Amidst the laughable excuses and potentially laudable suspension, is actually a quite simplistic story line: the Patriots deflated footballs slightly beyond that which is allowed by the league.
This seems like such a small offense. At first blush one might consider the consequences as extreme and almost tyrannical. But as the story blossomed we are exposed to details about how ball pressure may or may not affect fumbles. We see arguments back and forth about how to view and interpret statistics from both supporters and detractors of the Patriots and Tom Brady. We have a story line that has exploded through every imaginable media outlet.
I can't help but wonder: why didn't Tom just confess? The media will snatch onto the juiciest and latest, so if a confession had come (with a different narrative) wouldn't it have died down much faster? Sure, you'd still have hacks like myself with potential readership of hundreds or maybe even thousands, but the weight of the current media onslaught is mind-boggling. What if Tom had said, "I had a few games where I asked my equipment guys to double-check the footballs and they were over-inflated, so I did ask them to double-check every game and to bring them down as much as they could."? He could have closed the loop with, "I realize now that this was a huge mistake, and even though I didn't realize they were deflating below the legal standard, I take full responsibility for the actions and I understand that there will likely be consequences for my inadvertent violations." Using the words "full responsibility" allows him the wear the shiny white hat still, while saying "I didn't realize they were deflating below the legal standard," and "inadvertent," allows the punitive process to be minor. He may have still received a 4-game suspension, but it would have been more easily reduced. Most importantly, the story would have faded within a few weeks. Nothing squelches a conspiracy or conflict like the words, "I'm sorry." You would think now that Tom is married he would know that.
Instead, Tom Brady and the Patriots are fighting the NFL and media like schoolgirls over a prom date with the quarterback. Instead the story grows, and instead... I have to wonder why dost thou protest too much? Those of us who are parents know EXACTLY why. It's because there is still MORE to the story. When my teenagers protests moved from slightly detailed and rude to completely insane and unfathomable I knew it was time to investigate. Every time, without fail, there was more to be uncovered, and would almost certainly necessitate additional punitive measures. So I no longer ask if the punishment was too harsh or just. Instead I ask, "What else is there to uncover?"
I feel quite strongly that the NFL should extend an additional investigation to uncover potential cheating from the Patriots. They should investigate privately and without the Patriot's knowledge. They should search for hidden gems within the statistics that will reveal additional potential cheats or violations. They should be searching for hidden cameras now instead of those that are out in the open. They should be searching for field preparation details and how that may affect choice, direction and location of plays. Leave no stone unturned, but do it quietly and stealthily. If I were a complete moron I might even send a few bucks to a GoFundMe account to help the NFL execute on such a plan. But I would have to be a moron to sacrifice even a few of my hard-earned dollars to a multibillion dollar organization.