Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

#DeflateGate is officially over

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 2: Fans holds signs at the New England Patriots Buffalo Bills game at Gillette Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Bills won the game 16-0. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Getty Images

On Monday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returns from his four-game #DeflateGate suspension. When he returns, the matter will completely and officially be over.

The NFL Players Association has announced in a statement issued to NBC Sports that no further appeals will be pursued in the litigation filed (by the NFL, actually) regarding the quarter-season banishment.

“After consultation with Tom Brady and our appellate counsel, we have decided to not pursue additional appeals in this matter,” the NFLPA said.

The decision is a surprise. When the NFLPA and Brady added former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson to the legal team, all signs were pointing to an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would have been the next step in the case. As Olson said during a May appearance on PFT Live, "[W]e are all very, very much committed to seeing that Tom Brady gets the justice which he is owed in this case, whatever it takes.”

From a competitive perspective, the decision means nothing, given that Brady ultimately accepted the suspension in July. As it relates to the push-and-pull between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the decision means plenty, since the players have sacrificed an opportunity to limit Commissioner Roger Goodell’s power.

But the union had a steep uphill climb. Very few petitions submitted to the Supreme Court are rver accepted. And a chance remained that, if the Supreme Court had taken the case, it could have ruled in favor of the NFL.

From Brady’s perspective, he returns with the case finally over. It won’t be a distraction for him in any way, at any time. After dealing with the situation for more than 20 months, it’s hard to blame him for choosing not to keep trying to overturn the league’s decision.