Column: Line Drives — Brady’s legacy is in trouble

[This is my column in the May 7 issue of The Commercial Review.]

I respect Tom Brady, but I don’t like him.

He’s an exceptional quarterback with numbers that speak for themselves.

•He completes 63.5 percent of his passes — 12th all-time.
•He’s thrown 392 touchdowns — fifth all-time.
•No other player has played in more Super Bowls (six) than him.
•Only Pro Football Hall-of-Famers Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana have won as many Super Bowls (four) as him.
•His 2.74 touchdowns-to-interception ratio is second only to Aaron Rodgers (3.96).

He’s good, but I still don’t like him.

No, it’s not because he’s talented — my disdain for the four-time champ stems from his days as a Michigan Wolverine. Michigan is a great program with a rich history.

As a Michigan State fan, I respect anyone who wears Maize and Blue. I just don’t like them.

And with Wednesday’s release of the 243-page Wells Report, I’m left with a burning question; just like the cases with Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, are Tom Brady’s stats legitmate?

Attorney Ted Wells’ report said Tom Brady “was at least generally aware” of the deflation of footballs, first brought to the attention of referees by the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship game in January. The Colts lost, 45-7,

Additionally, the report states it was “more probable than not” two employees of the Patriots carried out the plan to doctor footballs to Brady’s liking. Officials’ locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski are the two employees in question.

According to an Associated Press article, Wells’ statement “more probable than not” has been all that is necessary for the NFL to levy violations over the last six years, former league executive Bill Polian said.

Based on Polian’s statement, Jastremski, McNally — and most importantly, Brady — aren’t quite innocent, but they aren’t necessarily guilty either.

So what’s next?

Colts fans, no doubt, would like to see Brady suspended for a few games. Part of me (the MSU fan) wants to see that as well.

Some on Twitter have called for the NFL to vacate the Super Bowl the Patriots won in February, but that is not a realistic punishment. Fine the New England Patriots a ton of money and take away a few draft picks, but taking a Super Bowl victory is overboard.

Something also needs to happen to New England coach Bill Belichick, such as fining him and suspending him for some time. If New Orleans coach Sean Payton took the fall for the Saints’ bounty program in 2012, Belichick should do the same.

But back to Brady.

Was the deflation of footballs for the AFC Championship game against the Colts a one-time thing, an isolated incident? Did the Patriots commit similar acts during their other three championship seasons?

It’s tough to tell. But Brady refusing to turn over his cell phone during the investigation of “Deflategate” makes us wonder what exactly he’s trying to hide.

It still brings up the question: are Brady’s stats — and four Super Bowls — genuine? Brady’s legacy as one of the all-time great quarterbacks is in jeopardy.

Should due process reveal Brady indeed “was at least generally aware” of the deflation of footballs, I cannot see him becoming inducted into the Hall of Fame.

I don’t like Tom Brady. Thanks to the Wells Report, I’m not sure I respect him anymore either.

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