The NFL has handed down its decision on Deflategate — a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady, and a $1 million fine and forfeiture of two draft picks for the Patriots — and New England’s biggest rivals are also handing down their take on the matter.
Here’s a look at the reaction from the Patriots’ AFC East opponents and three other top AFC rivals following Monday’s penalty announcement.
New York Jets
What the team is saying: Owner Woody Johnson’s wife could not conceal her feelings on the NFL’s ruling, tweeting a smiling-face emoji with a link to the report. “@Patriots fined $1M; Tom Brady suspended”
What fans are saying: Jets fans can purchase a shirt that says “See you later deflator” over a green and white drawing of something that is supposed to look like Brady.
What the media are saying: New York Post columnists Mike Vaccaro and Steve Serby can’t agree on who takes the bigger hit. For Vaccaro, it’s Kraft.
“Kraft ranted Super Bowl week about how unfairly his team had been treated ... Four months later, we now know that Kraft was either a) stunningly arrogant; b) utterly misled or c) entirely unconcerned with the subterfuge that has operated on his watch for years. None of those choices reflects well on Kraft, who has gone from model boss to boss enabler in 10 short years.
Serby thinks it was Brady: “It isn’t an inflated suspension, it’s the just one. It is one thing to be a Super Bowl champion and another to be a champion of lying, cheating and deceit. This was arrogance intercepted.”
New York Daily News columnists Gary Myers and Mike Lupica also had differing opinions. Myers thought the penalty was too harsh
“Whether he’s dealing with a creep like Ray Rice or an ‘ambassador’ of the league, as Goodell has called Brady, he has a hard time getting things right with these suspensions.”
“Goodell didn’t do this to him, the Colts didn’t do it, the people in the media who blew the whistle didn’t. Brady did this to himself. Even if Brady wins in arbitration, one of the biggest winners in the history of his sport has already lost big here.”
What the team is saying: There didn’t seem to be much gloating in Buffalo, despite the fact that the Bills will face the Brady-less Patriots in Week 2.
“Not trying to justify the punishment was wrong or anything. I just want to play against the best, and week 2 I want my Defense to play Brady,” safety Aaron Williams tweeted.
What the fans are saying: Fans seemed to be on both sides of the spectrum. On Syracuse.com, kantorsking commented “Way too harsh. The NFL is now the NCAA.”
SkanNative was more critical of the Patriots’ quarterback: “You can be great and you can be humble. Brady is neither.”
What the media are saying: Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes the Bills are now the team to beat in the AFC East with new coach Rex Ryan at the helm.
“Ryan loaded up his offense with LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin and Charles Clay to help mask the obvious deficiency at quarterback. The Bills defense was the engine of a 9-7 team last season, so Ryan’s arrival will only make that unit stronger.”
What the team is saying: Before the ruling was announced, Hall of Fame coach Don Shula weighed in and took a few shots at the Patriots when discussing his own career.
“It was always done with a lot of class, and a lot of dignity,” Shula said Saturday. “We didn’t deflate any balls. They all had the right amount of air in them.”
What the fans are saying: Kyle Munzenriedr of the Miami New Times wrote a story about Dolphins fans wondering whether Miami would take advantage of Brady’s suspension.
“The underlying theme among fans and columnists: Hey, this could help the Dolphins, but whatever pressure they had to succeed next season just got dialed up at least two notches, and we won’t be surprised if they somehow mess it all up anyway.”
What the media are saying: Greg Cote of the Miami Herald thought the NFL got it just right
“Patriots fans might decry the penalties as too harsh. Teams playing the Pats, including some Miami Dolphins fans, might complain the punishment is too lenient. But both sides might meet in the middle and agree that the penalties amount to neither the hammer coming down nor a slap on the wrist.”
ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter James Walker believes the pressure is on the Dolphins now.
“It’s not too early to make this declaration: The Dolphins have no excuse not to make the playoffs this season. Zero. Nil. Nada.”
What the team is saying: Coach Chuck Pagano and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson have stated that the team has moved on and is preparing for 2015. ESPN personalities Jeff Saturday, a former Colts offensive lineman, and Bill Polian, a former executive with the team, both said the ruling was fair.
Colts defensive back Vontae Davis tweeted: “That Sunday Night Football game just got a little more interesting... #TomBrady #cantwait”
What the fans are saying: There wasn’t much sympathy for the Patriots. Most seem pleased with the NFL’s ruling, while others thought the punishment wasn’t severe enough.
@oopsleighdaisy8 tweeted: “#NFL went way too easy on cheating #TomBrady #DeflateGate. Revenge of the #Colts #ColtsNation #AddThatAsterisk.”
What the media are saying: Indianapolis Star columnist Greg Doyel thought the punishment wasn’t enough.
“Brady and the Patriots were punished on Monday? Nah. They were patted on the head and told not to do it again.”
“With everyone watching, with the league still reeling from the repellent Ray Rice fiasco, Goodell and Vincent finally got it right. The penalties are harsh, a bit harsher than many of us suspected they might be, but they are, by and large, very fair.”
What the team is saying: Both current and former players seemed to think Brady’s suspension was appropriate.
“Wow,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said. “I think it’s fair. But he will probably fight it.”
Broncos general manager John Elway supported Goodell.
“The integrity of the game is No. 1, and the commissioner obviously felt that that was compromised and did what he believed he had to do,” Elway said.
What the fans are saying: Some fans actually felt sorry for the Patriots.
@CrouchingDomo tweeted: “As a Broncos fan, never thought I’d feel sorry for #TomBrady, but this ban smells like scapegoating. #DeflateGate #Patriots.”
What the media are saying: Mike Klis of 9news.com believes Brady’s legacy is forever altered.
“Wells assumed Brady and the Patriots had wrongdoing to hide, leading Goodell to punish accordingly. The lawyers for Brady and the Patriots didn’t quite grasp the difference between the legal system and the NFL’s legal system.”
What the team is saying: Former Ravens wide receiver Travis Taylor went on a radio station in Jacksonville to discuss the punishment.
“The Patriots cheat. There’s a long list of things they do that NFL people know.”
What the fans are saying: Clipper71 commented on baltimoresun.com.
“Brady’s ban was fair, thought it should be longer for not cooperating fully. $1m fine for the team, fair considering Spygate. But don’t get the draft picks, when even Wells report said Kraft and Bellicheat weren’t involved. The loss of draft picks should worry other teams, if you don’t do what we (NFL) like/want we will take your draft picks.”
PopeYork thought some fans were being hypocritical.
“Not a Pats fan or a ravens fan, but Ravens fans who celebrate Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and Ray Lewis might want to pump the brakes on discussion about players with integrity and honor.”
What the media are saying: Finally, the NFL is apparently tired of the Patriots cheating, wrote Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun.
“I bet that arrogant owner of the Patriots, Bob Kraft, isn’t so smug now. Apparently the NFL, after an embarrassing season filled with many public relations gaffes, has finally gotten the message that its image needs repair.”
Joe Serpico of the baltimorewire.com wrote that Ravens fans need to get over Deflategate.
“The Ravens can argue that Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely for his domestic violence. Sure, it was a cowardly act by a man who deserved every punishment he got. However, what he did does not alter the results on the field. You can make a case that this is more damaging to the NFL than any off-the-field issue.”