Today, Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak attended the John Lynch Salute the Stars Award luncheon. Through Lynch’s foundation the Salute the Stars award recognizes student athletes who excel in academics, athletics and community involvement from Denver area schools.
Afterwards, Elway and Kubiak fielded some questions and it didn’t take long for the topic to turn towards the recent sanctions laid against the New England Patriots and the four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady for their rule violations in “Deflate Gate”. Elway sees it only through the prism of how it effects the Broncos—namely, Week 12.
“I didn’t know what it was going to be, so I’m sure it’s not over yet,” he said. “I concern myself with what the Broncos are doing. I knew that [Patriots QB] Tom Brady was going to be playing in Week 12, so other than that I wasn’t too concerned about it.”
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After calling the integrity of the NFL into question, some speculated that Commissioner Roger Goodell would slap Brady with a season-long suspension, but when it was all said and done, it was a quarter of that., Brady and the Patriots are of course appealing, so don’t be surprised to see the reigning Super Bowl MVP get his discipline reduced to two games.
“The integrity of the game is No. 1, so the commissioner obviously felt that was compromised and did what he had to do,” Elway continued. “I think what the commissioner does—he’s done a tremendous job for this league, especially in the growth that it’s seen since he’s been here. I support the commissioner 100 percent.”
As a former quarterback, Elway has the unique insight and experience in how much a deflated football would actually effect a player’s ability to sling it. He compared it to another sport that happens to center on a much smaller ball. But would a deflated ball give you an advantage?
“That’s hard to say,” he said. “Everybody has their personal preferences. Like everybody uses different golf balls, quarterbacks like different air pressures. You definitely can tell when it gets too hard. I never liked it too hard either. Other than that, you get out there. Back in my day, we didn’t get to touch the football, so it didn’t matter. Whatever was out there was out there. We dealt with it.”
For John Elway, it comes down to the integrity of the game. Tom Brady and the Patriots violated it and not for the first time. One thing is clear; although Elway is more concerned with his own team, he obviously supports Goodell's decision to dole out discipline.