Deflategate Fallout: Tom Brady Out vs Steelers in 2015 Season Opener

The odds will be even Mr. Savik” – Mr. Spock in The Wrath of Khan

OK, starting off a Steelers blog post with a Star Trek quote is exactly normal…. But it works here.

Admit it Steelers Nation. Raise your hands if you automatically chalked up the Steelers season opener at New England as a “L” when you factored in that Pittsburgh would be without Le’Veon Bell.

  • That’s right, keep your hand up, there’s no shame in admitting the truth here.

Even with Le’Veon Bell the Steelers would have had a tough time vs. the Patriots, as the defending Super Bowl Champions are 1-10 since 2004 in the Thursday night National Football League kickoff game. Worse yet, the Steelers are 2-7 vs. Tom Brady and Patriots.

  • But the Steelers opening night odds just got better as Roger Goodell has suspended Tom Brady for 4 games for his role in Deflategate.

Of course suspension of Brady does not guarantee victory. Foxboro remains an incredibly difficult place to play, and the Patriots have given the Steelers their share of bloody noses there.

Assuming Brady’s suspension doesn’t get overturned on appeal – and the NFL’s last several suspensions have in fact been overturned, the Steelers will face Patriots back up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has thrown all of 27 passes.

Le’Veon Bell accounted for 33.6% of the Steelers offensive yardage in 2014, and his value to the team became bitterly apparent in the Steelers playoff loss to the Ravens. Now with Tom Brady suspended too, the Pittsburgh Steelers have fighting chance.

Roger Goodell Forced to Offer a Measure of Justice

Roger Goodell’s uneven administration of justice in the NFL has been an oft discussed topic here. Unless you’re name is Peter King, there is no sense in trying to present it otherwise: As the NFL’s judge, jury and executioner Roger Goodell has favored his friends and savaged his enemies.

Steelers Nation likes to forget, but sometimes this has favored the Steelers, such as when Goodell ensured that Stanley Druckenmiller knew he was not going to be allowed by buy out the Rooney Brothers.

But since then the Steelers have been on the short side of Goodell’s justice scale, as James Harrison and Ryan Clark were unfairly targeted in Goodell’s crack down on hard hits, while he and his officials turned a blind eye towards late hits on Ben Roethlisberger.

  • Goodell is close with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, and essentially gave the Patriots a pass on Spygate.

Yes the Patriots were fined and docked a draft pick, but no player, team employee or coach was suspended for a single game. Goodell also fined the Patriots and Bill Belichick for Spygate, but those fines were akin to a $5 dollar parking ticket. Contrast this with the four game suspension that Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson got when he tested positive for a banned substance.

But after giving Baltimore’s Ray Rice a mere 2 game suspension for cold cocking his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator, Goodell was forced to act in Deflategate. The Patriots Deflategate punishment includes:

  • The Patriots are fined 1 million dollars
  • The Patriots will lose their 1st round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft
  • The Patriots will lose their 4th round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft
    Tom Brady is suspended for 4 games

Unlike Spygate, this is a punishment with some teeth, one that will have some impact on the Patriots ability to compete.

However, Patriots coach Bill Belichick once again emerged from this scandal unscathed, which stands in sharp contrast to the precedent sent when Roger Goodell suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Peyton for the season over BountyGate.

The Deflategate punishment indicates that Roger Goodell’s discipline policy is moving in the right direction, however the fact that Bill Belichick escaped any sanction shows it still has a ways to go.

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