The Deflategate Movie Would Be a Blockbuster for the Ages
The end of Deflategate means no more Tom Brady jersey avatars clogging your Twitter feed, no more #NoBradyNoBanner, and no more lectures from those annoying friends of yours who read a couple of legal briefs and suddenly think they’re Thurgood Marshall.
You’ll miss it now that it’s gone.
Judge Richard Berman put Deflategate to rest Thursday when he vacated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. Sure, the NFL will appeal, but the crux of it is over. One of the most overblown, and downright ridiculous sports scandals of all time will quietly live out its final days in an appellate court of appeals.
Now it’s time to cast the movie.
Deflategate is bound to be a summer blockbuster one day. This nearly eight-month saga had it all: good vs. evil, mystery, comedy, and retribution. The only thing left to debate is whether local boy Matt Damon gets to play Brady, or if the honor should belong to Brad Pitt.
For a notoriously parochial region, this was the ultimate us vs. them story. Our hero Tom Brady was being persecuted by the NFL and its vindictive, power hungry commissioner, Roger Goodell. The decks were stacked against him—a biased investigation, a tilted arbitration proceeding, and co-conspirators in the national media who peddled the NFL’s false narratives—but common sense prevailed.
It was the story you loved to complain about, but couldn’t get enough of.
And so, with all the components of a great sports flick, here’s what a dramatized Deflategate movie might look like:
Tom Brady: Brad Pitt
Gisele Bundchen: Sofia Vergara
Roger Goodell: Liam Neeson
Robert Kraft: Dustin Hoffman
Bill Belichick: Javier Bardem (He was downright menacing in No Country for Old Men.)
Ted Wells: Sacha Baron Caron (To be honest, Borat probably would’ve conducted a better investigation, anyway.)
Judge Berman: Albert Brooks
Chris Mortensen: Jeff Daniels (Not only do they look alike, but it’s only fair if the man who plays the best journalist ever on TV has to play quite possibly the worst one ever in the Deflategate movie.)
Jim McNally: John C. Reilly
Morning after the AFC Championship Game, Monday, January 19:
The rising sun is glimmering into Tom Brady’s bedroom in his Brookline estate. It’s 6:30 a.m., and the alarm is buzzing. Brady and Gisele Bundchen are tussling in the sheets.
Gisele: “You’ve got be kidding me, Tom. I thought you cancelled the interview this morning.”
Brady: “I told you, G, it’s in my contract …”
Gisele: “And what would happen if you broke it? Honest to God, Tom, we’re worth over $400 million. We don’t need it.”
The phone rings, and Brady, dressed in nothing except TB12-branded boxer briefs, excuses himself to conduct his weekly interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan morning show. He walks down two massive flights of stairs and heads into the kitchen when the voice on the other end of the phone catches him off guard.
Kirk Minihane: “There were some reports post-game last night that the league is looking into whether the Patriots were deflating balls. Would you care to tell me if you deflated balls?”
Brady: “I think I’ve heard it all now. Oh, God, it’s ridiculous … that’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
Friday, March 6: Brady meets with investigator Ted Wells in the bowels of Gillette Stadium. The two men are sitting across from each other at a wooden table, a flickering overhead light is suspended above them.
Wells: “Tom, I know something happened here.”
Brady: “Mr. Wells, with all due respect, I just don’t see how you would come to that conclusion. You know the correct PSI numbers—the balls were slightly under-inflated at most.”
Wells: “Why did Jim McNally take the balls into the bathroom, then?
Brady: “Who’s Jim McNally?”
Wells: “Oh, come on, Tom! JIM … MCNALLY. He’s been a game day employee for years.”
Brady: “We have hundreds of game day employees. I’m sorry, I can’t picture him—I’m sure I’ve seen him around.”
Wells: “OK, then. How do you explain his text messages? We found one where he calls himself ‘the deflator.’
Brady: “The what? ‘Deflator?’ Again, Mr. Wells, with all due respect, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I break the balls in before the game, and that’s the last I see of them.”
Wells: “Fair enough. Your attorneys said you don’t want to hand over your cell phone. Do you still feel that way?”
Brady: “I’m not giving you my cell phone.”
Wells: “OK. That’s fine, I don’t think Roger has ever disciplined any player for not doing that. But it would help clear your name.”
Brady: “I’ll talk it over with my lawyers.”
Monday, April 27: Wells and Roger Goodell meet in Goodell’s office at the NFL headquarters in New York City.
Goodell: “We’ve paid you $5 million, Ted, and the best you can come up with is ‘generally aware?’ What about those texts you told me you found?”
Wells: “Nobody will answer to them. I can’t find anything that ties Tom to this—I’ve looked over everything I have.”
Goodell: “But he didn’t hand over his phone. He’s hiding something.”
Wells: “Well, Roger, you didn’t hand over your phone to [Robert] Mueller when he was looking into Ray Rice, right? I don’t think that’s the problem here.”
Goodell: “Don’t tell me what is and isn’t a problem. I hired you to write a report about the Patriots deflating balls. That’s what I need you to do, Ted. If I back off here, the Players’ Association will be down my damn throat. The owners will think I’m just kowtowing to Bob [Kraft] again. The footballs were deflated, and we need you to say the Patriots did it. OK?
Wells: “Yes boss.”
Monday, August 31: Brady and Goodell meet for a final time to try to figure out a settlement.
Brady: “I told you, Roger, I would do a game for not cooperating. Word it like that, I don’t care. Let’s just put this behind us.”
Goodell: “I need three games, Tom, and an admission of guilt. Just say you knew about the deflated footballs.”
Brady: “No. That’s ridiculous. I didn’t do anything.”
Goodell: “Do what’s best for the league. You deflated those footballs. ”
Brady: “Stop. See you opening night.”