the spotlight thanks to an angry then-Jets head coach Eric Mangini.

“I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion,” said Belichick after addressing it for the first time when asked during that Saturday press conference. “The guy’s giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, OK? So we filmed him taking signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong then we’ve been disciplined for that.”

“The guy’s in front of 80,000 people. 80,000 people saw it. Everybody [on the] sideline saw it. Everybody sees our guy in front of the 80,000 people. I mean, there he is. So, it was wrong, we were disciplined for it. That’s it. We never did it again. We’re never going to do it again and anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.”

Goodell came down hard on the Patriots for that primarily because a memo was sent out prior to when it happened, which since the Patriots seemingly ignored it, seemed to be the reason the penalty was as harsh as it was. However, one small part that tends to get overlooked by those who feel it was just the Patriots involved in that practice was the fact all of the evidence was destroyed by the league. That should have been an indication about the fact that Belichick likely exposed how widespread the practice was and the NFL decided to simply sweep the matter under the rug having already embarrassed New England enough while likely preventing any additional team from public embarrassment.

What people don’t realize is that the Patriots never cheated, they just ignored a memo asking teams to essentially be a little more discrete about the practice of trying to steal opponents signs.  But try and explain that to a non-Patriots fan.  And then go punch yourself in the face, it will probably be less painful.

Public perception “is what it is” and you can’t change the minds of people whose mind is already made up.  The sad thing is there are people out there who feel Brady shouldn’t continue his fight feeling that, win or lose, it’s not going to change the minds of people who already believe he broke the rules.

That’s hardly the point.  Just because you’re accused of a crime that’s gotten a lot of play in the media and has shaped public perception of your guilt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight it if you’re actually innocent.  It’s doubtful an average person would accept guilt in something they didn’t do just because the majority of people following the case believed they were guilty.

Yet there are people who feel that’s what Brady should do.  That argument is absolutely mind-boggling, but still there are people who feel he’s better off to try and accept the minimum and move on.

At the end of the day, he may not have a choice.  The difference between this and an actual legal battle is the fact that he’s being punished by the company he essentially works for under the terms of a labor agreement he’s under for that company.  That leaves him without a lot of options, but clearly he’s going to try and exhaust all of them before he makes the decision to call it quits.

Following the Wells Report, there have been additional studies which have argued the flawed science behind it and has made a strong case that the Patriots and Brady did nothing wrong.   It’s pretty sad that if Brady is, in fact, innocent Goodell doesn’t seem prepared to admit the mistake, which if you really think about, it absolutely is unbelievable.

But that’s unfortunately what it’s come to.  Basically this has become a one-way street, with the only one that’s supposed to admit any wrongdoing is Brady.  The word “integrity” has been thrown around for months, but it seems like it’s only been used when it’s made the necessary argument.  If at the end of the day Goodell believes Brady didn’t ask anyone to break any rules, he should summon some integrity of his own and go against public perception by doing the right thing and admit the NFL may have actually been wrong.

That appears unlikely and it seems we’re way too far past that.  Brady was said to be sincere and genuine Tuesday when he spent 10 hours in New York trying to prove his innocence.  The bad news for the veteran quarterback is that guilt and innocence don’t seem to be the point anymore, and that’s ultimately the biggest travesty of all of this.

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