After Spygate, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft tried to distance himself, and his team, from that scandal as much as possible. He wanted his organization to be viewed in a certain way – a clean way, a pure way – and he still does.
Unfortunately for Kraft, that might not be possible. Deflategate is yet another black eye on the credibility of Kraft, his coach, his quarterback, and, yes, his franchise.
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any question,” Comcast New England’s Patriots insider Mike Giardi said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “And I think probably from a personal standpoint, somebody gave him some bad information. The first day the Patriots arrived in Arizona in the Super Bowl and he made that impromptu stride to the podium with his prepared speech . . . (and he) decided, ‘I’m going to write this, and I’m going to demand that the league apologize to me after they find out this is wrong. I trust my guys, Tom and Bill. They’ve never lied to me.’
“I got to believe there’s part of him personally that feels like he has egg on his face,” Giardi continued. “Even if he feels (that the league is) coming down too strongly on his team, he went out there and put himself out there and said, ‘I want an apology.’ And obviously he’s not getting that apology.”
Instead, he’s getting a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks, including a 2016 first-rounder. Brady will miss the season-opener against Pittsburgh, a Week 2 game at Buffalo, a home game against Jacksonville and a Week 5 game at Dallas. As of now, Brady, who will appeal the suspension, is slated to return in Week 6 against – you guessed it – the Indianapolis Colts.
While four games may seem egregious to some, it wasn’t enough for others. In fact, there were reports that Brady could miss eight to ten games. Still, Monday’s announcement didn’t exactly calm New England nerves.
“I don’t think there was an exhale,” Giardi said. “I think that for a lot of reasons, the Wells Report – despite the holes in it – did not give them a good feeling in Foxboro. I think what I’m really surprised at is how hard the team got hit. I guess I sort of dismissed the notion that they would get penalized as severely as they did based on the Wells Report essentially exonerating Belichick and Kraft. And then for the league to turn around – Troy Vincent and Roger Goodell and whoever was involved in the decisions – to come down (and issue the punishment it did) . . . that did surprise me a little bit.”
While some Patriots fans are demoralized, for others, this punishment just adds fuel to the fire. After all, the last time the league disciplined the Patriots, they went 16-0 and made it to the Super Bowl.
“I think there’s a lot of that mentality as well,” Giardi said. “That this team will circle the wagons with Belichick and they will find a way to stick it to the league in their earhole. Repeatedly.”