There has been more Tom Brady news in the past few days than I would like to remember.
The Golden Boy of the NFL has showed signs of rust this week.
But it’s not because he was behind an elaborate scheme to take air out of game balls.
We are in a different age now. Thanks to folks like Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Ryan Braun and the 2007 Spygate Patriots, we are a much more cynical nation.
I don’t want to say that all of sports is dirty, but that almost has to be the expectation nowadays doesn’t it?
How can Adrian Peterson not only come back from an ACL tear — one of the worst injuries in all of sports — but electrify the league with his best season ever? How can the NBA not get a sniff of when its refs are trying to fix games? And how was Derek Jeter able to play one of the most pivotal positions in baseball as a 40-year-old?
Those aren’t just backroom hush-hush questions. Those are legitimate questions that unfortunately will never be answered.
I’m not surprised Brady was the maestro of his deflation minions. He not only wants to win, but he is addicted to it. He tasted an undefeated regular season in which that 2007 team outscored its opponents by nearly 20 points a game.
This is the pros. There are 32 NFL teams that are separated by the thinnest of margins. A simple bounce of an oblong ball could mean the difference between advancing to the playoffs, earning an incentive escalator or just winning a job.
How often do people cook the numbers on their taxes? I would guess that number is pretty high. The same mindset could be taken up with athletes. I say athletes because the college game hasn’t exactly been devoid of an ugly underbelly either.
Brady making sure that game balls were underinflated is bad. But it’s not nearly as bad as lying about it. The 10-time Pro Bowler just made people think twice about his career.
And I’m not saying that Brady or Bill Belichick should be stripped of their first ballot Hall of Fame eligibility. That’s what 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Chris Doleman said, and he sounded about as naïve as Keith Olbermann, who said that Brady should be suspended for a year.
None of those things are going to happen. But the NFL is in a precarious situation. They obviously don’t want to sit the starting quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champs on a nationally televised season-opening Thursday night game. Obviously, the main thing that will be on Al Michaels’ lips will be Deflategate and Brady. That’s not exactly how the NFL wants to start the year.
But Brady has to be suspended. There is the argument about the lack of evidence, but Brady just has to know better. The more you fight and are uncooperative in an investigation, you instantly become the problem and not the solution.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to wonder what else is going on in New England. Belichick has the same affinity for winning that Brady does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s trying to find another way to cut a corner.
Welcome to the 21st century of sports. Now it’s ball deflation, human growth hormone and using cameras to spy on an opponent. Soon it will be cloning and genetic mapping to construct the super athlete.
As long as we keep score, there’s going to be people that want to guarantee victory. That’s not hyperbole. That’s human nature.
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn