Sirius XM Radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who gloated when Tom Brady’s initial Deflategate suspension was announced last year, checked in with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Tuesday morning and encouraged Patriots fans to accept Brady’s punishment following Monday’s federal appeals court decision and “get over it.” To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“You guys have got to move on now,” Russo said (loudly). “He’s going to get four games. That’s all there is to it. The Supreme Court’s not listening to this [appeal]. Those 13 judges aren’t listening to this, the whole circuit appeal court deal [en banc]. This is over. He lost. Move on. It’s not that big a deal in the big picture, for crying out loud. Move on.”
While many in New England continue to insist Brady was railroaded, Russo downplayed the controversy.
“He’s not going to jail for the rest of his life, for crying out loud. It’s four lousy football games,” Russo said. “He’s not going to jail. He’s not wrongly convicted. He’s not going to jail for 20 years. My god, it’s four games. Four Sundays of a phenomenal career he can’t play. He’ll live. He’ll live. You’ll live.”
Russo said Patriots fans should appreciate that some good can come out of this, including having a fresher Brady for the last three-quarters of the season.
“If you look at this from a Brady perspective, or a Patriots [perspective], he’s 40 years old, or whatever he is [actually 39 in August]. So maybe a little less wear and tear,” Russo said. “Look at this as a positive. Forget about arguing what the facts are. The deflate stuff, the balls, who cares? That’s over with now. I don’t mind it. He’s got to figure out a way to serve these four games. Let it go. Four games, the suspension is upheld. You’re not taking this to the Supreme Court. They’re not going to hear it anyway.”
Added Russo: “Brady should just sit back, take his medicine, let it go, put up with the lousy four games. He’s going to live. The team will be fine. [Bill] Belichick can get all motivated — he loves this. He can prove that he can coach without Brady, as he did with [Matt] Cassel the year they went 11-5 and should have made the playoffs . They can go 2-2 at worst, maybe even 3-1 — you’ve got to figure they’ll lose that Arizona game now with the backup. But as a result of that, they get Brady there for Week 5 on October 9th against the Browns, and away we go. You go 10-2, you win 12, 13 games and you take a crack at Denver again in the championship game or somebody else. What’s so bad?”
While Russo has supported commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to penalize Brady, he acknowledged that the punishment was harsh.
“I definitely wouldn’t have given him four games. Of course not. I certainly wouldn’t have done that,” Russo said. “If Brady would have handled this better with that agent of his [Don Yee] the day after the championship game, he would have gotten a $25,000 fine. But he did not handle it well. Getting rid of his cell phone was just awful, one of the worst decisions you ever can [make]. And obviously even the judges yesterday referred to that.”
That said, Russo supports the league coming down hard on the repeat offenders in New England.
“I like the idea that Goodell hit the Pats,” he said. “I like the idea that after Spygate — and nothing occurred there outside a draft pick and some fines — we like the idea that he stayed after the Patriots, that he appealed this. He could have let this go a year ago September, he did not do that. He looked at this as his powers and whether the powers that he has collectively bargained he should still have those powers, so he stayed after it with the appellate court and he won. Nobody cares now about what [Judge] Dick Berman thinks. And you’re right, no question about it, four games was too much, he shouldn’t have done it.
“Now Brady, though, Brady now is dead. Because Brady’s going to have to go with pen and pencil and he’s going to have throw himself at the mercy of the court. Goodell, maybe he gives up a game. But Brady doesn’t have a leg to stand on. So now Brady, who could have gotten a lot less than four games if he played his cards right, and if he came across here the day after the championship game and admitted, ‘You know what, I do like the balls at the minimum [PSI]. I’m taking responsibility. It’s not that big a deal. I should have known better. … We changed them at the half. We had a great second half.’ He would have gotten a $25,000 fine and a letter, and nobody would have cared.
“Instead, he challenged the NFL and he got himself in bigger trouble. And now he’s going to be sitting out four games in 2016. Which, by the way, is not a big deal, because they’ll go 2-2 at the worst. They come back with a chip on their shoulder. The Patriots can find out if [Jimmy Garoppolo], the backup, whether they can rely on him in a big situation. And [Brady] will come back flying, and the Patriots will go 13-3 and they’ll play in the championship game again. So in that sense it’s not that big a deal in the big picture.”
Russo insisted that Brady’s reputation has not taken a big hit due to this issue.
“He is an all-time great, top two or three quarterbacks in the history of the league,” Russo said. “I think overall he’s a good guy. I think he handled this poorly. But I think overall he’s a good guy. His reputation’s not tarnished. Matter of fact, if he comes back off four games and plays great again and they win 11, 12 games, he’d be sort of almost a sympathetic figure getting ready for the postseason. And you know the Patriots are going to be great. You know Belichick will be motivated. This is going to be a hell of a team again.”
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