Patriots’ Tom Brady pushes past Deflategate scandal
By Elizabeth Hilfrank, Staff Writer
People continue to doubt Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s sincerity, but he moves on to focus on the game. Despite the many allegations over the past seven months, Brady played in the first regular season NFL game Thursday night and successfully defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21 in an attempt to prove that he does not need to cheat to win.
This one performance does not change everyone’s beliefs, however, as there are still many people who stand convinced that Brady had involvement in Deflategate, a scandal that began during the 2014 AFC Championship. When the Patriots allegedly used footballs under regulation air pressure during the first half of the game, the NFL suspected Brady of involvement and suspended him for the first four games of the season. On September 4th, Judge Richard Berman stated there was not enough evidence and retracted Brady’s punishment.
A sampling of Gettysburg College students confirms that Brady’s lawyers did not convince everyone. When asked about Deflategate, sophomore Eagles fan Alyra Parker remarked, “I didn’t know it could even be a situation. The whole thing is a little sketchy because facts were retracted. He should have stayed suspended.” Senior Nate Cody, another Philadelphia fan, believes that Brady should still be suspended because “The Patriots have a history and reputation of cheating. The independent Wells Report indicated that Brady was involved in the deflation of the footballs in some way.”
The fewer Patriots fans on campus, however, have a different opinion. Connecticut born junior Ben Taber believes that, “No, he [Brady] should not have been suspended. The NFL failed to prove that anything happened, especially Brady’s involvement. Goodell broke his own rules, and the judge’s ruling was correct. I could go on forever about it.”
Similarly, freshman Paige Wesolowski could not wait to have Brady back on the field Thursday night: “I don’t think he should have been suspended because one, I don’t think they actually deflate the balls. Scientific facts show that a quarterback can request certain air pressure for balls. Plus, a bunch of people have been charged with sexual assault and murder and have not been suspended. The bottom line is they didn’t have enough evidence.”
Whether a Patriots fan or not, everyone agreed that there would be an enthusiastic crowd at the game Thursday. When asked his opinion on the season opener, Cody remarked, “I will be watching the game tonight. I’m sure the crowd will be absolutely raucous, especially for Brady. If Brady were on the Eagles, I’m sure I would support him just as the Patriots do.” Taber also expected the crowd to be “absolutely insane” because “Boston always rallies behind teams,” just as Pats fans have to do when at college in Pennsylvania. “Patriots fans have to stick together against enemies who are jealous of our success,” Taber remarked.
Predictions came true Thursday night when fans witnessed the new championship banner hanging for the first time. While the expressing excitement, the crowd also took notice of those missing from the game, such as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who originally suspended Brady. The 66,829 fans chanted, “Where is Roger?” when New England took a 28-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
The season opener posts a positive outlook on the season as Brady already broke another record, he now holds the NFL record for most wins with 161. Many predict that the Patriots will have future success as well. Taber commented, “The division is tougher this year; I don’t see us going to the Superbowl, but we’ll make it to the AFC championships and definitely the playoffs.” Cody could not deny that the Patriots will likely be top competitors this season: “It’s a Belichik coached, Tom Brady led team, so I suspect they will win the division and contend in the playoffs. But the Eagles will win the Superbowl.”
Wesolowski retaliated against Cody with her belief: “I think we’re going to win every game, and the Superbowl. I think we’re going to have a great season.” Parker, on the other hand, had much less interest in any team that’s not her own. When asked about the opening game, she stated, “It doesn’t really matter but I will watch to see if they win. It only matters with the Eagles.”
The Patriots will have to face the varying views on their team throughout the season. As already displayed, however, both the players and coaches try to focus on the game and leave the fans to deal with the shadow of Deflategate.