New York Jets: Is Tom Brady suspension good news?
The Tom Brady “Deflategate” saga has been going on for what feels like forever, is his upheld suspension ultimately good news for the New York Jets? We’ve reached yet another milestone in the never-ending back and forth between Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Goodell handed down his decision to uphold the four game suspension. Part of the reason for Goodell’s decision is the apparent destruction of Brady’s cell phone before it could be obtained as evidence in the matter.
In case you didn’t know, Brady was handed the suspension after it was found that the New England Patriots were using under inflated footballs during the first half of their dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Title Game. After the 45-7 loss, the Colts alerted the league of their suspicions. An investigation into the matter culminated in the Ted Wells report.
The 243 page report cited Brady’s “general awareness” of the inappropriate adjustments to the footballs. The following is the most referenced section of the report:
"Based on the evidence developed in connection with the investigation and summarized in this Report, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the NFL Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate attempt to circumvent those rules. In particular, we conclude that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally and John Jastremski participated in a deliberate plan to circumvent the rules by releasing air from Patriots game balls after the examination of the footballs by NFL game officials at the AFC Championship Game. We believe that McNally and Jastremski were aware that the inflation level of the Patriots game balls following pre-game inspection by the game officials would be approximately 12.5 psi and planned for McNally to deflate the balls below that level following the pre-game inspection using a needle provided by Jastremski. Based on the evidence, we also have concluded that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls."
Following the report, Goodell suspended Brady for the first four games of the season and fined the Patriots $1 million in addition to surrendering their first round pick in 2016 and fourth round pick in 2017.
Brady is expected to take the matter to court.
So what does this all mean for the Jets? Is it good news in the grand scheme of things? Depends.
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
First of all, the Patriots have already proven to play well through a Brady absence. When the four time Super Bowl champion suffered a knee injury in Week 1 of the 2008 season, the team followed with an 11-5 season with back up Matt Cassel. This time, Brady will only be gone for four games. In that span, New England will play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys. Without Brady, none of those games are easy pickings with the exception of Jacksonville.
If they can mange a 2-2 start, they’re in the same position they were at the quarter mark last year when they won the Super Bowl. If they start 1-3, the Pats face an incredibly difficult uphill challenge from there. The first four games for the Jets can easily result in the same 2-2 or 1-3 start with games against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. Geno Smith will have to play consistently well to pull of a 3-1 record through those first four games; let’s not even cross our fingers for a 4-0 start.
Both the Jets and Patriots play four games with a bye week through the first five weeks of the season. From Week 6 on, both teams have an almost identical schedule, the outlier being New England’s game at the Denver Broncos. If the Jets can keep pace with the Patriots against the division and against the NFC East, the Denver game can go a long way in helping the Jets contend for the AFC East crown. Of course this is assuming Brady does serve out the entire suspension following potential court proceedings and the Jets have a better record by Week 6 than the Patriots.
It’s really up to the Jets to pull off a great first quarter, or even a decent one at 2-2. The defense is tested early with a Week 2 visit to Indianapolis and a game at home versus the Eagles. It’s certainly an important plot point in this years AFC East drama.
Next: New York Jets 2015 Training Camp: Top 3 defensive surprises