What's next for Brady, Patriots after 'Deflategate' report

Tom Brady Sr. On Deflategate: 'This Was Framegate'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady smiled away the Tuck Rule on the way to his first Super Bowl victory, flashing that dimple-chinned grin that said, "I had it all the time."

The New England Patriots' illegal videotaping. His name popping up in baseball's steroid investigation. Shenanigans with the NFL injury list. An out-of-wedlock child with the actress he jilted before marrying the world's richest supermodel.

Nothing stuck to Teflon Tom.

Reactions to the controversy:

29 PHOTOS
Reactions to Deflategate and Tom Brady's suspension
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What's next for Brady, Patriots after 'Deflategate' report
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THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!! SMH 😡 #PATSNATION STAND UP!!!!!
.....😑
You have to the love the patriots . They do anything to win a Super Bowl . #mytypeofteam😊
Tom Brady's 4-game suspension costs him $1,882,352 in salary. Patriots' fine is $1M. So team actually makes $882K...but still loses plenty.
People are so jealous of Tom Brady and the Patriots. No court could convict based on the evidence.They can't beat him on the field, so this!
Did not see that one coming a milli and 4 games😐
I honestly feel bad for Tom Brady!! I know first hand the type of competitor he is & how much work he puts in... Came down too hard on him!
It's a good thing the @nfl suspended Tom Brady now everyone knows that NOBODY is above the system #NFL #FairGame
To win four Super Bowl is outstanding. I know Tom Brady is a great competitor and leader. I feel sorry for him and patriots nation!
Every1s very opinionated about #DeflateGate. Some known athletes speaking & passing judgement r known offenders. #CastingStones #GlassHouses
I think the suspension is warranted, they came down hard on the organization though. #Deflategate
What's even worse is that people want to see him fall because of his greatness! #FreeTomBrady
After 4 months of extreme, detailed investigation.. NE might have, probably, possibly, maybe deflated balls... Most likely.
It's May and the Deflategate is still an issue.
Well Well Wells
Omg somebody please tell me these text messages from the Patriots report are not real...If so I'm going to the hospital of laughter
Honestly I don't know that deflating balls makes a difference at all.... patriots are seriously a great football team and Tom probably is
The goat. Just when you're that high up in your profession and there is something to criticize u can't expect us plebs to not take advantage
He and they are so good that we often try to Find something to criticize. In this case Ted Wells laid it out on a platter for us.
We all were "generally aware" that the Patriots push the rules. We also knew it was "more probable than not" that they cheat. No news here!
Water is wet https://t.co/LL1sN62DhL
Back to being serious 1. I'm not surprised 2. They still won and a deflated football doesn't help that much 3. It's all about integrity
They should throw the book at Brady. He should have to miss recess & write I will probably not deflate footballs100 times on a chalkboard
#WhoCaresGate
Ppl will say Coach Belichick didn't know. In the words of Commish Goodell to S. Payton. You're the hd coach. You should've known.
In DeflateGate report, equipment assistant says Brady gave him ball that he used to pass 50K career passing yards http://t.co/OR3CLoNkXe
Asked about Deflategate, Rob Gronkowski simply flexed his muscles. #WBZ http://t.co/MMG5HdYGK4
The Patriots are habitual rule breakers, and that's why they win championships.
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But the league investigation into the deflated footballs used in this year's AFC championship game might do what none of the other controversies and near-misses could: tarnish the legacy of Tom Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion and the title game's reigning MVP.

"What I see is that he goes from being 'Tom Perfect' to 'Tom Not-So-Perfect' in some peoples' eyes," Marc Ganis, president of sports business consulting firm SportsCorp, said Wednesday after the release of the NFL's report on the scandal that came to be known as "Deflategate."

