How do you embark on an upcoming season without your face?
That’s a question the NFL must answer after the league made the bold, highly controversial, move of suspending Patriot QB Tom Brady for the first four games of the season. Along with QB Peyton Manning, Brady is the most recognizable face of the NFL.
Best I can figure, the NFL must have been concerned with the integrity of the game in handing down this suspension against Tom Terrific, who is probably feeling like Tom Trampled right now. Additionally, the Patriot organization was fined $1 million and ordered to forfeit two draft picks.
But pay no attention to the integrity of the game during last year’s playoffs. What about that pass interference flag that was thrown against the Dallas Cowboys, announced over the stadium loudspeaker, and then completely forgotten by the game referees? Where was the integrity there?
But this case is different because Tom Terrific was really being Tom Tricky when he tried to get away with deflating footballs by two pounds of pressure in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. I guess you could say the NFL is not going to tolerate his tomfoolery.
So all this leaves the NFL with quite a messy goo on its face. In a league desperately grasping for offensive superstars, the NFL has decided to suspend arguably its biggest name. I realize it’s a distinct privilege to play in the NFL – not a right – and professional football players are held to higher standards than anyone else. But pretty soon the NFL is going to have to change its name to NSL for National Suspension League.
Remember, the best running back in the NFL was suspended for an entire season last year when league officials told Adrian Peterson to take a hike for spanking his child with a belt. Back when I was growing up, that was called good parenting.
This is not to suggest the league should go easier on its superstars, but it is to say the punishment should fit the crime. The NFL appears like it issued such a harsh sentence against Brady because the league was agitated by his lack of cooperation during the investigation. Well if you’re investigating me, I’m sure not going to fork over evidence. I won’t provide the rope to hang myself.
Former quarterback and current NFL analyst Trent Dilfer says high-ranking NFL officials have what he refers to as a “God complex.” He said the league is more concerned with showing it’s in control and will be obeyed at all times than doing what’s right.
I tend to agree as I see this as yet another case of the NFL wanting to make an example and show it can flex its muscle. The NFL can suspend anyone it wants. Just look, the league can even suspend Tom Brady.
At this point, I’m not so much concerned about Brady’s behavior being an embarrassment to the NFL. The way things are going, the NFL is being an embarrassment to itself.