The New England Patriots are facing a giant setback with the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, but with new quarterbacks stepping forward to admit that they too tampered with footballs, it could spell relief for the organization.
Brady was handed the four-game suspension this week after the NFL concluded a months-long investigation into allegations that the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs to below league regulations. The report, compiled by noted attorney Ted Wells, concluded that the Patriots did deflate balls and that Tom Brady more than likely knew about it.
The quarterback and the team have denied the charges, challenging the league’s findings and asserting that no wrongdoing took place. Brady has also challenged the ruling, appealing to the league to rescind the ban.
He may now have some help in that respect. In the days since the ban was announced, a number of retired players have stepped forward to say that altering footballs is quite common.
The latest voice in the matter is former Houston Texans quarterback David Carr — though he’s not speaking out now. A 2006 article from Judy Battista, then of the New York Times, reported how Carr liked his football to be a bit expanded and even directed the team’s staff to change it to his liking.
Here is the report, via Pro Football Talk.
“Carr, like several other quarterbacks, said Denver was one of the toughest places to play,” Battista wrote. “He said he thought the ball expanded slightly at the altitude and felt slick because of the lower humidity. Before Houston’s preseason game at Denver, Carr instructed the ball boys to let a little air out of the Texans’ footballs.” (Emphasis added.)
While the NFL may not take the other admissions of ball tampering to mean much in terms of Tom Brady’s suspension, it could help to swing some public opinion back in his favor. Polls have found that right now, the public agrees with the NFL in its discipline of Tom Brady.
But the league appears to be very sensitive to public opinion. Roger Goodell showed his sensitivity last year when he banned Ray Rice indefinitely after public outcry over the release of a video showing him punching his fiance.
Likewise, the league appeared to be gauging the public’s reaction to the Wells report, waiting a week since its release to announce punishment for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. A swing in favor of Tom Brady could help in his appeal.
[Image via Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann]