Balls: Brady Bunch must go down hard 

click to enlarge During an event at Salem State University, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shows how close his team was to losing Super Bowl XLIX — and how much his footballs were deflated. - CHARLES KRUPA/AP
  • Charles Krupa/AP
  • During an event at Salem State University, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shows how close his team was to losing Super Bowl XLIX — and how much his footballs were deflated.

Bully for the NFL. It got this one right.

Balls never thought Commissioner Roger Goodell would allow anyone to dirty the names of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft, his good buddy. Brady had too many Super Bowl rings and Kraft packed too much clout for that to happen. But the Wells investigation into Deflategate shows personal feelings can be set aside for the good of the game, and shouldn't that be all that matters?

Granted, it's a tad strange to devote 243 pages to the subject of underinflated footballs. Yet rather than play favorites and destroy the evidence, as it did in the Spygate fiasco, the league did its due diligence this time.

What Goodell and his henchmen haven't told us is the price that Brady and the Patriots will pay for their latest abuse of the rules. In that case, allow Balls to do it for them.

Given their criminal record, the Patriots should have to forfeit their Super Bowl victory. After all, they had an unfair competitive advantage in the AFC Championship Game, the one that got them to the final round. Unfortunately, the NFL won't have enough testosterone to do something that extreme. But there can be no doubt Brady needs to pay a stiff price. Mr. Clean knew it was wrong to throw custom-inflated footballs, then he lied to cover them up, and that should warrant an eight-game suspension at least.

Even though coach Bill Belichick hasn't been implicated this time, the group needs to be punished as well. This kind of under-the-table stuff has gone on far too long in Foxborough, Mass., and we probably don't know half of what has gone on there. Well, it's time for it to stop. Take away their first-round pick in the next two drafts, and maybe Bill and the Belicheats will get the message finally.

Brady and the Patriots must go down and must go down hard. Now we'll see if Goodell and company have enough nerve left to do it.

BOSTON WEAK: Who's worse here — Brady, the Patriots organization or the journalists who continue to suck up to them?

With a few exceptions, the sheep that pass for the New England media live in mortal fear of Bill and the Belicheats, and their passive coverage has served to enable their culture of deceit and arrogance.

Wrote veteran Indianapolis sportswriter Bob Kravitz, who broke the Deflategate story in January: "Here's what disappoints me most, though: The media. Specifically, the New England media, the mainstream media. ... I was amazed at the way many of these toadies refused to consider the remote possibility that there was something to my initial report, despite the fact the Patriots have run afoul of the rules once before. They dismissed it like a minor nuisance.

"The people who disappointed me most were the folks at The Globe's website, Boston.com. They are renowned pom-pom wearers, so it wasn't a surprise. But I was struck at the enthusiasm they displayed while carrying the Patriots' water. It shocks me that a great newspaper like the Boston Globe would employ such rank amateurs and cheerleaders. Sad."

Indeed.

STILL WAITING: Before the Super Bowl, Kraft puffed out his chest and said: "If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they had to endure this past week."

Now that his QB has been sacked for once, Balls would expect and hope Kraft to apologize to the entire football world, especially to the teams that his had to cheat to beat.

MAKE US LAUGH: Locker room attendant Jim McNally said he went to the restroom to relieve himself, not deflate footballs. Except there was no urinal there.

So if McNally didn't go to the restroom to deflate footballs, um, what did he do there exactly?

MAKE US LAUGH 2: No, wait, the funniest thing came out of the mouth of Don Yee, Brady's agent, who claimed the NFL had conspired to frame his client.

Other than Peyton Manning perhaps, Brady is the most valuable marketing tool in football. So in a league full of bad actors, he's the one it wants to single out? Oh, nowwwww Balls gets it.

BEST OF TURNER: TNT analyst-stuntman Shaquille O'Neal wasn't only on the air but also in it Wednesday night, when he tripped over his wires and took a header.

The studio was immediately placed on the inactive list because of a fractured floor.

THE LIST: Things Tom Brady can do while he serves his suspension:

n Play for the Double-A Birmingham Barons, Michael Jordan's old team. (Brady also played baseball at Serra High School in San Mateo.)

n Ride bicycles with Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong. (Bonds and Brady attended the same high school.)

n Throw underinflated footballs to Lynn Swann, yet another Serra product.

n Spend some of his $27 million contract to assist the homeless in San Francisco, which is about 20 miles from his hometown.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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