Tom Brady's Challenge
by Glenn Dickey
May 13, 2015

The most startling part of the scandal surrounding the New England Patriots was that Tom Brady was right in the middle. Tom Brady, who has always seemed to be a, well, choir boy. No longer.
I doubt that Brady has fundamentally changed but he’s been part of an environment that encouraged cheating and promoted an “us against them” attitude.
If Brady had been playing for Jim Harbaugh, this could never have happened. Harbaugh has said repeatedly that he believes in the slogan that Bo Schembechler, his Michigan coach, had: “If you cheat, it’s not winning.”
Much of Harbaugh’s feud with Pete Carroll was based on the fact that he believed, with good reason, that Carroll is a cheater. Personally, I like Carroll, who’s local (Marin county) and who was once a defensive coordinator with the 49ers. I had several pleasant and informative conversations with him at that point. But it’s undeniable that he broke too many rules to count when he coached at USC and his Seahawks teams have had players suspended for steroids use. (Harbaugh said he’d cut a player who took steroids.)
Brady has been playing for an organization which, from owner to head coach, believed it could do what it wanted. The owner, Robert Kraft, publicly demanded an apology from the league, no doubt counting on the fact that he was a good friend of commissioner Roger Goodell. Perhaps not so much now.
Coach Bill Belichick has been caught breaking the rules more than once. Amazingly, he was not involved in the latest rules breaking but he has undeniably set the tone.
It was undoubtedly the repeated violations by the organization that led to the million dollar fine and the suspension of Brady for the first four games. Those rulings are being appealed and may be reduced but the fact that they are there should send a message to the Patriots that they have to change their methods.
The league is also going to have to change the way it has been doing some things, especially the selection of the balls. That should be strictly the responsibility of the officials, not the home team.
Belichick will have to change his methods but I have no doubt that he will continue to look for ways to skirt the rules. That’s obviously his personality.
The one who really has to re-think what he’s doing, though, is Brady. He’s been thought of as the rebirth of Joe Montana, his childhood hero, and he needs to return to acting like Montana. His reputation depends on it.

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