The NFL has suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games for his role in the team’s “deflategate” controversy. The league also fined the Patriots $1 million and revoked the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016 and fourth-round draft pick in 2017.
A report released last week showed the New England Patriots knowingly deflated footballs ahead of the AFC Championship game vs. Indianapolis. Brady, whose team won the Super Bowl last season, denied his involvement at the time.
Unless his suspension is appealed and reduced, Brady’s first game back would be on Oct. 11 against the Indianapolis Colts on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Of course, it was the Colts that tipped off the NFL about the Patriots’ football-deflating, so that would make this game one of the most anticipated of the season.
As Super Bowl champions, the Patriots appear in the traditional Thursday night opener on NBC — against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That game suddenly looks much different without Brady and his star power.
And CBS is hoping that the suspension is reduced at least by one game, because it has the national afternoon doubleheader game on Oct. 4 between the Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.
Last February’s Super Bowl featuring Brady’s Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks set a U.S. television ratings record, with an average audience of more than 114 million viewers, according to Nielsen.