Tom Brady Deflategate Controversy: Everything you need to know

Tom Brady is one of the most celebrated players in the NFL. He took the NFL by storm since he became a starter for the New England Patriots and led them to 6 Super Bowl wins. Dubbed as the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.), Brady holds the record for most Super Bowl wins (7) by any player ever in the NFL. The iconic quarterback has enjoyed an NFL career spanning over 22 years. Brady came back from retirement in 2022, only 40 days after announcing it.

Brady has enjoyed a near perfect NFL career with a number of accolades and honors to his name. However, amidst all the glory there lies a speck of controversy. Tom Brady was part of a major NFL controversy, known as the ‘Deflategate’. The controversy put Brady and his then team New England Patriots under scrutiny from the NFL and also the U.S. Judiciary. Read on to know all about the ‘Deflategate’ and Brady’s involvement in it.

What is the Tom Brady Deflategate Controversy?

The Deflategate Controversy is one of the major controversies of modern day football. The Deflategate controversy dates back to January 18, 2015, a Sunday when the New England Patriots were hosting the Indianapolis Colts at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The stage was set for the AFC Championship game which would decide the team who would go on to the Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots went on to win the game and advance to the Super Bowl (and eventually win Super Bowl XLIX). The controversy emerged post the AFC Championship game when the Indianapolis Colts accused the New England Patriots of tampering with the match balls used in the game.

The balls used in the game were under the stipulated pressure of 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch (PSI). The deflated balls have a much better grip. The Colts accused the Patriots and especially Brady of using these deflated balls during their offense to win the match.

The vice president of NFL in 2015, Dean Blandino has been recorded to say that the match balls for the AFC Championship game were not checked before the match or there are no official records to show what their exact pressure was. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapport had, however, reported that 11 out of the 12 match balls were below the NFL stipulated PSI of 12.5-13.5, during halftime.

The NFL conducted several investigations to follow up on the controversy which came to be known as the ‘Deflategate’. After several months of investigation the NFL created a 253 page report which found the New England Patriots to be at fault for the knowledge of deflated footballs in the AFC Championship match against the Indianapolis Colts. The report also found Brady to have some knowledge of the deflated footballs and the plot to deflate them before the game.

Did Tom Brady Cheat? Who else was involved?

Tom Brady was a prime accused in the Deflategate scandal. There is no direct evidence which linked Brady’s involvement in the Deflategate incident however, there was enough circumstantial evidence to point towards Brady’s knowledge of the deflation. Tom Brady had destroyed his cell phone prior to investigations which was cited as an act of ‘willful destruction of evidence’ by NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.

The NFL report which found the Patriots guilty charged former Patriots equipment managers Kim McNally and John Jastremski as the integral people behind the plot to deflate the footballs. The report pointed out a time period of about 1 minute and 40 seconds when McNally had taken the approved match balls to a bathroom before the 2014 AFC Championship game. This was enough time as per NFL officials, to deflate 13 footballs using a needle.

The report also cited text messages between McNally and Jastremski where McNally has called himself the ‘deflator’. Although both managers denied any involvement in the controversy, the New England Patriots were found guilty of tampering with the balls. This led to a fine of $1 million for the Patriots and a loss of two NFL Draft picks. Brady also faced suspension which he contested in the

Did Tom Brady get suspended from the Patriots?

Tom Brady denied any accusations as part of the Deflategate. He was, however, fined with a four-game suspension by the NFL with immediate effect for the 2015 NFL season. Brady appealed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who vacated the suspension levied by the NFL on Tom Brady. He played the whole of the 2015 NFL season without any problems.

Brady, however, faced suspension the following year when the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated his suspension by the NFL. When Brady tried to appeal his suspension, the Court denied it to him and insisted he serve the four-game suspension. Brady faced suspension in the 2016 NFL season.

When did Tom Brady’s NFL suspension end for his involvement in the Deflategate?

Tom Brady faced a four-game suspension in the beginning of the 2016 NFL season. He missed the first four games of the season and was not even allowed any contact with New England Patriots players, coaches or facilities during his suspension period.

Brady returned to action for the Patriots on October 9, 2016 against the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl (LI) against the Atlanta Falcons. Brady was named the Super Bowl MVP and the Patriots won the title for the fifth time amidst all controversies and setbacks.

Check Out: New England Patriots Super Bowl Wins

New Deflategate revelations in 2022

Author Mike Florio of Football Talk wrote a book Playmakers which includes parts discussing the NFL’s handling of the deflategate controversy. The book discusses two pieces which highlights some negligence on part of the NFL in handling the Deflategate saga. It was initially reported that 11 out of the 12 footballs were underinflated by 2 pounds before the AFC match. However, this was misinformation on part of the NFL executive vice president of football operation, Troy Vincent. Contrary to Vincent’s information, it was found that the deflation statistics of the balls was falsely reported.

He also highlights that the air pressure of balls automatically deflate or inflate with respect to the temperature of the surroundings. This is a fact which was noticed when the NFL started the rule of ball checks during halftime (from the 2015 season onwards). The cold weather at Foxborough might have caused some amount of deflation of the balls according to Florio.

The Deflategate controversy is behind the NFL now, however, it remains a mystery whether Brady was actually involved in the incident or not.

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