Tom Brady's 'tainted' legacy talk is nonsense

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Everybody is entitled to an opinion - and Charles Haley is proof that just because you're in the Hall of Fame doesn't mean you're immune from giving us a #HotTake.

In case you live in a vacuum and have missed the fallout from the Super Bowl, deflate-gate and Left Shark, Right Shark, Haley said in the wake of Brady's fourth Super Bowl championship that his legacy would forever be 'tainted'.

The exact quote - "Joe [Montana] didn't have to cheat," Haley told Talk of Fame Network. "I've lost all respect [for Brady]. When your integrity is challenged in the game of football, to me, all his Super Bowls are tainted."

Sounds like Haley is a little upset Brady is closing in on his all-time Super Bowl win record. Haley is the only man to win five Super Bowls, two alongside Montana with the 49ers and three more with the Dallas Cowboys.

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Brady is joint-second on the list after he won his fourth, all with the Patriots, last Sunday.

It's clear his beef really sits with the media reports prior to the Super Bowl that claimed the Patriots tampered with game balls before their AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Deflate-gate was the perfect media story before the Super Bowl. It involved the Patriots, a franchise that will be forever treated with suspicion after they were caught taping opposition hand signals in 2007.

It involved Bill Belichick, the one NFL coach who insists on dressing like Emperor Palpatine.

And it involved Tom Brady, the All-American quarterback with the supermodel wife that all America loves to hate except Pats fans.

The scandal looks like it's already run out of steam though, another classic case of the NFL taking an inordinately long period of time to reach a conclusion. It's almost certain that conclusion will be botched, Roger Goodell will be forced to apologise and an 'independent' adjudicator will rescind any punishment handed down by The Shield.

Deflate-gate has its own Wikipedia page. I mean, it's got to the point that Aaron Hernandez's lawyer is bringing it up in his client's murder trial. This is not a scandal, it's a joke.

Before it reached this stage it was always a pretty dull 'scandal' anyway, and for Haley to claim it 'taints' Brady's legacy is ludicrous.

The Patriots destroyed the Colts, there's been numerous articles that have proved that deflating footballs has little bearing on a result.

And so what if Brady likes his footballs a little deflated. It's the officials job to regulate this, if they failed, that's on them, not Brady. The NFL is just like every other sport in the world. In a competitive environment, competitors will seek out advantages.

It's why the Atlanta Falcons embarrassingly tried to pump crowd noise into their stadium to 'create' atmosphere.

It's why the Cleveland Browns find themselves embroiled in a humiliating text message scandal between front office and coaching staff.

Both are sad, sad examples of teams going to pointlessly extreme lengths in an attempt to gain an advantage. In the end, the only result is embarrassment.

Bigger questions

Far more serious than accusations of deflating footballs, are the real questions that should be asked of Performance Enhancing Drugs. Why does the NFL have HGH testing programmes that 'you'd be an idiot to fail' according to CEO of US Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart.

And if you're a player who has been found guilty of doping, you're banned for just four games. That sits awkwardly when you have Josh Gordon looking at a year-long suspension for drinking alcohol.

Roger Federer says you'd be 'naive' to think PEDs are not prevalent in tennis, why is the NFL different?

PEDs are one thing, what about concussions? You have Russell Wilson in the NFL Championship Game taking a huge shot from Clay Matthews, and Julian Edelman in the Super Bowl itself.

Jamaal Charles confirmed earlier this season that he remained in the game despite taking a concussive blow to the head because he didn't want to come out.

There was the controversy over then Michigan coach Brady Hoke failing to take his clearly concussed quarterback Shane Morris out of the game last season. The fact that 33 per cent of NFL players suffer mental debilitation after retiring from the game is a true scandal.

Taking it to the extreme

These are bigger questions for the NFL and NFL fans. But no, far cheaper to take shots at an inflated football.

Forget the fact Brady has one of the greatest QB records in history, forget all those remarkable performances, all the Super Bowl victories, the late drives, people like Haley would have you forget all that. And that's before the investigation has even reached a conclusion.

Because unfortunately, when you take things to such extremes - whether it's your headline grabbing opinion or piping crowd noise into your stadium - nobody ends up looking silly but you.

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New England Patriots
Tom Brady

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