The NFL may be on the defensive about Deflate-gate, but it’s a small problem in the bigger scheme. The recent findings (a 243-page report) on the ball deflation semi-scandal seem to implicate the league’s most famous and valuable face — the All-American, multiple Super Bowl champion, supermodel-marrying quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
The NFL has dished out some punishment to the Pats before — and public opinion about how inflated Brady’s balls were isn’t exactly roaring with condemnation. The NFL will slide by this without losing much. That the league has the rules is the important thing — now it just has to come up with a satisfying punishment for breaking them. What would really be problematic for the league is if Super Tom Brady had brain damage, because that costs the NFL real money. But the emails Brady allegedly sent to staffers about getting the balls in shape show a focused man with his wits about him. Now that’s a relief for the league. He may be a cheater, but he’s a healthy cheater. Because while Deflate-gate is a minor headache, it doesn’t threaten the sport itself. The more serious threat to the NFL is the possibility that increasing numbers of players will suffer long term brain-altering injuries.