Browns, Falcons may set precedent for Patriots punishment

Getty Images

When the NFL imposed what appeared to be a pair of wrist slaps on the Browns and Falcons for violating the game-integrity rules regarding in-game texting and artificial crowd noise, respectively, it was confusing. Now, it may not be.

When the time comes for Commissioner Roger Goodell to discipline the Patriots, the most recent precedent comes from the fine plus no lost draft picks imposed on the Browns and the fine plus forfeited 2016 fifth-round pick imposed on the Falcons. The punishment of the Patriots should compare loosely to the punishment imposed on the Browns and Falcons — and what the Falcons did arguably is worse than what the Patriots did.

As noted at the time the Browns and Falcons punishments emerged, the fact that those teams admitted to their wrongdoing may have been a factor in the perceived lenience. But the finding in this case lacks the kind of smoking-gun clarity that the other cases exhibited. It could be that the Patriots won’t be hammered much worse than the Falcons.

Regardless, the decision to take a 2016 draft pick and not a 2015 draft pick from the Falcons now makes more sense. If the Falcons had been punished before the draft and the Patriots found responsible for a violation after the draft, the outcome would have seemed unfair. As it now stands, both teams will likely lose something in the 2016 draft — avoiding the potential incongruity of the Falcons but not the Patriots being punished via the 2015 draft for conduct occurring prior to it.

90 responses to “Browns, Falcons may set precedent for Patriots punishment

  1. For not cooperating in the last interview needed may be penalized as well as for not knowing what was happening on the field by the staff…….however, taking a draft pick from the team for what Brady did, seems a bit steep……except for the overall history of the team’s penalties…….

    I think a late round pick will be taken (5-6) and Brady will get fined and 4 game suspension……

  2. Additionally, the Patriots tried to hamper the investigation. They did not cooperate fully with the investigation as promised by Kraft.

  3. A million dollar fine, loss of 1st rounder, 2nd rounder.

    Permanent banishment of those directly involved.

    Some sort of punishment for Brady. This is whats tricky. It’s easy to say suspend him, but I mean did he directly tamper the balls, no. So I don’t know what you can do that the NFLPA won’t get reversed. Just fine him $250,000.

    Begin the sweeping under the rug.

    This stuff hurts the league a lot more than Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy.

  4. Brady should get a 1 year suspension, belechick gets a half year for not knowing whats going on, kraft 4 games for not fully cooperating, lost of 2016 first rounder and a 250,000 fine seems reasonable

  5. You know what could also set precedent?

    The line in the rulebook where it says that equipment violations result in a fine of up to $25k. The only question is if GH decides to apply that penalty to games where the ball wasn’t measured.

    All this money and ink over such small potatoes…

  6. Remember when Godell came down so hard on Vick because he said Vick lied to him when he asked about the charges?

    Well, Tommy Boy wasn’t exactly truthful.

  7. How much of a patriot fanboy are you. It’s at best similar suspension as HGH. The guy has cheated for years. No wonder he’s the best QB in the history of cold weather games. And yeah I simply google searched how Brady was in cold weather when I saw how desperate the texts were during cold weather games. Pathetic.

  8. Making opposing teams deal with a louder environment is bad, but I think playing ON THE FIELD with illegal equipment is much worse. Patriots were average in the league in terms of fumbles per play from 2000-2006. Then after this loop hole emerged, they shot up to #1 in the league in terms of fumbles from 2007-2014.

    Deflating balls gives QB’s a better grip, and also makes it easier for WR’s and RB’s to squeeze and hold onto the ball without it popping loose. They clearly knew of the advantages of letting the air out, and thats why they did it. I don’t get why people dismiss it’s advantages when the Pats deliberately broke the rules to do it.

    Barry Bonds also said steroids doesn’t really give you an advantage. THEN DONT DO IT IF YOU REALLY THINK SO!!!

    They’re all liars.

  9. Patriots offenses- were far worse.

    1. Altering footballs has a direct impact on the game. It’s pretty clear as well that this wasn’t a one-game thing. It had been going on for more than a year. The equipment guy responsible was known as “the deflator” before the beginning of the 2014 season.

    2. Kraft and the entire Patriots organization, and particularly Tom Brady, did not cooperate with the investigation. Brady refused to give the investigators access to his phone, even after allowing his attorney to restrict access to only those texts and calls related to the investigation.

    3. This is not the Patriots’ first offense when it comes to cheating.

    I’d say the Saints punishment should be the precedent, not the Browns or Falcons.

    Brady should head the list, and be suspended for a year. Belichick should be suspended too, and Kraft dealt a heavy fine for not mandating everyone involved with the Patriots cooperate fully with the investigation.

    The Patriots should also lose their 2016 first-round draft pick.

    There is more than ample reason to bring the hammer down hard here.

  10. Altering footballs to gain an advantage in PLAYOFF GAMES ? Seems worse….

  11. What a disappointing time, and what I can imagine to be a very angry city of Boston, and entire region of New England.

    Living here we have been extremely fortunate to seen many championships, from all of our sports teams. In fact, one may go to say before Belichick came to the scene, The Patriots may have been the least respected of the 4 Franchises. Boston has never needed to cheat championships, for them to do this is a complete embarrassment as a fan.

    It is a ruthless media market, I imagine the general Pats fan is as upset as I am, and I think that these boys have some real explaining to do, that is they don’t intend on getting verbally ran out of the city.

    Let the Jimmy G era begin, and get this phony hack a model job.

  12. Every QB has a preference when it comes to handling footballs. So it is possible that Brady did know that the ball was deflated. HOWEVER, it is lazy and irresponsible of the league to conclude that he “probably” knew about it. Either he did or he didnt. The report to me still seems inconclusive, so until the league says yes he was involved knowingly or that he wasnt, I will reserve judgement, because again, every QB does it. Peyton Manninga numbers definitely went uo after the change, so maybe we should question hum too.

  13. What are Vegas point spreads going to be based on going forward? Integrity of the NFL has been tarnished.

  14. There is more than ample reason to bring the hammer down hard here.
    ===
    A reflex hammer, maybe.

  15. PFT has lawyers on staff. Based on the incontrovertible evidence submitted, what should the Patriots punishment be?
    .

  16. What the Patriots did is only “worse” because they won the Super Bowl and beat a lot of your teams on the way to doing it. They won’t get punished much worse than the Falcons or Browns and they may even get punished less. They all broke the rules, with the Patriots offense only concerning one game and one game only.

    This is about three people, not Belichick, Kraft or anybody else involved with the Patriots organization. The report states that clearly. The team will probably still be punished but anybody who thinks Brady is getting suspended for a year is bordering on pure delusion. He’ll get fined, he may be suspended but there is no smoking gun here to condemn him like there was for the Falcons and Browns.

  17. Fatlazygamer:
    “This stuff hurts the league a lot more than Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy.”

    Um, what? Do you really believe that?
    So here we have league that is supposed to be about family entertainment with a glaring problem of chronic domestic violence amongst its employees. And in your view this is less problematic than some flimsily supported case of a team maybe doing things similar to what, as reported by numerous former players, is commonly done to gain a potential slight competitive edge.
    That’s a pretty disgusting perspective, my friend.

  18. Equipment violation is not the same as altering equipment for the purpose of gaining advantage on an opponent that has no knowledge said equipment was altered.

  19. What I find amusing about the report is that we can figure out Tom Brady’s phone number if we all band together and start going through the last four blocked numbers one by one until we get it.

  20. Bottom line is the balls were under the mandated pressure. So fine NE. And also IND.

  21. Another bogus non-scandal involving the Patriots. What a joke. I can’t see anything they did wrong, just a witch hunt against a team everyone hates because they’re so good.

    Didn’t Aaron Rodgers say he likes his footballs over-inflated? If so, then where is the outrage over that remark? Where is the Wells Report investigating the Packers? Does it only matter if the Patriots are involved?

    EVERY team in the NFL fudges football inflation and the NFL doesn’t care because they’ve never enforced the fine on the books for it and they’ve never cared until Chuck Pagano and John Harbaugh whined about it. This is an out and out disgrace. Goodell needs to resign NOW.

  22. How is Kraft not forced to sell? His team has been caught cheating twice on his watch… Little league coaches would be banned for life. It’s fraud ffs.

  23. Kraft has Godell in his pocket.. If you don’t realize this.. You’ve never had a job and you’re a complete fool…end of story

  24. there has to be a multi-game suspension for Tom Brady and the loss of a 1st round draft pick in 2016. Plus monetary fines for all involved.

  25. ironman721 says:

    “This is not the first time the Patriots cheated… Drop the hammer!”

    **

    Exactly. We’re talking about a significant history of incidents.

    If the NFL goes light on the Pats for Deflategate, we’ll know where their allegiances lie.

  26. How in the world do you come up with “what the Falcons did was arguably worse?”

    Seriously????

  27. “…and what the Falcons did arguably is worse than what the Patriots did.”

    Players play half their seasons in opposing team’s stadiums, and learn to adapt to the noise, so the team has no real control for an advantage.

    The Patriots had direct physical contact with the balls, for which they completely controlled, to give them a direct advantage.

    So, there’s the opposing “arguably” part…

  28. Unless it’s the team from New Orleans, the punishments handed out by RG are gonna be slaps on the wrists. And the crazy thing is, is that Goodell lost in court to Vilma who was immediately reinstated because he didn’t bring any proof that there was bounties. All he had was a bunch of voice recordings. The Saints were the 4th least penalized team in 2009 but oh ya we had a bounty program. The Patriots are going to get a soft punishment cause RG and Kraft are buddies.

  29. Saints punishment should definitely be the standard for this one, especially considering the repeat offender status.

    And tell me how these NE fans can keep saying this is minor and should be ignored, it’s called CHEATING and should be penalized heavily.

  30. “How in the world do you come up with “what the Falcons did was arguably worse?”

    Well, the Falcons did this for at least 8 games right? If I’m not mistaken, it was for two seasons as well. Brady, Mcnally and the other guy are only pinned for one game. Well to be more specific, one half of one game as the game balls were changed at halftime.

    The fact that it was a playoff game is irrelevant. You either broke the rules or you didn’t. It doesn’t matter where, when, or why. The Patriots were found in this report to play with illegal footballs for one half of one game. You can believe what you want, but that’s what Goodell will be looking at when it comes to punishing Brady and the other two guys.

    So you see, there is an argument to be made, a pretty clear one actually.

  31. 6ball says:
    May 6, 2015 6:31 PM

    PFT has lawyers on staff. Based on the incontrovertible evidence submitted, what should the Patriots punishment be?
    **********************************************

    Did you read the damn post?
    The resident PFT lawyer, thinks the punishment should fall in line with what the Falcons and Browns punishments were.

    GEEZ

  32. I thought the rules specifically set punishment for this infraction at a $25,000 fine …… so why would anyone expect the league to impose anything higher – let alone loss of a draft pick or a Tom Brady suspension?

    Especially when there really is no actual evidence.

  33. Suspend Brady for a year some of you say?

    How many games would you like Aaron Rodgers suspended for ADMITTING he has his footballs overinflated?

  34. Fine the team a million dollars, fine the coach half a million, take away a pick, and give Brady a 4-game suspension to go along with what other players get for using PEDs and cheating.

  35. Garapolo, get ready – You’re starting game one against the Steelers…gotta love it!

    Cheaters!

  36. “No Proof, No penalty.”
    ——-
    Wrong! Brady’s choosing not to cooperate with the investigation is all the “proof” to know he cheated!

  37. “Um…repeat offender status means nothing here?”

    When did Tom Brady break the rules before. When did any of the two staffers break the rules before? The one you’re referencing as a repeat offender is Belichick and he had absolutely nothing to do with this. He was cleared and exonerated of any wrong doing, did you even read the report at all?

  38. Gee. It’s almost as if a rule should be written that allocates appropriate punishment for this. Oh Wait! There is One! It’s a 25k fine.

    “but, but, but Brady lied! He CHEATED!!!!!!!”

    Yeah dude, 25k fine.

    “but, but., but, ”

    25k fine

    “…b” 25k fine.

    That’s the rule. If the rule had been enforced to begin with, we would not be here. Of course, Goodell will fold to the know nothing media and the know nothing fans that want to have two sets of rules. One set of rules for all of you and another for the Pats. The fact that the rule book needs to constantly change from all the whining says a lot more about the other teams than anything else.

