There has been a mountain of congratulations and applause after Tom Brady announced his retirement on Instagram. Amid all the praise for a career well played, reminders of Brady’s scandals are popping up.
New England’s lingering shame: Spygate 2007
In September 2007, the New England Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the New York Jets’ coaching signals. It happened in East Rutherford, N.J., during a Week 1 game.
Around the game’s halftime, someone caught a Patriots video assistant in the act. He was spotted recording the Jets defensive assistants’ hand signals from a location that wasn’t authorized.
New York’s head coach, Eric Mangini, was formerly an assistant coach for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Some say he suspected that New England was stealing signs.
Later that week, New England admitted that the allegations were true and an investigation by Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, commenced.
When all was said and done, head coach Belichick was given the NFL’s maximum fine of $500,000. The Patriots were also fined an additional $250,000 for the illegal videotaping, and had to give up their first-round pick in 2008’s draft.
What’s with the evidence?
However, speculation arose about Goodell not handling the evidence properly. The commissioner promptly destroyed the tapes-related notes after Belichick admitted to videotaping illegally.
“I think it was the right thing to do,” Goodell had said.
Sen. Arlen Specter of the Senate Judiciary Committee reportedly met with Goodell after the tapes were destroyed to determine the purpose of the rash purge of evidence.
“There were a great many questions answered by Commissioner Goodell,” Specter said. “I found a lot of questions unanswerable because the tapes and notes had been destroyed.”
Goodell’s reasoning for destroying the tapes only two weeks into the investigation was to prevent competitors from getting ahold of the tapes.
“What’s that got to do with it?” Specter had mused in a meeting with reporters. “There’s an admission of guilt, you preserve the evidence.”
Specter had noted that “there was an enormous amount of haste” when discussing the commissioner’s actions. The decision remains a controversial one even today.
Tom Brady wasn’t directly accused of involvement in Spygate. Critics maintain, though, that as the quarterback, he certainly benefited from the illegally obtained intel.
DeflateGate scandal still in recent memory for NFL teams and fans
As if one scandal wasn’t enough for the Patriots, DeflateGate hit the New England Patriots in January of 2015.
During the first half of the AFC title game against the Colts, a ball check found that some of the Patriots’ balls were under the legal threshold. Allegations that Brady organized their deflating began to stir.
The allegations actually started the day before the game when the Colts’ general manager, Ryan Grigson, sent the NFL an email with a request. He forwarded equipment manager Sean Sullivan’s concerns, which stated:
“It is well known around the league that after the Patriots game balls are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys for the Patriots will let out some air with a ball needle because their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better. It would be great if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on so that they don’t get an illegal advantage.”
As a result of a $22 million two-year investigation into the DeflateGate allegations, the Patriots were fined $1 million. The authorities seeing fit to also dock their first and fourth-round draft picks.
Tom Brady received a four–game suspension.
Tom Brady and the Patriots fight for their name
This time, New England didn’t admit any fault. In fact, they fought the allegations tooth and nail.
They took statements from scientists who supported the theory that balls can deflate on their own during certain weather conditions. Brady retaliated by filing a federal lawsuit against the NFL after his suspension for the allegations.
DeflateGate grew into one of the NFL’s biggest scandals in recent football history. However, many are still widely debating these allegations.
The NFL’s penalties against New England seem too harsh, according to some. The Spygate scandal still in the peripheral, these penalties might have come down with a heavy hand.
Others maintain that both the Patriots and Tom Brady should go down in history as perpetual cheaters.
Tom Brady’s omission of New England Patriots didn’t go unnoticed
Aside from reminiscing about Tom Brady’s cheating label, Patriots fans were not happy with Brady’s retirement announcement. Many have taken to social media to note New England’s conspicuous absence in the quarterback’s announcement on Instagram.
One person called the omission of Patriots fans in the announcement, “sad,” saying “he just happens to ‘forget’ to mention the Patriots organization and their fans?”
Another said: “Tom Brady acting like a real Tom Petty not mentioning the Patriots once in his long retirement announcement…”
Enthusiasts took it personally
Many slighted fans pointed out the enormous impact New England had in making Tom Brady’s career great. They also aren’t subtle about their disappointment in his failure to thank them.
“Tom Brady not even mentioning one word about the Patriots, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft in his retirement post is the most savage thing he could possibly do. All thanks to 2 years in Tampa Bay, forget the other 20 in New England.”
“Remember one thing. We the New England Patriots made Tom Brady the GOAT and his career. (Tampa did not make him).”
Regardless of scandal, Tom Brady remains the G.O.A.T
Most still consider Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time. It didn’t come without black marks, though.
Even in his retirement, fans and critics alike remember the scandal peppered throughout Brady’s long and successful career.