As many of you may have heard, today the US appeals court reinstated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension over deflated footballs. This issue stems back to the AFC championship game on January 18th against the Indianapolis Colts where some of the footballs seemed to be “deflated.” And as we all know, the rest is history.

A true back and forth battle between Tom Brady and the NFL, this case has been all over the place. Since the first reports of the deflated footballs on January 19, 2015 to now, this case seems to be never ending. Here is a timeline of the events that have occurred from start to finish.

January 18, 2015: Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship game.

January 20, 2015: Reports came out saying that 11 of the 12 balls were “under inflated.”

May 6, 2015: The Wells Report is released, stating that it is “more probable than not” that the Patriots purposely intended to deflate the footballs prior to or during the AFC championship game. It also stated that Brady had to have been aware of what was happening and did have some sort of knowledge regarding the deflated footballs. Some of the evidence told was that there were text messages between equipment assistant John Jastremski and locker room manager Jim McNally regarding Brady and the deflated footballs. The Wells Report also notes Brady’s refusal to give up his own emails, text, and phone records.

May 11, 2015: It is announced by the NFL that Tom Brady would be suspended four games at the start of the 2015 season, along with the Patriots being fined $1 million and having to give up two draft picks (first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017).

May 12, 2015: The NFLPA announces that Tom Brady would appeal his four-game suspension.

June 23, 2015: Brady’s appeal takes place for 10 hours in New York.

June 28, 2015: The NFL announces that Tom Brady’s suspension will not be reduced from four games.

September 3, 2015: Richard M. Berman, the US District Judge, announces that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been reversed and he will be able to play at the start of the upcoming season.

March 3, 2016: The NFL’s appeal hearing is held.

April 25, 2016: Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been reinstated.

Looking at this timeline I think most can agree that this has gone on for far too long. I personally believe the whole situation is ridiculous, to say the least. The NFL took this case and blew it out of proportion. Would the NFL have gone this far if it involved any other team other than the Patriots? The Patriots have arguably been the most hated team in football for the past 15 or so years. Many reports have come out over the years about the Patriots cheating, including “Spygate.” Through all the reports of cheating, this one seems to have hurt the Patriots the most, especially since it’s coming off of a championship victory. Deflategate is also tarnishing Brady’s reputation. The NFL is making Brady look more of a cheater than one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and it’s a shame to see that happen.

As an unbiased football fan regarding this situation, I think it’s terrible what the NFL is doing to Brady. The NFL is making the case more than what it is simply because it involved Tom Brady and the Patriots. Some quarterbacks have even come out and defended Brady, including Brett Favre.

“I don’t think by any stretch, in my opinion, that Tom was cheating,” Favre recently told Fox News. “It sounds crazy, but historically, there’s been stealing of signs — and that goes to baseball and football. Just whatever advantage you could get; Lester Hayes putting Stickum on his arms with the Raiders. Pine tar. It’s just endless, the advantages that players would try to get.

The biggest issue out of all of this that may have enraged fans the most is the number of games Brady has been suspended. Some may say he should be suspended more, but should he really? You hear of all these suspensions in the NFL regarding domestic abuse and uses of drugs and players have gotten the same or even less severe punishments from the league. An argument for Brady would be, how could Greg Hardy be given the same punishment as Brady, where Hardy got charged for domestic abuse and Brady “may have” had knowledge of deflated footballs? It makes zero sense, but that’s the NFL’s problem for how they deal with punishments.

I hope this will all end soon, and the Patriots, Tom Brady, and the NFL can move on once and for all and just focus on what really matters, playing the game of football. In the meantime, it’s GARAPPOLO TIME!

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