  39. The difference is the Browns and Falcons admitted their mistake and cooperated with the investigation. The Patriots didn’t. The NFL has a history of dropping the hammer on liars.

  40. If Brady gets a penalty bigger than Ray Rice’s initial penalty, it’ll be a complete joke. The Wells conclusion is based on texts from a couple of meatheads, none of which contained any smoking gun whatsoever. Most of them talked about over inflating the balls, and the others were clearly jokes. The scientific evidence was inconclusive–read the section on rubbing. But even then, we’re still talking about 1 psi under–if the integrity of the sport can be undermined by 1 psi, the sport has much bigger problems. Finally, none of the pre-game psi levels were actually recorded despite Kensil’s knowledge of a potential problem. So we’re now counting on the word of an NFL employee who reports to Kensil–no conflict of interest there.

    You know what though? Have your witch hunt. You’re the same people who tried to say Schilling’s bloody sock was actually paint. You’ve been attempting to discredit Boston’s championships waaaaay before any evidence of ANYTHING ever came to light, so don’t expect me to bow down because one person has a 51% hunch that something bad happened and that Brady was “generally aware” that something bad may or may not have actually happened.

  41. tjacks7 says:
    May 6, 2015 6:22 PM

    Anything short of a 1 year suspension for Brady and Belichick and I’m done with Roger and the NFL.
    ==================
    See ya!

  42. The text messages between the equipment guys seem to indicate that Brady wanted deflated footballs every week. If you run 70 offensive plays a game on average, that means for almost 1,200 plays during the regular season, Brady appears to have used deflated footballs that were easier to throw and catch, and were even easier for N.E. runners to hold onto. I mean that is a major offensive advantage.

    This is not an isolated incident based on the text messages. Nor is it ‘small-time’ cheating. We also don’t know how many years this has been going on for. If this doesn’t warrant a 3-4 game suspension for Brady, what does?

  43. Didn’t Ray Farmer also get a six game ban? Guess Garopolo gets his chance to shine Huh?

  44. and what the Falcons did arguably is worse than what the Patriots did.
    ——
    What?!?! Fake crowd noise versus tampering with a football that’s in play?! The Patriots violation is a hundred times worse.

  45. The NFL has a history of dropping the hammer on liars.
    ===
    The $25K fine hammer.

  46. This is not an isolated incident based on the text messages. Nor is it ‘small-time’ cheating. We also don’t know how many years this has been going on for.
    ===
    It’s $25K. That’s small-time. Because we don’t know how long it’s been going on for is exactly why past games won’t be considered – or if they are – upheld when challenged in an actual court.

    It’s going to be a fine, and that’s it.

  47. I’m pretty sure the $25,000 fine for equipment violations is for no pads, wrong socks, etc. Does anybody really believe the NFL would allow the doctoring of footballs, clearly creating a competitive advantage, for the mere price of $25,000? That’s as ridiculous as suggesting Brady had no idea the balls were being deflated.

  48. floratiotime says: May 6, 2015 6:06 PM

    Repeat offenders are usually punished more.

    *****************

    Why has this not been the case? The punishment has never scaled up for all the times this has taken place as far as I know.

  49. So in other words, Roger has learned exactly nothing since this is the same sloppy tact he used when “going easy” on Ray Rice since he had to also “discipline” Jim Irsay around the same time. Good job, Rog.

  50. uncleb3 says:
    May 6, 2015 8:37 PM
    I’m pretty sure the $25,000 fine for equipment violations is for no pads, wrong socks, etc. Does anybody really believe the NFL would allow the doctoring of footballs, clearly creating a competitive advantage, for the mere price of $25,000? That’s as ridiculous as suggesting Brady had no idea the balls were being deflated.

    ————————————————————–

    Per the NFL rulebook:

    “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000,”

    Do you even google, bro?

  51. I don’t see any evidence the head coach knew of the plot hatched by Brady and company and thus the Patriots should not be penalized per se.

    However, Tom Brady should be removed from the 2015 season without pay. And his eventual HOF nomination should be pushed back a decade for his illegal conduct. It is clear that Brady was intentionally dishonest and intentionally violating rules – at this point whether the Patriots gained a competitive advantage is a moot point.

    And when Brady is inducted into the NFL HOF, he should have the mention of his unethical conduct mentioned as the first item on his display along with all of the documented cheating that his team and coach undertook in prior years.

