The New England Patriots have always been widely considered a strong team - if not the strongest in the division - ever since the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era. With a streak of viciousness and determination, the Rob Gronkowski team has been known to be highly competitive and disciplined especially in the gridiron. However, things started to fall apart for the New England Patriots in January 2015.
The AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts saw the emergence of a controversial issue that almost put an end to the good name of Brady: the "Deflategate" scandal. This issue, also known as the "Ballghazi," placed the quarterback in the spotlight allegedly due to his involvement in tampering with the balls used in the games. This pushed the NFL to suspend Brady for four games, with Commissioner Roger Goodell upholding the decision despite appeals. However, a federal court judge later on ruled in favor of the New England Patriots quarterback and overturned the NFL's decision.
No clear resolution was upheld though. The issue of Brady's guilt or innocence has yet to be clarified to the public. Hence, the NFL and the New England Patriots are once again locking horns on the matter. However, the latest report regarding the "Deflategate" scandal might put an end to the issue.
One of the changes eyed by the association is the reduced number of responsibilities given to Goodell. According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL commissioner's power is currently under deliberation. That is, Goodell might be taken off the committee deciding on the disciplinary measures meted out to players off the field.
"We've been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals," said NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. He added, "We looked at the league's proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done."
While the league did not directly mention the fallout following the "Deflategate" scandal as well as the other controversial issues that rocked the football community to its core, the statements from the higher ups are telling. Brian McCarthy, the NFL spokesman, shared that the next moves to be executed by the league will take into consideration the concerns of everyone involved. Moreover, he noted that these matters will be dealt within the NFL office doors and not in front of the media.
"This is an important area that deserves to be addressed thoughtfully and with full consideration for everyone's interests-players, clubs and fans. We are addressing the subject in a serious way and will continue to discuss this directly with the union and not in the media," McCarthy said in a statement.
With regard the ongoing cases and appeals, the NFL also eyes a quick and efficient resolution. Smith addressed the issue, saying that the agreement reached by the league and the players must be seen as the final word on these matters.
He said, "It's a player decision with what they want to do, but I can't imagine there is any appetite to agree with any proposal that doesn't wrap up all the litigation. We can either continue to litigate or reach a collectively bargained conclusion."