Tom Brady once strongly pushed back against cheating claims in Deflategate scandal: "I didn't alter the balls in any way"
Most NFL fans are aware of the controversy surrounding Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 'Deflategate' scandal of 2014. It was a long and arduous episode that took place after there were reports that the Patriots had altered the air in the footballs.
Things came to a head in the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts (a game in which Brady and the Patriots won).
During the course of the investigation, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that of the 12 game-day footballs for the AFC Championship game, 11 were below the NFL minimum for inflation.
Balls are supposed to be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (PSI). Many thought Brady at least had some knowledge of the balls being under-inflated, but he stated in 2015 that he didn't.
"I didn't alter the balls in any way," Brady had said via USA Today.com.
The saga dragged on with Brady being suspended for four games for his part in the scandal, even though there was no evidence to prove his involvement in it. The Patriots, meanwhile, were fined $1 million and lost several draft picks.
However, after Spygate, which involved the Patriots taping signals from the New York Jets sidelines, there was a suspicion of New England 'bending the rules'.
The theory about the Patriots back then was that they did bend the rules. These were some odd things to happen and in the Deflategate case, Tom Brady and the Patriots paid the price.
Did Deflategate hurt Tom Brady's legacy?
This is largely a personal opinion and when looking at Tom Brady's body of work over his career, Deflategate isn't the first thing people think about.
It's the seven Super Bowls and numerous awards and records he broke during his storied career that people gravitate to. While it is a blip on his resume, fans don't immediately go to the 'Patriots' scandals' when they think of the legendary quarterback.
For some, yes, it has taken the shine off his incredible career. But for others, it hasn't, and he will remain the greatest to ever play the quarterback position.