22 PHOTOS
Look back at the 'Deflategate' scandal
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What's next for Brady, Patriots after 'Deflategate' report
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots leaves federal court after contesting his four game suspension with the NFL on August 31, 2015 in New York City. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman had required NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Brady to be present in court when the NFL and NFL Players Association reconvened their dispute over Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension. The two sides failed to reach an agreement to their seven-month standoff. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 22: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots participates in warmups prior to a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 22, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leaves federal court after appealing the National Football League's (NFL) decision to suspend him for four games of the 2015 season on August 12, 2015 in New York City. The NFL alleges that Brady knew footballs used in one of last season's games was deflated below league standards, making it easier to handle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves the Federal District Courthouse August 12, 2015 in New York. Brady and NFL. Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady met with Judge Richard M. Berman who questioned both sides about Bradys four-game suspension for his role in the 'deflate-gate' scandal after the NFL decided Brady was aware that the balls were deflated in the first half of the Super Bowl final in January 2015. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 28: A fan taunts Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots as he takes the field during their preseason NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August 28, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady arrives at federal court to appeal the National Football League's (NFL) decision to suspend him for four games of the 2015 season on August 12, 2015 in New York City. The NFL alleges that Brady knew footballs used in one of last season's games was deflated below league standards, making it easier to handle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 13: A fan holds a 'Free Brady' sign in the crowd referencing Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on August 13, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
A group of people wearing 'Deflategate' hats wait outside federal court during a conference meeting between New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Berman seems intent on getting a settlement of a dispute over Brady's four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated game balls -- in what's come to be known as Deflategate. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady arrives at federal court to appeal the National Football League's (NFL) decision to suspend him for four games of the 2015 season on August 12, 2015 in New York City. The NFL alleges that Brady knew footballs used in one of last season's games was deflated below league standards, making it easier to handle. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - MAY 24: Ryan Desilets and Jon Harmon both from Milford, Massachusetts, show support for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the 'Free Tom Brady' rally at Gillette Stadium on May 24, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The rally was held in protest of Brady's four game suspension for his role in the 'deflategate' scandal. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks to the media at a press conference at Gillette Stadium about the under-inflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PHOENIX - JANUARY 27: The annual 'Media Day' for the Super Bowl was held at the US Airways Arena in downtown Phoenix. Players and coaches from first the New England Patriots, then the Seattle Seahawks, spent over an hour taking questions from the media. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looked unusually upbeat as he listened to a question. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Behind the scenes: Making the Super Bowl XLIX footballs! #SB49 📷: Rick Osentoski/AP
Making of the @SuperBowl XLIX footballs [PHOTOS]: http://t.co/qayPQfqt0A #SB49 http://t.co/0dQRKYgClH
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks to the media at a press conference at Gillette Stadium about the under-inflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media on January 22, 2015 on issues surrounding under-inflated footballs used during the AFC Championship Game. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick spoke to the media on January 22, 2015 on issues surrounding under-inflated footballs used during the AFC Championship Game. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media on January 22, 2015 on issues surrounding under-inflated footballs used during the AFC Championship Game. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 26: A fan holds a sign referencing 'deflate-gate,' the under inflation of footballs used by the Patriots during the AFC Championship game, during the New England Patriots Send-Off Rally at City Hall Plaza on January 26, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl XLIX on Sunday. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Umpire Carl Paganelli #124 holds a ball on the field after a play during the 2015 AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. It was reported on January 19, 20015 that the league is looking into the apparent use of deflated footballs by the New England Patriots during their game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 and Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrate after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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In a 243-page report, NFL investigator Ted Wells found that Patriots employees violated the league rules covering game balls, and that Brady was "at least generally aware" of the plans to doctor the footballs to his liking. The report found some of Brady's claims were "implausible," adding: "It is unlikely that an equipment assistant and a locker room attendant would deflate game balls without Brady's knowledge and approval."

The findings were forwarded to the league's disciplinary chief for potential punishment. Brady could be fined or face a suspension that would keep him out of Week 1 - the marquee league opener at which the Super Bowl banner would traditionally be raised.

The Patriots did not respond to a request for a comment from Brady or coach Bill Belichick, who was exonerated in the report. The team canceled a previously scheduled availability for Thursday.

Owner Bob Kraft issued a spirited statement in defense of his team and questioned Wells' conclusions. "To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement," he said.

But Wells concluded there was no plausible explanation for the deflated footballs except deliberate tampering. And text messages to and about Brady led the investigator to conclude that he was aware, if not more actively involved, in the scheme.

Regardless of his punishment, Brady's legacy is now tied to the scandal. But the main effect of that, Ganis said, could be to solidify opinions that are already largely entrenched: Opposing fans will continue to doubt him, and fans in New England, where he was once seen as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, will rally to his defense.

"As far as his marketability goes, he is still arguably the most marketable player in the NFL," said Ganis, who grew up a New York Jets fans and is now based in Chicago.

"Tom Brady has been the face of the NFL, with Peyton Manning, for a number of years. He has been an extraordinary ambassador, with cross-over popularity," he said. "If this is all there is, it will be something that is talked about him when he is elected to the Hall of Fame."

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AP NFL website: -www.pro32.ap.org and -www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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