The New England Patriots allegedly deflated match balls for their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in order to make them easier to throw for Tom Brady in the cold and wet conditions of a January afternoon.
11 of the 12 match balls provided by the hosts were found to be under inflated by approximately two pounds per square inch, and Brady was found to have been "at least generally aware of inappropriate activities".
The 37-year-old denies any knowledge of ball deflation, but his four match ban has been upheld following an appeal.
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Brady will not be paid during this time, and the Pats were also forced to pay a $1million fine and forfeit a draft pick.
What exactly has Brady done?
Brady was said to have exchanged multiple text messages with locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski who were also in contact with each other referencing deflating balls.
Brady said during his appeal that he gave his phone to an assistant to be destroyed on or around March 6, the day he met with NFL investigators, even though he knew electronic data from his phone would be needed, and there was a specific request that access to text messages etc.
Did deflating balls make a difference?
In the first half, the Patriots scored 17 points, when the balls were apparently deflated below their optimum pressure; in the second half (at normal pressure) they scored 28, and won the game 45-7.
Brady has long been considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game’s history, and has one three Superbowl MVP awards and four winners’ rings.
No matter what his reputation, his conduct has been “detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football” according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
He will no longer be remembered for his outstanding contribution to professional football, but for playing his part in the deflate-gate scandal which has marred an incredible career.
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