Brady, Patriots & NFL come out on top — Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields


It may seem unlikely today, but when all is said and done with Deflategate and Tom Brady returns to the field, the Patriots, the NFL and even Brady all stand to emerge as winners in business over the long-term.

To be sure, the Deflategate crisis has been fraught with controversial questions. Was the “more probable than not” evidence cited in the Wells Report strong enough to convict Tom Brady? If so, what is a reasonable punishment?  How serious of an offense is deflating footballs? How should Brady’s cooperation (or alleged lack thereof) in the investigation, including the recent revelation of his destroyed cell phone, factor into the punishment and appeal process?  Fans and the media have been deliberating these and other issues with the same fervor as ranking the greatest quarterbacks of all-time (which, naturally, has been complicated by the allegations against Brady).

But when you examine this controversy from a business standpoint, the long-term brand and revenue implications (based on what we know now) could be minimal. Imagine the scene at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, October 18, 2015. TheNew England Patriots will visit the Indianapolis Colts for the game of the week on Sunday Night Football. If Brady serves his four-game suspension, he will be back under center that night for the first time in the 2015 regular season, playing against the same team that first reported the charges that are dominating this year’s NFL offseason.

Read the full post at USA TODAY.

Ben Shields is a Lecturer in Managerial Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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