  52. i think they should use the “more probable than not” criteria when it comes to steroids and weed , there would be no nfl left . patriots may get a minor slap on the wrist , but the nflpa won’t allow anything to happen to tom brady .

  53. uncleb3 says:
    May 6, 2015 8:37 PM

    I’m pretty sure the $25,000 fine for equipment violations is for no pads, wrong socks, etc. Does anybody really believe the NFL would allow the doctoring of footballs, clearly creating a competitive advantage, for the mere price of $25,000? That’s as ridiculous as suggesting Brady had no idea the balls were being deflated.
    =========
    Read the rule book. Very specific to ball psi, 25k fine. You have not read the rule book and you’re here commenting on what the punishment is. What does that say about you?

  54. Not sure I agree that what the Falcons did was worse. Tampering with a football is like tampering with dice at the craps table. It’s the centerpiece of the game.

  55. firerogergoodellnow says:
    May 6, 2015 7:20 PM

    Can the NFL ban a team from the playoffs, no matter what their record is? That’s what the NCAA does.
    ======================

    I know that’s what the fans of at least 15 other teams want, but it’s a 25k fine. However… Roger has shown in the past that if the NY media makes a big enough deal about something that isn’t a big deal (25k fine per rule book) he will change the rules and instate a new policy to supersede the rule book. That is why there is NO such thing as precedent for anything involving Goodell.

  56. To whoever is floating the $25k fine, re-read what you posted. It says “including but not limited to a $25k fine.” The “not limited to” says the NFL can go much, much higher and impose any additional punishment they choose.

  57. Blessing in disguise……Tom will be suspended for four games giving BB a chance to see Jimmy perform in LIVE action. This will assist with the transition when Tom like Wilfork, Vrabel and Seymour before him is phased out.

    Prediction
    Brady suspended for first 4
    Pats go 2-2
    Brady returns with a new found FIRE
    Pats finish 12-4
    Win the East
    Knock off Texans and Ravens on their way to a 50th Super Bowl date with the Pack
    Pats win their 5th in OT

  58. “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000,”

    “Including but not limited to” means $25,000 MINIMUM

  59. Here’s something. Play the game. No whining about a defender brushing past you. No constant complaining about calls. No deflating balls. No cheating. Play the game. Tuck rule…

  60. Domestic violence, DUI, guns, drugs, petty theft, etc… these are all bad things. However, none of them detract from the integrity of the game.

    Brady and the Patriots organization must be punished severely.

  61. Repeated cheating over the course of several seasons. Repeated attempted coverups over the course of several seasons.

    Brady’s rep is tarnished even more than it already was and the organization has been proven the dirtiest in American sports history— and deserves a penalty of several million dollars and two first round draft picks.

    But it won’t happen because Kraft runs this league.

  62. I suppose if we _must_ go with the 25K fine, that’s 25K per snap since at least 2014 when the texts first indicate they started cheating?

    Probably ought to fine Bill, Tom, and the team each that amount. I suppose that would be a fair punishment for the “equipment violation”

    The 16 game suspension and loss of picks could be for obstruction of the investigation.

  63. Maybe old man Kraft should give up control of the team to his son. Too many questionable incidences on his watch.

  64. Presenting a rule where “each team takes care of their own footballs” is just stupid with a team like the Patriots. The NFL should change that rule to each team will provide the OTHER team with twelve footballs on game day. You can bet the twelve the Patriots provide won’t be underinflated.

  65. My bad, didn’t see that exact wording of the rule book. Regardless, as many others have pointed out, it’s 25K MINIMUM. No way in hell that’s all that comes out of this. Defies logic.

  66. Norseman:

    Assume that what you say is true. This report also reveals that game officials routinely over inflate the balls and that league officials elected not to preserve the “integrity of the game” during the AFC Championship game and that Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson, and no doubt his inebriated boss, chose not to inform the league of their suspicions from Nov. 11th until 16th January. Why should their other employees pay attention to rules which they themselves violate or ignore?

  67. tjacks7: “Anything short of a 1 year suspension for Brady and Belichick and I’m done with Roger and the NFL.”

    We’ll throw you a party, son. That would be THREE candles, right?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.