By Michael McCarthy
By now, everybody from sports talk radio yakkers to low-information football fans to your Aunt Eloise has an opinion on the Wells report, which damns the New England Patriots and Tom Brady for playing with the balls in last season’s AFC title game.
Even the silly Chris Christie, who is trying to run for president and stuck up for Brady yesterday.
But I have been waiting for the Boston media, and sure enough the Globe Dan Shaughnessy, came through:
It’s a bad day for the Patriots. It’s an especially bad day for New England’s iconic quarterback, Tom Brady.
The Patriots are Super Bowl champs, but the NFL also believes the Patriots are cheaters. The Patriots certainly didn’t need to illegally deflate footballs to beat the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in the AFC championship game, but according to Ted Wells’ report released Wednesday, they went ahead and did it anyway.
The report also says it is “more probable than not” that Brady “was at least generally aware” of the tampering. Golden Boy Tom is likely to be sanctioned when the NFL doles out its punishment in the wake of the damning report issued Wednesday afternoon.
So there. Deflategate takes its place alongside Spygate. The damage to the Patriot brand is universal and eternal. Brady, the Patriots, and their fans have to live with it.
Patriot toadies no doubt will line up to say that the league did not prove anything that would hold up in a court of law (Brady’s dad has already labeled it “Framegate”). It’s all circumstantial, they’ll say. Plus, it says right in the report that Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick knew nothing about the intentional deflation of the footballs. It was just a couple of rogue equipment guys breaking the rules.
Good luck with that one, folks. Bend yourself into a pretzel if you must, but Brady and the Patriots are insulting your intelligence if they want you to believe that they were not aware of what was happening to the footballs on game days.