I have not heard from you in a few days. I thought I would drop a line. This being vacation time for you I assumed you have gone off to one of those places where it is a little warmer than around here. I thought perhaps you have gone to Cannes Film Festival that just opened; you’d be among friends who appreciate you as a man and not an object. But I saw that on Tuesday Gisele was in Boston coming from her gym so you might still be around.
I have been thinking of you over the past few days as have many others as you must know. It seems all but a few believe that you cheated and you were caught. The question now is how does that diminish your legacy as the best quarterback who ever played in the NFL. Perhaps, that will be determined by what you do in the future?
Right now I’d suggest it is time for you, the Mrs, and the kids to pack up and head off to some quiet place away from all the chatter and commotion and have a few soul-to-soul discussions. Those would be best held at some remote and quiet place away from all the hangers-on where you could sit and talk and the kids could play on a sandy beach.
Speaking of sandy, you should discuss that guy Sandy Koufax another super star like yourself. Sandy, perhaps the greatest left handed pitcher of all times in MLB and the youngest man ever admitted to baseball’s Hall of Fame retired when he was on top of the world. He had a 27 – 9 record and an ERA of 1.73 his last season. He had the courage you had; who could forget him refusing to pitch the opening game of the World Series in 1965 because it was Yom Kippur. He too was a multiple MVP in the games for the championship.
Sandy left at the top of his game at age 30. He went out on top. So should you. You’ll be 38 years old before the season starts. What more do you want out of football? You brought your team the championship for the fourth time and you were the most valuable player in the Super Bowl for the third time.
Do you think if you win the championship again it will make much difference? It won’t. You’ve done well and while you are still young and have your health perhaps you should consider that more wins, or more touchdown passes, or more trophies will not make much difference to your legacy.
You came and conquered. You don’t want to be like another great quarterback Brett Favre only a few years older than yourself who stuck around until his 40s suffering a concussion in his last game. He now says as a result of the many hits on him he has suffered memory loss but perhaps that happened because of the last one.
By the way, Favre was interviewed about the penalty the NFL put on you. He said he has not been following the matter too closely but made some telling comments. He said that he, like you, could tell how much a ball was inflated by handling it inferring that you knew it was under inflated. He added to that a few other remarks. He considered you the greatest quarterback of this era and one of the greatest of all time; although he gives the nod to Joe Montana; he said when he first heard of deflategate he thought it was laughable; and he felt what you did was not cheating but following a time-honored tradition in sports of trying to grab a little extra advantage like Major League pitchers using pine tar.
I think he has it just about right. When you come down to it the use of the ball not up to par is no different from a pitcher greasing a ball. Using pine tar is a violation of MLB rules and a serious violation will result in a pitcher being suspended for ten or so games That, in effect, would amount to a two-day suspension which is what you will probably end up with.
You know the rules. You, of all people, know how a football feels when it is properly inflated and when it is under inflated. You know that every time you handled the ball. Hell, Tommy, the highest level I played at the quarterback position was on a flag football team while serving with the Marines in Japan. I could tell when a ball was too hard or too soft so I know you who handled one ten thousand times more than I did had to know. So it is best to ‘fess up’, acknowledge your wrongdoing, and get on with your life.
What you did was no worse than doctoring up a baseball by a pitcher. Why then the big deal about it. It is being reported you are going to go after Goodell and Wells and fight them. Why? You cannot win. Sure your punishment bordered on the cruel and unusual given the circumstances – and you may get that mitigated, but if you do you still won’t wash away the blemish of the NFL making a big deal out of this incident. This is what should concern you.
You must ask yourself why were you so severely punished. It wasn’t what you did but what the team did. Tommy, did you ever read the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter? If not, do. You are like the oysters. You are being eaten up by the others. The Patriot’s owner’s egotistical defiance of the NFL didn’t help you but aggravated the situation. Why didn’t the team fully cooperate? Coach Belichick’s Pilot-like washing of his hands in the matter and pointing the finger at you was throwing you to the wolves. He ran like the British before Colonel Jackson’s men in the Battle of New Orleans.
I’ll tell you why they put you out there to take the hit. They had already been caught once cheating. Putting you in the spotlight allowed them to hide in the dark corners and avoid being repeat offenders.
You have to also think of Goodell and the NFL. He used you as a whipping boy to prove despite your greatness and their incompetence they could come down on you with a sledgehammer. You were, as I said, their oyster.
Tommy, your days are numbered. One, two or even three more years of football may be in you but how will they play out. Do you want to be sitting on the bench when the team falls behind like last year and watch a young guy try to run the team? Do you want to be carried off the field holding your knee? Do you want to talk about short term memory loss or end up like the man who called himself ‘the greatest’? Is there nothing more in life to you than football? Do you want your name to die before you do?
Tommy you are on top. Stay there. You and Gisele who is also near the end of the line in her great professional career are still young and have the world at your feet. Think big. Think beyond football and the modeling. Discuss with Gisele the many other things you can do as a team in life. Move on to something else, something important, and rise to the top in that new world. The people who you now work for have turned their backs on you. The thanks for your brilliance has been a slap at your reputation. You don’t need it. Move on and move up.