Professional sports are, by their very existence, a ridiculous exercise. To borrow from Ian Malcolm in Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, they are "grown men swatting balls, while the world pays money to applaud." And yet every so often, sports sail beyond the usual, day-to-day silliness to provide us with massive, eye-catching examples of the fact that yes, all perspective has been lost.
Take, for example, the Wells Report.
At 243 pages, it is not quite the length of Jurassic Park, though it does surpass the heft of a number of classic American novels. But while we wait for Variety to break the news that the report will be optioned into a feature film,(no doubt starring Kevin Costner), it's worth reflecting on the absurdity of the report itself. Eighty-two thousand words devoted to answering the question of whether Tom Brady and his minions performed some variety of low-level equipment manipulation?
It's the sort of rudimentary tampering that has long been an intrinsic part of football, and sporting culture at large. We don't need a report to tell us that to prevent tampering with the footballs, it's best to avoid releasing them from the officials' custody once they have been properly prepared.
Of course, this is the NFL, so before we can move forward, we must properly punish those who have trespassed against us. It's clear from the Wells Report - or, at least, it's "more probable than not" - and so, word came down on Monday that Tom Brady, our American QB Idol, would be suspended for four games.
Initial reaction is that the punishment is stern, and precedent setting, and perhaps a little bats*** crazy.
But in this writer's humble opinion, the NFL was not nearly creative enough. After all, think about how the league leaked information surrounding its decision making process just a few days ago.
10 alternative deflategate punishments
Top 10 #Deflategate punishments Tom Brady should have been given
10. League mandated guest stint on First Take.
During week three, Brady finally cracks when forced to, for the eighth time, delve into the question of Joe Flacco’s eliteness.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
9. Brady’s official biography to be penned by @PFTCommenter.
It would be a worthy follow-up to his last work, a rumination on a future in which Barack Obama turns the Dallas Cowboys into a Kenyan soccer team. It remains to be seen whether a man of Brady’s coddled, East Coast, metrosexual lifestyle could truly handle seeing his life dispensed in a series of #StrongTakes. After all, this is a man who advocated trading Touchdown Tom just a few months ago.
“Bill Belichick should trade Tom Brady right now. The Patriot Way is bigger then any one player whether it be a quarterback, or a TE who knows too much about triple-murders that might of actually been committed by the starting quarterback.”
One wonders what other details might emerge if @PFTCommenter were truly allowed to delve into the Brady psyche.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
8. Three words: Monday Night Rehabilitation.
The league is always looking for new programming to fill its schedule. As an alternative, Brady could be forced to fend for himself on a violent, post-apocalyptic road trip. The Running Man, anyone? Hey, there’s even a Mad Max remake due in just a few days! Imagine the crossover possibilities!
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
7. Out with the Uggs, in with the Birkenstocks.
It’s time for Brady to embrace his inner hippie. All that material wealth isn’t what matters man. It’s time to embrace renewal, and rebirth, and have you ever listened to the NFL on CBS theme, Tom? I mean, really listened to it?!
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
6. More barnyard photoshoots.
We all had a good laugh when Tom shared the frame with a baby goat, and now we have the opportunity for an entire Farmer Brady series. Here’s Tom milking a cow. Here’s Tom filling the pig trough. Here’s Tom corralling the sheep, not through force, but through the sheer magnetism of his personality. That’ll do Tom. That’ll do.
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
5. Michael Jordan-style “secret” suspension.
Yeah, yeah, that’s almost certainly not what happened to MJ. Doesn’t mean we can’t do it to Tom! Who wouldn’t want to see what happens to a Bill Belichick/Jimmy Garoppolo pairing while Tim lives out his childhood dream of working on a NASCAR pit crew. Loudon, New Hampshire, is only a couple of hours away!
On the jumbotron. On the cover of Madden ‘16. On every playing card, program, and t-shirt commissioned for him moving forward. Sure, it’s embarrassing for Tom, but it has the added benefit of boosting the self-esteem of every man in the country who’s spent any time feeling inadequate. Don’t worry, guys … just a few crossfit classes, some high-level coaching, and the “Patriot Way,” and you, too, could transform from an nondescript schlub to a matinee idol!
3. Forced, Clockwork-Orange style, to actually read the collected works of Dan Shaughnessy, in one sitting.
2. Assigned to a one-year stint as one of Bill Simmons’ sidekicks.
Two birds, one stone! Simmons is leaving the Worldwide Leader, and it’s unclear who gets custody of J-Bug, House, Dweezil, and The Noid. (It’s entirely possible I’ve gotten some of those names confused.) In any event, who wouldn’t look forward to a B.S. Report where Bill and Tom rank the best fictional quarterbacks of all time? (My money’s on Shane Falco.)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
1. “The Brady Six” reality show.
One major piece of the legend of Tom Brady is the list of six quarterbacks who were drafted before him. Heck, they even made a documentary about it. Well, it’s time for Tom to get to know these men a little better. Namely, by forcing them to live in a house, and find out what happens when one Hall of Famer and six far less accomplished QBs stop pretending, and start getting real.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Before it was handed down, Peter King called Roger Goodell's decision on discipline for Brady the toughest of the Commish's career. That's right ... for a league grappling with a concussion crisis, a failure to take care of retired players, and a total bungling of the way it responds to domestic violence,nothing was more important than dealing with the guy who took some air out of the ball.
So why stop at four games, a couple of picks, and a million dollars. It's time to go big or go home; it's time for Commissioner Goodell to think outside the box.
Then again, speaking of boxes, perhaps Brady could be made to deliver Goodell a few pizzas. Just remember Tom ... you don't eat, until the commish eats.
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Sports potw for 5/11
Top 10 #Deflategate punishments Tom Brady should have been given
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